A “Self-Appointed” Go-Between with Lebanese Officials

Here’s the first inkling of something Jim and I have been speculating about: that Jill Kelley may have some tie to intelligence, which led the FBI to take Paula Broadwell’s harassing emails to her more seriously.

A military officer who is a former member of Petraeus’s staff said Kelley was a “self-appointed” go-between for Central Command officers with Lebanese and other Middle Eastern government officials. She was a fixture at social and charity events involving Central Command officials in Tampa.

Add that to the news that DOD learned of General Allen’s emails with Kelley via his NATO command vetting. Why would FBI, in the course of such vetting, be reading Allen’s emails in the first place unless Kelley had become some kind of trigger? (Indeed, it may not be–or not just be–that some of the emails included flirtation.)

If Kelley had some tie with intelligence, then it would explain why the FBI investigated a catfight, particularly given Broadwell’s comments indicating close awareness of Petraeus’ location. And it would explain why this got escalated into a National Security concern so quickly. And it would explain why Kelley thinks she needs the assistance of Abbe Lowell.

 

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

131 replies
  1. marksb says:

    Thanks!
    This is the only explanation that makes sense for 30,000 pages in the Kelly-Allen email threads–it’s work, mostly. And it makes sense in the context of the dynamic situation throughout the Middle East for there to be an unofficial “self-appointed” liaison that allows things to be done and said without the commitment of official channels and positions. It also explains the non-official email channel used.

  2. Jim White says:

    We’re hearing form Allen that there was no hanky-panky and in fact most of Kelley’s emails were to his wife and he was just carbon copied. Yeah, I can’t see any intelligence value at all in knowing which important CENTCOM folks were in Tampa on what days. So that they could be invited to parties, don’t you know. No risk here. Mover along.

  3. joanneleon says:

    It could also explain the large volume of correspondence. We were just talking about this here (while we are trying to get some work done, gah, distractions), and wondering if that was all chit chat or if there were reports or documents included in that 20-30K pages of emails, either as copy/paste or attachments.

    And many of us in the comment threads here were very curious about the way that they described Kelley’s title. First it was reported that she had a position in the State Dept. Then that turned into a “social liaison” title with the curious quote about how she was given the title of honorary ambassador but was known to drop the “honorary” part of it. A number of people here noticed that paragraph and threw a few WTFs at that one. It stood out. IIRC, the same article specifically made the point that she was “unpaid” and not a government employee. Let’s say that she was a contractor — would still be technically true that she wasn’t a govt. employee then, but the rest of it would not fly, even with clever parsing.

    Also, if she had something to hide, why would she go to the FBI and risk them finding the correspondence with Allen? Well, unless that’s what she wanted to happen.

    Then there is the whole confusion about whether the FBI agent was male or female? My fiance says he read a different article that referred to the FBI agent as female too. He doesn’t remember which article it was but I’m hoping he finds it.

    Plus, shirtless FBI guy details just seemed like more catnip. And people are leaking like *crazy*. What’s up with that?

    Another big detail that I missed until awhile ago was — BBC article says that Allen is denying any wrongdoing. Petraeus and Broadwell fessed up. Allen is denying wrongdoing. What does that mean?

  4. ryan says:

    Sigh. Am I on everyone’s ignore list? I’ve been pushing Kelley’s Lebanese roots and likelihood that that was significant since yesterday morning, with multiple bits of circumstantial evidence. I specifically mentioned the idea she might have been a back-channel source a couple times. “Self-appointed” seems like a way of shifting blame. If Petraeus and Allen didn’t approve, they wouldn’t have allowed it.

  5. joanneleon says:

    One more point. The wording around the anonymous sources has in some cases been interesting in some of these articles.

    From that same DailyBeast article, is this Petraeus? How many different people could this be?

    The messages were instead what the source terms “kind of cat-fight stuff.”

    “More like, ‘Who do you think you are? … You parade around the base … You need to take it down a notch,’” according to the source, who was until recently at the highest levels of the intelligence community and prefers not to be identified by name.

  6. mcville says:

    @ryan:
    Several people — including me– have read your comments. And you have also been given credit at least once for your observation!

    Re Allen — he really, really doesn’t seem to be the type to me. Calling someone sweetheart can really be quite innocuous. It all depends on how it’s said.

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned here is apparently both the Kelleys, and Jill’s sister, who currently lives with them, have had some serious financial difficulties in the recent past.

    Would like to know how Jill has become a fixture at DC social events as well.

  7. Scott Lazarowitz says:

    These affairs, the catfights, actions possibly compromising “national security,” none of this is surprising, and it’s nice to finally get some entertainment out of Washington. But after finding out what a nutso J. Edgar Hoover was (in addition to being a fascist neanderthal), does any of this surprise anyone?

    A centralized power such as that in Washington attracts those who lust for power. Duh. And it seems to me that those who lust for power obviously have some screws loose, whether they be someone craving to be supreme executive such as Bush, Rmoney and Obomber, or whether they be those who crave the power to intrude and dig into the most private aspects of others’ lives through surveillance and wiretapping etc such as the FBI and CIA.

    So, the more centralized the government is and the more power it gives itself, obviously the more demented and deranged will those who seek such extreme powers be, in my opinion.

    Most of these people, bureaucrats, military-employed murderers of foreigners, and many of the “journalists” who cover them now, are just plain nuts now. Any good psychiatrist wold love to treat any one of these clowns, and the notes taken in sessions would amount to volumes and volumes regarding those deranged and demented, mentally unstable and sex-perverted misfits and cretins.

