Pure speculations have run riot about her involvement in the twists and turns of l’Affaire Petreaus given the contact with an errant FBI agent, and email exchanges with US Army Reserve Major Paula Broadwell, the alleged paramour. The revelations about several hundred email exchanges between Ms. Kelley and Marine Gen. Allen, Petreaus’ successor as ISAF commander in Afghanistan, put his nomination on hold for the NATO Commander slot.
The media and the blogosphere exploded with information about Ms. Kelley alleging that she might be a Lebanese “Marta Hari” according to a post on the leftist Daily Kos. Glen Beck’s The Blaze picked up on the Daily Kos allegations. There was even speculation about her possible role as a Hezbollah agent from the Israel Matzav blog in Jerusalem. Amazing how speculations double down.
What we do know about Ms. Kelly is that she, her twin Natalie, their two siblings and Maronite Christian parents came to the US as refugees in the mid-1970’s from the civil-war in Lebanon and settled in Philadelphia.
The family established Middle Eastern eateries including the Sahara located in Voorhees, New Jersey. They set a pattern for their children of reaching out to socially and politically connected personalities.
About a decade ago, Jill and her twin sister Natalie Khawan settled in the Tampa vicinity. Natalie is a lawyer who was reported to have specialized in whistle-blower cases. She apparently was not granted custody of her son in an acrimonious battle with her ex-husband in the DC Superior court. This despite letters from Generals Petreaus and Allen attesting to her good character. Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz said this of twin sister Natalie Khawan in his November 2011 ruling:
Ms. [Natalie] Khawan appears to lack any appreciation or respect for the importance of honesty and integrity in her interactions with her family, employers and others with whom she comes in contact.
The Huffington Post noted:
Not only did the judge in the case award her ex-husband custody last year of their 3-year-old son, John, but he also told Khawam to pay his legal bills amounting to $350,000. Khawam filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in April after racking up more than $3 million in debt, according to federal court records.
Jill Kelley’s husband Scott, a surgeon, defaulted on sizable mortgage loans and credit card debt according to the Tampa Tribune. The Tribune noted:
Regions Bank filed a foreclosure lawsuit against Jill and Scott Kelley in April 2010, claiming they failed to make payments on the mansion where they often entertained Gen. Petreaus, Gen. John Allen and other top military men. The bank demands repayment of $1.8 million in principal and interest on the mortgage and is foreclosing on the property.
And the couple’s Kelley Land Holdings defaulted on a $2.1 million loan from Central Bank. It was secured by a commercial building in Tampa, which the bank eventually took back. Then there is FIA Card Services that sued Jill Kelley for defaulting on more than $25,000 in credit card debt.
Ms. Kelley’s socializing and lavish dinners sprung for the military elite at CENTCOM must have cost a tidy sum.
The media, ever eager to find a spark behind the scenes, focused on the Honorary Consul Florida license tag on her Mercedes 500 sedan parked in the driveway of the family’s Tampa home. The Tribune noted the responses of both the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the US State Department regarding such designations:
“I am an honorary consul general,” Kelley said in one call Sunday to a police non-emergency number. “I have inviolability. They should not be on my property. I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic, uh, protection involved as well. It’s against the law to cross my property. It’s inviolable.”
Though she has the special license plate, it remained unclear Tuesday how she qualified for it.
Applicants must show proof they are members of the Honorary Consular Corps, which appears from the U.S. Department of State website to consist of representatives from foreign countries. Florida verifies that with the State Department, said Courtney Heidelberg, who is with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Florida has issued 107 such license plates.
Mark Toner, deputy spokesman with the State Department, said Kelley “does not work for State, has no affiliation with State.”His office referred all questions about Kelley to the Republic of Korea in an email received after hours.
I spoke with a knowledgeable source in both the international and domestic Maronite Christian community to put some “sunlight” to these allegations.
My source frankly had not heard of Ms. Kelley until these revelations. Further, the source indicated that to their knowledge, Ms. Kelly is not an honorary consul for the Republic of Lebanon. Citing the default on the Kelly family mortgage my source said that if she was a Hezbollah double agent, she would have had access to lavish amounts of cash and would not have resorted to borrowing against the properties. The conclusion my source drew was that Ms. Kelley was strictly a socialite trying to ingratiate herself with the CENTCOM commanders.
As we said earlier, the mainstream media and the blogosphere have gone over the top with speculations injuring the good name and reputation of Gen. Allen. As to Ms. Kelley, she had already lit the match that some over the top FBI field agent bringing down Gen. Petreaus and his paramour, Paula Broadwell. Neither Gens. Petreaus or Allen showed good judgment in their associations with the twin sisters, Jill and Natalie Khawan.
911 recording of Ms. Kelly seeking “diplomatic protection“: