Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - A senior U.S. military official says the author who had an affair with David Petraeus sent harassing e-mails to a woman who was the State Department's liaison to the military's Joint Special Operations Command.
The official told the Associated Press that 37-year-old Jill Kelley in Tampa received the e-mails from Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell that triggered an FBI investigation.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Another person who knows Kelley and Petraeus confirmed their friendship and said she saw him often.
Petraeus quit as CIA director last week after acknowledging an extramarital relationship with a woman - later identified as Broadwell.
The FBI probe began several months ago with a complaint against Broadwell. That investigation led to Broadwell's e-mail account, which uncovered the relationship with Petraeus.
Senate leaders also said Sunday that Petraeus may still be called to testify this week in a congressional investigation into the deadly attacks on the Libyan consulate in Benghazi despite his sudden resignation Friday as CIA director.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned why panel members were not briefed in advance about an FBI inquiry that ultimately prompted Petraeus' resignation.
Feinstein said lawmakers only learned the details about the FBI probe, which unearthed an affair between the CIA director and his biographer, after Petraeus elected to submit his resignation Thursday to President Obama.
"We received no advance notice,'' Feinstein said on Fox News Sunday. "It was like a lightning bolt.''
The FBI learned of the relationship while investigating harassment allegations leveled by another woman associated with Petraeus. Authorities have not identified the woman, but the investigation led to biographer Paula Broadwell and triggered a deeper inquiry - because of Petraeus' involvement with Broadwell - to determine whether the director's e-mail accounts had been compromised.
Feinstein said there is no evidence to suggest there was a breach of classified information. She also asserted that Petraeus' resignation had no connection to this week's scheduled hearings into the Benghazi attacks, which claimed the lives of four Americans including Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
The attack has raised broad questions about U.S. intelligence related to the assaults and the state of security at the compound before and during the attacks.
"Absolutely not,'' Feinstein said, responding to a question about a possible link between Petraeus' resignation and the Benghazi attack.
Feinstein and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the intelligence committee's ranking Republican, said it was possible Petraeus would be called to testify when the congressional hearings convene Thursday.
"You know, he's trying to put his life back together right now and that's what he needs to focus on,'' Chambliss said on ABC's This Week. "But at the end of the day, I would not rule out General Petraeus being called to testify. That still could happen at some point in time.''
The relationship between Petraeus and Broadwell was discovered, according to a federal law enforcement official, when another woman - described as a close acquaintance of Petraeus - went to the FBI a few months ago complaining that she was being targeted by harassing e-mails.
The official, who is not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said a subsequent investigation led to Broadwell and to her relationship with the then-CIA director. Because of Petraeus' involvement in the matter, authorities sought to determine whether classified information held by Petraeus had been compromised.
No evidence was turned up to suggest such a breach occurred, and the official said the FBI notified Petraeus of their findings "a couple of weeks ago.''
The official said the FBI's involvement is largely complete and that it would be up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to file charges related to the harassing e-mails.
Feinstein, who has since been briefed on the FBI inquiry, said the woman who prompted the broader investigation was not involved in an affair with Petraeus but was close to the former CIA director.
STORY:: Petraeus probe triggered by harassing e-mails
Petraeus quit his post Friday after acknowledging an extramarital relationship. His former deputy, Michael Morell, is now expected to face lawmakers' questions on Benghazi.
Morell, and FBI deputy director Sean Joyce, will also face tough questions the day before. Both are scheduled to meet with House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., who want to know how the FBI investigation that led to Petraeus' downfall came about, according to a senior congressional staffer who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
Also at question is when the White House was first made aware of the investigation.
Petraeus' sudden departure made news before House and Senate intelligence committees were briefed, catching lawmakers who oversee the intelligence community off-guard, officials said.
FBI officials have explained the committees weren't informed, one official says, because the matter started as a criminal investigation into harassing e-mails sent by Broadwell, a 40-year-old graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and an Army Reserve officer, to another woman.
The identity of the other woman and her connection with Broadwell were not immediately known, but that probe led agents to Broadwell's e-mail, which uncovered the relationship with Petraeus, a 60-year-old retired four-star general, according to an official who spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday.
Concerned that the e-mails he exchanged with Broadwell raised the possibility of a security breach, the FBI brought the matter up with Petraeus directly, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.
Petraeus decided to quit, though he was breaking no laws by having an affair, officials said.
"He decided he needed to come clean with the American people," said Steve Boylan, a retired army officer and former Petraeus spokesman who talked with him Saturday.
In a phone call, Petraeus lamented the damage he'd done to his "wonderful family" and the hurt he'd caused his wife, Boylan said. Petraeus has been married for 38 years to Holly Petraeus.
"He screwed up, he knows he screwed up, now he's got to try to get past this with his family and heal," Boylan said.
Broadwell interviewed the general and his close associates intensively for more than a year to produce the best-selling biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, which was written with Vernon Loeb, a Washington Post editor, and published in January.
The CIA did not comment on the identity of the woman with whom Petraeus was involved.
Broadwell is married with two young sons. She has not responded to multiple e-mails and phone messages. She'd planned to celebrate her 40th birthday in Washington this weekend. Many reporters had been invited. Her husband e-mailed guests to cancel the party.
CIA officers long had expressed concern about Broadwell's unprecedented access to the director. She frequently visited the spy agency's headquarters in Langley, Va., to meet Petraeus in his office, accompanied him on morning runs around the CIA grounds and often attended public functions as his guest, according to two former intelligence officials.
Petraeus' staff when he was overseeing the war in Afghanistan similarly had been concerned about the time she spent with their boss.
In the preface to her book, Broadwell said she first met Petraeus in the spring of 2006 while she was a graduate student at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Contributing: Associated Press