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Petraeus shocked to hear of mistress emails, associates say

  • This July 13, 2011, photo made available on the International Security Assistance Force's Flickr website shows the former Commander of International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Gen. Davis Petraeus, left, shaking hands with Paula Broadwell, co-author of "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus." (AP Photo/ISAF)

TAMPA, Fla. — CIA Director David Petraeus was shocked to learn his mistress was suspected of sending threatening emails warning another woman to stay away from him, former staff members and friends told The Associated Press Monday.

Petraeus told these associates his relationship with the second woman, Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, was platonic, though his biographer-turned-lover Paula Broadwell apparently saw her as a romantic rival. Retired Gen. Petraeus also denied to these associates that he had given Broadwell any of the sensitive military information alleged to have been found on her computer, saying anything she had must have been provided by other commanders during reporting trips to Afghanistan.

The associates spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the matters, which could be part of an FBI investigation.

Petraeus, who led U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned Friday, acknowledging his extramarital affair with Broadwell and expressing deep regret.

New details of the investigation that brought an end to his storied career emerged as President Barack Obama hunted for a new CIA director and members of Congress questioned why the months-long probe was kept quiet for so long.

Kelley, the Tampa woman, began receiving harassing emails in May, according to two federal law enforcement officials. They, too, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The emails led Kelley to report the matter, eventually triggering the investigation that led Petraeus to resign as head of the intelligence agency.

FBI agents traced the alleged cyber harassment to Broadwell, the officials said, and discovered she was exchanging intimate messages with a private gmail account. Further investigation revealed the account belonged to Petraeus under an alias.

Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teen-agers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said.

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