Internet giant Google published statistics from their latest analysis of requests from governments around the globe this week, and the findings show that it is hardly just the inboxes of the Pentagon’s top-brass that are being put under the microscope. Details pertaining to nearly 8,000 Google and Gmail accounts have been ordered by Uncle Sam during just the first six months of the year, and figures from the periods before suggest that things aren’t about to get any better for those wishing to protect their privacy.
“This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise,” Google acknowledges in a blog post published Tuesday, November 13.
From January through June, the US government filed more than 16,000 requests for user data from Google on as many as 7,969 individual accounts, the report shows.
The Silicon Valley company notes that “The number of requests we receive for user account information as part of criminal investigations has increased year after year,” but says that it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the government that’s ramping up the acceleration into a full-blown surveillance state. According to Google’s take, “The increase isn’t surprising, since each year we offer more products and services, and we have a larger number of users.”
For all of those requests in the US, Google says they complied with the government’s demands 90 percent of the time; but while it seems like a high number, that figure actually constitutes the smallest success rate the feds have had since Google began tracking these numbers in 2010. In a separate report published earlier this year by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the San Francisco-based advocacy group awarded Google high praise for doing more than other industry titans in terms of letting feds force them into handing over information without good reason, citing specifically their efforts — albeit unsuccessfully — in handing over user info to the Justice Department during the start of its ongoing investigation into WikiLeaks.
Of the 20,938 user data request sent from governments around the globe, the United States came in first with the number of demands at 7,969, with India at a distant second with 2,319 requests. The US government’s success rate in terms of getting that information trumps most every other country, however, with full or partial compliance on the part of Google rarely exceeding 70 percent.
Elsewhere in the report, Google says it’s more than just surveillance of individual users that is on the rise. The US has also been adamant with censoring the Web, writing Google five times between January and June to take down YouTube videos critical of government, law enforcement or public officials. In regards to the five pleas to delete seven offending videos, Google says, “We did not remove content in response to these requests.”
The company was more willing to side with authorities in other cases, though, admitting to taking down 1,664 posts from a Google Groups community after a court order asked for the removal of 1,754 on the basis of “a case of continuous defamation against a man and his family.” Google also followed through with around one-third of the requests to remove search results that linked to websites that allegedly defamed organizations and individuals (223 of the 641 pleas) and say “the number of content removal requests we received increased by 46% compared to the previous reporting period.”
According to the report, Google only received one request from the US government to remove a video from YouTube on the grounds of ensuring “national security” but does not disclose the results of that plea. No further information is available in the report as to what the government demanded removed, but in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi originally blamed by many on an anti-Islamic video clip linked to a California man, Google rejected demands from the US to delete the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ from YouTube.
That isn’t to say that Washington is responsible for the bulk of the demands that end up on the desks of Google’s administrators. The report notes Google has received requests to remove search results that link to sites that host alleged copyright-infringing content more than 8 million times in just the last month, with more than 32,000 websites being singled out by the materials’ respective owners. Taking into account the last year and a half, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) — the largest trade-group representing the US music industry — asked Google to stop linking to roughly 4.5 million URLs that they say hosted illegal content.
Last month, the Supreme Court heard arguments to decide whether or not a case can go forth that will challenge the FISA Amendment Act of 2008, an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that allows the government to eavesdrop on emails sent as long as one of the persons involved is suspected of being out of the country. When asked earlier in the year to give an estimate of how many Americans have their electronic communications wiretapped by the National Security Administration, the inspector general of the NSA declined to issue a response, even to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
According to statements made by NSA whistleblower Bill Binney at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) conference in New York this year, the US government is “pulling together all the data about virtually every US citizen in the country and assembling that information, building communities that you have relationships with, and knowledge about you; what your activities are; what you're doing."
US President Barack Obama has backed a senior general, despite reports that he exchanged "flirtatious" emails with Florida socialite Jill Kelley.
