Though others remain nameless, one of the more intriguing characters in the Petraeus affair has been identified as Frederick W. Humphries II, a 47-year-old described in two newspaper accounts as “hard charging” and “a bulldog” (Tampa Bay Times) and as “hard-charging,” “passionate,” “obsessive” and “a bulldog” (The New York Times). Humphries and his wife were friends with Jill and Scott Kelley, and he did send a shirtless photo to Jill Kelley, attorney Lawrence Berger tells the Tampa Bay Times, “but said the picture was part of a series of jokes between the families.”
In the photo, he said, Humphries appeared without a shirt standing between two firing-range dummies. It was not of a sexual nature, Berger said.
Both newspapers sent reporters to Humphries’ house. The Tampa Bay Times describes it as “in rural eastern Hillsborough County, around the corner from strawberry fields.” The house “was dark and no one answered the door,” the Tampa Bay Times reports. “Burglar bars protected the windows and a large flag flew outside. A few miles away, his in-laws’ house was also dark.”
In The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt, Scott Shane and Alain Delaquérière describe a stranger encounter:
A large American flag was flying on Wednesday in front of Mr. Humphries’s house in Dover, a half-hour drive from Tampa. A man standing in the driveway who appeared to be Mr. Humphries, approached by a reporter seeking comment, said his first name was not Fred. The man then walked into the house, closed the front door and did not respond to the doorbell.
Both accounts feature photos of Humphries in which he is fully clothed.
There’s some dispute over the content of Jill Kellley and Gen. John R. Allen’s emails: From that same New York Times piece, “a law enforcement official” told Schmidt, Shane and Delaquérière they were “sexually explicit e-mail exchanges” but “associates of General Allen” say, no, the “messages were affectionate but platonic.” Then:
A law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, disputed that assertion on Wednesday, saying some messages were clearly sexual. Investigators were confident “the nature of the content warranted passing them on” to the inspector general, the official said.
Remember Paula Broadwell? The Washington Post’s Emily Wax picks up where Washington City Paper left off Tuesday and joins the media stakeout around the house in Washington, D.C., where Broadwell is staying. Some of the old heads outside the townhouse tell Wax about D.C. stakeouts of yore: NBC News’ Debbie Pettit remembers the Lewinsky stakeout, back when the press brought “bags of quarters so when something happened, we could go run for a pay phone.”
A TV cameraman tells Wax he put his kid through college with overtime earned staking out D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, Fawn Hall and Gary Hart.
Meanwhile, in Tampa: There’s a real scene going on in front of Jill and Scott Kelley’s home.
Jill Kelley will not be able to rely on her status as “honorary consul general” to disperse the press, though: She’s lost her VIP rights to MacDill AFB in Tampa. Once again, to Schmidt, Shane and Delaquérière:
The officials said Ms. Kelley was no longer permitted to enter MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa “with a wave,” as she has for years as a regular volunteer and visitor to ranking officers there. Now she has to get approval and sign in at the visitor’s gate, the official said.
And Broadwell has lost her security clearance, Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube report.
Had enough Petraeus? You can “go pound sand,” Jack Shafer writes.
Political sex scandals have a way of engaging an otherwise apathetic public in substantive coverage about the workings of the criminal justice system, the misuse of political power, and American prudery.
“The least worthy press critic is the one who complains about too much coverage,” Shafer says.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a D.C. sex scandal without some local media connections. Washingtonian Editor Garrett M. Graff notes Humphries is in his recent book, and ABC News’ Jake Tapper proves he’s never fully out of the proximity of a decent scandal:
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 15, 2012