Paula Broadwell's neighbors in Dilworth probably had a hard time sleeping this week. On Monday night, the FBI raided her home in the middle of the night, seizing computers and boxes of classified information and military documents. Since then, television news reporters have been camping out on people's lawns waiting to see Broadwell, the biographer who had an affair with her subject, Gen. David Petraeus. But since she hasn't been home, reporters have settled for interviews with her neighbors.
One told me Broadwell is a "dreadful" person.
Everyone has an opinion about the Petraeus scandal, which broke on Friday after the four-star general stepped down as director of the CIA for having an affair with Broadwell. That's because this story reads like the juiciest scene of a trashy romance novel and suspenseful car chase of a political thriller rolled into one. As a life-long connoisseur of afternoon soap operas, allow me to break this scandal down for you in terms Susan Lucci could understand.
Let's start by making a soap opera family tree. Draw a line between 60-year-old Petraeus and 40-year-old Broadwell, both married, and then link Petraeus to mascara-loving family friend and military socialite (a title I never knew was real) Jill Kelley in Tampa. Kelley unintentionally broke the scandal when she told an FBI agent someone was sending her threatening emails. The FBI linked the anonymous emails to a jealous Broadwell and, in the process of the investigation, found salacious notes between her and Petraeus. These two West Point grads thought they were pretty sneaky by never sending emails to each other and instead saving them in draft form on a shared Gmail account. But Broadwell's jealousy over Petraeus possibly cheating on her is why the FBI discovered the affair at all in late summer.
Now that this love triangle's done, it's time to make another. Draw a line between Kelley and the anonymous FBI agent she first asked to investigate the letters. He allegedly started sending Kelley topless photos of himself and was eventually taken off the case. Then connect Kelley to Gen. John Allen, who is currently in command of 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The FBI found 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails exchanged between him and Kelley. Like Petraeus and Broadwell, both are married.
The FBI has been sitting on the Petraeus affair since late this summer. On October 27, our apparently-sometimes-topless FBI agent contacted Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader and a Republican. Cantor reportedly informed FBI Director Robert Mueller about Broadwell being a potential national security leak without public fanfare, since Republicans wouldn't want to smear the Obama administration right before the election, right?
Petraeus thought he could stay on as the CIA director even when he admitted to the affair to the FBI. But on Election Day, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. told him he had to resign. Petraeus will probably still have to go before Congress as soon as Friday, where he will testify about the events surrounding this year's Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Benghazi, Libya.
Whether Broadwell has classified information on the Benghazi tragedy no one knows - maybe evidence will be in one of those seized boxes or computers. For now, Charlotte's just waiting for her to come home.
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