A Curious Time in an Ongoing Investigation to Suspend Base Access

For the record, I’m not terribly surprised by the news that Jill Kelley has lost her special “Friends” access to MacDill Air Force base. She has become downright embarrassing to several Generals and the military more generally. So you can’t have her waltzing on and off the base anymore.

A Defense official confirms to ABC News that Kelley participated in a base program known as the “Friends of MacDill” where she was placed on a master list that allowed her to clear security when entering the base.

A person must be nominated to enter the program, and must pass a background check by the wing’s security office. The official did not know who nominated Kelley for the program.

The Defense official said Kelley’s privileges under the program have been taken away “as she is involved in an ongoing investigation.”

But that explanation–an ongoing investigation–is rather curious.

Perhaps DOD is saying that the investigation that started in the last week when DOD got emails between John Allen and Kelley in relation to his confirmation constitute the “ongoing investigation.” That investigation just started, and so she just lost access.

But if Kelley represents a potential security threat–as she might–then somebody had the responsibility to make sure she stopped waltzing on and off the base months ago.

I’m pretty sympathetic with the premise that FBI shouldn’t brief Congress in ongoing panty-sniffing investigations. But either Kelley is a threat, and the threat she represented was identified months ago. Or she’s not a threat, and they’re just suspending her access because she’s an embarrassment.

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.

54 replies
  1. SebastianDangerfield says:

    “[E]ither Kelley is a threat, and the threat she represented was identified months ago. Or she’s not a threat, and they’re just suspending her access because she’s an embarrassment.”

    Ah, Grasshopper, thinking in Western either/or terms is not the way. It can be both: She is a security threat *and* a major embarrassment to the generals she cultivated with her parties and gladhanding and furious e-mailing and whatnot. Indeed, she’s an embarrassment precisely because she’s a security risk and the dumbfuck generals were too tickled by the privilege of eating canapes in her company (and whatnot) to bother to notice the risk — or in the worst case realize that they were handing her sensitive or classified material that she perhaps was trying to peddle as a means of getting out of her family’s multimillion dollar hole. And she’s also an embarrassment for the more pedestrian reason that she’s inadvertently exposed the generals as a bunch of gal-crazy doofuses. It all works!

  2. P J Evans says:

    I wonder if ‘As the Petraeus Turns’ started more investigations, like how she was approved in the first place. And why Allen was spending so much e-mail time with her.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Just emailed Medea Benjaman of Code Pink about whether she and other human rights activist would be putting together a protest against what Israel is doing right now in the Gaza. She and other human rights activist are on their way to the Israeli embassy right now.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Over at Chris Matthews Hardball they have a post up about Jill Kelley trying to claim “diplomatic protection”

  5. eppelheim says:

    @SebastianDangerfield: What klynn said. And the more that comes out about her, the less and less she looks like any kind of spy, and the more and more she looks like exactly the sort of person that a spy (or others with similar agendas) could use: She’s in debt, she has legal problems, she’s married and likes to flirt with other powerful married men, and she just happens to be in day-to-day touch with with admirals and generals. At the very least, a compulsive party-planner like her has to know all about everyone’s comings and goings, when they’re in town and when they’re off here or there (and maybe where they’re off to: sorry, can’t make it, I’m tied up in Cairo on Thursday…). And she’s got all their phone numbers. That part has come out very clearly. The latest Daily Beast article has her calling some admiral on his direct line to chat.

  6. tbob says:

    All you “boys” remember when you used to rub a little mud on your faces, grab a stick and galvanized trash can shield and proceed to “play war”? Well, if so, you might even remember the approximate time when you grew-up and stopped those childish antics. I suspect these guys have never outgrown that phase. Sure, they’re big boys now…and they can hurt you with their new toys, but I can’t help but wonder how many of them sport actual combat-incurred wounds underneath all the ribbons and medals? Do the Generals strutting around these days seem different from those of yore?

    And this question comes from an Army-brat who volunteered for Viet Nam (to get out of Alabama) and played a lot more war in ’67 & ’68…that’s actually what we called it. Got a belly-full of it and strutting officers. You know, kids who never grew up.

  7. JohnT says:

    In other news …

    Google Says Government Surveillance Growing


    Ya mean all the DFH’s were right? Them collecting alllll the emails, and alllll the phone calls, and alllll the electronic info on everyone without cause, warrant, or reasonable suspicion with their current collection system, and soon to be $2 Billion Data Center in Utah is a waste, a fraud, and a farce.

