(WASHINGTON) — The Florida woman who received harassing emails from Paula Broadwell, spurring an FBI probe that ultimately uncovered Gen. David Petraeus’ extramarital affair with his biographer and led to his resignation as director of the CIA, has been identified as Jill Kelley, a local concerned citizen who volunteers to help the military.
“We and our family have been friends with Gen. Petraeus and his family for over five years. We respect his and his family’s privacy and want the same for us and our three children,” Kelley said in a statement.
A close friend of Petraeus said Kelley and her husband, who are both civilians but supporters of the military community, befriended the Petraeus’ when the general was stationed in Florida.
The Kelleys spent Christmases in group settings with the Petraeus’ and visited them in Washington D.C., where Kelley’s sister and her son live.
“It is very clear there was nothing going on other than friendship” between Kelley and Petraeus, the close friend told ABC News.
The saga, which would ultimately end the public service career of one of the most respected military minds of this generation, began when harassing emails were sent to Kelley, who in turn, notified the FBI.
The emails were traced to Broadwell’s inbox, where investigators are said to have found intimate emails that indicated Petraeus was having an extramarital affair with his biographer.
Investigators uncovered no compromising of classified information or criminal activity, sources familiar with the probe said, adding that all that was found was a lot of “human drama.”
The affair between Gen. Petraeus and Broadwell, both of whom are married, began several months after his retirement from the army in August 2011 and ended four months ago, retired U.S. Army Col. Steve Boylan, who is a former Petraeus spokesperson, told ABC News.
“He hugely regrets what happened,” Boylan said. “He pretty much threw away the best job he ever had and put his family through something just too hard to describe.”
Petraeus is said to have been the one to have broken off the extramarital affair.
The 60-year-old’s storied career, first as the public face of two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later as director of the CIA, came crashing down on Friday when he announced his resignation from the intelligence agency, citing the indiscretion.
“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours,” Petraeus said in a statement on Friday.
Petraeus and his wife Holly, who have been married for more than 37 years, are said to be staying in their Arlington, Va., home and are doing “OK.”
“Knowing the family, I suspect it will be hard work, but given the effort they will get through it,” Boylan said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
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