What’s Up: November 14, 2012?

To read the entire article click on the title or Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

· Woman who received ‘threatening’ e-mails from Gen. David Petraeus’ mistress is ID’dBy BOBBY MARTINEZ in Tampa, Fla., and JEANE MACINTOSH and DAN MACLEOD in New York

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It was a married Florida woman who blew the lid off the scandalous affair that led retired Gen. David Petraeus to resign as CIA chief when she told the FBI of allegedly threatening e-mails she’d received from his lover, sources said yesterday.

Jill Kelley, 37, of Tampa — a “social liaison” to the powerful Joint Special Operations Command — reported the jealous messages from Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell, who is accused of sleeping with the married four-star general, to the FBI, sources said.

When Kelley read Broadwell’s e-mails, she was so scared that she went to the FBI for protection, according to a source, who said she initially approached a Florida field office of the FBI — not its headquarters — with a complaint of cyber-harassment.

She had received numerous intimidating e-mails from a handful of pseudonymous addresses.

The nature of the e-mails, according to the source, was “I know what you’re doing” and similar suggestions that someone was on to Kelley. There was no explicit threat of violence.

The feds — fearing that the nation’s top spy was the victim of an e-mail hacker — traced the messages to Broadwell, and in the process discovered tawdry messages between her and Petraeus.

High-level Justice Department officials knew by late summer of an ongoing investigation involving Petraeus, a source said.

The married Broadwell, 40, told Kelley to “back off,” “stay away from my guy,” and warned, “I know what you did,” sources have told The Post.

Initial reports said the relationship ended before Petraeus took over the CIA in September 2011, but yesterday, ABC News and The Wall Street Journal said the affair actually began shortly after he was sworn in and ended only a few months ago.

clip_image002TROUBLE:Shamed CIA boss David Petraeus (from left) with Scott Kelley and Kelley’s wife, Jill, with Petraeus’ wife, Holly, in Tampa. Jill alerted the feds to “threatening” e-mails.

Kelley, a mother of three, and Petraeus, 60, are friends who see each other often, sources said.

“We and our family have been friends with General 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,” Kelley said in a statement. Story Continued:

· Hillary’s Next Move

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Somewhere Over South America

It was a few weeks before the election. Clinton was flying back from an overnight trip to Peru, talking — without any great enthusiasm — about the topic that would begin to obsess the American political world as soon as the presidential ballots had been counted: Will Hillary run in 2016?

It’s more than two months until this inauguration. But the speculation is already roaring. On Friday, Politico reported that Public Policy Polling had a new survey showing that if the Iowa caucuses were held today — there’s a terrifying thought — Clinton would get 58 percent of the vote. Joe Biden limped in with 17 percent.

Every day, people approach Hillary Clinton and tell her she has an obligation to run and give America its first woman president. “Yes, they do!” she laughs, with the trademark H.C. chortle. Being asked to run for president is a kind of side career all by itself.

Clinton gives many variations on the theme of don’t-think-so. (“Oh, I’ve ruled it out, but you know me. Everybody keeps asking me. So I keep ruling it out and being asked.”) Also a thousand different forms of beats-me. (“I have no idea what I’m going to do next.”) What she does not do is offer the kind of Shermanesque if-nominated-I-will-not-run language that would end the conversation.

Instead, she veers off into a discussion of all the things she’ll do when she’s no longer secretary of state, and there’s time. That led to a mention of her favorite television shows, which are all about house buying and home improvement.

Her top pick is “Love It or List It,” in which a couple who are unhappy with their current residence gets to look at new houses while a decorator rehabs their old place. The plot arc is always the same, and in a way, it’s sort of Clintonesque. The redecorators find termites or a leaky furnace; the house search goes awry. Everybody’s upset! But after a lot of hard work and the final commercial, there’s a happy ending.

“I find it very calming,” she said.

Clinton sounded relaxed and cheerful in the way of people who are in a good mood despite a severe lack of sleep. She was sitting in the little room that serves as her private space on the secretary of state’s plane. It’s a modest accommodation for the nation’s Traveler in Chief — barely big enough for a table and a small sofa/daybed. You’d think somebody who puts in her kind of hours would get a little plusher ride. During her day in Peru she had given several speeches and multiple TV interviews, toured a textile factory, taken part in a conference on women’s empowerment and spent an evening with President Ollanta Humala and his wife, Nadine Heredia.