    Oh, where, oh where, is my fainting couch, I’m so shocked


    PS How’s that go? Those who don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. What? Petraeus, and the rest of the Four Stars, or Five Stars (whatever), never heard of the Profumo Affair?

  8. greenbird says:

    curious to lose access to a blog, in process of posting a comment, too.
    today’s press conference: i’m just waking up. literally and figuratively.
    thank you all for being here.

  9. KM says:

    eppelheim @6,

    Hmmm. Wonder how a compulsive party-planner with legal problems, debts, etc. “just happens to be in day-to-day touch with admirals and generals” and to have “all their phone numbers” on their direct lines.

    Mightn’t it be possible to flip the logic around? Maybe she was the kind of person the admirals and generals could use? (And no, not *that* way.)

  10. SpanishInquisition says:

    “I’m pretty sympathetic with the premise that FBI shouldn’t brief Congress in ongoing panty-sniffing investigations.”

    Why should the FBI be doing that in first place? It’s not the Federal Bureau of ‘Human Drama.’ We’ve got all this austerity, yet we’re supposed to pay for titalating fishing expeditions. This is the WH wanting it both ways – if that’s all this was, there was no reason for the FBI to go to Clapper (or even have an investigation to begin with) as the FBI should have just kept this to themselves, but on the other hand, if it isn’t then Congress should have been notified months ago. The WH is trying to turn this into a part human drama/part national security and switch between the two whenever it is convenient.

  11. SpanishInquisition says:

    @KM: I’d be concerned about foreign governments using her giving her access combined with heir financial issues. Unlike Broadwell – who it sounds like has an active high level security clearance – Kelley’s financial position could cause her to lose one if she had one. I’d bet a lot of foreign governments would love to know when loads of high level brass are going to be at unsecure private homes. Just think of how simple it would be to do a decapitation strike by using a small bomb at one of these parties with all these 4 stars there and unprotected – no bunker buster or cloaked aircraft to take out high level US military leadership.

  12. eppelheim says:

    @KM: Maybe the lesson of this whole debacle, following SebastianDangerfield’s thoughtline, is that it’s not that hard to get close to the generals–at least if you’re a certain kind of person of a certain gender, and you throw the right kinds of parties. That’s precisely the scandal, isn’t it? At least it’s the scandal so far. At this stage, it’s almost worse if there *wasn’t* any hankypanky. All these bigwigs panting after the hostess, sending her emails, passing out their phone numbers, doing her all kinds of favors, all for a little attention and maybe a hand here or there under the table. Like a bunch of awkward teenagers.

  13. SpanishInquisition says:

    Here’s something else interesting – it turns out Kelley tried to spike the investigation:
    “Sources close to the FBI inquiry told The Wall Street Journal that Mrs Kelley, a 37-year-old mother of three, tried to withdraw her complaint after growing ‘worried about the personal information being provided to investigators.'”

  14. SpanishInquisition says:

    @bsbafflesbrains: There’s both symbolic as well as pratical reasons to take out military/CIA leadership. You don’t think the assissination of the head of CENTCOM or the CIA would be worth a huge amount of worldwide street cred?

  15. KM says:

    SI @13,

    That’s certainly possible. But I still say it’s very weird that she *has* that extraordinary access in the first place.

    I was wondering whether it might not be possible that we have the logic backward. Maybe she isn’t a potential target for outsiders trying to exploit her access. How would such prominent military and intelligence officials leave themselves so obviously vulnerable? Because they are all besotten by her irresistible charms?

    What if, on the contrary, she has that access because she is the tool of the high-level military or intelligence people themselves, who are (say) using her quite deliberately as some kind of node in a network that serves them as an off-the-grid cut-out or information conduit?

    And yes, I’m aware that this is well-wrapped in tinfoil, and certainly isn’t well-worked out in my head. But it can’t hurt to throw out ideas and let EW and the other heavies pick them apart.

    (As an aside, I really don’t think there is a single foreign government on the planet that harbours the serious desire to do a decapitation strike on high-level US military leadership, opportunity or no.)

  16. KM says:

    eppelheim @15,

    Well, that’s certainly how the scandal has been portrayed, at least by many of the leakers and almost all of the media (though there have been constant counter-sallies hinting that there’s much more to the story, as well). But is it really all so simple? Just two generals/ex-generals who happened to be in lust with two women who happened to be in (hostile?) communication with each other and the two (ex-)generals just happen to get outed at the same time? With all the other bizarre angles, characters, connections and stories that have been leaked or discovered in the past few days?

    Dunno. Maybe it’s just my P4 hate-on making me want this to be something bigger.

  17. Gitcheegumee says:


    Why does this all put me in mind of Dominique Strauss Kahn and the Eyes Wide Shut lifestyle of MOTU “swinger” soirees?

    Les liasons dangereuses,indeed!

  18. ryan says:

    @SebastianDangerfield: There is no evidence Allen was “girl-crazy.” Pretending the Allen-Kelley interaction was anything like the Petraeus-Broadwell relationship is misguided and inaccurate, both underestimating Kelley, who managed to carve a serious role for herself out of almost nothing, and also overestimating her as a femme fatale (I’d describe her as, ahem, “glamorous”; if Allen wanted to risk career and marriage for lust, he’d have found someone else.)

    People are letting snark about the military brass get in the way of understanding what happened. I’d describe Kelley more as a sort of mini-me Madeleine Albright. Ie, Albright really did use hosting a salon about foreign policy to catapult herself into the highest foreign policy spot in the nation. Kelley is no Madeleine Albright, but she seems to have parlayed her role as a social liaison into an opportunity to become a go-between in some real conversations between Petraeus, Allen and some Middle Eastern leaders. If there was nothing but military base gossip and “thanks for hosting such a great party, sweetheart” in the Allen-Kelley emails, he’d be up for nomination by now. The reason it’s taking so long is because someone is trying to make case-by-case determinations about emails he sent her, whether they crossed any lines.

  19. ryan says:

    @KM: Eso, Senor. (Or Senora.)

    She was useful to the generals as an intermediary. Everybody loves her, and she’s plausibly a ditz (though not actually one), so no one ever bothers to watch her comings and goings – you can send a message without anyone ever suspecting you’ve done so. She even had Broadwell fooled. Broadwell, with a woman’s eye for other women, thought she might be a love interest, possibly a seductress and spy, rather than simply a useful woman that the two generals could talk to.

  20. eppelheim says:

    @KM: Anyone using Kelley for information would want to stay out of sight, no? Above all they’d want to keep their association with her under the table (after all, Kelley has been attracting all kinds of attention for years: who knows who else is keeping tabs on her guest lists and listening into her phone conversations and keeping track of her whereabouts?) Hard to imagine they’d be emailing her every few days and attending widely advertised parties at her house–unless they’re as incompetent as she is.

    Maybe shirtless (or not so shirtless, according to more recent leaks) FBI guy is a candidate for your scheme? Maybe that one’s been reported backwards? The FBI has so far had great luck using Kelley to get into (at least) two generals’ email accounts, and we’ve been treated to a whole stream of gleeful leaks hinting about what great reading it’s been…

  21. marksb says:

    @JohnT: Yup. For anyone still in doubt or questioning, about five or so years ago off-the-shelf equipment became capable of Real Time collection and key-word analysis of streaming packet traffic. When that happened, the door was already open by Legal Intercept laws, the Patriot Act meant no warrant was needed, and besides, the NSA says jump, ATT says how high. It was just a matter of building some big-assed server farms to do the collection and analysis.

    And that’s the ballgame. I can be done, no one can challenge it, therefore we can assume that every bit of comms we do–email, phone, text, blogging, web surfing–is intercepted and analyzed. Doesn’t mean it is, but assume it is. Especially around here where we use the hot-list key words in our ongoing commentary.

  22. Gitcheegumee says:


    John, hope you have an accomodating (fainting) couch and some extra smelling salts available..they just might come in handy in the next coupla days if past is prologue, someone(s) may indeed have a case(s) of the “vapors”..I do declare!

    Raw Video: Gen. Petraeus Rushed From Hearing – YouTube

    ► 1:26► 1:26


    Jun 15, 2010 – Uploaded by AssociatedPress
    David Petraeus appeared to become faint during a Senate hearing Tuesday, but revived after a few seconds …

    More videos for petraeus faints at hearing »

    Petraeus becomes ill during hearing on Afghan forces and …
    http://www.washingtonpost.com › Nation

    Jun 16, 2010 – Petraeus video: General faints during hearing. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, fell ill at the witness …

  23. marksb says:

    @KM: It’s not as tin-foil as you suggest. In the last two years we were treated to a massive security breakdown of the military communications system, with (IIRC) no way to fix it without a complete rebuild of the system, client-to-server, including routing and network infrastructure.

