David Petraeus will plead guilty to providing his mistress and biographer with classified information, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Though largely overshadowed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional address, Petraeus's plea agreement — no jail time, two years probation, and a $40,000 fine — is the culmination of one of the biggest political scandals of the past decade.
Only a couple of years ago, anything involving the disgraced four-star general — who resigned from his position as CIA director in November 2012 after the FBI discovered he’d had an extramarital affair with the U.S. Army Intelligence Officer who wrote his biography — would have been the leading news of the day. From his former biographer turned lover to the Florida socialite who helped uncover their affair to the FBI agent who became a little too involved in the case, the Petraeus scandal boasted a cast of characters befitting the real-life soap opera that it was. Yet the relatively little fanfare surrounding Petraeus's plea deal Tuesday is perhaps proof of how quickly such scandals flame out once they’ve exploded.
In light of the latest news, though, it seems like a good time check in with Petraeus-gate’s major players and see what they’ve been up to since being relieved of the spotlight.
Her impressive resume includes accolades from West Point, the U.S. Army and Reserve, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. But Paula Broadwell is perhaps best known to the public as the former lover of David Petraeus.
According to a January 2015 report in The Charlotte Observer, Broadwell had been lying low in the North Carolina city with her husband, Scott, and their two sons since her affair with the venerated general became public in 2012. Broadwell seemed to be successfully avoiding the scandal—which, at its most salacious, painted her as a jealous, cyberstalking ex-mistress — by working with returning veterans, consulting on leadership and global affairs and advocating for physical fitness programs in her community. That is, until the FBI and prosecutors with the Department of Justice called on Attorney General Eric Holder to bring felony charges against Petraeus for sharing classified information with Broadwell while he was head of the CIA.
But even with her skeletons resurfacing in the news, Broadwell has remained intent on keeping a low profile, drawing attention to her causes rather than to herself.
In the summer of 2012 Jill Kelley complained to a friend in the FBI about a series of anonymous, harassing emails and launched the investigation that ultimately led the FBI to Paula Broadwell.
Often referred to as the Florida socialite at the center of the scandal, Kelley, forged friendships within the U.S. military’s upper echelons by throwing lavish parties at her Tampa mansion. But around the time the affair went public, the home where Kelley and husband Scott mingled with Petraeus and his ilk reportedly went into foreclosure.
Kelley’s finances weren’t the only thing to unravel in conjunction with the Petraeus scandal. In investigating Kelley’s cyberstalking claims, the FBI uncovered hundreds of other email exchanges between Kelley and other high-ranking officials, including Marine General James Mattis and Vice Adm. Robert Harward, U.S. Central Command's commander and deputy commander, respectively.
In 2013, Kelley sued both the Department of Defense and the FBI for leaking the contents of her emails — and her identity — to the press, claiming a violation of privacy. In September 2014, a federal judge ruled that Kelley could pursue her suit against the government.
The U.S.’s top commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen had been nominated as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO’s European forces before becoming implicated in the Petraeus fallout. Though the Department of Defense determined that there was nothing untoward about the occasionally flirtatious 30,000-plus pages of emails exchanged between Kelley and Allen, the general announced he’d forego the prestigious position and instead retire from the military to tend to his sick wife.
In September 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry selected Allen as the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.
Frederick W. Humphries II
Humphries, an FBI agent whose previous accomplishments include foiling an al-Qaeda plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve 1999, launched the investigation that prompted the Petraeus scandal when his friend, Jill Kelley, complained she was being cyberstalked.
After referring Kelley’s complaint to the FBI’s cybercrimes unit, however, Humphries was barred from working on the investigation. His supervisors were concerned that Humphries seemed too personally invested in the case, partially because they’d recently discovered that the agent had sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelley.
After being excluded, Humphries complained to a member of Congress about the FBI’s handling of the case, complaints that eventually made their way back to the FBI’s top brass and landed Humphries under investigation by the Bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The New York Times identified Humphries in November 2012, but no updates on his investigation or career have been published in the media since.
Before resigning from the CIA in disgrace, the retired general, once widely revered for his influential leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan, seemed on track for consideration for the U.S.’s highest political offices.
Now, while slated to plead guilty to sharing highly classified journals with Broadwell, Petraeus has hardly been destroyed by his improprieties. In 2013, the wealthy New York private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts hired Petraeus to head up its new Global Institute. He has made the rounds as a public speaker and guest lecturer at universities such as Harvard, and he has maintained the support of political leaders in both parties. Not only did President Obama assert, in the wake of Petraeus’s retirement from the CIA, that there was no evidence indicating that he’d leaked information “that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security,” but Republican Senator John McCain said Tuesday, "I hope that General Petraeus will continue to provide his outstanding service and leadership to our nation as he has throughout his distinguished career."
Petraeus and his wife, Holly, are still together.