    This is yet another reason why it is time that Americans (those who value freedom and truth, that is) begin to question the need for central planning in “national security” and challenge the existence of a governmental provision of protecting the population from foreign aggression. (See Molinari and Tannehill: http://mises.org/daily/2088; http://mises.org/daily/4021)

  8. ryan says:

    @Scott Lazarowitz: I think it’s time to cut out the ‘catfight’ comments, which are another part of the military shifting blame.

    What actually happened is basic policy infighting. Broadwell and Kelley fighting for position, not for romance. The Broadwell-Petraeus affair now seems completely incidental. What seems clear is that there was a lot of conversation outside normal channels. The question will be whether any of it was illegal.

  9. Cynthia Kouril says:

    From the depths of my fevered imagination:

    So let’s see, she has financial troubles, lives beyond her means and for no apparent reason went out an cultivated connections to the war on terror folks? And an FBI agent who apparently thought she was open to advances?

    Does she sound like she was out honeytrapping to you?

    Throwing parties for generals does not advance her or her husband’s career, she doesn’t seem to have a military background or pre-existing connection that would explain her fondness for military.

    But having drunk generals in your living room is a good way to pick up tidbits of info. Having one in your bed is even better.

    I’m not suggesting she was a trained agent sent in to do this, more like a mob informant looking to peddle a little inside info for, what? Access, money, status?

  10. marksb says:

    @joanneleon: Rings true–that certainly could sound like a jealous former officer that sees the civilian bombshell acting like she’s on the inside with all these senior command types. Oops, probably bad choice of words. Sorry.

  11. emptywheel says:

    @joanneleon: Daily Beast reported FBI agent as female.

    Yeah, the disputes about her job were one big sign she was a spook. I had a few more from folks reporting this. And then it would explain why Clapper told Petraeus to resign immediately.

    My biggest question now is not “if” but “for whom.”

  12. Sponson says:

    Kelley’s role, however “self-appointed,” in intelligence work fills the gap that talking heads like Fran Townsend were furrowing their eyebrows about last night: shirtless obsessed FBI agents aside, why would the FBI keep digging into an email harassment complaint by a nobody up until they hit pay dirt with a connection to Gen. Petraeus and/or Gen. Allen? If Kelley has a military-intel role, that would explain it. Might the whole thing have been dropped, without blowing Kelley’s “cover,” if she simply had never been told the identity of her harasser? If Kelley in fact told Petraeus to shut up his girlfriend, was she not in effect alerting Petraeus that an investigation might be under way?

  13. marksb says:

    Gosh I hope the shirtless FBI agent is a she. Can’t wait to see how that plays in the media. “Titillating” is probably the word.

  14. emptywheel says:

    Just for posterity, here’s one of my first public suggestions Kelley had spookish ties.

    Q3: If Broadwell was covert in some way, how would her job be reported? Cause that would explain FBI’s interest.

  15. joanneleon says:

    Ach, okay one more and I will shut up and read some more. Are we now saying that the way the Allen/Kelley emails were discovered is entirely separate from the way the Petraeus/Broadwell emails were discovered and it’s only a coincidence that Kelley was involved in both situations?

  16. marksb says:

    Even if Broadwell and/or Kelly were covert or secret back-channel comms, the FBI has no choice to dig into it; they wouldn’t know why all this communication traffic from top command officers, and the CIA head, is going to these women–they don’t have the need to know until they work their way up to the top. If they don’t investigate, they run a huge risk of being handed their own heads, or worse not busting a spy ring, if one or more of these folks are playing for another side. This is what they do.

  17. marksb says:

    Off to the lab. Can’t wait to see what breaks in the next three hours. This is as bad as the Plame outing drama for trying to get to work and not keep hitting the refresh button.

  18. phred says:

    @emptywheel: Exactly.

    I rarely disagree with Glenn, but I think this story is less about the surveillance state and absolutely everything about a prima dona CIA chief (plus a bonus 4 star general thrown in!) who has evidently never read a good Cold War page turner in his life. This is the kind of imbecile who not only mismanages wars, but makes a farce of state secrecy (which we would be well served to pretty much obliterate, but still, until we get around to that, we don’t want some nitwit running CIA).

    The best part of course is, if we knew (i.e., FBI), then so did all of the other spooks on the planet. That is why you don’t leave some guy with a penchant for entrapment (or financial problems) loitering around with infinite access to state secrets.

  19. phred says:

    @Cynthia Kouril: I think the similarity arises from spooks, the manipulation of information related to important foreign policy, and the possibility of toppling high level government officials.

  20. marksb says:

    @phred: Let alone read The Cuckoo’s Egg. It’s old enough (1989) that every single piece of Tech is gone, but it’s a frightening account of how stupid/unconcerned/unknowledgeable people can compromise the entire defense structure–lessons clearly not yet learned.
    OK really off to the lab now.

  21. Frank33 says:

    Jill is legally “unbelievable”. Looks as if Natalie lost custody of her three year old. Too bad. Anyone ever heard of “Grayson Wolfe”. I bet he is a neo-con. It is SpyFall Palooza!

    Kelley, 37, also has an identical twin sister, Natalie Khawam, with whom she appears with Holly and David Petraeus and her husband in a 2010 photo published in newspapers on Monday.

