A Tampa woman whose name surfaced in the scandal involving the former CIA director David Petraeus has sued the FBI, the defence department and unidentified government officials, alleging they defamed her and violated her rights.
In a 65-page complaint filed in the US district court in Washington, the Tampa socialite Jill Kelley and her husband, Scott, said government officials had wilfully leaked damaging and false information about the pair to the media.
News outlets suggested that Kelley and General John Allen, the former commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, had exchanged embarrassing personal emails.
The legal action said Kelley had been subjected to public "ridicule, moral opprobrium, scorn and derision", and asked the court to order government agencies and officials to apologise formally to the Kelleys and to award them damages. No figure was mentioned.
Kelley's name surfaced a few days after the retired US army general Petraeus left the CIA in November over an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.
Kelley had complained to the FBI that she had received anonymous, harassing emails from someone about Petraeus's affair.
The FBI opened an investigation, which eventually led to the uncovering of Petraeus's extramarital relationship with Broadwell and to the publication of allegations about Kelley and Allen.
Kelley denied any inappropriate relationship with Allen, who subsequently withdrew his nomination to become commander of Nato forces in Europe and retired from military service, even though a Pentagon investigation cleared him of wrongdoing in his dealings with Kelley.