Woman embroiled in Petraeus scandal sues gov’t agencies

Posted at 9:05 AM, Jun 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-04 09:05:35-04

By Kevin Liptak

(CNN) — Jill Kelley, the woman described as a “Tampa socialite” who became enmeshed in last year’s scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus, filed a lawsuit Monday alleging employees of government agencies violated her privacy.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in Washington, accuses unnamed federal officials of wrongfully searching her personal e-mails and divulging what she says was false information to the media.

Kelley’s name first came to light after Petraeus resigned his post at the spy agency having admitted to carrying out an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Federal investigators first caught wind of Petraeus’ affair after Kelley complained to law enforcement officials about harassing e-mails from Broadwell – details she says were improperly revealed to the public.

“We did not receive the confidentiality and protection,” Kelley wrote in a statement. “Instead we received highly hurtful and damaging publicity from willful leaks from high level government officials that were false and defamatory.”

Kelley and her husband Scott are seeking an apology and unspecified damages in their lawsuit, which also claims Kelley’s personal e-mails were improperly searched and disclosed to the public.

According to U.S. officials, the FBI looked at between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of documents – most of them e-mails – and have found “potentially inappropriate” correspondence between Kelley and another top military figure, Gen. John Allen.

At the time, a defense official described some of the e-mails between Allen and Kelley as “flirtatious.” Allen retired from military service in February.

In her statement Monday, Kelley cast herself as a privacy rights advocate who was working to make the best of a bad situation.

“I will demand that victims of a crime, have their names well guarded and their privacy protected; And that every law abiding citizen, the members of media, and including our brave servicemen, will not have their personal communications improperly and unreasonably searched by overreaching government or any other abuse of government powers,” her statement read.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.

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