Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite who supposedly started the strange chain of events that ended the career of General David Petraeus, is finally talking. Howard Kurtz interviewed Jill Kelley for The Daily Beast, the online arm of Newsweek, on Jan. 22, 2013. Talking to CNN, Kurtz categorized the interview as very emotional.
Kurtz says, “It was a very emotional interview, Soledad as you might imagine, as Jill Kelley talked about the nightmare that her life has become. And how everything changed for her when she started receiving those anonymous emails that we now know were from Paula Broadwell. She used words… like blackmail and extortion. She said she was terrified.
There were several statements that she made in the interview that seemed to refute news stories written during the Petraeus scandal about her emails to General Allen, the topless photos sent to her by the FBI agent, her finances and debt, and her relationship to Petraeus mistress, Paula Broadwell. Some of the issues may be a matter of degrees: how many emails or how much debt, but the Paula Broadwell relationship is the most puzzling disclosure in the Daily Beast article. Jill Kelley says that she never met Paula Broadwell!
“I never met Paula in my life,” Kelley says. At the time, Kelley says, she didn’t even know Broadwell had just published a glowing biography of Petraeus.
Contradicting virtually every published account of the saga, Kelley indicates that the anonymous emails did not warn her to stay away from Petraeus, as is commonly assumed. And yet the press depicted the two of them as “romantic rivals. Think how bizarre that is,” Kelley says.
The Daily Beast interview categorizes the emails as very threatening and frightening; she wasn't sure if it was a man or a woman, she said. Initially, she was depicted as contacting the FBI in a petty, spiteful kind of way, but she paints a different picture in this interview. She said she was terrified.
The press swarming her life seemed to equally terrify and anger her. She tells of her daughter's birthday party being invaded by press people when the story was breaking.
Another interesting point in the interview, Jill Kelley seems to credit herself for Paula Broadwell's vindication of cyberstalking charges. You can read about Broadwell’s evasion of prosecution here. She did not press charges to avoid putting family and friends through more of the invasion of privacy that she so despised. The Daily Beast explains:
Federal prosecutors declined last month to file charges against Broadwell over the emails. What has not been reported is that the case was closed after Kelley was asked whether she wanted to press charges and declined. The final decision is always up to prosecutors, but Kelley would have been the chief witness.
Finally, it is an interesting side note to see that Dee Dee Myers, former press secretary to President Clinton, was Paula Broadwell's public spokesperson.