Broadwell’s laudatory biography of Petraeus, All In, was denounced by critics as puffery, while officers worried about her remarkably close access to the general. The Washington Post reported Friday that Broadwell also overstated her credentials in an effort to build her reputation among D.C.’s foreign policy elite.
She told counterinsurgency warfare experts in 2009 that aides to the newly installed U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, had asked her to assemble an outside team to evaluate his strategy, but in fact, the aides rejected her proposal, the newspaper said.
In Washington, D.C. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz cited Khawam’s “unsteady moral and ethical compass” amid a nasty child custody battle. In Tampa, some longtime residents dismissed Kelley as a social climber who showed off a Mercedes-Benz with honorary South Korean consul tags and who was dubbed “Tampa Kardashian” behind her back.
“They drop names,” said attorney Barry Cohen, who is in a legal battle with Khawam. “They have all these parties and want the right people to be there. They’d call someone to say, `Come to my party, so and so will be there.’ And then they’d call so and so, and say, `Come to my party, this other so and so will be there.’“
In 2010, Kelley and Khawam showed up at a Tampa fundraiser for Republican senatorial candidate Marco Rubio, though they hadn’t contributed at least $1,000 like other attendees, according to hostess Angelette Aviles. Within a few minutes, the twin sisters had their picture snapped flanking Rubio. This week, Aviles posted the picture on Twitter.
“They kind of quickly came and smiled the whole time,” Aviles said Friday. “Jill was very revealing in her outfit. Most people are in suits. You could tell they were there just to look pretty and take pictures.”
Jill Kelley’s attorney, prominent Washington criminal defense specialist Abbe Lowell, and high-octane publicist Judy Smith did not respond to multiple requests for interviews or information. Khawam did not respond to multiple emails.
Kelley’s extensive email correspondence with Allen, currently commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, is the subject of an investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general. His nomination to lead U.S. forces in Europe remains on hold. Separately, the CIA’s inspector general has opened an inquiry into Petraeus’ actions. Broadwell’s home in Charlotte, N.C., has been searched amid concerns that she might have been in possession of classified material above her clearance.
Meanwhile, in the fall of Petraeus, the public can find instructive, if familiar, narratives.
“For the most part, it’s totally innocent,” Lettie Bien, a retired Army colonel and former South Florida resident, said of military community socializing. But she added that the story now unfolding is “just sordid.”
Born in Lebanon 36 years ago, Kelley and Khawam were raised by their refugee parents outside of Philadelphia. Jill Kelley and her husband moved to Tampa about 10 years ago. Khawam, a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Philadelphia’s Beaver College — now called Arcadia University — has worked in a succession of firms since law school. She now lives with her sister.