“It was a long dinner, but it really was a good conversation,” said Clinton earnestly, describing the president, his wife and the other officials she’d talked with, including the Peruvian minister of development and social inclusion, who she termed “very savvy.” Clinton is from the personal relationship school of foreign policy. Her approach to day-to-day diplomacy is not unlike the way she found her footing as a candidate for the United States Senate. Remember the listening tours? Lots and lots of listening tours.

“So, last night at dinner we sat down and had drinks — there were only like 8 or 10 of us — and we just talked,” she said, recounting the evening. “When somebody comes along like him who has good values, really does care about what he’s talking about, there’s no substitute for just time spent one on one in small groups.”

If Hillary Clinton ran for president again, she would probably be the best-prepared candidate in American history: one who’s lived in the White House, served in the United States Senate, a woman who knows virtually every head of state in the world and also has a strong opinion about the merits of the Peruvian minister of development and social inclusion.

Joe Biden might arguably come close. But we’re not going to talk about Joe Biden until we figure out what Hillary’s going to do. Story Continued:

· ‘Destroy the idols,’ Egyptian jihadist calls for removal of Sphinx, Pyramids

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An Egyptian jihad leader, with self-professed links to the Taliban, called for the “destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt,” drawing ties between the Egyptian relics and Buddha statues, local media reported this week.

Murgan Salem al-Gohary, an Islamist leader twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, called on Muslims to remove such “idols.”

“All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues,” he said on Saturday during a television interview on an Egyptian private channel, widely watched by Egyptian and Arab audiences.

“God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols,” he added. “When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.”

His comments came a day after thousands of ultraconservative Islamists gathered in Tahrir Square to call for the strict application of Sharia law in the new constitution.

But in retaliation to Gohary’s remarks, the vice president of Tunisia’s Ennahda party, Sheikh Abdel Fattah Moro, called the live program and told Gohary that famous historic military commander Amr ibn al-Aas did not destroy statues when he conquered Egypt.

“So who are you to do it?” he wondered. “The Prophet destroyed the idols because people worshiped them, but the Sphinx and the Pyramids are not worshiped.”

Gohary, 50, is well-known in Egypt for his advocacy of violence, Egypt Independent reported.

“He was sentenced twice, one of the two sentences being life imprisonment. He subsequently fled Egypt to Afghanistan, where he was badly injured in the American invasion. In 2007, he traveled from Pakistan to Syria, which then handed him over to Egypt. After Mubarak’s fall in early 2011, he was released from prison by a judicial ruling,” the newspaper added.

In recent months, fears have surfaced that the ultra-conservative Salafi political powers may soon wish to debate new guidelines over Egyptian antiquities.

Islamists have swept the recent presidential and parliamentary elections in the country’s post-revolutionary stage, with the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists rising to political power.

“The fundamental Salafis have demanded to cover Pharaonic statues, because they regard them to be idols,” Egyptian author on ancient history Ahmed Osman told Al Arabiya English, explaining that Salafi Muslims follow conservative religious principles which view statues and sculptures as prohibited in Islam.

“But so far the government has done nothing to indicate what is the future of Egyptian antiquities,” adds Osman.

Many hope that Egypt’s new President Mohammed Mursi will help usher better preservation of Egypt’s proud cultural heritage. Egyptian officials have recently announced the country will reveal more of its ancient buried treasures.

The tomb of Queen Meresankh III, the granddaughter of Khufu, of Great Pyramid fame, is set to be opened to tourists later this year, with the last resting places of five high priests also slated to be put on show.

Officials are also believed to be reopening the underground Serapeum temple at Sakkara, to the south of Cairo. Story Continued:

· Abbas ‘No’ Puts Obama in His Place – Obama called Abbas to express opposition to his bid to the UN. Abbas did what Netanyahu could never do – tell the president “no.”

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Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas threw cold water on President Barack Obama’s election victory, answering the president with a direct “no” after Obama told him his administration is opposed to the PA’s unilateral move for recognition by the United Nations General Assembly.

Abbas’ blunt “no” underscored the new Middle East reality, where the PA chief feels he can snub the United States and bank on international opposition to the State of Israel’s position for defensible borders, said analysts.

