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Jill Kelley, the now-infamous whistleblower in the David Petraeus scandal, was blackmailed by his mistress Paula Broadwell, according to a new report.

Kelley says she was “terrified” late last summer when he told her about an email, later revealed to be from Broadwell, and the barrage that followed.

“There was blackmail, extortion, threats,” Kelley told the Daily Beast in her first interview since the Petraeus scandal erupted three months ago.

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The emails, as Kelley would later learn, were from Paula Broadwell, whose affair with David Petraeus triggered his resignation as CIA director.

The writer was so ambiguous, Kelley “didn’t even know it was a female.”

Contradicting virtually every published account of the saga, Kelley indicates that the anonymous emails did not warn her to stay away from Petraeus.

And yet the press depicted the two of them as “romantic rivals.”

“Think how bizarre that is,” Kelley says.

One person close to Kelley says the tone of the notes – numbering fewer than 10 – grew increasingly severe and, without being explicit, threatening.

Did Kelley come to suspect that Broadwell was behind them.

“I never met Paula in my life,” Jill Kelley says, noting that she didn’t even know Broadwell had just published a glowing biography of David Petraeus.

It seems evident that Broadwell grew jealous about what she perceived as Kelley’s relationship with Petraeus; at an awards ceremony, he kissed her on the cheek.

Kelley will not speculate about Broadwell’s motivation.

Her complaint to the FBI set in motion a chain of events that culminated with Petraeus, the architect of U.S. war strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, acknowledging his affair with Broadwell.

The husband of Holly Petraeus resigned from the CIA.

Kelley, 37, would also find herself the subject of speculation that she was carrying on with Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, which she flatly denies.

Allen also has denied wrongdoing.

Kelley bristles at those eye-catching media reports that she and Allen exchanged as many as 30,000 emails, calling the figure “outrageous.”

What has been lost in the lurid and sometimes mocking coverage is the toll the scandal has taken on Kelley, her husband, and their three young children.

Continue reading her interview with the Daily Beast