Love Pentagon II: Electric legal bugaloo

david petraeus jill kelley abc

Poor Jill Kelley. All she wanted was fame and fortune, and all she ended up with was fame and misfortune. But that last part may soon change, if she wins the civil suit she and her husband just filed against the US government for the “willful, malicious, and unlawful violation of [their] constitutional and statutory privacy rights” during what became known as The Love Pentagon (aka, Petraeus-gate).

Per the complaint, filed in the US District Court district for DC on Monday:

Jill Kelley was held out as an object of ridicule, moral opprobrium, scorn, and derision… costing Mrs. Kelley positions of trust, responsibility, and diplomatic status, and costing the Kelleys public respect, lost income, and significant lost financial, business, and investment opportunities. The Defendants unforgivably transformed Mrs. Kelley’s reputation from that of a respected business and community leader and energetic entrepreneur who volunteered to support our troops into a woman of dubious virtue and integrity.

Translation: The Kelleys are accusing the FBI of leaking their names to the press, and now they want to get paid for their pain and suffering.

It’s a long and juicy story, full of more dramatic twists and turns than a Mexican soap opera. What follows is the tl;dr version. (Readers already familiar with the details may want to skip the next three graphs, or just view this flowchart created by Gawker and the more detailed and even snarkier version here.)

It started when Kelley received a series of vaguely threatening anonymous emails of the “get away from my man, you hussy” variety. Instead of ignoring them or blocking the sender, Kelley sicc’d a pal in the FBI on the anonymous emailer. The agent, Frederick Humphries (better known as “Agent Shirtless,” thanks to some semi-clothed photos he had shared with Kelley), dives into the Yahoo account and figures out that it belongs to Paula Broadwell, a national security analyst. He also uncovers email correspondence between Broadwell and then-CIA chief David Petraeus that indicates some high-level cloak-and-dagger hanky panky.

Agent Shirtless passes this information up the chain and waits. When nothing happens, he decides a cover-up is afoot by the Obama administration and leaks the story to Republican Congressman Dave Reichart, who tells top GOP rep Eric Cantor. Cantor goes to the DOJ and says ‘we know who Petraeus was boffing last summer.’ DOJ contacts Petraeus, who like a good solider falls on his sword, resigning his post.

The mainstream media, to whom a juicy political-sex scandal is like a wounded gazelle in front of a pack of hyenas, reacts predictably – diving into the belly of the beast and tearing out every hunk of meat they could sink their teeth into.

Which is how we learned more than most of us care to know about Kelley, her ambitions to become the Kim Kardashian of the Southeast, her extended flirty email string with the top US General in Afghanistan, her appointment as Honorary Consul General for South Korea (!), her troubled twin sister, and assorted other details of what it’s like to climb the social ladder of Tampa Bay one military uniform at a time.

Last January, Kelley and her husband published an opinion piece in the Washington Post declaring that the media reports about them were totally false. Maybe some of them were bogus, but I doubt all of them were. Even so, I’d bet all the money in my checking account that the Kelleys didn’t write a word of that op-ed. It has the aroma of a highly paid PR crisis management team all over it.

Kelley didn’t ask to become the lead story on TMZ. But she did try to use her military and FBI connections to track down her ‘cyberstalker,’ and those actions lead to the take down of some very powerful people.

I’m having a hard time sympathizing with her here. Can you tell?

If the Kelleys are so concerned about the loss of their privacy, why file a splashy suit bringing all of these issues back to the forefront? Jill Kelley was a footnote to history. Now she’s front page news again. I can’t help thinking that was the real plan all along.

The real outrage here is how a lone FBI agent with an agenda could create such havoc without a single crime having been committed. That seems to have gotten lost in the hubbub. Guess it’s just not sexy enough.

Petraeus-Kelley smooch courtesy of ABCnews.

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