A South Korean official laughed today when asked about the international influence of Jill Kelley, the woman named honorary consul general to the Asian nation just months before an FBI investigation she sparked led to a national scandal and the resignation of CIA head Gen. David Petraeus.
Kelley, a high-profile Florida socialite, had apparently parlayed her popularity among American military and government officials into the honorary appointment in August and quickly began taking her title seriously.
Though Kelley had no official connection to the State Department, one U.S. official told ABC News she would often drop the “honorary” part of her title in conversation. In a 911 tape from over the weekend, Kelley complained about trespassers on her property and said that since she was an honorary consul, she was subject to “inviolability.”
A New York businessman told The Associated Press Wednesday that after he met Kelley at the Republican National Convention in August, she told him she would be in a position to help broker a billion-dollar deal directly with the president of South Korea and wanted a two-percent commission in return – a multi-million-dollar payday.
But T.J. Kim, a spokesperson for the South Korean Embassy in Washington, laughed today when he learned of Kelley’s alleged claim of access.
“She only assumed this honorary position in August, and in three months we saw no activity from her or for the Korean government or the Korean community in Florida,” he told ABC News.
The New York business man concluded after a subsequent meeting with Kelley that she “had little to offer in the way of deal-making expertise or connections with Korean leaders,” as the AP put it.
Kelley was thrust into the international spotlight earlier this week when it was revealed an FBI investigation that uncovered an affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, all started with Kelley. Kelley had alerted an FBI friend about “harassing” emails she was receiving from an anonymous sender. The FBI tracked the emails to Broadwell and then stumbled on the affair, U.S. officials said.
Petraeus, a married man, admitted the affair and stepped down from arguably the world’s most powerful spy agency Saturday.
Kelley has declined to speak to the media in recent days except for a statement, released Sunday, in which she said her family has “been friends with Gen. Petraeus and his family for over five years.”
“We respect his and his family’s privacy and want the same for us and our three children,” the statement said.