WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The twin sister of one of the women in the David Petraeus scandal appeared before the media with celebrity attorney Gloria Allred on Tuesday but declined to answer questions about her links to Petraeus, who quit as director of the CIA after admitting an affair.
Natalie Khawam also did not discuss her relationship with Marine General John Allen, who succeeded Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan.
Allen has been linked to Khawam's twin, Tampa, Florida, socialite Jill Kelley, through "flirtatious" emails that turned up in the Petraeus investigation.
Both Allen and Petraeus wrote letters of support on Khawam's behalf when she was in a custody dispute with her ex-husband.
Allred told reporters that Petraeus and his wife, Holly, were long-time family friends of the sisters.
"They have loved Natalie's child and emotionally supported her and her son through the toughest times in Natalie and her son's life," Allred, who has a long list of celebrity clients, said at the news conference at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.
She did not mention the letter of support written by Allen, who took over as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan when Petraeus left the post to become director of the CIA in September 2011.
Petraeus quit the CIA job on Nov. 9, admitting that he had a n affair.
The affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was revealed when the FBI found communications between her and Petraeus. Kelley had set the investigation in motion by telling an FBI agent that she had been receiving threatening emails that were eventually traced to Broadwell.
That investigation also uncovered emails between Kelley and Allen t hat a re now the subject of a Defense Department internal inquiry. Allen has denied that the two had a sexual relationship, officials have said on condition of anonymity.
At the news conference, Khawam described her sister as a kind, generous person and her "best friend." She did not provide details about her or Kelley's relationship with the Petraeus or Allen families, or about her custody dispute.
Khawam "will continue to love and support Jill for doing the right thing," Allred said, without elaborating on what she meant by "right thing." Jill Kelley has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Khawam's ex-husband, Grayson Wolfe, was awarded sole custody of their 4-year-old son and a judge found that Khawam "has extreme personal deficits in the areas of honesty and integrity."
"I look forward to the day when I'm able to answer everyone's questions and explain what really happened in this matter," Khawam said on Tuesday. She did not take questions. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski and David Ingram; Editing by Bill Trott)
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A highly decorated four-star Army general lauded for his leadership of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Petraeus moved into the civilian world to become CIA director in September 2011. He shocked official Washington on November 9, 2012 by admitting an extramarital affair with his biographer and resigning his spymaster post. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
The other woman. An author and married mom of two young children, she was a West Point-educated Army reservist and graduate student when she met Petraeus at Harvard in 2006. She later embarked on a case study on his leadership of the Iraq War. After he took the helm in Afghanistan, Broadwell expanded her work into a biography, gaining unprecedented access to Petraeus and his commanders. It's called "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus." Their affair began in November 2011, a couple of months after he became CIA director, according to retired Army Col. Steve Boylan, a friend of the Petraeus family. It ended last summer, Boylan said. The relationship was exposed after Broadwell of Charlotte, N.C., sent emails to another woman, Jill Kelley, warning her to stay away from Petraeus, officials said. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
All threads in the story trace back to this Tampa, Fla., socialite. A surgeon's wife and mother of three children, Kelley is a sort of self-appointed social ambassador for the nearby U.S. Central Command and other officers at MacDill Air Force Base. The Kelleys opened their bayside home to lavish parties where military brass mingled with Tampa's elite. In this role, she befriended Petraeus and his wife, Holly, when he took over Central Command in October 2008. Kelley stayed in close contact with Petraeus after he left to take command of the Afghanistan war. They exchanged nearly daily emails in an account routinely monitored by his aides, according to two former staffers, who said those messages weren't romantic in tone. In May 2012, Kelley started getting anonymous, harassing emails warning her away from Petraeus. She reported the email to the FBI. The FBI traced the messages to Broadwell, uncovering her affair with Petraeus. The FBI notified Petraeus' boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who urged him to resign. And the FBI found something more. It unearthed "inappropriate communications" between Kelley and another top military officer, John Allen, according to Pentagon officials. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
The four-star Marine general who followed in Petraeus' footsteps at Central Command and then as top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is now following him into choppy waters. The Pentagon is investigating 20,000 pages of documents and emails involving Allen, who is married, and Kelley. Some of the communications were "flirtatious," according to a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the case publicly. Like Petraeus, Allen, 58, was part of the Tampa social circle; he moved up to acting commander when Petraeus left for Afghanistan. When Petraeus came home from Afghanistan, Allen moved into the top job there – his current post. President Barack Obama had nominated Allen to take over U.S. European Command and lead all NATO forces in Europe. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
Kelley's twin sister also socialized with the two generals. Both Petraeus and Allen wrote letters lauding Khawam as a devoted mother to help her in a bitter child custody battle with her ex-husband. Earlier in that divorce case, Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz had criticized Khawam for a lack of honesty and "misrepresentations about virtually everything." (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
Petraeus' wife of 38 years, mother of their two grown children, is in charge of service member assistance at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and is a well-known advocate for military families. Mrs. Petraeus is said to be devastated by her husband's infidelity. "Furious would be an understatement," family friend Boylan told ABC's "Good Morning America." (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20121114/us-scandal-scorecard/">The Associated Press</a>)
FBI Agent Frederick W. Humphries
Humphries, 47, was the agent who initially saw the emails the FBI said Petraeus' biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, sent to Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, a woman she apparently saw as a rival for Petraeus' affections. She also allegedly sent emails to Gen. John Allen, Kelley's friend and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Concerned about the emails, Kelley contacted Humphries in June. The two had met at a 2011 FBI Citizens Academy, a program aimed at teaching the public and journalists about what the agency does and how it operates. Kelley was in the class, which Humphries lectured one night about terrorism, according to Natalie Shepherd, a Tampa TV reporter who was there. Humphries, a former Army captain who worked in military intelligence, thought the emails raised serious concerns because the anonymous author knew the comings and goings of Allen and Petraeus, a former general who had preceded Allen in Afghanistan. His report back to the FBI started the investigation that led to Broadwell and uncovered her affair with Petraeus. (Text via <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/frederick-humphries_n_2134203.html" target="_hplink">The Associated Press</a>)