Spokesman Jay Carney said Mr Obama had "faith" in Gen John Allen, chosen to be the next Nato commander in Europe.
Harassment allegations by Mrs Kelley helped unmask an affair between CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell.
Gen Petraeus resigned on Friday. Gen Allen says he has done nothing wrong.
"I can tell you that the president thinks very highly of Gen Allen and his service to his country, as well as the job he has done in Afghanistan," spokesman Jay Carney said, in the first White House reaction since Gen Petraeus quit.
He has great confidence in the acting CIA director, the secretary of defence and the defence department to carry out the missions he has asked of them”
He added that President Barack Obama was "very happy" with Gen Allen's service and record.
Mr Carney also asked reporters "not to extrapolate too broadly" about whether the cases involving Gen Petraeus and Gen Allen suggested a wider cultural problem within the US military.
"He has great confidence in the acting CIA director, the secretary of defence and the defence department to carry out the missions he has asked of them," Mr Carney added.
Nomination on holdThe Pentagon says 20-30,000 pages of Gen Allen's documents are being examined, with officials saying they contain "potentially inappropriate" emails between the general and Mrs Kelley over the past two years.
An anonymous senior US official who has read the emails told the Associated Press that the exchanges were relatively innocuous, even though they might be construed as unprofessional and flirty.
The official said the emails included pet names such as "sweetheart" and "dear", but did not suggest an affair or the exchange of classified information.
Gen Allen, 58, took over command of coalition forces in Afghanistan after David Petraeus moved to the CIA in 2011.
Currently commanding 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan, Gen Allen was due to face a confirmation hearing in the US Senate on Thursday for his new role as supreme commander of Nato forces in Europe.
That hearing has now been suspended at the request of Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.
Michael Hastings, the journalist behind the Rolling Stone article which resulted in McChrystal’s ouster, recently wrote for Buzzfeed that spin was crucial to the Iraqi surge: “he [Petraeus] pulled off what is perhaps the most impressive con job in recent American history. He convinced the entire Washington establishment that we won the war.”
Hastings characterized the policy as playing both sides in a civil war, a policy which resulted in the death of 800 American soldiers and exponentially more Iraqis.
The sectarian fault lines resulting from this policy have left Iraq a powder keg waiting to go off. But it doesn’t matter as far as the target audience is concerned.
Quoting Petraeus’ 1987 Princeton dissertation, Hastings summed up the general’s professional philosophy:
"What policymakers believe to have taken place in any particular case is what matters — more than what actually occurred."In that light, the fall of Petraeus coincides with the one tragedy he managed where the perception and what actually occurred intersected: Benghazi.
During the Vice Presidential Debate in October, Joe Biden was accused of throwing the CIA under the bus by insinuating the agency had provided faulty intelligence regarding the 9/11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi which resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three members of his diplomatic mission.
The defrocking of Petraeus came one step closer on November 1, when it was revealed that Hillary Clinton called Petraeus the night of the attack asking for help that never came. While the “State Department believed it had a formal agreement with the CIA to provide backup security,""the CIA didn't have the same understanding about its security responsibilities," the Wall Street Journal reported.
The writing was on the wall. Petraeus was set to testify in closed-door sessions before the intelligence committees of the Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday, and with the White House’s less than glowing review of his performance, he would have had a venue to vindicate himself.
That “one of the greatest generals in a generation” resigned five days before speaking out has only spurred speculation that he is a patsy for a White House cover-up. His resignation coincidentally came a mere three days after Obama was re-elected, raising speculation regarding the timing of the general’s less than fortunate affair.
And misery loves company, as the current head of ISAF forces in Afghanistan might soon learn.
The nomination of US General John Allen as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe was suspended over the probe into CIA Director David Petraeus. Allen was accused of exchanging “inappropriate” emails with a woman linked to Petraeus, though defense officials say the investigation will exonerate him.