    I makes a sort of warped sense if the good generals were using a home-grown social network, probably using commercially available crypto systems, to communicate. Not everything, but a nice social liaison with a brain and a base access could come in handy.

  24. ryan says:

    @KM: That’s not at all wrapped in tinfoil. It’s a description right out of the Washington Post. Kelley may have besotted men prior to the birth of her kids, but in this decade, that’s just not realistic. She’s no Broadwell. Of course it’s about something else. And there’s really nothing necessarily wrong about communicating through an intermediary. Don’t forget, all the Allen-Kelley messages were apparently on his government account. It’s not like he was trying to hide anything. It took someone by surprise, and in context, they have to look into exactly what he’s told her. It may turn out some of it was inappropriate, even illegal. But we’re not looking at a honeytrap. Just a back-channel.

  25. KM says:


    Gracias, señor (supongo).

    Although I’m willing to go places you’re far too rational and level-headed to entertain. So I’ll throw stuff out there. I’m not necessarily denying that any sex was involved, but I wonder if Broadwell didn’t have some connection to — role in — the Kelley ring.

    And I’m also partial to the off-the-grid idea. I mean, really off-grid. As in, perhaps not even the Obama admin is aware of it, or at least aware of how significant it really is. Indeed, what if that’s the whole point?

    One of the things that it strikes me is worth paying more attention to is just how much spinning and counter-spinning is happening in the leaks we’re getting. (And “leaks” might be the wrong word — it seems to suggest that the information getting leaked is (mostly) true). There’s a lot of push and pushback coming from lots of different directions. I think there are perhaps some pretty heavy hitters who are duking it out through the media in order to shape the narrative.

    Like I warned, there’s more tinfoil to my arguments than meets the eye. ;)

  26. marksb says:

    One more bit: If you are military, you have to abide by official communications protocol. To vary from that by using a Google account with crypto (as an example) requires approval and that’s a ball of twine most personnel would not be able to unravel.

    However a general is, by definition, in command. He could set up and use an alt-net without getting his weenie whacked for stepping out of the official network. Or so they thought.

  27. mcville says:

    Kelley may have first acquired base access when General Abizaid was in charge of Centcom. I read somewhere today that as they both shared Lebanese heritage, there was a natural bond between the two.

    Neither Petraeus or Allen appear to be wet behind the ears, so I would assume that for whatever reason they both maintained regular contact with her while deployed in a war zone, it wasn’t entirely of a social nature.

    And Kelley also apparently went out of her way to befriend the the generals’ wives, as is demonstrated by the fact that she was a Christmas dinner guest of the Petraeus family in last year or so. The relationship seems odd, because, at least on the surface, she doesn’t appear to have too much in common with Holly.

  28. Frank33 says:

    It is so curious. Everyday more and more. I love it!

    Sources close to the FBI inquiry told The Wall Street Journal that Mrs Kelley, a 37-year-old mother of three, tried to withdraw her complaint after growing “worried about the personal information being provided to investigators”.

    Was Jill was doing Social Laisons this weekend? Admiral Harward makes it a trifecta, Army, Navy and Marine War Commanders, who love their Jill.

    Party at 1005 Bay Shore!

    As her name was made public on Sunday, Mrs Kelley was entertaining a group including the current deputy commander at US Central Command, Vice Adm Robert Harward, at her Tampa mansion.

    And who could have anticipated, Grayson Wolfe Secret Agent!

    It also emerged in court documents that Mrs Kelley’s brother-in-law was employed as a “consultant” by a private intelligence firm that carries out work for US intelligence agencies such as the CIA.

    Working as an operative for EWA ITT, Grayson Wolfe, who is now estranged from Mrs Kelley’s twin sister Natalie, travelled frequently Pakistan and took his wife to the Middle East in 2008, while Gen Petraeus was leading the war in Iraq.


  29. Frank33 says:

    What the Frack and OMG. I should have painted those bookcase shelves today.

    Agent Shirtless, shot a man outside MacDill Air Force Base. Who has not had to do that?

