Threatening e-mails brought down CIA chief

The plot surrounding the resignation of CIA chief David Petraeus over an extramarital affair thickened on Sunday with reports that his alleged lover had sent e-mails to a second woman seen as a threat to her love interest.

Ex-CIA boss David Petraeus’ mistress sent harassing e-mails to another woman who she believed threatened the relationship. The e-mails from Petraeus’ paramour — married reserve Army officer Paula Broadwell — so frightened their recipient that she sought FBI help identifying the sender, sources said.

All’s fair in love? Paula Broadwell sent mails to another woman saying ‘stay away from my guy’. Pic/AFP

The harassing e-mails Broadwell sent to the woman said things such as “I know what you did,” “back off” and “stay away from my guy,” a government official said.

“[Broadwell] clearly thought something was going on” and thought she was in a “lovers triangle,” the official said. The threatened woman was not Petraeus’ wife, the sources said, and she did not work for the CIA.

The sources declined to disclose the woman’s identity or her relationship with the 60-year-old CIA chief. But what began as a probe of Broadwell’s alleged e-mail threats evolved into an investigation that took in Petraeus’ personal e-mail account, which agents feared was involved in a national-security breach.

That, in turn, led investigators to a series of steamy e-mails between Petraeus and Broadwell — including a graphic reference to “sex under a desk”.

News of the affair abruptly ended Petraeus’ military and intelligence career. On Friday, US President Obama accepted the resignation of the former four-star general, who led the CIA for 14 months. “Such behaviour is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organisation such as ours,” Petraeus said in a letter to CIA colleagues.         

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