The extramarital affair between CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell was uncovered through an investigation after a woman complained about receiving harassing emails from another person. Broadwell was apparently the woman who sent the harassing emails.
Prior to his appointment as director of the CIA by President Obama, Petraeus was a highly decorated Army general whose stellar career elevated him to a four-star general. His last Army assignment was command of troops in Afghanistan. It is there where his relationship with Broadwell began.
When authorities began looking into the matter, they discovered a series of emails sent by Broadwell that not only revealed the affair, but that Broadwell perceived another woman as a threat to her relationship with Petraeus.
Details from the investigation reveal that the other woman contacted the FBI when she feared for her safety. The emails were soon traced to Broadwell, leading to the discovery of explicit emails between her and Petraeus.
The FBI notified James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, late last Tuesday, which was also Election Day. Clapper, who is also a retired four-star general, spoke with Petraeus and urged him to resign. Clapper informed the White House of the news on Wednesday morning.
The identity of the other female has not been released but sources say it was not Petraeus' wife, Holly. In addition, sources that provided information to The Washington Post did so on the condition of anonymity.
Petraeus has been married to his wife Holly for 38 years. They met when he was a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Holly was the daughter of the academy's superintendent at the time.
Broadwell is also a graduate of West Point and holds a graduate degree from Harvard and is married with two children. She lives with her family in Charlotte, N.C., and will turn 40 later this week.
As an Army officer who still holds the rank of Major in the Army Reserve, Broadwell had unfettered access to Petraeus when researching for the book when the general was in Afghanistan.
"I was entrusted with this opportunity to sit in on high-level meetings with Gen. Petraeus … listen to classified chatter of terrorists talk and so forth," Broadwell said at a national security conference in July. "I knew there was a clear line that I couldn't cross.... It was my responsibility not to leak it, not to violate my mentor, if you will – I was writing about a very close mentor."
After interviewing Petraeus for her dissertation on leadership, she secured a literary agent and teamed up with Washington Post reporter Vernon Loeb who had covered the general when he led the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq.
Broadwell and Loeb's book is All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, and was published in January.
Congressional leaders are now investigating the timing of how and when the information of the affair was released. Some have accused the FBI of withholding the information until after the presidential election was over.