Petraeus: Bitten by an FBI ‘bulldog’

The FBI agent who set in motion the investigation that brought down David Petraeus as CIA director, but was ordered to stay away from the case because of his alleged infatuation with a woman who prompted the inquiry, has been identified as a veteran ­terrorism investigator, Frederick W ­Humphries II.

The New York Times revealed the agent's name and reported that his colleagues described him as having "conservative political views and a reputation for aggressiveness".

Before his name was made public, Humphries had been dubbed "Agent Shirtless" after it was revealed that he once sent a picture of himself topless to Jill Kelley. Her subsequent complaint to Humphries about harassing emails from Petraeus's mistress, Paula Broadwell, set in motion the investigation that forced the CIA director from office.

Humphries, a former military intelligence officer in the United States army, is under ­internal investigation as well. The FBI ordered him to stay away from the Petraeus case, which did not fall within his expertise, because of his close ties to Kelley. Last month, Humphries revealed the Petraeus probe to members of Congress because, he said, he was concerned about a cover-up. But the move could be seen as political because of the potential to embarrass President Barack Obama ahead of last week's election.

"Fred is a passionate kind of guy," a former colleague told the New York Times. "He is kind of an ­obsessive type. If he locked his teeth on something, he'd be a bulldog."

Lawrence Berger, the general counsel for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, spoke to Humphries and then told the New York Times that he sent the picture of himself without a shirt on to Kelley in jest and that it was not sexual.

"That picture was sent years before Ms Kelley contacted him about this and it was sent as part of a larger context of what I would call social relations in which the families would exchange photos."

In 2010, Humphries shot dead a soldier at MacDill Air Force Base, home of the US military's central command, where he became friends with Kelley. The FBI agent, who was off duty at the time, killed an army veteran, Ronald Bullock, who confronted him with a knife while trying to flee the base after a confrontation with security officials. Humphries was cleared in a subsequent investigation, which found he had "operated within the scope of the FBI's deadly force policy".

Humphries has been involved in a number of terrorism investigations, including one involving Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was extradited from Britain to the US in October on charges of involvement with al-Qaeda and planning to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon.

Three years ago, Humphries was involved in the controversial prosecution of an Egyptian student, Youssef Megahed, on terrorism charges in Florida. Megahed was acquitted by a jury and an immigration judge threw out an attempt to deport him. Humphries told the court that Megahed had searched the internet for information on Qassam rockets with which to attack US military vehicles in the Middle East.

Humphries, who attended school in Canada and is fluent in French, was working at the FBI office in Seattle in 1999 when he was reported to have identified Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam from his North African French accent. Ressam was convicted of planning to bomb Los Angeles Airport. – © Guardian News & Media 2012




A who's who of those in the Petraeus affair


David Petraeus
One of the United State's most senior and respected generals had a glittering military career behind him before he moved to the CIA as director last year. He resigned last Friday, acknowledging that he had shown "extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair" with Paula Broadwell. An FBI investigation that discovered the relationship through emails between the two had begun in May, but was not revealed to US congressional committees or the White House. The White House said Barack Obama was informed of it the day before Petraeus resigned, two days after Obama won his re-election.

Paula Broadwell The co-author of the Petraeus biography All In and the former CIA director's girlfriend until the affair ended four months ago. Her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, was searched on Monday night by FBI officers who took away two computers and 10 boxes. Legislators and others have questioned whether Broadwell obtained classified information from him or another source. Before the affair became public, Broadwell had claimed that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed ambassador Christopher Stevens was an attempt to free militants from a secret CIA prison known to Petraeus, but the agency has since dismissed her claim as "baseless".

Jill Kelley
A long-time friend of the Petraeus family and a volunteer social liaison with military families at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Florida. It was Kelley's complaints about harassing emails from an anonymous source (revealed to be Broadwell) that prompted an FBI investigation, ultimately alerting authorities to Petraeus's involvement with his biographer. The emails between the two women were of a "childish" jealous nature and showed the one-upmanship of trying to come across as being more important to Petraeus, an official said. Kelley was also in correspondence with General John Allen.

General John Allen
The top US commander in Afghanistan (he succeeded Petraeus) is under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with Kelley. A senior US defence official said the FBI uncovered between 20000 and 30000 pages of communication – mostly emails sent between 2010 and 2012 – between the two. Allen was to face a Senate hearing this week after he was nominated to become the commander of US forces in Europe and the Nato supreme commander, but US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta (who was Petraeus's predecessor at the CIA) told reporters shortly after the emails with Kelley were revealed that he had asked for Allen's nomination to be delayed and "the president has agreed". Allen will keep his Afghan position while he is under investigation.

General Joseph Dunford
Nominated last month by Obama to succeed Allen in Afghanistan. The assistant commandant of the US Marine Corps was due to face a Senate confirmation hearing for the role late this week. Panetta has asked the Senate to move forward quickly with the nomination.

Frederick Humphries II
The case began when Kelley contacted an FBI agent about receiving harassing emails. That FBI agent, now identified as Frederick Humphries II, has also come under scrutiny after it was discovered he sent photographs of himself without a shirt on to Kelley, but this was done "long before" this investigation, a law enforcement official told Reuters. Humphries was not on the Kelley-Broadwell case, but took the information to an FBI cybersquad in Tampa, later complaining to a member of the US Congress when he became frustrated by the pace of the investigation. – © Guardian News & Media 2012

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Chris Mcgreal
Guest Author

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Eskom and unions reach wage agreement, workers back at work

The power utility warned that the system would take some time to recover because maintenance work had been postponed because of the unprotected strike

Start of State Security Agency R1-million theft case delayed

Thuso Oesi, a former SSA administrator accused of fraud, did not arrive in court for medical reasons

Why government would fall short of cash if the fuel...

But restructuring the Road Accident Fund levy would reduce pressure on consumers

Gordhan’s Eskom ‘blame game’ underwhelms ANC leaders

Sources at a meeting of the national executive committee said a call was made to shift the power utility to Gwede Mantashe’s ministry of minerals and resources

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…