    In May 2010, after he had moved to the Tampa field office, Mr. Humphries was attacked outside the gate of MacDill Air Force Base by a disturbed knife-wielding man. He fatally shot the man, and the shooting was later ruled to be an appropriate use of force

    Agent Shirtless, Humphries, is a very good friend of the Kelley’s. They have known each other for a long time. Jill is friendly.

    Mr. Berger said that Mr. Humphries and his wife had been “social friends with Ms. Kelley and her husband prior to the day she referred the matter to him.”

    “They always socialized and corresponded,” he said

    The lame stream media has got totally wrong abot the shirtless pictures. They are from years ago, in a larger context. It was social relations, which is the cousin of social laisons. Actually, it was a joke, with Agent Shirtless posing with some sort of “dummies”. Make your own jokes.

    “That picture was sent years before Ms. Kelley contacted him about this, and it was sent as part of a larger context of what I would call social relations in which the families would exchange numerous photos of each other,” Mr. Berger said.

    The photo was sent as a “joke” and was of Mr. Humphries “posing with a couple of dummies.” Mr. Berger said the picture was not sexual in nature.


  30. SebastianDangerfield says:

    @ryan: Fine, “gal-crazy doofuses” might be a bit flip (though I’ve really wanted to use the phrase “gal-crazy doofuses” for a while now). I didn’t mean to suggest that Allen was having relations with Jill, just that her fulsome attention and good-time ways — i.e., lavish parties financed with money that the couple apparently cannot afford — have seemingly bought an extraordinary level of access to some incredibly powerful people at the helm of the country’s most secretive and bloody endeavors, including Allen. I beg to differ as to your suggestion that Jill’s off the track and halfway to the glue factory in terms of her ability to attract men of a certain age, but de gustibus and all that. But this is not a trivial point and one doesn’t need to hypothesize an Allen-Kelley affair to suggest that Kelley makes use of her looks as well as her other charms in these endeavors and that folks like Allen are not impervious to same.

    At any rate, as you and KM (and EW and eppelheim and others) suggest, there are a number of hypotheses about what Kelley’s socializing is all about. As I see things, there’s a range along the lines of the following. Not all of these are mutually exclusive and there’s at least some “evidence” — i.e., snippets from all this crazy shit we’re getting from hosts of unreliable narrators as translated by media dolts — to support each one:

    1. Kelley is a military groupie who really has the hots for powerful men in uniform and is throwing around non-existent money to lure and groom them for her man-harem. And Paula was jealous because this is her patch. [This is really unlikely and is only a slightly overstated version of one of the narratives that some of the media sources have latched on to. Indeed, I think it extra-unlikely for that very reason; someone, methinks, is using the media catnip lure of a “catfight” angle to jet some squid ink into the stream.]

    2. She’s just a social climber, albeit a pretty damn canny one. On this view, Kelley and Sis (and Hubby, but especially the twins) really want to fit in with and be High Society with all the trimmings (consistent with not-nice Lebanese stereotype bruited on another thread). And the way to be Somebody in Tampa is to rub shoulders with The Nice Men at the Local Military Base — who just happen to be in charge of carrying out the country’s entire overt and covert warmaking. It’s Salafi-esque, all about the McMansion on the Bay, rubbing shoulders (or hands under the table) with the mighty, the Merc, the “consul” honorific (calls herself “Ambassador,” sez someone), et nauseating cetera. [I don’t think this is the story, though it’s more plausible than 1. More accurately, to the extent that this narrative has some truth to it, I don’t think it’s anything like the whole story.]

    3. Kelley is a grifter (or part of a grifting family collective) and figures that lucrative (or otherwise beneficial) opportunities can arise from cultivating these Great and Powerful (and Rich) Men. Indeed, Natalie has managed to leverage these social ties to get two blockbuster witnesses for her ugly custody battle. For all that ended up being worth (i.e., fuck-all), that’s a pretty extraordinary thing. Have to say, to all appearances, return on investment has not been so grand. [I think we’re getting warmer with this one, and that this is part of the story or at least part of how it developed.]

