Paula Broadwell, the biographer and reported mistress of David Petraeus, was being investigated by the FBI before news of the former CIA director’s scandal became public.The FBI cited concerns about potential leaks of classified information.
After all, Broadwell had unprecedented access to Petraeus — access that, as it turns out, went way beyond professional interactions.
How did the affair begin?
Broadwell first met Petraeus in 2006 as a graduate student at Harvard University. But it wasn’t until 2008 that she would first interview Petraeus and develop a rapport. Eventually, they would reportedly have an affair after Petraeus left the Army in 2011.
She mentions briefly in the preface of her book about Petraeus, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” that she was invited to go on a run with him in Washington as she was doing research for her dissertation — a case study on the general’s leadership.
Broadwell spoke at her alma mater, the University of Denver, in late October. In the talk, she provides a candid, detailed description of the run, which was her first-ever in-person interview with Petraeus in 2008.
Here’s what she said:
I started to write this dissertation and had unprecedented access in part because I was a West Pointer and he was a West Pointer. But also because we were both runners.
And in the introduction in the book I kind of talk about how I sealed the deal with him.
Our first interview in person was on a run. And I had proposed this because I knew it was a rite of passage for many of his former aids, to kind of get in the inner circle you had to be a runner.
Well I had run in high school, I had run in college, I had been a sponsored triathlete when we lived here in Colorado, so I loved physical fitness, but I didn’t think he knew anything about me in that regard.
So, we went for a run. We started at the Pentagon, and I had my recorder. I thought if I asked him questions that he had to give lengthy answers to, he would be more winded than I was. But he was smarter than I was — he’d say yes or no or he’d just asked a question in return or say “that’s classified, next.”
Anyhow, at some point at about mile three or four, he started to pick up the pace. And I knew this was coming. I call it the “boiling frog approach,” because you don’t know that the water is getting hotter and hotter. In any case I realised what was going on and I decided to shut off the recorder and race him.
And I was told never to beat him. Keep up with him and you earn… it’s the rite of passage. But don’t beat him because he’s a guy, you’re a girl, and he’s a celebrity, and you’re a soccer mum.
In any case, he started elbowing me and it was over.
Long story short, I did beat him. We got down to six-minute mile pace, and I later found out that he was going through radiation treatment for prostate cancer, so it didn’t really count. But it was a rite of passage and a great sort of rapport builder with him.
In the end, she didn’t bother to transcribe that interview, according to the preface of her book.
Below is the full video of her talk. The part about the run begins at around 17:13:
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