Jill Kelley, a 'social liaison' for the US military, was identified as the woman whose complaints about threatening emails prompted the FBI investigation that unearthed details of Mr Petraeus's affair with Paula Broadwell.
After stating that she and her husband, Scott, a surgeon, "have been friends with Mr Petraeus and his family for over five years", Mrs Kelley, a mother of three, requested privacy and briefly fled her home.
Neighbours and friends supported her strenuous denials. "She would say he was kind of like a grandpa to her girls," said one, who asked not to be named.
Mrs Kelley is believed to have provoked the inquiry after receiving messages from anonymous email accounts that reportedly warned her to "back off" and to "stay away from my guy".
She has hired Abbe Lowell, a lawyer who defended former US presidential candidate John Edwards against corruption charges that were dropped earlier this year, and Judy Smith, a crisis manager who represented Monica Lewinsky, the intern who had an affair with former president Bill Clinton. (© Daily Telegraph, London)