    Court records show Kelley played a role in a bitter child custody trial that preceded the divorce case between Khawam, and Khawam’s then-husband, Grayson Wolfe of Washington, who once worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

    In a scathing decision in November, 2011 against Khawam that granted sole primary and legal custody of their then 3-year-old son to Wolfe, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz refused to believe Kelley’s claims that Wolfe had tried to push her sister down a flight of steps in Kelley’s Tampa home.

    “The court does not credit this testimony,” Kravitz wrote, calling Kelley “a patently biased and unbelievable witness.”

  22. SebastianDangerfield says:

    @Cynthia Kouril: It does feel similar, ‘cept we’re getting about 6 months’ worth of leaks in 48 hours.

    On that note, WTF *is* up with all this leaking. Some is obvious — Petraeus and Allen talking through cutouts and the one that sure looks like it’s Petraeus himself characterizing Broadwell’s e-mails to Kelley — some less so. Are any of these sanctioned, “official” leaks? There are so many it seems likely that some are — the ones discrediting “shirtless FBI agent” for instance — but it’s hard to suss out the motive(s) behind many of them.

  23. emptywheel says:

    @ryan: I’ve been reading.

    The biggest bummer about the Maronite angle is I’m going to have to narrowly tailor the post I’m working on titled, “What if it were called Muslim Real Housewives of Tampa Bay.”

    Cause she’s not Muslim but she is Arabic.

  24. Michael Cromer says:

    My theory still is: Someone (career spook) at CIA instigated the Broadwell-Petraeus investigation in the first place. I’m sure many at CIA already knew Petraeus was diddling her. They somehow “arranged” for Kelley to get these emails and to report them. Maybe they worked “Shirtless” too. I think they wanted Petraeus out. When Benghazi blew up, it became all the more urgent. They felt Petraeus was the party at fault for the Benghazi screwups and should take the fall. But with hearings coming soon, Petraeus would have ample opportunity to cover it up and steer the finger of blame elsewhere. It will be interesting to hear what the acting director (career guy) has to say to Congress.

  25. Frank33 says:

    There is a Grayson P Wolfe. He definitely is in the Secret Government.

    Between January and August 2004, Wolfe served as Manager of the Private Sector Development Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq. In this capacity he was directly responsible for implementing a wide range of initiatives to attract foreign direct investment and provide financing to Iraqi companies…

    From 2001 to 2002 Wolfe worked as an attorney for the law firm of Fleischman and Walsh, LLP, where he represented clients engaged in Homeland Security, Telecommunications and Intellectual Property matters…

    He has also served in numerous positions in presidential, federal and state political campaigns.

  26. phred says:

    @marksb: Indeed. That book was a real revelation to me when it came out. So much for my illusions of competence and technological prowess in the national security realm.

  27. Citizen92 says:

    Data points.

    – Darryl Issa is of Lebanese extraction. He’s got a longstanding interest in the area. He’s a director on the nonprofit American Task Force For Lebanon.

    – Jill Kelley has “honorary consul” tags on here Mercedes. From what I can tell these are not vanity plates. There appears to be some US State Department approval process required. The intent is to augment foreign embassy staff by using unpaid US citizens or green card holders in key markets. Now there also seems to have been (may still be) something called the Florida Consular Corps thingy run out of the Governors Office (Crist) which also used similar terms, but appears to have been more of a goodwill thingy. Observation stands that somehow she got special plates which would not have been entitled for a “goodwill ambassador” to a US military command.

    Google Rob Rowen. He is a Tampa art dealer. Also claims the honorarium of “Honorary Ambassador to Central Command and Coalition Forces.” N

  28. emptywheel says:

    @joanneleon: Maybe, maybe not.

    DOD is saying it was part of vetting for NATO commander. The Tele is also reporting that Broadwell also warned Allen, and he told Kelley.

    Which seems to suggest it’s different. But it’s also possible they decided to look because of the Petraeus affair. An earlier DOD comment was more non-commital, saying it would be logical or something.

  29. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @emptywheel: If she were a spook why would those working her let her and her husband be dragged into court over unpaid bills and bad real estate investments? She’s a spook of some kind but she’s supposed to finance all of this on her own?

    I don’t get it.

  30. Frank33 says:

    Would you believe that two top commanding Generals of the endless wars, were involved with Natalie’s divorce? General P4 and General Allen testified in a custody case. And these military leaders were bombing women and children in foreign countries.

    I am enjoying this far too much.

    According to court documents, Petraeus wrote in the September 20 letter to the DC judge: ‘My wife and I have known Natalie for approximately three years, getting to know her while serving in Tampa, Florida, through our friendship with Dr and Mrs Scott Kelley.

    ‘It is clear to me that [child’s name] would benefit from much more time with his Mother and from removal of the burdensome restrictions imposed on her when she does get to spend time with him.’

    The former CIA chief added that he had observed Natalie and her son, ‘including when we hosted them and the Kelley family for Christmas dinner this past year. In each case, we have seen a very loving relationship – a mother working hard to provide her son enjoyable, educational and developmental experiences’.

    A separate letter from Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, dated two days later said: ‘Natalie clearly loves [child’s name] and cherishes each and every opportunity she has to spend time with him. She is a dedicated mother.

    ‘In light of Natalie’s maturity, integrity and steadfast commitment to raising her child, I humbly request your reconsideration of the existing mandated custody settlement.’

    He said he got to observe the mother and child ‘at command social functions’.