“There was a long telephone conversation between president Mahmud Abbas and Barack Obama,” the Palestinian leader’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina told AFP. “Obama expressed the opposition of the United States to the decision to go to the UN General Assembly.”

Abbas, who immediately launched a diplomatic war against Israel after taking over for Yasser Arafat following is death, turned Israel into the villain.

“Abbas cited the reasons and motives for the Palestinian decision to seek non-member statehood as continued Israeli settlement activity and Israeli aggression against citizens and property,” Abu Rudeina said.

The White House later issued a conciliatory statement, stating that the president “reiterated the United States’ opposition to unilateral efforts at the United Nations” in the call to Abbas and “reaffirmed his commitment to Middle East peace and his strong support for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians with the objective of two states living side by side in peace and security.”

Abbas has stated that winning Non-Member Observer status from the United Nations, based on the PA’s own territorial and political demands, will pave the wavy for “negotiations,” meaning Israel’s acceptance of his terms.

Abbas’ “no” reflects a clear and single-minded path he has carefully paved since he took over from Arafat, wearing a suit and tie inside of donning Arafat’s kefiyah and pistol, and slowing whittling away at previously accepted commitments through semantics or political twists and turns.

He has publicly condemned terror when talking to English-speaking leaders while officiating at PA ceremonies praising suicide bombers.

Having gained Obama’s support that the term “illegal settlements” means all places in Judea, Samaria and areas of Jerusalem where Jews ive and which are claimed by the Palestinian Authority, he has been able to argue logically that if that is the case, Israel has no right to build in those areas and therefore must commit to a withdrawal before sitting down for direct talks. Story Continued:

· IRAN VP: WE WILL BREAK OBAMA’S ‘GRASPING HANDS’ – TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s vice president said Monday that Tehran will break the `grasping hands’ of newly re-elected President Barack Obama, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Mohammad Reza Rahimi also said Iran will overcome U.S.-led sanctions against the country.

“We will break grasping hands of Obama and we will be successful in bypassing the sanctions,” Rahimi was quoted as saying during a research and scientific exhibition at Tehran University.

Iranian officials dismiss the impact of last week’s U.S. elections, suggesting it will have little impact on Washington’s Iran policy. On Thursday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mocked the cost of campaigning, dubbing the vote a “battleground for capitalists”

Rahimi is known for hardline anti-Western statements. In June, he blamed global drug use on the teachings of Jewish holy texts.

The sanctions have hit Iran’s economy hard in the past months. They are imposed over Iran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at weapons development. Iran denies the charge, saying its program is for peaceful purposes like power generation and cancer treatment.

Ahmadinejad and allies like Rahimi are anxious to play up Iran’s confrontation with the West. Conservatives who used to back him, but who turned against him last year over his perceived challenge to the clerical establishment, say he has mismanaged the economy and contributed to the country’s woes.

Iran’s parliament plans to question Ahmadinejad over the economy, and in the past has accused Rahimi of misusing public funds. The vice president denies the allegations. Story Continued:

· 6,125 Proposed Regulations and Notifications Posted in Last 90 Days–Average 68 per Day

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It’s Friday morning, and so far today, the Obama administration has posted 165 new regulations and notifications on its reguations.gov website.

In the past 90 days, it has posted 6,125 regulations and notices – an average of 68 a day.

The website allows visitors to find and comment on proposed regulations and related documents published by the U.S. federal government. “Help improve Federal regulations by submitting your comments,” the website says.

The thousands of entries run the gamut from meeting notifications to fee schedules to actual rules and proposed rule changes.

In recent days, for example, the EPA posted a proposed rule involving volatile organic compound emissions from architectural coatings: “We are approving a local rule that regulates these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act),” the proposed rule states. “We are taking comments on this proposal and plan to follow with a final action.”

Another proposed rule will provide guidance for FDA staff on “enforcement criteria for canned ackee, frozen ackee, and other ackee products that contain hypoglycin A.” (Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica; unripened or inedible portions can be toxic.)

Some of the proposed regulations revise regulations already on the books.

The website also links to a video of a speech President Barack Obama gave at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 7, 2011, in which the president promised to remove “outdated and unnecessary regulations.”

