Jill Kelley. (Photo by Tim Boyles/Getty Images)
Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite who triggered the scandal that brought down CIA director David Petraeus, viewed the e-mails that she got anonymously from Paula Broadwell, Petraeus' mistress, as "death threats" from someone "clearly unhinged," according to a close friend of Kelley's, the Daily News reported Tuesday.
"This wasn't just a catfight. Any normal person who got e-mails like that would have immediately called the police," the friend told the New York tabloid.
The friend, who was not identified, said a panic-stricken Kelley read her the e-mails and asked for advice in the days before the scandal went public.
"This wasn't just a case of cyber-bullying," the friend said. "(Kelley) was scared for her life. She had reason to be. These e-mails are the real thing. When she read them to me, I literally had the shivers."
Kelley, she said, was particularly alarmed by one message in which Broadwell vowed to "make you go away" and boasted she had "powerful" friends, the newspaper said.
Kelley eventually went to the FBI, who traced the e-mails back to Broadwell, Petraeus' biographer and a West Point graduate.
Broadwell, meanwhile, is being described as "devastated" and racked by guilt over the scandal, her brother, Stephen Kranz, told People magazine in an exclusive interview.
"She's been devastated by this," Kranz told People. "She is filled with guilt and shame for what she's done and she's incredibly sorry for the pain she's caused her husband, her family, Petraeus's family."
Broadwell spent several days with her brother in Washington, D.C., last week before returning to her home in Charlotte, N.C., where she lives with her husband and two sons.
"Now [she] is really focused on repairing and protecting her family and trying to really focus on her husband and her children and protect the kids from this," Kranz told the magazine.
In other developments, Kelley and her twin sister, Natalie Khawam, meanwhile, have come under intense scrutiny for their ties to the scandal.
Khawam, who was described by the court in a custody hearing as suffering from "severe" psychological deficits, has also hobnobbed with top military figures at MacDill and got Petraeus and Allen to write letters on her behalf in the unsuccessful custody case, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Khawam has hired celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who scheduled a news conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday to "correct misconceptions" about her client and to comment on Natalie's relationship with Petraeus and his wife Holly.
Kelley's friend, in the Daily News account, insisted there was nothing inappropriate in Kelley's relationship with Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Allen's nomination to become NATO commander has been put on hold after news surfaced that he and Kelley had exchanged numerous e-mails over the past two years.
An Associated Press report last week that a senior defense official had called the e-mails between Allen and Kelley "flirtatious."
The friend, however, told the Daily News that she is "fiercely dedicated to her family."
Kelley, however, has been barred from access to MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, where she had made friends with several high-ranking officers as an unpaid social liaison between the military and the local community.
The Tampa TV station WTSP-TV reported that Kelley has taken multiple flights on military aircraft at taxpayer expense, including one trip with Kelley to Washington.
One flight the Department of Defense has confirmed to 10 News involved Kelley taking an orientation flight on a KC-135 in May of 2010, according to WTSP reporter Preston Rudie.
"It's an educational opportunity for people to just see what hard working military members are doing each day," Lt. Col. Jack Miller said on Monday.
Officials noted that about 150-people each year take an orientation flight at MacDill, with the flights leaving and then returning to Tampa. These have included anything from community leaders to Cub Scouts to sports team, the officials said, WTSP reported.