    General P4 even had Natalie and Jil over for Christmas dinner.

    The judge was not impressed and said Natalie lied under oath.

  31. eCAHNomics says:

    Corbett’s take. Most interesting material starts around minute 31, linking Innocence of Muslims to Stanley, Inc and The Analysis Corporation, and March, 2008 break into candidates’ [Obama, McCain, Clinton] passport files. John Brennan, potential replacement to Pet, was CEO of Analysis. Key witness in break-in was shot to death in his car about a month later.

    http://www.corbettreport.com/corbett-report-radio-256-operation-betrayus-from-benghazi-to-brennan/

  32. ryan says:

    @emptywheel: Thanks. It’s nice to know people notice. Under different names, I go back to The Next Hurrah days. Decided I was less likely to get myself in flame wars if I used my real name.

    Frank33, that’s interesting about Khawam’s former husband at CPA. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Petraeus testified on Khawam’s behalf in the same custody case. One might wish that finding a bunch of neocon Iraq war people testifying in court in DC, that it would’ve been over something other than a child custody case.

    (I now see you posted about Petraeus’s involvement before I got this up.)

  33. emptywheel says:

    @KM: He and others believe FBI has gone of the reservation here.

    As I noted in my last post on Nidal Hasan, I don’t.

    All the more so if Kelley has some spooky ties.

  34. ryan says:

    @KM: I’d suggest Josh Marshall was just making a joke about what we already know – that an FBI investigation has upended the CIA and ISAF.

  35. KM says:

    ew @44,

    I know he’s said that before, at least about “Shirtless” (and I don’t believe it either, and think “Shirtless” is an obvious attempt at distraction — plus one more effort to “sexualise” the whole thing in order to make it seem less serious). But do you think this is really what Josh’s “BREAKING” is all about?

    Why say “rogue federal agency” and not “rogue federal agent”? Or if he’s referring to the FBI as a whole, why not just say so? And why pretend it’s some kind of a scoop?

  36. eppelheim says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: Exactly my thoughts. If Kelley is any kind of spy, she’s an incredibly stupid one, and her employers must be boiling with fury right about now. Using romantic leverage at the FBI to invite the Feds to check out her email account because of some pissy anonymous notes? If the object was to take down Petraeus and/or Allen, she’d have had no guarantee it would work. If the object was to protect herself or put Petraeus on guard, she’d have had every reason to fear it would backfire.

  37. orionatl says:

    @joanneleon:

    as i read this, this thought had just crossed my mind:

    suppose all the this-is-serious stuff started with the security and background checking for general allen’s new job,

    and then, based on discoveries there, moved to incorporate the previously “not-all-that-big-a-deal” investigation of petraeus and broadwell.

  38. GPD says:

    I think this is more sinister. The Big General has been working to get his best friends into positions of power. He is looking to run for president. He is using Broadwell as his propaganda spokesperson. And Jill as a mule – but to what end?

  39. KM says:

    GCP @50,

    I suppose that’s what I was suggesting. The whole thing — the bizarre/tenuous justifications for how they just happened to come across P4’s and Allen’s e-mails — has a certain Eliot Spitzer feel to it.

  40. eppelheim says:

    Also, though I posted it somewhere else, it seems worth noting that Time has a “senior defense official” calling the Kelley/Allen emails “flirtatious.” (Presumably there were a few that Allen’s wife wasn’t cc’ed on?)

  41. mcville says:

    @Frank33:

    You may have found a BOMBSHELL! The private equity firm that Natalie’s ex-husband now works for also employs Christian Bailey of the Lincoln Group. That name goes back to Bilmon days! (I too have been a long term reader of EW.)

    Stranger and stranger.

    I am back to my theory of a private intelligence network–possibly in the service of some unnamed private equity group.

  42. marksb says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: If he is, this was a very dirty house. I’d say it’s like cleaning the lake cabin when you haven’t been there for six years. What a mess. It’s overwhelming when you realize that *three* four-star generals have been taken down in about one week, all of them showing a level of irresponsibility that would result in a less-than-honorable discharge of a E3 enlisted spec.

  43. KM says:

    mcville @ 54: “I am back to my theory of a private intelligence network–possibly in the service of some unnamed private equity group.”

    That’s where I’m leaning, too. Only I think that maybe the network is the reason, or a symptom of the reason, for the purge, if that’s what this is.

    But I’m really just speculating, and there are lots of things that don’t add up.

  44. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @KM: Indeed and where was the NSA in all this? We’ve spent umpteen billion dollars getting those folks the best instrusive technology available so they can spy on all of us at one time and the FBI just stumbles across all of this?

  45. mcville says:

    @KM: @KM:

    Private equity thrives on non-public information. Would be tremendously useful in identifying investment opportunities in recovering war zones.

  46. SebastianDangerfield says:

    @emptywheel: Someone “who was until recently at the highest levels of the intelligence community and prefers not to be identified by name.” From the slightly weird Michael Daly piece in the HuffPo Without NipSlips, er, Daily Beast.

  47. Frank33 says:

    @mcville:

    There is remarkably little info available for “Wolfe”. You might think he would brag about reconstructing Irak. I think Liz Cheney ran the “Provisional Authority”.

    I am back to my theory of a private intelligence network–possibly in the service of some unnamed private equity group.

    Privatized, or government spying, it is all the same. The Hedge Fund Fraudsters are not prosecuted because they have immunity. They either are spies or work for one of the 16 spy agencies. Remember Buzzy Krongard.

