Tampa Socialite of Petraeus Probe Sues U.S. Over Privacy

Jill Kelley, a Tampa, Florida, socialite whose e-mails surfaced as part of an investigation into former CIA Director David Petraeus, accused the federal government in a lawsuit of breaching her privacy.

Petraeus’s extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer, was uncovered following a complaint Kelley made to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about harassing e-mails that turned out to come from Broadwell. The ensuing scandal forced Petraeus’s resignation. Petraeus, a retired Army general, was hired last month by KKR & Co. to run a new unit for public policy, economic research and emerging-market due diligence at the private-equity firm.

Kelley claims the U.S. Department of Defense and Federal Bureau of Investigation violated her constitutional due process rights and protections against unreasonable search and seizure, according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Washington. The e-mails were disclosed “with little to no regard for the standards required by law or common decency,” according to the complaint.

Kelley and her husband sought the assistance of federal law enforcement officials to report evidence of criminal activity, and in response, the U.S. “willfully and maliciously thrust the Kelleys into the maw of public scrutiny concerning one of the most widely reported sex scandals to rock the United States government,” according to the complaint.

In November, South Korea revoked an honorary consul title given to Jill Kelley, two Foreign Ministry officials said at the time. The lawsuit cites lost diplomatic status, income and investment opportunities as a consequence of the government’s publication of her e-mails.

Jill Kelley seeks a formal apology from the Department of Defense and FBI, unspecified damages and a court order to prevent further similar constitutional violations, according to the complaint.

Christopher Allen, an FBI spokesman, declined to comment on the complaint.

A defense department media representative wasn’t immediately available yesterday after regular business hours for comment.

The case is Kelley v. Federal Bureau of Investigation, 13-cv-00825, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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