“I’ve ordered a government-wide review, and if there are rules on the books that are needlessly stifling job creation and economic growth, we will fix them,” the president said.

A number of groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, expect a rush of new regulations now that President Obama has won a second term:

CEI expects the EPA to move ahead on delayed rules on everything from greenhouse gas emissions to ozone standards. “Rules from the health care bill and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill will also likely make themselves known in the weeks to come,” the group said on its website. Story Continued:

· Wal-Mart Employees to Pay More for Health-Care Plans – Wal-Mart Stores’ U.S. employees will pay between 8 percent and 36 percent more in premiums for its medical coverage in 2013, prompting some of the 1.4 million workers at the nation’s largest private employer to say they will forego coverage altogether.

In mailings sent to employees for its recently completed open-enrollment period, Wal-Mart [WMT 72.539 0.229 (+0.32%)] noted that its rates would increase because health-care costs continue to rise.

For its most popular plan, which covers individuals, the payment per bi-weekly paycheck is going up by $2, or 13 percent. Other plans will see larger increases as the world’s largest retailer, known for low prices, tries to control its own costs.

Still, Wal-Mart said average costs its employees will bear should only rise about 4.4 percent in 2013, due to the elimination of some high premium plans, its move to offer free heart and spine surgery to most employees at six health-care centers, and provision of other services, such as access to a health-care advisor. That is less than the 9 percent average increase expected for all American workers next year, according to a study by human resources firm Aon Hewitt, though it isn’t clear whether the figures are comparable.

Wal-Mart’s example could be a blueprint for other employers trying to manage their costs while also preparing to meet the requirements of President Barack Obama’s U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was passed in 2010, and is widely referred to as Obamacare.

The law, the biggest reform to America’s health care in decades, is intended to make health care less expensive, but critics question if it will succeed and it will also take years to fully implement. In the meantime, Wal-Mart and other large companies are trying to control their health-care costs, which have been rising an average of more than 6 percent per year.

Wal-Mart pays for preventive care such as routine checkups. However, workers must pay deductibles of at least $1,750 before Wal-Mart covers 80 percent of the cost of other care, such as doctor visits and diagnostic tests.

The retailer will also defray some costs with a separate contribution of $250 or $500 for individuals, and double that range for families.

Winter Clothes Instead

Some workers say the price hikes for next year have pushed them to drop coverage.

“I really can’t even afford it now, so for it to go up even a dollar for me is a stretch,” said Colby Harris, who said he makes $8.90 per hour and takes home less than $20,000 per year working in the Walmart store’s produce department in Lancaster, Texas.

Harris, a 22-year-old smoker, was set to see his cost per paycheck rise to $29.60 from $25.40. He says he has decided not to sign up for coverage. Given his low income, as Harris foregoes coverage any major medical bills could potentially fall to taxpayers through the government’s Medicaid program.

More than half of Wal-Mart’s U.S. employees sign up for its health-care plans, which cover 1.1 million people, including dependents. Store workers across the country are offered the same plans as executives back at Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

“Over the past few years we’ve all seen the cost of health care continue to rise nationwide, and 2013 is no different,” Wal-Mart said in a statement. “As a result, we are adjusting rates for some of our health-care plan choices. We are doing our best to keep health-care costs as low as possible for our associates.”

Barbara Andridge, who works at the Walmart store in Placerville, Calif., decided to drop out of a Wal-Mart plan provided for the retailer by a health management organization — when she found out that the cost was set to nearly double to $60 a month. The Wal-Mart HMO plans can be more expensive than Wal-Mart’s own.

“Sixty dollars isn’t a lot to some people, but when I have to think about buying winter clothes for my kids or sending my daughter to college I have to think of what is best for my children,” she said. “Hopefully I’m making the right decision.”

Andridge, who makes $12.05 an hour and said her husband was laid off this year, knows that she would have had to pay the same $60 monthly premium no matter how many hours she worked.

“Living paycheck to paycheck, I made the decision to swallow my pride and go and get county health,” she said in reference to Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid health-care program. (Read More: ‘Rare Good News’ on Health Care Retirement Savings: Study)

Rising Costs Everywhere

Wal-Mart has been touting its efforts to improve health care for its employees, including its October announcement that it would cover all costs, including travel, for costly, complicated heart and spine surgeries at the six centers.