    4. Kelley is a tool of the Great Powerful (and Rich) Men who are employing her as some kind of back-channel conduit for “good” (i.e., consistent with stated mission as set by civilian leadership) or for “evil” (e.g., profiteering or treasonous skulduggery in aid of private wars a la Iran-Contra). [I find this one really intriguing but the most unlikely, as she’s just such an unsuitable vessel for either enterprise, hopelessly compromised in various ways that would make it way too risky. Remember your LeCarre: “Why would Karla use an ape like Kirov?” Turns out Karla *was* using Kirov, but only because he was desperate. That last bit makes it unlikely but still conceivable.]

    5. Kelley is a professional agent of a foreign power. [Very, very unlikely. On the con side: she’s hopelessly compromised financially and legally, has no ‘legend’ (i.e., fake bio and job) of the kind a clandestine service for any country other than Dumbshitland would use, does incredibly stupid things like calls up an FBI agent so as to make her e-mail traffic of interest to federal law enforcement, calls cops thinking that her honorary consul title gives her Superpowers, etc. On the pro side: She hired Abbe Lowell.]

    6. Kelley is being used by a spook service not our own. On this view, she’s something like profiles 1-3 or a combination thereof and, as eppelhheim sagely points out, is too compromised to be a pro spook but is certainly the kind of person who could be really useful to a spook service: she has serious social talents and is easily manipulable through sticks (blackmail) and/or carrots (money to throw parties that make her and her clan fell like they’re Somebodies). [This is seeming to me to be a pretty damn intriguing hypothesis, supported by some very circumstantial but nonetheless tantalizing clues. To wit: Abbe Lowell. Paula’s ominous communiques. (Paula –with intel and military background, some serious clearance, and fanatical devotion to The Man Called Petraeus and the military in general — certainly thought Kelley was up to something, and I don’t believe for a minute that that something was “horning in on Paula’s priority as Petraeus’s squeeze.”) Paula’s Dad’s intimations that there’s something else entirely going on. Abbe Lowell. Natalie’s erstwhile neocon hubby. The fact that Allen was involved in war-gaming conflict with Iran and that the Tampa base was the site of a simulation of an Israeli strike on Iran this very year. (And guess who is really interested in what we are thinking about conflict with Iran who is not actually Iran?) Oh, and did I mention Abbe Lowell?]

    There probably are more. Would love to hear what others think of the scenarios or their ratings.

  31. SpanishInquisition says:

    @KM: On one hand I don’t any nations are seriously considering a decapitation strike, but on the other other countries probably didn’t think they could in the first place. Also particularly what’s coming out about Kelley, it seems like it’s providing a bonanza to any foreign or domestic terrorist in the US. It turns out that you’d need to score a major hit to CENTCOM was one nutter with a knife to take out the deputy head of CENTCOM with only having to Google the right address. It’s amazing to me how lackadaisically the Obama administration is treating national security by not even seeing that this is national security – who needs to hijack a plane when all you need to do is go to the right address at the right time to score a jackpot bigger than the 9/11 Pentagon strike.

  32. SpanishInquisition says:

    @SebastianDangerfield: Either #7 or a Corollary to #6: Kelley/Broadwell were being spied on by foreign intelligence agencies without their knowledge. China/Iran/etc could have spied on these communications/docs. Nobody would have been the wiser if for instance the FBI wasn’t the first agency to go investigating Broadwell’s place for classified docs, just it could have been foreign governments doing to covert inspecting. The same goes for the Allen/Kelley communications, which I would think the Chinese would like that info as part of their overall info suck on military-related matters….between Kelley’s email chattiness and Broadwell’s docs, a foreign government could have obtained a load of intel dirt cheap.

  33. marksb says:

    @SebastianDangerfield: First inclination is to go Chinese menu and order one from column A, one from column B….

    But option #6 is verrry interesting. Huh. That makes as much sense as anything else. I must say I was wedded to the back-channel alt-net theory, but that was probably the geek in me speaking. Really you are right, why would one go with the social climber as the network hub, plus her cluelessness is evident and not in keeping with being key to this net. Although, with the general cluelessness these generals have been demonstrating, perhaps there’s still something there.

