TAMPA, Fla. - For the first time since the General David Petraeus scandal broke three months ago, Tampa resident Jill Kelley sought to tell her side of a scandal that made world headlines in an exclusive interview with Howard Kurtz from the Daily Beast.
- Kurtzs' full report: Daily Beast
In the two-hour interview with Kurtz, Kelley provided more details on how the scandal went from a single email received on a Yahoo! Mail account she shares with her husband into a worldwide debacle that ended Petraeus' career and forced him to step down from his post as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Kelley said her husband was the first to notice an email from admitted Petraeus paramour Paula Broadwell; the email supposedly came to the account as he boarded a flight.
She told Kurtz that the email was so ambiguous, "I didn't even know it was a female" author.
Kelley also claimed to Kurtz that the anonymous emails did not warn her to stay away from Petraeus, despite most published accounts contradicting the claim.
As for her choice to alert a Federal Bureau of Investigation acquaintance – who later added drama to the scandal when it was revealed he had previously sent Kelley a shirtless, though harmless, picture of himself – she told Kurtz, "I did what anybody else would have done when they were feeling threatened, to go seek protection from somebody I could trust."
She went on to deny media reports that she exchanged a voluminous 30,000 emails with Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan and former MacDill AFB commander; she gave an estimate of "hundreds" of emails, Kurtz reported.