There is no definite answer as to why Petraeus was exposed when he was, or who might go down with him. It might have simply been bad timing. Maybe Petraeus would have taken the hit for Benghazi and stayed on like a good soldier. Whatever the case, a few questions must be asked:
- How long did the White House know about the affair?
- Did the Obama Administration ask the FBI to suppress information regarding the case until after Election Day and if so, why?
Live by the media, die by the media
The final cost of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan (and by extension Pakistan) could run as high as $4.4 trillion when it is all said and done. There have been over 3000 coalition deaths in Afghanistan and 4,486 US troop deaths in Iraq. Civilian casualties run into the six digits. But affairs, off-color comments in Music magazines and being more interested in the war one is prosecuting than “fawning” over visiting lawmakers and the Washington elite are the sins that end military careers.
The White House said Tuesday that it was "up to Congress" whether to call former CIA Director David Petraeus to testify about the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya.
"Congress [makes] decisions about who is called to testify," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.
The Intelligence Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives had been set to hear from Petraeus about the attack on the American compound in separate closed-door hearings on Thursday. But aides to both panels indicated that the retired Army general would be replaced by Mike Morrell, the acting CIA director.
"The president is confident that Acting Director Morrell is fully informed and capable of representing the CIA in a hearing about the incidents in Benghazi," Carney said.Still, key senators have made it clear that Petraeus, whose shocking resignation came after the public disclosure of an extramarital affair, will ultimately need to be heard. The attack claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, told MSNBC on Monday that her panel "should go ahead with Mike Morell and the way it is now set up."
"But I also think that the community should know that this is not sufficient," she continued. "And I have no doubt now that we will need to talk with David Petraeus. And we will likely do that in closed session, but it will be done one way or the other." Feinstein also said the Senate would fight, if necessary, to obtain a report from a Petraeus trip to Libya in late October.
"We have asked to see the trip report. One person tells me he has read it, and then we tried to get it and they tell me it hasn't been done. That's unacceptable," she said. "We are entitled to this trip report, and if we have to go to the floor of the Senate on a subpoena, we will do just that."
It’s hard to stay focused on what really matters in the unfolding David Petraeus story, but there’s one issue that every juicy new tidbit only underscores: the way a strange complaint to a lone FBI agent led to an electronic dragnet that toppled the CIA director and may yet bring down the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen.
I’ll admit to rubbernecking at each crazy new detail that emerges – the unnamed FBI agent who trigged the Petraeus probe had earlier sent shirtless photos of himself to Jill Kelley, the woman who asked for his help with anonymous harassing emails? Petraeus and Allen intervened in a child custody case on behalf of Kelley’s sister? Kelley, who is of Lebanese Catholic descent, is “a self-appointed go between” with Lebanese and other Mideastern officials? She once cooked alligator on the Food Network?
But the real scandal is the way a complaint about cyber-stalking from a Tampa socialite unleashed the power of the modern surveillance state on Petraeus’ biographer and paramour, Paula Broadwell – and ultimately, ironically or not, on the top spook himself.
Defenders of the surveillance state may point to national security questions about whether Petraeus was a victim of some kind of cyber-attack as a justification for the intrusion into Broadwell’s privacy, and then Petraeus’, and then the complaining Jill Kelley herself, and then Gen. John Allen. And who knows, by the end, maybe they’ll get to the bottom of something that might arguably raise national security concerns. (Marcy Wheeler raises the possibility that Kelley herself had intelligence ties, which might help explain why the FBI took her cyberstalking complaint seriously.) But none of that seems to have been on the table when the FBI decided to open its investigation of Kelley’s complaint.
The fact that Kelley’s FBI acquaintance eventually went to House Majority Whip Eric Cantor when he felt the FBI wasn’t taking the investigation seriously enough just adds another layer of grime to the story. The New York Times reported that the agent “suspected a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama.” Cantor admits he took the “whistleblower’s” concerns to FBI director Robert Mueller – as though Mueller wouldn’t know of his own agency’s investigation – just 10 days before the Nov. 6 election. While we can’t be sure Cantor’s motives were political – perhaps an embarrassing White House secret could become an October surprise? – we can’t be sure they weren’t.
