FBI Probe Began With Broadwell's 'Harassing' Emails

Investigators only stumbled on her affair with Petraeus
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2012 1:50 PM CST

(Newser) – The FBI's investigation into David Petraeus started because someone complained that Paula Broadwell—his biographer and alleged lover—had fired off "harassing" emails, an official tells the New York Times. The official didn't say who complained, but said it wasn't a government official or family member. A congressional official privy to insider details said he heard the FBI probe began with two women: "It didn’t start with Petraeus, but in the course of the investigation they stumbled across him," the official said. "We were stunned."

story continues below

In probing Broadwell's emails, the FBI stumbled on exchanges with Petraeus that proved they were having a fling. That set off alarm bells "on larger security issues," said the government official—but the FBI found no wider security breach stemming from Petraeus' use of a personal email account to write Broadwell. What's more, there was no wider conspiracy afoot: "People think that because it’s the CIA director, it must involve bigger issues," the official said. "Think of a small circle of people who know each other." (Read more about Petraeus' resignation or a letter written to an advice columnist—possibly by Broadwell's husband.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.