  48. What Constitution? says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: If this is Obama cleaning house, he’s still got a long way to go. But maybe we’ll get a Black Site link shortly and he’ll do a recess appointment of Dawn Johnson to OLC and then….

  49. emptywheel says:

    @KM: I think he was trying to reframe this, to focus on government overstretch. It was an effective tweet, though not one I agree with.

  50. emptywheel says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: I don’t think so. The Petraeus thing legitimately started before then.

    Also, I think some of it may be Petraeus’ damage control. It’s a mess, and more complex, I think, than we know yet.

  51. eCAHNomics says:

    @emptywheel: Did you see my Corbett link at 39? He takes it back to 2008 break-in to prez candidates passport files. Brennan, a potential Pet replacement, was CEO of one the firms who did the break-in.

    Opens up a new dimension.

  52. Frank33 says:

    And the hits just keep on coming! Charlie Crist is not gay! He dated Natalie. And the Kelley’s used their mansion to raise money for Republicans. And Jill knows a Congresskritter. And she has been to the British Embassy.

    They also have direct links to Florida’s highest political circles, The Daily Telegraph has learned. Miss Khawam once dated Charlie Crist, the state’s former governor, a Republican source said, while Pam Bondi, its Attorney General and a close ally of Mitt Romney, attended a function at Mrs Kelley’s home…

    Peter King, a Republican congressman for New York who was at the event, told CNN yesterday that he had met Mrs Kelley at “one or two events at the British embassy”. An embassy spokesman declined to check, saying that it would take too much time…

    Yet she and her husband Scott, a surgeon, were soon being sued for $1.9 million by Central Bank…A similar $1.8 million property lawsuit from Regions Bank…Regions Bank filed another claim against the Kelleys for $453,000…

    I know what it is to owe money for credit cards. It is sad.

  53. harpie says:

    I’ve been “under the weather” and incommunicado for a while, so I have no idea if this has already been hashed out:

    Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com:

    Interesting stuff, then:

    […] While Broadwell’s current academic affiliation is with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, her previous post was deputy director of the Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. […more interesting stuff…] The Jebsen Center has been equally useful to the neocons. Richard H. Schultz, head of Tufts’ International Studies program (of which the Center is a part) was a signatory to the Project for a New American Century’s “open letter” to President Bush urging war with Iraq and a number of other Middle Eastern actors in the wake of 9/11.[…more interesting stuff…]

  54. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @emptywheel: So you think Ms. Broadwell’s dad is on the right track? That’s basically what he’s said publicly.

    Riddle me this – where is NSA in all this? This many emails go flying around between top generals and Floridian MILF’s and those guys know nothing? Are you telling me that no one in our government knew any of this was going on before the ladies had their little spat? Frak, that’s even scarier than the official story as its been released. I thought we were paying those types so this type of thing wouldn’t happen?

  55. joanneleon says:

    @Frank33: I would never go by what a judge said in a divorce or custody case or a domestic abuse case. Some are reasonable but others are biased assholes.

  56. SebastianDangerfield says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: The NSA snooping is supposed to be limited to contacts with non-Americans (although we know that at least early on a lot of purely domestic communications were trawled in). My guess would be that under Obama, this program is at least sticking with its writ (which is, of course, scary enough as it is).

  57. prostratedragon says:

    @phred: The best part of course is, if we knew (i.e., FBI), then so did all of the other spooks on the planet.

    Isn’t that just the dishiest part?

  58. binzinerator says:

    @Frank33:I wonder why she didn’t get visitation rights. I’d think else being equal the mother’s gonna get access. Mother and child, and all that.

    I am middle-aged male and no doubt hold sexist and old fashioned views about this, but I’m inclined to think when the child in question is three years old there’s got to be a helluva reason to not have the child be at least half of the time with his mother. I imagine the court must have seen evidence it’s not in the child’s best interest.

  59. jo6pac says:

    So much fun, Thanks Everyone. Oh just for fun I love V. Putin to step in and say the girls work from him just to add to the mix of maddness;)

  60. SebastianDangerfield says:

    The “Honorary Consul” thing is really quite bizarre. Other than the Graham Greene novel of that name, I didn’t really think the title existed, but it does, and it seems that it confers some limited immunity at least when one is doing honorary consul work (whatever the hell that is). Jill, however, seems to think it confers some kind of cloak of “inviolability” judging by her 911 calls to the police (obviously before she was fully lawyered up). h/t Josh Marshall:
    “You know, I don’t know if by any chance, because I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property. I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well[.]”

  61. x174 says:

    i like glenn greenwald’s take on this tentacular conspiracy: “This is a surveillance state run amok.”

    it was inevitable that the ouroboroesque nature of surveillance would inevitably lead to surveillance of the surveiller.

    it’s consistent with the logic of the panopticon.

  62. Frank33 says:

    @binzinerator:
    This might be an explanation. Her child accused Wolfe, the father, of hitting him. But the child “recanted” the story. I hope Natalie did not beat her child.

    She made repeated claims of abuse, which the judge called “an ever-expanding set of sensational accusations” against Wolfe that were “numerous,” “extraordinary,” and, “so distorted that they defy any common sense view of reality.”

    One case included a visit to Children’s National Medical Center in December 2011 — a month after the judge granted custody to Wolfe — to treat alleged bruises to the child’s nose and finger, hospital records show. Khawam told doctors her son complained of Wolfe hitting him, but court records show the child later recanted his statement. Wolfe’s lawyer said the abuse report was a fabrication.

