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Posted at 06:17 PM ET, 11/13/2012

“Social liaison” Jill Kelley: How did she get that title? And what does it mean?


Jill Kelley, second from right, at a party in 2010 with her twin sister Natalie Khawam, Gen. David Petraeus, her husband Scott, and Holly Petraeus. The Kelleys threw a party on their front lawn to watch the annual Gasparilla parade. (Amy Scherzer/AP)
‘Social liaison.” Sounds like a lot of military titles — official, vague and yet somehow important.

Just one problem: It doesn’t really exist.

It seems that Jill Kelley, the other other woman in the unfolding Petraeus scandal, acquired the honorific via media reports struggling to describe her ambiguous volunteer role as a popular hostess to Central Command’s military elite.

Calls to local bases Tuesday were met with awkward pauses and a touch of confusion. While most have military and civilian employees who handle protocol and special events, none had ever heard the term “social liaison.”


Jill Kelley leaving her home on Monday. (Chris O'Meara/AP)
“There’s no such thing,” one officer told us. The made-up title appears to be a polite way of saying “rich Tampa socialite who likes to hang with four-star generals.”

There are, of course, close ties between military bases and community volunteers. Every base had an outreach program and a network of local partners to aid soldiers’ families, fund-raise and otherwise support the base.

But these civilian volunteers are not authorized to conduct business or represent the military — and they don’t get titles. “We typically do not have unofficial volunteers working on behalf of our commands,” a senior Navy official told us.

Centcom declined to comment on Kelley, but officials there have been adamant that she was a private citizen and volunteer, never an employee, and that she never held an official position, paid or unpaid.

There is one title Kelley embraced: The socialite received an award last year from representatives of coalition countries at Centcom — an appreciation certificate dubbing her an “honorary ambassador.” Kelley liked it so much she dropped the “honorary” but took the “ambassador” to heart and asked for staff at command headquarters to help organize social events, reports the L.A Times.

So, social? Definitely. Liaisons? To be determined.

Related: What happens to the Other Woman? Donna Rice Hughes reflects on the Petraeus-Broadwell scandal, 11/12/12

David Petraeus and other political sex scandals: What does it take to kill a career?, 11/9/12

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By  |  06:17 PM ET, 11/13/2012

 
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