So far there’s no evidence that politics drove the Petraeus investigation, from either direction, but the fact that politics was involved should remind us how easily the surveillance state can be used to advance political agendas or settle political scores. Just today Google revealed that it has received more than 16,000 U.S. government requests for user data in the first six months of this year alone (it complies with about 90 percent of requests, the report said.)
The F.B.I. investigation that toppled the director of the C.I.A. and now threatens to tarnish the reputation of the top American commander in Afghanistan underscores a danger that government investigators will unavoidably invade the private lives of Americans.
The Petraeus scandal is receiving intense media scrutiny obviously due to its salacious aspects, leaving one, as always, to fantasize about what a stellar press corps we would have if they devoted a tiny fraction of this energy to dissecting non-sex political scandals (this unintentionally amusing New York Times headline from this morning - "Concern Grows Over Top Military Officers' Ethics" - illustrates that point: with all the crimes committed by the US military over the last decade and long before, it's only adultery that causes "concern" over their "ethics"). Nonetheless, several of the emerging revelations are genuinely valuable, particularly those involving the conduct of the FBI and the reach of the US surveillance state.
As is now widely reported, the FBI investigation began when Jill Kelley - a Tampa socialite friendly with Petraeus (and apparently very friendly with Gen. John Allen, the four-star U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan) - received a half-dozen or so anonymous emails that she found vaguely threatening. She then informed a friend of hers who was an FBI agent, and a major FBI investigation was then launched that set out to determine the identity of the anonymous emailer.
That is the first disturbing fact: it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation:
"The emails that Jill Kelley showed an FBI friend near the start of last summer were not jealous lover warnings like 'stay away from my man', a knowledgeable source tells The Daily Beast. . . .That this deeply personal motive was what spawned the FBI investigation is bolstered by the fact that the initial investigating agent "was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors' concerns that he was personally involved in the case" - indeed, "supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter" - and was found to have "allegedly sent shirtless photos" to Kelley, and "is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI".
"'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.
"The source reports that the emails did make one reference to Gen. David Petraeus, but it was oblique and offered no manifest suggestion of a personal relationship or even that he was central to the sender's spite. . . .
"When the FBI friend showed the emails to the cyber squad in the Tampa field office, her fellow agents noted the absence of any overt threats.
"No, 'I'll kill you' or 'I'll burn your house down,'' the source says. 'It doesn't seem really that bad.'
"The squad was not even sure the case was worth pursuing, the source says.
"'What does this mean? There's no threat there. This is against the law?' the agents asked themselves by the source's account.
"At most the messages were harassing. The cyber squad had to consult the statute books in its effort to determine whether there was adequate legal cause to open a case.
"'It was a close call,' the source says.
"What tipped it may have been Kelley's friendship with the agent."
[The New York Times this morning reports that the FBI claims the emails contained references to parts of Petraeus' schedule that were not publicly disclosed, though as Marcy Wheeler documents, the way the investigation proceeded strongly suggests that at least the initial impetus behind it was a desire to settle personal scores.]
What is most striking is how sweeping, probing and invasive the FBI's investigation then became, all without any evidence of any actual crime - or the need for any search warrant:
"Because the sender's account had been registered anonymously, investigators had to use forensic techniques - including a check of what other e-mail accounts had been accessed from the same computer address - to identify who was writing the e-mails.So all based on a handful of rather unremarkable emails sent to a woman fortunate enough to have a friend at the FBI, the FBI traced all of Broadwell's physical locations, learned of all the accounts she uses, ended up reading all of her emails, investigated the identity of her anonymous lover (who turned out to be Petraeus), and then possibly read his emails as well. They dug around in all of this without any evidence of any real crime - at most, they had a case of "cyber-harassment" more benign than what regularly appears in my email inbox and that of countless of other people - and, in large part, without the need for any warrant from a court.
