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Timeline: the David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell relationship

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Updated: November 12, 2012 11:01PM



The extramarital affair that brought down David Petraeus’ celebrated career last week raised many questions. Among them: when exactly the affair began, how the FBI stumbled upon the information and who was told about it. Here’s a timeline of events, according to officials involved in the investigation:

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Spring 2006 — Paula Broadwell meets Petraeus at Harvard University where she is a graduate student. Petraeus is a lieutenant general working on a manual about counterinsurgency and is invited to give a speech about his experiences in Iraq.

January 2007 — The Senate confirms Petraeus as the commanding general for U.S. troops in Iraq.

2008 — Broadwell initiates a case study of Petraeus’ leadership. On a visit to Washington, Petraeus invites Broadwell to join him and his team for a run along the Potomac River.

October 2008 — Petraeus is named commander of U.S. Central Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Fla., where Jill Kelley attends social events alongside the area’s military elite.

June 30, 2010 — The Senate confirms Petraeus as the new commander for war in Afghanistan. Over the next year, Broadwell expands her research of Petraeus into an authorized biography. She makes multiple trips to Afghanistan and is given unprecedented access to Petraeus and his commanders.

Sept. 6, 2011 — Petraeus is sworn in as CIA director with his wife, Holly, by his side. Broadwell keeps in contact with Petraeus and is later invited to his office for events, including a meeting with actress Angelina Jolie.

November 2011 — Petraeus begins an extramarital affair with Broadwell, according to retired Army Col. Steve Boylan.

Jan. 24, 2012 — Broadwell’s biography, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” is released.

Jan. 30, 2012 — In an interview with her hometown paper, the Bismarck Tribune, Broadwell describes Petraeus as an inspirational figure who always takes care of his subordinates.

May 2012 — Kelley, a Tampa socialite, starts receiving harassing emails. The FBI begins investigating soon after.

Summer 2012 — FBI agents determine that the email trail leads to Broadwell. They come across a private Gmail account using an alias name that belongs to Petraeus. Emails between Petraeus and Broadwell lead agents to believe the two are having an affair. FBI Director Robert Mueller is notified. At some point in the investigation, the FBI interviews Petraeus and Broadwell.

July 2012 — The affair between Petraeus and Broadwell ends, according to Petraeus’ friend Boylan.

Late Summer 2012— Attorney General Eric Holder is notified. By this time, the FBI has long since concluded there was no national security breach, but continues investigating whether Petraeus had any role in the harassing emails sent to Kelley.

The week of Oct. 22, 2012 — Broadwell has a second interview with FBI agents.

Oct. 27, 2012 — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., gets a call from an FBI employee notifying him of the affair. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., arranges the call after receiving a tip from another FBI official.

The week of Oct. 29, 2012 — Petraeus is interviewed for a second time by the FBI. By this point, both Broadwell and Petraeus have acknowledged the affair to the FBI.

Oct. 31, 2012 — Cantor’s chief of staff calls the FBI chief of staff to inform him of the call.

Tuesday, Nov. 6 — As Americans cast their ballots on Election Day, the Justice Department informs Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of the investigation. Clapper calls Petraeus and urges him to resign.

Wednesday, Nov. 7 — The White House is first notified about the affair involving Petraeus. The retired general turns 60.

Thursday, Nov. 8 —President Barack Obama, having returned from Chicago, is told of the affair. Petraeus meets with Obama at the White House and asks to resign.

Friday, Nov. 9 — Obama accepts Petraeus’ resignation. News of the resignation breaks before Congress is briefed. Broadwell’s husband emails guests to cancel her 40th birthday party, which was scheduled for that weekend. By the evening, Broadwell has been publicly identified.

Saturday, Nov. 10 — Broadwell’s book, ranked 76,792 on Amazon the day before, jumps to 111.

Sunday, Nov. 11 — Lawmakers complain in televised interviews that the FBI didn’t alert them sooner to the investigation. Kelley’s identity is revealed by the Associated Press. A meeting to discuss the investigation is set for the following Wednesday with the FBI, CIA acting director Michael Morell and senior members of Congress.



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