  34. marksb says:

    BTW, a number of years ago I was suddenly called into an all-day meeting in DC, which for me means a redeye flight. I was representing the contractor that provided the network gateway to the defense data network, but I had no idea what the heck this meeting was about.
    ring ring.
    “The admin has your ticket. Be in DC at 9am.”
    So I’m at this long table full of high command and their flunkies, some in uniform, others in a suit with no name tags and no names for that matter. I mean really–we went around and some guys just nodded, some used first names with no attached agency.
    As the meeting progresses I ‘get’ that it’s about the fact that nobody can communicate with each other and I’m one of the players to tell them how to figure this out…and now, please.
    But what was more interesting was that there were three flag officers attending, each with a jr officer sitting next to them, guys with engineering degrees who would lean over and whisper what the flag guy was to say or do. The sr officers didn’t have any clue whatsoever.
    That’s when I figured out that the engineers run the military. (Remember, I left active duty in ’74, when Tech was not quite the backbone of the services.)

    Only now that I’m watching this current sitcom, I’m thinking that these sr officers are cocky enough to think they actually know what they are doing, Tech wise (which directly means security), when it turns out they are completely lost in the weeds.

    And for security, nothing is worse than the exec who goes around the technology and security policies and procedures because he knows better.
    (Thanks for listening to yet another old sea story.)

  35. P J Evans says:

    I can see that. The older guys grew up with phones (and cables and possibly telegrams); e-mail and other computer stuff – heck, for all I know, computers themselves – aren’t really on their radar.
    (I’m not saying everyone was like that – my father had a lot of fun with his computer; at 75, he was beta-testing Norton Utilities.)

  36. emptywheel says:

    @SebastianDangerfield: I’m with you on 6 being quite likely.

    Another alternative is she’s a CI of our own. Domestic spying and whatnot. Though why we’d recruit an Arab to domestic spy among Anglo generals, I don’t know.

  37. Phil Perspective says:

    A person must be nominated to enter the program, and must pass a background check by the wing’s security office. The official did not know who nominated Kelley for the program.

    This is complete bullshit. They damn well know who did. They don’t want to say because it’s too damn embarrassing. They keep detailed records of this stuff, especially post 9/11.

  38. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @SebastianDangerfield: #6.

    Abbe Lowell, the atty who got leak charges dismissed against two AIPAC employees, is now ‘Jill’ Khawam Kelley’s (expen$ive) attorney. As EW has pointed out, Lowell has claimed in court that leaking **is** post-modern governance.

    Does Lowell know Kelley through her ex-brother-in-law Grayson Wolfe, a
    private equity partner, who served with the Iraq Provisioal Authority and seems to be linked to the neocons?
    (Grayson Wolfe seems to be a lode worth mining.)
    And the PR person who managed Lewinsky’s 15 minutes of ‘fame’ is also on Jill Khawam Kelley’s payroll.
    Which seems particularly curious, as she is said to owe a great deal of money…. so who is paying her legal bills?

    Assuming Gen Allen was using his US gov’t email account, his activity seems pretty pedestrian. But Justin Raimando thinks the neocons might want to see him demoted, which still fits with Theory #6.

    Theory #6 doesn’t mention much about Cantor.
    It’s bizarre that Cantor didn’t raise more of a fuss around Hallowe’en, **unless** (like Rove, Limbaugh, and the rest of the GOP-bubble), he thought Romney was going to win. If that were the case, Cantor might have assumed that keeping mum till after the election would have given him even more clout over national security personnel decisions and/or policy in a Romney administration, since he could apparently deliver Petraeus’s ass on a platter. (The irony!!!)

    FWIW, why is Israel bombing Gaza *now*?!
    How much is distraction, and how much an attempt to muddy other waters?
    Hmmmmm: Now the US CIA is distracted, while the US military command is having kerfuffles. And suddenly, Gaza is bombed. Seems more than passing strange.

    At Col Lang’s, a commenter named ‘Harper’ has some interesting observations at the bottom of the thread, after 8:40 pm.

    Sex and ‘affairs of the heart’ appear to be the least significant parts of this story. (And actually don’t appear relevant to the Allen thread of it.)

    I’m skeptical the truth will ever spill out, but even in my local Starbuck’s this morning, the ongoing weirdness was quite the topic of conversation and produced a number of quizzical brows. People who don’t even know each other’s names were murmuring, ‘well what do you make of it…?’

    *Akkadian Venture Partners seems a name likely to invoke the greatness of southern Mesopotamia about 4,000 years ago. The name seems Iraq-specific. In other words, “moneyFromIraq Venture Partners.” The mind reels at the potential for rivers of money flowing to illicit accounts in strange places via this entity.

  39. TheraP says:


    Yes, someone else from the past. Been following along here.