"Eventually they identified Ms. Broadwell as a prime suspect and obtained access to her regular e-mail account. In its in-box, they discovered intimate and sexually explicit e-mails from another account that also was not immediately identifiable. Investigators eventually ascertained that it belonged to Mr. Petraeus and studied the possibility that someone had hacked into Mr. Petraeus's account or was posing as him to send the explicit messages."
But that isn't all the FBI learned. It was revealed this morning that they also discovered "alleged inappropriate communication" to Kelley from Gen. Allen, who is not only the top commander in Afghanistan but was also just nominated by President Obama to be the Commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (a nomination now "on hold"). Here, according to Reuters, is what the snooping FBI agents obtained about that [emphasis added]:
So not only did the FBI - again, all without any real evidence of a crime - trace the locations and identity of Broadwell and Petreaus, and read through Broadwell's emails (and possibly Petraeus'), but they also got their hands on and read through 20,000-30,000 pages of emails between Gen. Allen and Kelley.
"The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications - mostly emails spanning from 2010 to 2012 - between Allen and Jill Kelley . . . .
"Asked whether there was concern about the disclosure of classified information, the official said, on condition of anonymity: 'We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents.'"
Since 2008, the NSA has had the legal power to intercept all phone calls, emails and text messages sent by American citizens without probable cause. However, although long suspected, the agency has never admitted that it is analyzing the content of such messages, conceding only that persons, dates and locations are part of the snooping process. However, in a recent sworn declaration to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Binney, a former NSA employee with the signals intelligence agency within the DoD, divulges that the federal agency, has the capability to do individualized searches, similar to Google, for particular electronic communications in real time through such criteria as target addresses, locations, countries and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. Using as many as twenty data intercept centers throughout the United States which can each store an almost unimaginable quantity of information, Binney notes that, The sheer size of that capacity indicates that the NSA is not filtering personal electronic communications such as email before storage but is, in fact, storing all that they are collecting.
The dramatic downfall of CIA chief David Petraeus has given rise to political intrigue in Washington as a drip-feed of details concerning his clandestine affair mixes with serious questions over the timing of the resignation.
Over the weekend it emerged that his relationship with biographer Paula Broadwell was discovered by FBI agents while they investigated harassing emails she allegedly sent to a second woman, who was named on Sunday by the Associated Press as Jill Kelley, a state department military liaison.
The scandal comes at a particularly sensitive time. Petraeus had been due to give evidence before a Congressional body this coming Thursday concerning the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in which four Americans were killed, including America's ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.
It is now thought that Petraeus will not attend the session, robbing politicians of the opportunity to question an "absolutely necessary witness", according to Peter King, chairman of the House homeland security committee.
White House and intelligence officials have suggested that there is no connection between the timing of Petraeus's resignation and the evidence session on the Benghazi attack.
But in Washington, questions are being asked as to why the FBI appeared to have sat on the information it uncovered regarding the affair before handing it on to other authorities some time later.
Intelligence officials have suggested that Petraeus was first questioned over the nature of his relationship with Broadwell two weeks ago.
But it was only on the night of the presidential election that national intelligence director James Clapper was notified of the affair. It is thought that Clapper then advised the CIA chief to resign.
Even then, it was not until the next day that the White House was informed of the situation. It then took a further day before newly re-elected President Barack Obama was told that his intelligence chief was to tender his resignation.
Meanwhile, the Senate intelligence committee only heard about the matter on Friday, just hours before the CIA director announced he was to step down.
Further confusing the timeline of events were reports on Sunday that leading House Republican Eric Cantor had been informed by an FBI whistleblower of the brewing Petraeus scandal two weeks ago.
If true, it would raise the prospect that the affair was known in Washington circles before Friday's resignation.