    Apparently Natalie owes Wolfe $350,000 for legal fees. Ouch.

  63. GulfCoastPirate says:

    @SebastianDangerfield: Unless they are targeting specific people beforehand they have to scoop up everything and then filter – at least when it comes to email. I can’t believe they weren’t monitoring what was going in and/or out of Afghanistan.

    In any case, it was just an off the cuff thought.

  64. Frank33 says:

    I almost feel sorry for these neo-con swingers. Their lives are disrupted, and they are under surveillance. HA HA HA. In fact, Jill had to call 9-1-1 because of suspicious lurkers near her home.

    But who knew Jill has promoted herself to honorary consul general. That means she gets Diplomatic Immunity or Inviolability. Same as Julian Assange.

    The second caller, who identifies herself as Jill, says there’s someone lurking in their yard.

    As the call ends, she makes an apparent reference to her role at MacDill Air Force Base, which the Associated Press has described as an “unpaid social liaison.”

    “You know, I don’t know if by any chance, because I’m
    an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property. I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well,”
    she told the 911
    dispatcher, who agreed to pass the information along to police.

  65. joanneleon says:

    @Slothrop: I would think that the fact that they are being sued for real estate/mortgage does not mean they have no money. It could be an underwater property that that they just let go.

    I think there is a significant number of people who are walking away from properties and not all of them can’t pay, they decide it would be a bad business decision to pay, or they could be property flippers who got stuck with no chair when the game of musical chairs stopped. Are the suits against them personally or against a corp company that they own?

  66. orionatl says:

    i am most interested at this point in knowing why kelley and spouse hired such a high-profile criminal lawyer.

    when that is understood with certainty, i suspect a lot about this case will settle down.

    as a hypothesis:

    kelley and hubby have large real-estate related financial problems – extremely large.

    anybody know why?

    if you are a couple running a business (or political) con, a spouse doing good works in the community can
    provide good cover.

    i have no idea if this is the case with this couple, or if it is the more readily assumed “spying”.

    one other point i am curious about is that it seems kelley’s husband has not, at least publically, seemed especially upset about her closeness to male power. one wonders if they are not working as a team to some end, possibly involving american business or political illegality such as real-estate, with centcomm** involvement as the suspicion-deflecting cover.

    **previously i misidentified centcomm as southern command, which i believe is in panama, not tampa .

  67. prostratedragon says:

    A nap-born observation about Kelley or anyone else in this thing who might turn out to be intel: we don’t know what her cover is, or how it’s supposed to work.

    Also, probably OT but who knows, it’s not leaving my shoebox until I know what it goes to:


    Operation Elveden: senior Met officer DCI April Casburn charged: Officer working in specialist operations allegedly contacted News of the World and offered to provide information
    (Oct 1);

    Operation Elveden: DCI April Casburn pleads not guilty (Nov. 2)

  68. mcville says:

    @joanneleon:
    I think the Kelley’s financed a piece of commercial real estate on which they defaulted. In that case, they may have been able to walk away from the mortgage. But there are also outstanding cases of unpaid credit card debt. Very hard to walk away from that. That would also tend to indicate that spending habits were out of control.

    There are also questions about the way funds were spent in a defunct non profit that they established.

  69. joanneleon says:

    @x174: I often thought about and talked about the people who pass laws that allow the increased surveillance, or do the oversight, etc., thinking, don’t they realize that all of their stuff is getting hoovered up too? Hubris, I guess. I wonder if some of the folks who write the software stick little exceptions in there for their own phone numbers and IP addresses ;)

  70. Citizen92 says:

    One more data point

    – Jill Kelley is the honorary consul general for South Korea (apparently recently appointed)

    This is looking like a Salahi set-up. Kelly threatened to expose the Petraeus-Broadwell affair, possibly intending blackmail. Broadwell moved to defend. It got out of hand.

    Money troubles, questionable charity, buying access. The Kellys sound quite like the Salahis.

  71. mcville says:

    @emptywheel:

    It isn’t one or two cases against the Kelley’s. They have lawsuits filed against them for various kinds on non-payment going all the way back to when they lived in Pennsylvania. This is generally not a good sign…

  72. joanneleon says:

    One thing that surprises me a lot is that the subject of war with Iran hardly ever comes up in this whole conversation. The arming of Syrian rebels and the overthrow of their government doesn’t come up that much either.

    It was just a couple of months ago that there was a big pushback from the admin and Gen. Dempsey and some really intense back and forth, appearances on Sunday news shows, etc. And there was so much talk about windows of opportunity, attacks before or after elections, etc.

    An Israeli attack on Iran would delay but probably not stop its nuclear programme, the most senior US military officer has claimed. General Martin Dempsey reinforced Washington’s opposition to unilateral Israel military action as he made clear that US military chiefs were equally wary of getting ensnared in Syria.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/30/israeli-attack-iran-not-stop-nuclear?newsfeed=true

    Plus, that big kill list article by Scott Shane and all the leaks around that time, resulting in the White House announcing not only one but two leak investigations. What goes into a leak investigation, I wonder. Do they subpoena all the communications of particular suspects? Does the FBI get involved or does DoJ keep it all within their own teams?

