Beyond the military, the two shared an interest in fitness and the study of leadership. When they were apart, e-mail served as their communication method of choice, with hundreds of messages passing between them through various and sometimes anonymous accounts.
By late spring of this year, however, the relationship appeared headed for trouble.
In Tampa, Kelley began receiving a series of what she described to a friend as bizarre e-mails from an anonymous account. They did not specifically cite Kelley’s connection to Petraeus but warned that her advances toward him would have to stop or she would be exposed. Associates of Petraeus and Kelley have said they have been nothing more than social friends.
“They attended events together. They spend Christmas at each other’s homes,” Boylan said. “There was nothing untoward. No affair-like thing between them. They were strictly friends.”
Kelley was alarmed enough by the e-mails that in June she told a friend who worked as an FBI agent in Tampa about them. The agent took her concerns to the bureau, where investigators traced the messages to Broadwell.
In examining her e-mail account, investigators found messages from Petraeus of a highly personal nature. The FBI suspected the communications were being sent by someone who had hacked into the CIA director’s personal account.
The mistake apparently came in part from steps Petraeus and Broadwell took to conceal their relationship. According to the Associated Press, instead of sending e-mails to each other’s accounts, the two composed the messages and then left them in a “draft” folder where they could be accessed with a shared user name and password. The method, often used by terrorists, makes it harder to trace e-mail traffic. But in this case, it may also have fueled law enforcement concerns that a hacker was accessing the accounts.
The FBI informed Kelley that Broadwell was the sender and Kelley said she did not know her, according to a person close to Kelley.
At some point this summer, Kelley told Petraeus about the e-mails and named Broadwell as the person who had sent them. Apparently in response, the CIA director sent e-mails to Broadwell telling her to stop the harassment, two law enforcement officials said.
Mansoor, who during his last tour in Iraq spent 15 months in a bedroom adjacent to Petraeus’s, said the affair ended four months ago. That roughly coincides with the time Petraeus discovered that Broadwell was sending the e-mails to Kelley, although Mansoor would not say who ended the relationship.