House Republican King said on Sunday that the account of who knew what and when "doesn't add up", saying that there were a lot of unanswered questions.
The FBI had an "obligation" to tell the president as soon as they had identified a possible security breach, he told CNN's State of the Union.
Meanwhile, other politicians said that Petraeus may still be compelled to give evidence concerning the 11 September attack in Benghazi.
"We may well ask him," senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News Sunday.
Congress is keen to question the former four-star general over what the CIA knew in advance of the assault, and importantly, what it had told the White House in regards to the nature of the terrorist threat.
In the run-up to last week's election, senior Republicans accused the White House of misleading Americans over claims that it was not made aware of requests to bolster security in advance of the assault.
It is on this point that Petraeus was expected to be questioned at Thursday's Congressional hearing. Following his resignation, it is thought that his former deputy, Michael Morell, will testify before Washington in his place as acting director of the CIA.
Morell is slated to meet with Congressional figures on Wednesday to discuss the Petraeus affair in a bid to curtail lingering suspicions over the timing of the resignation.
The political fallout from Friday's resignation comes amid a personal crisis for a man often referred to as the leading American military mind of his generation.
In the days following his announcement to step down, a steady flow of leaks to the US media have given more detail to the affair that cost Petraeus his job.
The makings of his downfall were in a series of apparently vicious emails sent by his lover – a 40-year-old former army reservist who co-authored All In, a fawning biography of the CIA chief – to Kelley, a state department liaison to the military's Joint Special Operations Command.
It is thought that the threatening nature of the missives led the Florida-based recipient to seek the protection of the FBI.
An investigation of Broadwell's personal email account uncovered letters of an explicit nature between her and Petraeus, who has been married for the past 38 years to his wife Holly.
It was then that agents approached the CIA chief directly. Having eliminated the threat of a security breach, it was decided that no further action would be taken by the FBI.
But the damage to Petraeus's reputation was clear, and having consulted with Clapper, the decision to resign was made.
In a letter to staff explaining his move, the now outgoing CIA boss said: "Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organisation such as ours."
Others close to Petraeus had an even more blunt assessment of the scandal. "He screwed up, he knows he screwed up," said Steve Boylan, a retired army officer and Petraeus's former spokesman.
Retired Gen. David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director last week after admitting an extramarital relationship, could possibly face military prosecution for adultery if officials turn up any evidence to counter his apparent claims that the affair began after he left the military.
The affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, both of whom are married, began several months after his retirement from the Army in August 2011 and ended four months ago, retired U.S. Army Col. Steve Boylan, a former Petraeus spokesman, told ABC News.
Broadwell, 40, had extraordinary access to the 60-year-old general during six trips she took to Afghanistan as his official biographer, a plum assignment for a novice writer.
"For him to allow the very first biography to be written about him, to be written by someone who had never written a book before, seemed very odd to me," former Petraeus aide Peter Mansoor told ABC News.
The timeline of the relationship, according to Patraeus, would mean that he was carrying on the affair for the majority of his tenure at the CIA, where he began as director Sept. 6, 2011. If he carried on the affair while serving in the Army, however, Patraeus could face charges, according to Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which reprimands conduct "of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces."
Whether the military would pursue such action, whatever evidence it accumulates, is unclear.
As the details of the investigation launched by the FBI unraveled this weekend, it became clear that the woman at the heart of the inquiry that led to Petraeus' downfall had been identified as Jill Kelley, a Florida woman who volunteers to help the military. She is a family friend of Petraeus, who Broadwell apparently felt threatened by.
Kelley and her husband are longtime supporters of the military, and six months ago she was named "Honorary Ambassador to Central Command" for her volunteer work with the military. Officials say Kelley is not romantically linked to Petraeus, but befriended the general and his wife when he was stationed in Florida.
The Kelleys spent Christmases in group settings with the Petraeuses and visited them in Washington D.C., where Kelley's sister and her son live.
