* Sister also had contact with senators including Kerry
* Father won sole custody; judge cited mother's 'deficits'
* Clambake invitation from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
By David Ingram and Aruna Viswanatha
WASHINGTON, Nov 13 Former CIA Director David
Petraeus and the top U.S commander in Afghanistan, General John
Allen, bo th recently intervened in a child custody battle on
behalf of the twin sister of the Florida woman at the center of
a scandal that has engulfed both men, court documents show.
Petraeus and Allen wrote letters in September to the
District of Columbia Superior Court in support of the twin
sister, Natalie Khawam, as she sought to gain more visitation
rights with her son, according to a review of the court file.
The letters deepen the mystery of how two Tampa socialites
developed close access to top military officials and raise
questions about the specific nature of those relationships.
It is unclear why Petraeus and Allen, two of the U.S.
military's biggest names, felt the need to formally interject in
a nasty custody dispute of someone they characterized as a
The court files also provide a glimpse into the connections
Khawam had built with Washington elite, including Massachusetts
Senator John Kerry.
Defense officials said earlier on Tuesday that Allen is
under investigation for alleged inappropriate communication with
Khawam's sister, Jill Kelley. Kelley is a fixture in military
circles in Tampa, where she was a volunteer social liaison at
MacDill Air Force Base.
Officials said they were combing through thousands of pages
of email and other communications between Allen and Kelley.
Allen has denied that the two had a sexual relationship,
officials said on condition of anonymity.
It was Kelley's complaints about harassing emails from the
woman with whom Petraeus had an affair, Paula Broadwell, that
prompted an FBI investigation that ultimately disclosed
Petraeus' involvement with Broadwell. Petraeus resigned from the
CIA post on Friday.
Khawam for months has been fighting for greater access to
her 4-year-old son with Grayson Wolfe, a former Bush
administration official who directed Middle East initiatives and
Iraqi reconstruction efforts at the Export-Import Bank.
Wolfe could not be immediately located for comment. His
LinkedIn profile identifies him as a founding partner of
Akkadian Private Ventures, but when a Reuters reporter went to a
Washington address listed for the firm, it was occupied by an
unrelated private residence.
Wolfe, whose divorce from Khawam was finalized earlier this
year, was awarded sole custody of their son in 2011.
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Neal Kravitz found
that Khawam "has extreme personal deficits in the areas of
honesty and integrity." He cited false domestic violence
petitions and a lack of honesty in her dealings with her family
On June 21 of this year, Kravitz ordered Khawam to pay Wolfe
$350,000 in attorneys fees and costs, but Khawam continued to
push for more access to her son.
A lawyer for Khawam did not immediately respond to requests
In his Sept. 20 letter to the court, Petraeus said he had
known Khawam for three years while serving in Tampa, through the
friendship he and his wife, Holly, have with Jill Kelley and her
husband, Scott Kelley, a Tampa cancer surgeon.
Petraeus said he had observed Khawam with her son during
that time, including when the Petraeuses h osted them for
"In each case, we have seen a very loving relationship - a
mother working hard to provide her son enjoyable, educational,
and developmental experiences," Petraeus said.
Allen in his Sept. 22 letter said he and his wife, Kathy,
came to know Khawam through social functions while stationed at
U.S. Central Command in Tampa. "She is a dedicated mother, whose
only focus is to provide the necessary support, love and care
for her son," Allen wrote.
Khawam not only tapped her military connections in her
custody battle but also invoked broader contacts as she sought
greater access to her son.
In emails with her ex-husband, Khawam wrote that Senator
Kerry asked about the son and whether he would be coming to
Martha's Vineyard in summer 2012.
She also wrote that Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
invited the son to a summer clambake in Rhode Island, and that
the son "would greatly appreciate attending this family
Included in the court file is what appears to be a
handwritten note from Whitehouse, writing, "I am excited to hear
that you, Natalie and (the son) may be coming to the family
clambake. That would be terrific!"
The Whitehouse note was addressed to Gerald Harrington.
Harrington served as national vice chairman of finance for
Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, according to a biography
posted on the website of Harrington's lobbying firm, Capitol
A spokeswoman for Kerry said Kerry was introduced to Khawam
by Gerald Harrington, whom the spokeswoman described as Khawam's
Harrington and a spokesman for Whitehouse did not
immediately respond to requests for comment.