This is getting more and more bizarre as we uncover more about this investigation.
It turns out, the FBI opened the investigation into Petreaus when Jill Kelly, the recipient of threatening emails from Petreaus's mistress Paul Broadwell, expressed her concerns for her safety to a friend - an FBI agent. That agent passed on the info to the cyber crimes unit of the FBI.
But the FBI became concerned when the agent who initiated the investigation was discovered to have sent shirtless photos of himself to Kelly previously.
Wall Street Journal:
One official said the agent in question sent shirtless photos to Ms. Kelley well before the email investigation began, and FBI officials only became aware of them some time later. Eventually, supervisors told the agent he was to have nothing to do with the case, though he never had a formal role in the investigation, the official said.
The agent, after being barred from the case, contacted a member of Congress, Washington Republican David Reichert, because he was concerned senior FBI officials were going to sweep the matter under the rug, the officials said. That information was relayed to top congressional officials, who notified FBI headquarters in Washington.
By that point, FBI agents had determined the harassing emails had been sent by Paula Broadwell, who had written a biography of Mr. Petraeus's military command.
Investigators had also determined that Ms. Broadwell had been having an affair with Mr. Petraeus, and that the emails suggested Ms. Broadwell was suspicious of Ms. Kelley's attention to Mr. Petraeus, officials said.
The accusatory emails, according to officials, were sent anonymously to an account shared by Ms. Kelley and her husband. Ms. Broadwell allegedly used a variety of email addresses to send the harassing messages to Ms. Kelley, officials said.
One asked if Ms. Kelley's husband was aware of her actions, according to officials. In another, the anonymous writer claimed to have watched Ms. Kelley touching "him'' provocatively underneath a table, the officials said.
The message was referring to Mr. Petraeus, but that wasn't clear at the time, officials said. A lawyer for Ms. Kelley didn't respond to messages Monday seeking comment on the anonymous emails or on the alleged emails from the FBI agent. A lawyer for Ms. Broadwell also didn't respond. Neither woman has replied to requests to speak about the matter.
By then, what began as a relatively simple cyberstalking case had ballooned into a national security investigation. Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell, both of them married, had set up private Gmail accounts to contact each other, according to several officials familiar with the investigation. The FBI at one point was concerned the CIA director's email had been accessed by outsiders.
After agents interviewed Ms. Broadwell, she let them examine her computer, where they found copies of classified documents, according to the officials. Both Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell denied that he had given her the documents, and FBI officials eventually concluded they had no evidence to suggest otherwise.
Apparently members of congress knew about the investigation months ago. Why didn't the White House know? Or top intel committee members?
Protecting Petreaus's privacy is a smokescreen. There is no such thing as privacy when it comes to the Director of the CIA. Every word he utters, every email he sends, is a matter of national security concern. The fact that foreign agents could have blackmailed Petreaus may seem far fetched, but stranger things have happed at the CIA over the years. Just ask John Walker.
I think the question is going to be raised was the FBI playing politics with this investigation? Was someone at the Bureau running interference for the president's re-election campaign? They wouldn't even have to have been in contact with Obama's people. It is obvious that a revelation of this sort weeks before the election would have been extremely damaging to the president's chances and an ambitious FBI official who kept the lid on the Petreaus matter until after the election would no doubt find the Obama White House grateful. It certainly wouldn't hurt his career if he buried the matter until after the vote.
The agent who was taken off the case worried that his superiors would sweep the entire matter under the rug. Was that one reason he was prevented from working on the case? The more we learn about this investigation the more it begins to smell of politics. And that does not reflect well on the FBI who should be above that sort of thing.