"We and our family have been friends with Gen. Petraeus and his family for over five years." Kelley said in a statement Sunday. "We respect his and his family's privacy and want the same for us and our three children."
Earlier this year, around the time that Petraeus and Broadwell were breaking off their affair, Kelly began receiving anonymous emails, which she found so threatening she went to authorities. The FBI traced the messages to Broadwell's computer, where they found other salacious and explicit emails between Broadwell and Petraeus that made it clear to officials that the two were carrying on an affair.
Investigators uncovered no compromising of classified information or criminal activity, sources familiar with the probe said, adding that all that was found was a lot of "human drama."
Broadwell, a married mother of two, had access to Petraeus while she was with him in Afghanistan as his official biographer. People close to the general had previously suspected Broadwell's feelings for him had crossed a professional line.
They found Broadwell, who spent a year embedded with Petraeus in Afghanistan, to be embarrassing and far too "gushy" about him. They said to one another they thought Broadwell "was in love with him," sources told ABC News.
Petraeus is said to have been the one to have broken off the extramarital affair.
His storied career, first as the public face of two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later as director of the CIA, came crashing down Friday when he announced his resignation from the intelligence agency, citing the indiscretion.
"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours," Petraeus said in a statement Friday.Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was made aware of the Petraeus situation Tuesday evening around 5 p.m. by the FBI, according to a senior intelligence source.
After having several conversations with Petraeus that evening and the next day, Clapper advised Petraeus that the best thing to do would be for him to resign, the source said.
Clapper notified the White House the next afternoon that Petraeus was considering resigning, according to the source. Petraeus then went to the White House Thursday and told the president he thought he should resign, and Obama accepted his resignation the next day, the source said.
Despite the lengthy investigation into Broadwell by the FBI, the White House says it was not made aware of it until Wednesday, the day after the election, a revelation that surprised many.
"It just doesn't add up. That the FBI would be carrying on this type of investigation without, again, bringing it to the president or the highest levels of the White House," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said.
Petraeus and his wife, Holly, who have been married for 38 years, are said to be staying in their Arlington Home and are doing "OK."
"Knowing the family, I suspect it will be hard work, but given the effort, they will get through it," Boylan, the former Petraeus spokesman, said.
Numerous questions still remain about the investigation, and some on Capitol Hill are also frustrated because Petraeus was schedule to testify to the House and Senate intelligence committees about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in September.
The timing of Petraeus' resignation "was what it was," an official told ABC News, adding that the time had come to tie up any loose ends in the investigation and confront the general.
One of America's best known military leaders, and CIA head David Petraeus, has abruptly announced his resignation. Stepping down, Petraeus admitted to an extramarital affair, saying he was guilty of "unacceptable" behavior. Ex-military intelligence officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Shaffer told RT there's more behind the resignation than just moral issues.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - David Petraeus was a star on the battlefield, commanding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but was undone by "poor judgment" in engaging in an extramarital affair that led to his downfall as CIA director.
Petraeus, who was widely celebrated as a military commander and even occasionally mentioned as a potential presidential candidate, was sworn in as head of the CIA in September 2011 – and had kept a low profile since. Now speculation is sure to proliferate over whether that low profile resulted from Petraeus focusing on America’s intelligence gathering or on personal matters.
In particular, members of Congress and other officials demanding answers about the Benghazi attack on the US consulate that resulted in the deaths of four Americans – including the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stephens, and two CIA agents – will want to know if there was any link between Petraeus’s extramarital activities and what has been increasingly criticized as the CIA’s weak performance on the night of the Benghazi attack.
More broadly, the reason for Petraeus’s departure will raise questions about any compromising of US covert operations and intelligence. The potential for blackmail of intelligence officers is always a concern about the spy corps, but the involvement of the nation’s top spy in an extramarital affair takes the concern to a new level.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been probing Petraeus and the potential security risks posed by his affair, CNN reported late Friday afternoon.