Nearly two-thirds of Wal-Mart employees sign up to cover only themselves. Rates covering individuals will rise $2 to $11 per paycheck, or 13 percent to 23 percent, according to documents viewed by Reuters. When plans covering families are included, rates rise anywhere from 8 percent to 36 percent.

Wal-Mart does offer some plans with premiums that are well below the national average.

Wal-Mart’s lowest-cost and most popular associate-only medical plan will cost $17.40 per two-week pay period in 2013, up $2 from 2012. Costs for a single non-tobacco-using employee range from that to $59.30 per paycheck for 2013 (or $34.80 to $118.60 every four weeks).

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2012 survey, the average monthly U.S. worker contribution this year was $79 per month for single coverage.

U.S. premiums are expected to rise 6.3 percent on average in 2013, human resources firm Aon Hewitt said in October, but premiums are just part of the costs story.

Newly hired part-time employees at Wal-Mart will have to work a minimum of 30 hours a week, up from 24 hours previously, before they qualify for coverage. The Affordable Care Act only requires larger employers to provide coverage for their staff who work at least 30 hours per week.

Other changes to Wal-Mart’s 2013 plans, such as raising premiums, would have happened regardless of Obamacare, as it tries to control rising health-care costs, the company said.

Harris and Andridge, who are dropping their coverage, are part of a group called OUR Walmart. Higher health-care costs are one of the issues the group wants Wal-Mart to address, along with concerns such as wages and scheduling.

“Even if the plan only went up, let’s say 50 cents, when you’re barely making it every literal cent counts,” said Harris.

OUR Walmart, which itself is not a labor union, is backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International union, which represents workers at major grocery chains that compete with Wal-Mart. Members of OUR Walmart pay the organization dues of $5 per month. Story Continued:

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· John Allen-Jill Kelley Emails Were ‘Flirtatious’: Senior Defense Official

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The sex scandal that led to CIA Director David Petraeus’ downfall widened Tuesday with word the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is under investigation for thousands of alleged “inappropriate communications” with another woman involved in the case. Some of the material was “flirtatious,” an official said.

Even as the FBI prepared a timeline for Congress about the investigation that brought to light Petraeus’ extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta revealed that the Pentagon had begun an internal investigation into emails between Gen. John Allen and a Florida woman involved in the case.

Some of the 20,000-plus pages of documents and emails between Allen and Tampa socialite Jill Kelley were “flirtatious,” according to a senior defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the case publicly. It wasn’t immediately clear who wrote the flirtatious notes – Allen, Kelley or both.

Allen succeeded Petraeus as the top American commander in Afghanistan in July 2011, and his nomination to become the next commander of U.S. European Command and the commander of NATO forces in Europe has now been put on hold, as the scandal seemed certain to ensnare another acclaimed military figure.

In a White House statement early Tuesday, National Security spokesman Tommy Vietor said President Barack Obama has held Allen’s nomination at Panetta’s request. Obama, the statement said, “remains focused on fully supporting our extraordinary troops and coalition partners in Afghanistan, who Gen. Allen continues to lead as he has so ably done for over a year.”

It was Broadwell’s threatening emails to Kelley, a Petraeus family friend, that led to the FBI’s discovery of communications between Broadwell and Petraeus indicating they were having an affair. Petraeus acknowledged the affair when he resigned from the CIA post on Friday.

In the latest revelations, a Pentagon official traveling with Panetta to Australia said “inappropriate communications” – 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails and other documents from Allen’s communications with Kelley between 2010 and 2012 – are under review. The official would not say whether they involved sexual matters or whether they are thought to include unauthorized disclosures of classified information. He said he did not know whether Petraeus is mentioned in the emails.

Allen has denied wrongdoing. He was due to give Panetta a recommendation soon on the pace of U.S. troop withdrawals in 2013. If Allen was found to have had an affair with Kelley, he could face charges of adultery, which is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The decision by the FBI to hand off the Allen information to the military seems to indicate the issue is not one involving the handling of classified information, but rather some other issue.

The Petraeus case has sparked an uproar in Congress, with lawmakers complaining they should have been told earlier about the probe that has roiled the intelligence and military establishment.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, called the latest revelations in the case “a Greek tragedy.”

