WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Tampa woman whose name surfaced in the scandal involving former CIA Director David Petraeus' extramarital affair has sued the FBI, Defense Department and unidentified government officials alleging they defamed her and violated her rights.
In a 65-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington on Monday, Tampa socialite Jill Kelley and her husband, Scott, said government officials wilfully leaked damaging false information about the pair to the media.
News outlets suggested that Kelley and General John Allen, one-time commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, had exchanged embarrassing personal emails.
The lawsuit said Kelley was subjected to public "ridicule, moral opprobrium, scorn and derision" and asked the court to order government agencies and officials to apologize formally to the Kelleys and to award them damages. No figure was mentioned.
Kelley's name surfaced a few days after Petraeus, the retired U.S. Army general credited with helping keep Iraq from full-scale civil war, quit the CIA in November over an affair with biographer Paula Broadwell. Kelley had complained to the FBI that she had received anonymous, harassing emails from someone about Petraeus' affair.
The FBI opened an investigation, which eventually led to the uncovering of Petraeus' extramarital relationship with Broadwell and to the publication of allegations about Kelley and Allen.
Kelley denied any inappropriate relationship with Allen, whose subsequently withdrew his nomination to become commander of NATO forces in Europe and retired from military service even though a Pentagon investigation cleared him of wrongdoing in his dealings with Kelley.
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Alistair Bell and Doina Chiacu)