WASHINGTON - A Florida socialite at the heart of a scandal that brought down the CIA chief was once asked by him to stop a radio talk show host who was threatening to desecrate the holy Quran, US media reported early on Saturday.
That account, which comes from emails sent by socialite Jill Kelley, offers a new glimpse at her relationship with Petraeus and other senior military officials. In March, a Florida radio talk show host named Todd Alan Clem but known as Bubba the Love Sponge said he was going to desecrate a copy of the holy Quran as a stunt, the reports said.
Gen John Allen, commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, and CIA director David Petraeus, both asked Kelley, who lives in Tampa, to try to intervene and stop the radio host by contacting the city’s mayor, Bob Buckhorn.
“I have Petraeus and Allen both emailing me about getting this dealt with,” Kelley wrote to the mayor, according to NBC News. The generals saw the “Bubba” announcement as a potential threat to the safety of US troops stationed in Islamic countries.
Defacing the holy Quran is forbidden in Islam and in the past plans to burn the holy book by a controversial Christian pastor in Florida sparked deadly protests across the Muslim world. Kelley’s emails were released by the mayor.
Paula Broadwell and Jill Kelley, the two women embroiled in the scandal that brought down CIA chief David Petraeus, visited the White House several times since 2009, a US official told AFP late on Friday.
Broadwell, Petraeus’ biographer and former mistress, attended meetings on Afghanistan and Pakistan held at the White House compound - at the Eisenhower building next to the presidential residence, said the official on condition of anonymity.
The first meeting was held in June 2009 with a member of the government team charged with handling Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. The second, two years later, was a briefing with around 20 other people, the same source said.
Petraeus, a retired four-star general and America’s most celebrated military leader in a generation, resigned from the top CIA job last week after an unrelated FBI probe exposed his months-long extramarital affair with Broadwell.
Another four-star general, John Allen, commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan, has also been linked to the scandal. He is under investigation by the Pentagon for hundreds of emails he wrote to Kelley, some of them reportedly “flirtatious.”
Allen denies any sexual liaison with Kelley.
Her complaint over threatening emails sparked the FBI probe that eventually uncovered Petraeus’ adulterous relationship.
Kelley has also been to the White House in recent months, the official told AFP: “Once for a tour with her family and children, and twice for courtesy meals at the White House mess with her sister and a White House staffer who met the Kelley family while visiting MacDill Air Force Base” near Tampa, Florida, where Kelley lives.