“It’s just tragic,” King said Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show. “This has the elements in some ways of a Hollywood movie or a trashy novel.”

The issue of what the FBI knew, when it notified top Obama administration officials, and when Congress was told, has brought criticism from lawmakers, who say they should have been told earlier.

The White House wasn’t informed of the FBI investigation that involved Petraeus until Nov. 6, Election Day, although agents began looking at Petraeus’ actions months earlier, sometime during the summer. Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., complained that she first learned of the matter from the media late last week, and confirmed it in a phone call to the then-CIA director on Friday.

That was the same day Obama accepted Petraeus’ resignation, and the 60-year-old retired Army general, who headed U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan before taking charge of the CIA, acknowledged an affair with Broadwell, and expressed regret.

Defending the notification timing, a senior federal law enforcement official pointed Monday to longstanding policies and practices, adopted following abuses and mistakes that were uncovered during the Nixon administration’s Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. The Justice Department – of which the FBI is part – is supposed to refrain from sharing detailed information about its criminal investigations with the White House.

The FBI also looked into whether a separate set of emails between Petraeus and Broadwell might involve any security breach. That will be a key question Wednesday in meetings involving congressional intelligence committee leaders, FBI deputy director Sean Joyce and CIA deputy director Michael Morell.

A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the investigation, said the FBI had concluded relatively quickly – and certainly by late summer at the latest – that there was no security breach. Absent a security breach, it was appropriate not to notify Congress or the White House earlier, this official said.

Extramarital affairs are viewed as particularly risky for intelligence officers because they might be blackmailed to keep the affair quiet. For military personnel, adultery is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

According to two federal law enforcement officials, the FBI initially began a criminal investigation of unsigned, harassing emails that were sent, beginning last May, to Kelley, a Tampa socialite. She and her husband, Scott, were longtime friends of Petraeus and his wife, Holly. FBI agents traced the alleged cyber harassment to Broadwell and during that process discovered she was exchanging intimate messages with a private Gmail account. Further investigation revealed that account belonged to Petraeus, under an alias.

Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teenagers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said.

Rather than transmitting emails to the other’s inbox, they composed at least some messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic “drop box,” the official said. Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail that is easier for outsiders to intercept or trace.

Agents later told Petraeus that Broadwell sent emails warning Kelley to stay away from the general and carrying a threatening tone.

Friends and former staff members of Petraeus told The Associated Press that he has assured them his relationship with Kelley was platonic, although Broadwell apparently saw her as a romantic rival. They said Petraeus was shocked to learn last summer of Broadwell’s emails to Kelley.

Petraeus also denied to these associates that he had given Broadwell any sensitive military information.

FBI agents who contacted Petraeus told him that sensitive, possibly classified documents related to Afghanistan were found on her computer, the general’s associates said. He assured investigators they did not come from him, and he mused to his associates that they were probably given to her on her reporting trips to Afghanistan by commanders she visited in the field there.

One associate also said Petraeus believes the documents described past operations and had already been declassified, although they might have still been marked “secret.”

Broadwell had high security clearances as part of her former job as a reserve Army major in military intelligence. But those clearances are only in effect when a soldier is on active duty, which she was not at the time she researched the Petraeus biography.

The FBI concluded there was no security breach.

Nevertheless, FBI agents conducted a search of Broadwell’s Charlotte, N.C., home on Monday. And the criminal investigation continued into the emails to Kelley, including whether Petraeus had any hand in them. At that point in late summer, FBI Director Robert Mueller and eventually Attorney General Eric Holder were notified that agents had uncovered what appeared to be an extramarital affair involving Petraeus.

Broadwell and Petraeus have each been questioned by FBI agents twice in recent weeks, with both acknowledging the affair in separate interviews. The FBI’s most recent interviews with Broadwell and with Petraeus both occurred during the week of Oct. 29, days before the election, one of the law enforcement officials said. The FBI notified Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, of the investigation on Tuesday, Nov. 6 – Election Day.

In another twist, an FBI agent who was a friend of Kelley and who passed along information from her to the agents who conducted the investigation, was subsequently told by his superiors to steer clear of the case because they grew concerned that the agent had become obsessed with the investigation, a federal law enforcement official said. Before the case involving Petraeus got under way, the agent had sent Kelley shirtless photos of himself, according to this official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.

Broadwell co-authored a biography titled “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” published in January. She wrote that she met Petraeus in the spring of 2006 while she was a graduate student at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and she ended up following him on multiple trips to Afghanistan as part of her research.

Petraeus, 60, told one former associate he began an affair with Broadwell, 40, a couple of months after he became CIA director in September 2011. They mutually agreed to end the affair four months ago, but they kept in contact because she was still writing a dissertation on his time commanding U.S. troops overseas, the associate said.

Petraeus told former staffers and friends that he had regularly visited the Kelleys’ home overlooking Tampa Bay. Kelley, 37, served as a sort of social ambassador for U.S. Central Command, hosting parties for the general when Petraeus was commander there from 2008-10.

Jill Kelley regularly kept in touch with Petraeus when he became commander of the Afghanistan war effort, the two exchanging near-daily emails and instant messages, two of his former staffers said. But those messages were exchanged in accounts that his aides monitored as part of their duties and were not romantic in tone, the staffers said.

Petraeus and his family are devastated over the affair – especially Mrs. Petraeus, who “is not exactly pleased right now” after 38 years of marriage, said Steve Boylan, a friend and former Petraeus spokesman who spoke to him over the weekend.

Broadwell, married with two young sons, has not returned phone calls or emails seeking comment. Story Continued:

· Poll: GOP to Blame for ‘Fiscal Cliff’

Are we in for a repeat of the debt ceiling debacle? A majority of Americans say yes, according to a new survey which found most don’t think President Obama and Congress will be able to agree on a deal to avoid the effects of the “fiscal cliff,” or a package of government spending cuts and tax increases. 53 percent said Republicans in Congress will be at fault, 29 percent said Obama bear the responsibility, and 10 percent said both sides would be to blame. Both parties are heading to Capitol Hill for talks on Friday. Story Continued:

· Poll: If government careens off fiscal cliff, GOP to shoulder blame

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Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, speaks at a press conference as Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., and Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., listen on Capitol Hill Sept. 20, 2012 in Washington, DC.

If the U.S. government ends up careening off the “fiscal cliff,” Republicans in Congress stand to shoulder most of the blame, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

A majority of Americans said in a new, post-election poll that they do not expect President Barack Obama and members of Congress to reach an agreement to avoid the effects of the fiscal cliff, the combination of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to take effect at the beginning of the year.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., explains whether a compromise will be reached between Democrats and Republicans.

Fifty-three percent of Americans said Republicans in Congress would be more to blame in that instance, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in the days following the election. Twenty-nine percent said that Obama would be more to blame, while 10 percent said both the president and Republicans would share blame.

Those kinds of numbers help set the political landscape heading into the impending fight to resolve the long-running fiscal standoff, which features an emboldened Obama fresh off a re-election victory and a Republican Party looking to regain its footing in Washington after losing seats in the House and Senate in addition to Mitt Romney’s White House loss.

Recommended: Republicans hunt for election lessons as wounds heal

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill returned to work on Tuesday to begin sorting out these issues and beginning to work on some internal affairs, including choosing their own leadership teams for the next two years.

But just a few weeks separate the U.S. from the onset of the fiscal cliff, as the 2001 Bush tax cuts and the 2010 payroll tax cut are set to expire at the end of this calendar year. On top of that, the automatic spending cuts — which fall heavily on the defense budget — will also take place beginning in January unless Congress acts first.

Sixty-eight percent of Americans said in the Pew poll that they would expect the impact of the fiscal cliff to be major, and 70 percent said they expect the fallout from the fiscal cliff to be mostly negative.

The president hosted labor leaders at the White House on Tuesday morning in anticipation of the upcoming negotiations, and Obama will host business leaders on Wednesday. Leaders in Congress from both parties head to the White House for talks on Friday.

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Both Obama and Republicans in Congress have begun laying out parameters for those negotiations, and White House press secretary Jay Carney reiterated on Tuesday afternoon that the president would not sign any law extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Obama has instead called on Congress to extend all tax rates except for those in the top income bracket.

(Republicans have called for broader talks that link an overhaul in the tax code to entitlement program reforms.)

The Pew poll was conducted Nov. 8-11 and has a 3.7 percent margin of error. Story Continued:

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