    The CIA has not filed a “crime report” with the Justice Department over reports about Obama’s drone policy and a U.S. “kill list” of targeted militants, an action which often would trigger an official leak investigation, two sources familiar with the matter said. They requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

    By contrast, the CIA did file a “crime report” following publication by the Associated Press last month of a report disclosing the foiling of a plot by Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack an airliner using a newly designed underwear bomb, sources said.

    Officials said the second leak investigation involves a series of revelations in a book and article by a New York Times journalist about the alleged role of U.S. agencies in cyber-warfare activities against Iran. These include the creation and deployment of a virus known as Stuxnet which attacked Iranian uranium enrichment equipment.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/14/us-usa-security-leaks-idUSBRE85D1PI20120614

  73. joanneleon says:

    @klynn: From Marcy’s post on Abbe Lowell:

    Now, I presume Lowell is not relying on his argument that leaking has become a central tool of government to win this motion (indeed, I highly doubt this motion will succeed in any case). Rather, he seems to be setting up the same thing he set up with the AIPAC case: a reason to subpoena high ranking members of the Administration trying to prosecute a leak to demonstrate that his client was being prosecuted for actions that are elsewhere condoned.

    So, just to take my previous comment a step further, tying the two White House leak investigations to this post about Lowell’s defense tactics in the past. Suppose this is about those leak investigations. At the time, there was confusion about what exactly the WH was going to investigate when they first announced it. A lot of people thought they’d be investigating information disclosed about the secret drone program too. But it was later reported that no, those leaks were not going to be investigated, but the Stuxnet leaks and the underwear bomber unauthorized disclosures were being investigated. I remember thinking that was kind of odd, at the time.

    So if you know that you’ve got the drone program leaks which you tried to use to your political advantage but you want to do something about the other two leaks that you were not happy about, and you know that Lowell successfully got his clients off by exploiting these kinds of inconsistencies, what would you do when you figured out who was doing the leaking? Would you take it to court knowing that the Lowell defense might work again, especially given the recent and memorable case of the drone program leaks? Or would you find some other creative way to take care of the leakers? And then make it very juicy catnip, throw in some diversions, and point out all the ties to Republicans who happen to be especially vindictive right about now…

    This is all speculation. I don’t know shit.

  74. Citizen92 says:

    @ew

    May be going out on a limb here, but Abbe Lowell has been described as a “family friend” to the Kelleys. Whose family is friends with him? I don’t buy it. Not Ms. Kelley, anyway.

    I also have yet to see Counselor Lowell’s press release that he is representing Ms. Kelley. Methinks she is freeriding on his name.

  75. orionatl says:

    @CTuttle:

    clinton has been a superb secretary of state.

    she is appreciated by her troops.

    she has made women’s issues central to her work.

    she is a team member, not a shill.

    a self-aware person like yourself no doubt understands thst shills show up everywhere these days,

    but not as our current secretary of state.

  76. ryan says:

    @joanneleon:
    > What goes into a leak investigation, I wonder. Do they subpoena all the communications of particular suspects? Does the FBI get involved or does DoJ keep it all within their own teams?

    Good questions.

  77. joanneleon says:

    @ryan: Yeah, I wonder. Except subpoenas are so yesterday. I’m sure there are plenty of shortcuts, especially in matters so sensitive.

  78. CTuttle says:

    @orionatl: Orion, I really don’t care how much she’s ‘admired by her troops’ or even how much of a ‘team player’ she is, she is still responsible for pushing the fallacious R2P for ‘regime change’ in Libya, Syria, and Iran…! Where’s the same outrage and demands for regime change in Bahrain, UAE, House of Saud, etc…? Hmmm…?

  79. bigchin says:

    @orionatl: Why would women want anything to do with being used by the odious Hillary in her beligerant and deadly pax americana act. She tried to do the same with Gats after DODT went down, suggesting how “enlightened” is the American warchine.

    Someone who is “team member” of this wretched Administration is automatically a shill… and being “appreciated” by “her troops” assumes that “her troops” are worthy of any consideration whatsoever. I am not one who “esteems” our warriors. They are there because they want to be and their war crimes redound to all who pick up a gun, or man a drone, in the ridiculous “war-on-terror” which you, apparently ascribe to without an ounce of skepticism.

  80. orionATL says:

    @CTuttle:

    i note you skipped any reference to the women’s issues i mentioned clinton having prominently worked on for the entirety of her tenure.

    any particular reason for this omission ??

  81. Lefty665 says:

    @Citizen92:
    “I also have yet to see Counselor Lowell’s press release that he is representing Ms. Kelley. Methinks she is freeriding on his name.”

    Either that or he may be doing it pro boner.

  82. orionatl says:

    @Lefty665:

    ah, lefty,

    here you are again making your usual inane remarks using your usual limited vocabulary and stereotypical thinking.

    i thought you’d learned a lesson, but i was wrong;

    meatheads like you don’t ever learn?

    i’d guess bmaz whistled you up and let you off your chain?

    in any event, here is what i said in entirety, would you like to comment articulately on any
    part of it?

    “…clinton has been a superb secretary of state.

    she is appreciated by her troops.

    she has made women’s issues central to her work.

    she is a team member, not a shill.

    a self-aware person like yourself no doubt understands thst shills show up everywhere these days,

    but not as our current secretary of state.”

  83. orionatl says:

    @bigchin:

    bigchin –

    it is possible to criticize this administration precisely, articulately, and, when necessary, harshly.

    i’ve done that for four years.

    i just don’t have any appreciation or tolerance for no-thinking-loud-mouth-boilerplate-opposition-rhetoric.

    think for yourself and articulate your opposition on matters you really care about. THAT will be intetesting to read.

