In the increasingly tangled web woven by the Petraeus scandal, the latest development revolves around the FBI agent whose investigation eventually brought down the CIA director. The New York Times reported today that the until now unnamed agent is 47-year-old Frederick W. Humphries II, described as a "hard-charging" counterterrorism expert who, in his free time it seems, had some cozy interaction with another key player in all this drama, social climber Jill Kelley. Apparently Humphries and Kelley were "social friends," and when Kelley got all freaked out about receiving harassing messages, Humphries agreed to look into the emails.
But, as you may have previously read, the correspondence between Kelley and Humphries included a shirtless pic (a la Eliot Spitzer?!) sent from the FBI agent to the Florida socialite. Now, more details have emerged surrounding what that was really all about ...
According to Lawrence Berger, a lawyer for the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association:
That picture was sent years before Ms. Kelley contacted him about [the harassing emails], and it was sent as part of a larger context of what I would call social relations in which the families would exchange numerous photos of each other.
Uh, whaaaa? What in the world does that mean? Well, apparently, the photo was sent as "joke" and was of Humphries "posing with a couple of dummies." Berger asserts that the photo was definitely NOT sexual in nature. How can we be so sure?
Well, a Seattle Times reporter, who has also looked at the email in question, says of the questionable photo:
The subject line read: "Which one is Fred?" The snapshot shows Humphries — bald, muscular, and shirtless — standing between a pair of headless but equally buff and bullet-ridden target dummies on a shooting range. The joke — over which was the dummy — has now backfired in ways he couldn't have imagined on Sept. 9, 2010, when it was first sent.
Oookay. Bizarre! I guess I could see how it could have been a silly gag -- and I'm definitely leaning toward believing that this photo was probably nothing like an Eliot Spitzer-style bombshell. But it still seems strange that the story has gone from "OMG NAKED PICS!" to "It was an oh-so-innocent inside joke!" Then again, we do have the tendency to sensationalize anything and eeeeverything right off the bat.
Ultimately, it seems like there's something here we're not aware of just yet. I wouldn't be surprised if more dirt on either Humphries or Kelley emerges. After all, in light of the nation's new obsession with this "love Pentagon" (whether it's real or not), this whole cast of characters is sure to be living under a microscope for quite some time ...
For more details, here's an ABC News report on Humphries ...
Do you buy the explanation for the photo Humphries sent Kelley?
Image via ABC