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Email to Gen. Allen warning about Jill Kelley among those she gave to FBI

NBC's Andrea Mitchell has new details about why Jill Kelley, one of the women at the center of the scandal involving Gen. David Petraeus, initially approached an FBI agent.

At least one anonymous email sent to Gen. John Allen, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was among those turned over by Tampa, Fla., socialite Jill Kelley to the FBI in June, a senior law enforcement official and a source close to Kelley tell NBC News. Kelley’s complaint to an FBI agent with whom she was acquainted triggered the investigation that ultimately led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.

The law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday that Kelley turned over fewer than a dozen emails to the FBI agent, including at least one that Allen had received and forwarded to her.  The emails were ultimately traced to Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’ biographer and the woman with whom he had an extramarital affair, multiple government and law enforcement officials have told NBC News.

The official said it is not clear who received email from Broadwell first -- Kelley or Allen – but a person close to Kelley told NBC News on Wednesday that Allen received the first email in mid-May. According to the source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, the email sent from an account called "kellypatrol" said , in essence, “Beware of Jill Kelley. She's the kind of person who could ruin you.” It also referred to a meeting Kelley and her husband were planning in Washington with Allen, the source said.

Allen forwarded the e-mail to Kelley, thinking it was a joke from her. She replied that she hadn’t sent it, the source said.

The law enforcement official said Allen also forwarded the email to a “military authority” within the Department of Defense. The official did not specify which office or individual was notified.

Kelley herself began receiving similar emails in early June, the source close to her said, sent from four or five alias accounts. They contained words to the effect of, “What kind of person are you.” And passages directed to her husband, asked, in essence, “Do you know what your wife is up to?” the source said.

As reported previously by NBC News, Kelley took the emails – including at least one from Allen – to the FBI agent she knew because they made reference to meetings she had planned with both Allen and Petraeus, the source said. Kelley wondered why an anonymous e-mailer would know that kind of detail and became concerned that someone was cyberstalking her or hacking into her e-mails, the person said.

Federal officials confirmed Wednesday that the agent who first took the complaint from Kelley is Frederick Humphries, a counter-terrorism agent who worked on the millennium bomb plot case. His name was first revealed by the New York Times.

-- / AFP - Getty Images

Tampa, Fla., socialite Jill Kelley, left, inadvertently triggered the FBI investigation of CIA Director David Petraeus by turning over anonymous threatening emails -- including one sent to Gen. John Allen -- to the FBI.

A senior defense official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Allen had received an anonymous email “some time ago” warning him to be careful around Kelley. The official, who had not seen the email but was generally familiar with its contents, said the general forwarded it to “proper authorities” within the military.

“He did the right thing,” the official said.

The defense official confirmed that the email also was forwarded to Kelley and her husband, Scott, but said it was not certain that Allen was the one who sent it to them. Allen did send Kelley an email referencing the anonymous note he had received, the official said.

The source close to Kelley and several law enforcement officials tell NBC News that Broadwell used multiple anonymous accounts to send the emails to Kelley and Allen. She “covered her tracks” by sending them from cybercafés, the source said.

ISAF via Reuters file

Meet the people who have been pulled into the scandal that caused Gen. David Petraeus to resign.

Meanwhile, defense officials tell NBC News that while there is no evidence that Allen and Jill Kelley engaged in an extramarital affair, there was enough “inappropriate” language in emails they exchanged to warrant an investigation by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

According to one official, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity, a small number of emails contained language that could be considered “inappropriate” or even “suggestive.” 

But even without those, an investigation of the email correspondence between Allen and Kelley was inevitable given the circumstances, the officials said.

“We had no idea what was going on,” one said. “The last thing we want is to be accused of a cover-up,” regarding the Allen emails. 

Courtney Kube and Mike Brunker of NBC News contributed to this report.

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