The FBI agent who investigated harassing emails to a Florida socialite, a probe that set off a chain of events leading to the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus over an extramarital affair, was a veteran investigator who has worked on high-profile terrorism cases.
The agent was identified as Frederick Humphries by a former federal agent, a source familiar with the Petraeus investigation and Humphries' attorney, Lawrence Berger.
Humphries, 47, received the initial complaint from Jill Kelley, 37, a Tampa, Fla., socialite, about "harassing" emails that an investigation traced back to Paula Broadwell, a 40-year-old author who co-wrote a biography of Petraeus, 60.The investigation ultimately uncovered evidence of an affair between Broadwell and Petraeus, prompting Petraeus to resign last week.
Berger said his client's family "knew the Kelley family socially for several years." Jill Kelley asked Humphries for advice on what she perceived to be threatening e-mails and he "referred the matter to the bureau as appropriate."
Berger said his client has been wrongly characterized as a "whistleblower," but there is "no action pending against him, nor does he anticipate any future action."Humphries "referred the matter to the FBI in accordance to proper protocol," Berger added, and the FBI investigation is taking its course.
Berger flatly declined to confirm or provide any details at all regarding Humphries' alleged contacts with the offices of either Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., or House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
According to the New York Times, Humphries was allegedly concerned the case had been stalled for political reasons, and in late October contacted Reichert, whom he knew from his time working in Washington. The Times reported that Reichert put him in touch with Cantor, who then passed the message to FBI director, Robert Mueller.An associate of Humphries told ABC News that it was hard to believe that Humphries had contacted elected officials about the case because "everyone knows that's professional suicide" and Humphries is "top notch."
Humphries has worked as a supervisor on Joint Terrorism Task Force in Tampa and has worked on high-profile terrorism cases.In Seattle, Humphries worked the so-called Millenium terror plot in 1999, which prevented an Algerian al Qaeda member from bombing Los Angeles International Airport.
More recently, he testified in Florida in a terrorism case of Florida student Youssef Megahed and his associates.
In that case, back in 2007, a sheriff's deputy with the Berkeley County Sherriff's Office in South Carolina became suspicious when University of South Florida student Ahmed Mohamed and his companion, fellow USF student Megahed, did not initially stop when they were pulled over for speeding. The officer said he saw Megahed disconnect a power cord from a laptop computer as he approached the car. The deputy searched the vehicle. According to court records, he found safety fuses, several sections of cut PVC piping containing a potassium nitrate explosive mixture and containers filled with gasoline.The pair was arrested that night for transporting explosives. Following the arrest, the FBI in Tampa and South Carolina began an investigation with the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Regarding a "shirtless" photo that Humphries reportedly sent to Jill Kelley, Berger told ABC News that several years ago, Humphries sent a "joke picture" of himself to the Kelley family showing Humphries "posing shirtless between two shooting range dummies."
"There was absolutely no romantic involvement or relationship whatsoever between Agent Humphries and Jill Kelley," said Berger.
According to Berger, sharing funny photos was part of the family's relationship.
Berger objected to unattributed comments in the New York Times that his client was "obsessed" with pursuing the matter.
"Is he a dogged, professional, passionate law enforcement officer? Yes," Berger told ABC News. But it would be "incorrect to describe him as obsessed" with this case, said Berger.
According to Berger, Humphries "reported what he knew according to FBI protocol and then let the investigation take its course."