WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has decided not to charge David Petraeus’ mistress, Paula Broadwell, with cyberstalking as part of its investigation into an email scandal that led to the resignation of the CIA director and storied general.
Broadwell’s lawyer, Robert Muse, gave The Associated Press a letter from U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill that said no federal charges will be brought in Florida related to “alleged acts of cyberstalking.”
Petraeus resigned as CIA director in November after acknowledging the extramarital affair, which was exposed after Broadwell emailed Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, allegedly warning Kelley to stay away from Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
Kelley reported the emails to the FBI, triggering an investigation that led the FBI to Kelley’s emails to the married Allen, who is now under investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general.
“The decision on whether to bring a prosecution is always a serious matter, and one that should never be undertaken without the most thoughtful deliberation,” said Justice Department spokesman William C. Daniels. “After applying relevant case law to the particular facts of this case, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida has decided not to pursue a federal case regarding the alleged acts of ‘cyberstalking’ involving Paula Broadwell.”
A spokesman for Broadwell says she and her family are “pleased with this decision and pleased that this is resolved.”
Her attorney has not been notified that she is the subject or target of any other Justice Department investigation.
Broadwell, Petraeus’s biographer and a reserve Army officer, is still being investigated by the Pentagon for allegedly mishandling classified information. FBI investigators found a “substantial amount” of material marked classified at her home.
The documents were part of her research from her trips to interview Petraeus and his commanders across Afghanistan for her best-selling book on Petraeus, “All in,” co-written with The Washington Post’s Vernon Loeb and published by Penguin Press earlier this year.
Petraeus told friends that he had never given classified information to Broadwell, and she said she didn’t receive such material from Petraeus.
Petraeus and Broadwell say their romantic relationship began only after he retired from the military and started at the CIA.
Both are married — Petraeus, 60, to wife of 38 years, Holly Knowlton Petraeus, and Broadwell, 40, to husband Scott Broadwell. The Broadwells have two young children.
Petraeus and Broadwell have both expressed regret for the affair, which they say ended this summer.
The CIA is investigating Petraeus’ conduct to examine whether he may have used CIA resources to further the affair, but the Pentagon has shown no appetite for recalling Petraeus to active duty in order to punish him for adultery, which is illegal under military law.
Asked Tuesday whether he thought Petraeus should have resigned, CIA-director-turned-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told an audience at the National Press Club, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Well, in this town, with that kind of email, do you think he could have survived as director of the CIA? I don’t think so.”
Married Tampa socialite Kelley befriended top military brass as part of her volunteer work hosting elaborate parties for Petraeus and other top commanders at Central Command, a huge military base in Tampa. That role expanded her influence in the Tampa business community and eventually won her role a post as an “honorary consul” to South Korea.
Kelley allegedly tried to exploit that honorary role to broker business deals between U.S. companies and the Korean government, a charge her lawyer denies. She has since been stripped of that post.
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