In the weeks since the Benghazi attack, officials have leaked information, including how Petraeus kept information on the CIA’s role in Benghazi so private that even Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was left to call Petraeus as the attack unfolded to try to get intelligence information from him.
Last week, CIA officials revealed that in fact, the intelligence agency’s operations in Benghazi dwarfed diplomatic operations at the consulate and that the CIA maintained what was described as an “annex,” about a mile from the diplomatic mission.
State Department officials have said there was an informal understanding that the annex and its agents would come to the assistance of the consulate (which had private contractors providing security) if a need arose. CIA officials insist their agents responded to the consulate’s distress calls within a half-hour.
Just two days after his 60th birthday, Petraeus stepped down from the spy agency where he had held the top office since September 6, 2011.
"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation," Petraeus told the shadow warriors he commanded at CIA.
It was a stunning downfall for a revered military man who was seen as one of the top American leaders of his generation and was once considered a potential contender for the White House.
Petraeus was credited with pulling Iraq from the brink of all-out civil war and for battlefield successes in Afghanistan after overseeing a surge of 30,000 troops ordered by President Barack Obama in late 2009. He became known for counter-insurgency strategies that were seen as gaining ground against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"I don't think he was professionally overrated. His were genuine accomplishments," said James Carafano, a war historian with the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank.
At the time of his nomination to the CIA post, some Washington insiders had said the White House wanted to find a prominent position for Petraeus to ensure he would not be recruited by Republicans as a challenger to the 2012 Obama-Biden ticket.
When he was nominated to lead the CIA there were some concerns in intelligence circles that the high-profile four-star Army general might not be able to lead from the shadows as appropriate for a spy chief.
But once he took over the head office at the U.S. spy agency, Petraeus kept a decidedly low public profile.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, expressed regret about the resignation of "one of America's best and brightest" and said it was an "enormous loss" for the country.
"At CIA, Director Petraeus gave the agency leadership, stature, prestige and credibility both at home and abroad. On a personal level, I found his command of intelligence issues second to none," she said.
RESIGNATION ACCEPTEDAfter accepting his resignation about a year-and-a-half after nominating Petraeus to the CIA post, Obama said: "By any measure, he was one of the outstanding General officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end."
Earlier this week, in a Newsweek article entitled "General David Petraeus's Rules for Living," he listed 12 lessons for leadership. Number 5 was: "We all will make mistakes. The key is to recognize them and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear view mirrors - drive on and avoid making them again."
In 2010 Petraeus stepped into the breach as the new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to replace General Stanley McChrystal who was fired by Obama in a scandal over an article in which McChrystal and his aides made mocking comments about the president and some of his top advisers.
In 2009 Petraeus was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and underwent radiation treatment. The media-friendly general joked at that time at a Washington event that reporters were only gathered "to see if the guy is still alive."
Petraeus, born in Cornwall, New York, lives in Virginia with his wife Holly. They have two grown children, a son who was an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, and a daughter.
Petraeus's wife, Holly, is an activist and volunteer who champions military families, and she continued that work after her husband retired from the military and moved to the CIA.
She currently is assistant director of the office of servicemember affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she tries to keep unscrupulous lenders from taking advantage of military personnel. The bureau was championed by Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, who was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts this week.
Holly Petraeus is the daughter of four-star General William Knowlton, who was superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point when Petraeus was a cadet.
She briefed the press at the Pentagon on her efforts recently and was introduced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who called her "a true friend of the Department of Defense and a dedicated member of our military family."
Petraeus has four Defense Distinguished Service Medal awards, three Distinguished Service Medal awards, the Bronze Star Medal for valor, and the State Department Distinguished Service Award.
He has a doctorate in international relations from Princeton University.
(Additional reporting by David Alexander, Matt Spetalnick and Diane Bartz; Editing by Warren Strobel and Jackie Frank)