  84. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @mcville: Property in Florida has been an avenue for money laundering. If it is commercial property, that’s certainly a possibility. Not saying that’s what happened, jus’ saying it’s possible. Look at all the South and Central American drug money laundered through Florida. The potential for using property as a tax dodge, and also to launder money, exists.

    I also think your hunch about PRIVATE equity merits further rumination. Particularly when you figure that many ‘international’ banks specialize in money laundering, and given the billions that got siphoned out of Iraq, that may not be what this is about. But it’s worth further attention.

    At one point, the Iraqi Oil Ministry was attacked (it turns out, almost certainly by Iranians posing as Iraqi’s, who had very good inside info). They somehow co-opted the telecomm reporting system, took the British guards and IT specialist hostage; they killed the guards, and the IT guy eventually made it home to Britain a year or more later. I don’t recall the details and have trouble calling up the old reports in the Guardian. But the synopsis was that the economic data from the Oil Ministry had probably been co-opted by Iran. Or some group affiliated with Iran.

    Grayson Wolfe as a brother-in-law.
    Abbe Lowell as a family friend.
    And if I read one of the comments on this thread correctly, was Lowell the AIPAC attorney?! (You gotta be kidding me… )

    Quite the social networker, Jill was.

    But today’s news does seem 10x as weird as yesterday’s: why did Clapper recommend/tell Petraeus to resign immediately? Resigning is one thing. Immediately does seem more than odd.

    I’m with [email protected] –with all the billions spent on the NSA, the CIA Director was using a Gmail account?

  85. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @mcville: Property in Florida has been an avenue for money laundering. If it is commercial property, that’s certainly a possibility. Not saying that’s what happened, jus’ saying it’s possible. Look at all the South and Central American drug money laundered through Florida. The potential for using property as a tax dodge, and also to launder money, exists.

    I also think your hunch about PRIVATE equity merits further rumination. Particularly when you figure that many ‘international’ banks specialize in money laundering, and given the billions that got siphoned out of Iraq, that may not be what this is about. But it’s worth further attention.

    At one point, the Iraqi Oil Ministry was attacked (it turns out, almost certainly by Iranians posing as Iraqi’s, who had very good inside info). They somehow co-opted the telecomm reporting system, took the British guards and IT specialist hostage; they killed the guards, and the IT guy eventually made it home to Britain a year or more later. I don’t recall the details and have trouble calling up the old reports in the Guardian. But the synopsis was that the economic data from the Oil Ministry had probably been co-opted by Iran. Or some group affiliated with Iran.

    Grayson Wolfe as a brother-in-law.
    Abbe Lowell as a family friend.
    And if I read one of the comments on this thread correctly, was Lowell the AIPAC attorney?! (You gotta be kidding me… )

    Quite the social networker, Jill was.

    But today’s news does seem 10x as weird as yesterday’s: why did Clapper recommend/tell Petraeus to resign immediately? Resigning is one thing. Immediately does seem more than odd.

    I’m with [email protected] –with all the billions spent on the NSA, the CIA Director was using a Gmail account?

  86. orionatl says:

    @CTuttle:

    you’re a very small-minded guy, c. tuttle;

    that was neither a clever nor an honest reply.

    there is no place in the world where any leader can snap their fingers and change
    millenia of culture.

    clinton is not a magician; she is a very hard working, caring american official working for change.

    that is something i admire greatly, and something your comments cannot take away from her.

  87. Lefty665 says:

    @orionatl: @119. Had a client once who saw little green men coming down out of the sky. He would become very agitated and want to fight them. With meds he found they were his friends.

    he would talk about all the wonderful things they did in a slow monotone sort of all lower case and double

    spaced if you know what i mean

    However, I am pleased to see you are making progress. You have started to punctuate. Perhaps one day you will be ready to tackle upper case.

    I am sure Hillary has done some good things. But tell me again please how wonderful she is. I have a hard time getting much past her voting for the AUMF without reading the intelligence finding. I have a harder time with her being one of the architects of expanded war in Afghanistan. Pray tell, how many divisions does the Secretary of State have? Is it a sufficiency of troops to appreciate her appropriately?

  88. binzinerator says:

    @Frank33: Jesus. That poor little boy.

    And both Allen and Petraeus got involved in going to bat for the woman whom the judge had already criticized for her “misrepresentations about virtually everything”, and who “appears to lack any appreciation or respect for the importance of honesty and integrity in her interactions with her family, employers and others with whom she comes in contact”. My god.

    What is up with that shit? Four star dumbasses, or something else?

    Makes me wonder if Wolfe is really the father of that child.

  89. JThomason says:

    TPM saying WSJ reports Kelley tried to stop the FBI investigation during the Summer. Alas her shirtless knight in shining armour miscalculated his prowess.

  90. P J Evans says:

    Where does Hillary come into this little soap opera? She’s not, AFAICT, involved.

    The one interesting thing I’ve read is that Broadwell was sitting in on classified meetings that were above her level of classification – that might be how she ended up with stuff on her computer she shouldn’t have had.
    Kelley, on the other hand, seems to be a social climber with not many moral and ethical limits.

  91. JThomason says:

    TPM saying WSJ reports Kelley tried to stop the FBI investigation during the Summer. Alas her shirtless knight in shining armour miscalculated his prowess.

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