Skip to main content

Petraeus biographer made trips to Afghanistan

By Phil Gast, CNN
November 13, 2012 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday after admitting an affair
  • His biographer was investigated over e-mails to another woman, a U.S. official says
  • Paula Broadwell spent months in Afghanistan
  • She wrote a book about Petraeus' leadership qualities

(CNN) -- About four years ago, Paula Broadwell began her Ph.D. dissertation on Gen. David Petraeus' innovative leadership skills.

Some of the interviews were done via e-mail. Others were conducted as Broadwell occasionally ran with the physically fit four-star, including one time with Petraeus and his team along the Potomac River in Washington.

Broadwell decided to turn that research into a book and go to Afghanistan after Petraeus was tapped in June 2010 to replace Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the top commander in the country.

"We had a relationship before I went there as far as this dissertation was concerned, so it just took it to another level," Broadwell told CNN's Brooke Baldwin in February.

Petraeus biographer's e-mails led FBI to affair, official says

The relationship between Petraeus and his biographer has become the subject of speculation since he admitted to having an extramarital affair and resigned Friday as CIA director.

The affair came to light during an FBI investigation into a complaint that Broadwell was sending harassing e-mails to another woman close to Petraeus, a U.S. official said Saturday.

FBI investigates Petraeus and biographer
Baer: 'There is something going on here'
Washington shocked by resignation

During the investigation, other communications surfaced between Petraeus and Broadwell, a married mother of two, according to the official.

CIA Director David Petraeus stepped down Friday, November 9, 2012, citing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Many questions surround the affair, including why it was necessary for Petraeus to resign and the future of his marriage to his wife, Holly. Here's a look at other U.S. sexual scandals that led to political stumbles and downfalls. CIA Director David Petraeus stepped down Friday, November 9, 2012, citing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Many questions surround the affair, including why it was necessary for Petraeus to resign and the future of his marriage to his wife, Holly. Here's a look at other U.S. sexual scandals that led to political stumbles and downfalls.
Public figures, private missteps
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
>
>>
Photos: Public figures, private missteps Photos: Public figures, private missteps

The official did not identify the woman who made the initial complaint and did not know the nature of her relationship with Petraeus.

The FBI interviewed Petraeus in the course of its inquiry, said the official, who stressed that the CIA director was never the target of the investigation and his communications were never compromised. The official did not know whether Broadwell was interviewed.

CNN has not been able to reach Broadwell for comment. Her website was not operating Saturday.

Broadwell moved with her husband, Scott, to Charlotte, North Carolina, about three years ago, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Broadwell, who attended the U.S. Military Academy and served in the Army Reserves after active duty, quickly became a guest on TV news shows after her book, "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus," was published earlier this year.

In several appearances on CNN, Broadwell -- with her background in intelligence and counterterrorism -- was asked about U.S. policy in Afghanistan, the Syrian civil war and Iran's use of nuclear technology. She serves as a research associate at Harvard University's Center for Public Leadership.

Read the Petraeus letter

Broadwell told Baldwin that she embedded with Petraeus' staff and troops in the field, sharing their hardships and risks. Broadwell spent months in Afghanistan interviewing Petraeus and others for her book, which she wrote with Vernon Loeb.

In January, Broadwell told Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" that Petraeus is tenacious, has a will to win and wants to make a difference. "He loves serving. He loves to be in the arena," she said.

Just last week, Broadwell published on the Daily Beast a list of Petraeus' 12 rules for living.

"We all will make mistakes," read one rule. "The key is to recognize and admit them, to learn from them, and to take off the rear-view mirrors -- drive on and avoid making them again."

How Petraeus changed the U.S. military

Broadwell met Petraeus in spring 2006 when he spoke at Harvard, where she was a graduate student, she wrote in the preface to "All In."

The author told the general about her research interests and he agreed to put her in touch with people studying the same issues. "I later discovered that he was famous for this type of mentoring and networking, especially with aspiring soldier-scholars," Broadwell wrote.

In the preface, Broadwell -- who earned varsity letters in cross-country and track -- said she wanted to see whether Petraeus could match her stride when they ran. "Instead, it became a test for me."

Broadwell's passion for physical fitness extended to her appearance earlier this year on "The Daily Show." In an effort to raise money for wounded veterans, she and Stewart engaged in a push-up contest.

Stewart and Scott Broadwell faced off against Paula Broadwell.

A game, but grimacing, Stewart made it to 38 push-ups.

Paula Broadwell, apparently ready to do more, stopped at 60.

Ticker: Rep wants Petraeus to testify

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CIA boss resigns
November 15, 2012 -- Updated 0058 GMT (0858 HKT)
The convoluted scandal has become an endless source of speculation. There is much we don't know, but a few important facts have emerged.
November 15, 2012 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
The affair that led to the resignation of CIA Director had its roots in a multi-year friendship, a flattering book and a young writer.
November 13, 2012 -- Updated 1840 GMT (0240 HKT)
Learn about the key players in the unfolding Petraeus scandal through our photo gallery.
November 15, 2012 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Since the infidelity scandal that took down the CIA chief David Petraeus broke last Friday, a scattered timeline of bizarre events have captivated, if not confused, the public.
November 15, 2012 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
It seems like everybody loves a good scandal except the people involved in it. How must it feel to be Jill Kelley, hearing stories everywhere?
November 13, 2012 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
About four years ago, Paula Broadwell began her Ph.D. dissertation on Gen. David Petraeus' innovative leadership skills.
November 14, 2012 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
A story told about Marine Gen. John Allen while commanding troops in Iraq describes his ability to inspire the loyalty.
November 14, 2012 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Unlike many stories about powerful Washington figures having secret affairs, the downfall of spy chief David Petraeus goes beyond sex.
As a commissioned officer in the military reserves, Paula Broadwell's security clearance would be "secret" or "top secret," allowing her access to classified documents.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus' wife has built impressive reputation of her own.
November 11, 2012 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
Historians will likely judge David Petraeus to be the most effective American military commander since Eisenhower.
ADVERTISEMENT