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Judge OKs Jill Kelley privacy lawsuit

Jill Kelley claims the investigation into emails sent by David Petraeus' paramour Paula Broadwell was an invasion of her privacy.

By Gabrielle Levy
In an image from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), ISAF Commander General David Petraeus shakes hands with Paula Broadwell in July 2011. Petraeus retired a few months later to become the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he allegedly had an affair with his biographer Broadwell. He resigned on Friday, November 9, 2012 due to the affair. UPI/ISAF
In an image from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), ISAF Commander General David Petraeus shakes hands with Paula Broadwell in July 2011. Petraeus retired a few months later to become the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he allegedly had an affair with his biographer Broadwell. He resigned on Friday, November 9, 2012 due to the affair. UPI/ISAF | License Photo

TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The Florida woman whose suspicions led to an FBI investigation that brought down former CIA director David Petraeus will be allowed to continue with a privacy lawsuit against federal officials.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson tossed most of the claims made by Jill Kelley and her husband, Scott Kelley, in their lawsuit against the FBI and Defense Department, who they claim violated their privacy when officials leaked information about the scandal to the media.

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"The amended complaint is a long, overwrought, and argumentative document, and its 225 paragraphs are full of indignation while being thin on facts," Jackson wrote.

Jackson dismissed more than a dozen of the allegations made in the Kelley's lawsuit, but she did allow one claim to go forward: that the FBI and the Defense Department violated the Privacy Act, a law aimed at preventing unwarranted invasions of privacy by federal agencies that was passed after Watergate.

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"Providing information to the media is not among the list of permissible disclosures listed in the Privacy Act," she wrote. "While it may prove to be the case that the media sensationalized the facts and seasoned its coverage of these events with sexual innuendo on its own, plaintiffs do point to several press accounts that identify the sources as unnamed government or military officials."

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Other allegations that were ultimately tossed out included charges against then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former FBI deputy director Sean Joyce and two FBI agents.

In 2012, Jill Kelley complained to the FBI that she had received harassing emails from an unknown person. The ensuing criminal investigation uncovered the affair between biographer Paula Broadwell and Petraeus.

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Kelley's name and some of Broadwell's emails were leaked to the media, as was an investigation into Marine Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, for allegedly inappropriate communications with Kelley.

Kelley's lawyers claimed government leakers had described communication between her and Allen as phone sex, and complained the leaks were motivated by sexual discrimination. Allen, who has since retired, was exonerated by the inspector general of the DOD.

Kelley vs. DOD

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