    Your comment now gives me a way to contribute. A few years back… 5 years back, I had an interesting conversation with a college friend. Someone with a very high clearance in DC (she didn’t divulge anything classified, I’m sure). She was reporting on some research in relation to a problem: The inability of govt spy agencies to share info. (I’m a psychologist. She has a research Ph.D. in a field I won’t specify – but her govt work did put her in close contact for many years with one branch of the military.)

    She told me that after 9/11 and the fact that had certain info been shared (for example, the presence of certain individuals doing pilot training – alongside the warning of planes being flown into buildings), a tragedy could perhaps have been prevented.

    So plans were put into place to ensure that the spy agencies would share info.

    But it turned out that spooks just could not do that. Indeed, when computer “gaming” was done as an “experiment” and the sharing of info was the only way to win the game… spooks were unable to “share” it! Even in a gaming situation!

    Now, whether or not this has ANY connection with “back channels” being posited here, and the cluelessness of even the big brass, I have no idea. But I offer it as a (possible) interesting puzzle piece.

    I’ve also been pondering certain questions:

    (1) Does the fact that the GOP convention had long been planned for Tampa play into this in any way?

    (2) Is there any connection between all these events and the distracted Obama who showed up (or didn’t) for the first debate on Oct 3? (Might he have needed to be briefed on a brewing spider web of intrigue currently emerging?)

    (3) Oct 23. That was the wedding of Petraeus’ daughter. Maybe it was important to keep a lid on certain investigations in order not to tip off some of the players who were slated to attend the event. In particular, the mother of the bride, who (it seems to me) would have had a hard time feigning joy at a wedding when her own marriage was being eating away by moths – had she known it.

    Hopefully, at the very least EW will happen upon this info and put into her brilliant brain or her timeline.

    Cheers to all! Now back to lurking…

  40. TheraP says:


    Ooops! Number (3) above. Should have been Oct. 13. (The earlier date may actually strengthen the case for keeping a lid on things. As I think it predates Broadwell’s questioning, not just the general’s.)

  41. klynn says:


    TheraP! Hello!

    Great question on GOP Convention. Lots of GOP FL connections going on in this story. To think further, lots of GOP millionaire fundraisers were held in FL too. Such as the famous videoed one with the “Jimmy Carter event” suggestion that would be worth taking advantage of. (Marc Leder’s house, May 17, Boca Raton.)

    And here we are talking about two women around an event that was to be the “October Surprise” or as the GOP named it, the “Jimmy Carter Strategy.”


  42. JohnT says:


    She told me that after 9/11 and the fact that had certain info been shared (for example, the presence of certain individuals doing pilot training – alongside the warning of planes being flown into buildings), a tragedy could perhaps have been prevented.

    Do you mean Atta being trained at the international officer training school at Maxwell AFB? Or that three of the pilots were trained at the Pensacola Naval Air Station?

  43. TheraP says:


    My friend was not involved in the research nor in the decision to have the spy agencies “under one roof”. I think that recommendation came out of the joint investigation after 9/11. And then, as I recall, there was an effort to put that recommendation into practice.

    As to the particulars, I guess you’d have to go back to the report the 9/11 commission produced.

    Your question is a good one, but I didn’t ask my friend as I just made my own assumptions about why they should cooperate and also why they didn’t/don’t. At the time I was reading Bacevich’s book “The New American Militarism” – and our conversation got started over that (she having more of an insider’s perspective and me being more skeptical about ALL of it – I mean militarism in general).

    I offered my info simply as an interesting side note, which is also a cautionary tale. In case it has anything at all to do with the current strange doings, which most of us assume are “more than meets the eye”.

    To me the more interesting thing is the inability to cooperate for a NON “zero sum” outcome versus the non-cooperation which made it into a zero sum game or whatever happened: The game outcome. But also the similar real-world effects we see all around us in so many areas of society. How some choose to negate a cooperative egalitarian outcome… even when it’s possible to have that. I think that’s behind the current divisiveness in our society at large, those with privilege (be it info or whatever) who simply won’t share.

    Wish I could be of more help to you! I’ve looked at your blog. I think we’re pretty much on a similar wave length. I noticed the piece on prison reform and “isolation (which to me is a form of torture – I was glad to see the Norwegians view it that way). Prison reform is a MUST!

    I often despair about this nation…

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