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House leader heard of Petraeus affair Oct. 27

Associated Press Modified: November 12, 2012 at 10:01 pm •  Published: November 12, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — An aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says the Virginia congressman first heard about CIA Director David Petraeus' extramarital affair on Saturday, Oct. 27, from an FBI source he didn't know.

Communications director Rory Cooper told The Associated Press Monday that Cantor notified the FBI's chief of staff of the conversation, but did not tell anyone else because he did not know whether the information from an unknown source was credible. Petraeus resigned last week as the nation's top spy because of the affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

The Cantor spokesman said the Oct. 27 conversation was arranged by Rep. Dave Reichert, a Washington state Republican. Reichert had initially received a tip from an FBI source who was a colleague of the bureau employee who called Cantor.

The FBI agent who contacted Reichert was the same one who first received the allegations from Tampa socialite Jill Kelley that she was receiving threatening emails, a federal law enforcement official said Monday night. FBI agents eventually traced the alleged harassment emails warning Kelley to stay away from Petraeus to Broadwell.

Petraeus has told associates his relationship with Kelley was platonic, though Broadwell apparently saw her as a romantic rival. Kelley served as a sort of social ambassador for U.S. Central Command, hosting parties for the general when Petraeus was commander there from 2008-2010.

That agent's role in the case consisted simply of passing along information from Kelley to the FBI agents who conducted the investigation, but that agent was subsequently told by his superiors to steer clear of the case because they grew concerned that the agent had become obsessed with the investigation, the official said. The agent was a friend of Kelley and long before the case involving Petraeus got under way, the agent had sent Kelley shirtless photos of himself, according to this official. The Wall Street Journal first reported that this FBI agent was kept away from the case.

The day after the late-October call, Rory Cooper said, Cantor conferred with his chief of staff, Steve Stombres, and Richard Cullen, a former attorney general of Virginia who also served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

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