Disgraced CIA Director David Petraeus and his lover Paula Broadwell tried to hide their affair using a variety of code words and aliases, according to investigators. Gen Petraeus become Mr Fluffywumbles, whilst Mrs Broadwell is often referred to in email exchanges as Sgt. Jiggles.
In one email exchange, the pair appear to discuss troop movements and military strategies. Mrs Broadwell proposes the General, “drive his dirty tank all the way into the compound”, and in response Petraeus says he intends to “parachute his boys all over those mountains”.
Former president Bill Clinton has now offered to undertake a long and exhaustive examination of the emails, just to assess any threats to national security.
FBI investigator John Johnson says: “This is the last thing we want landing on a desk in Tehran.”
The pair used a shared Google-based email account to share hundreds of illicit messages.
“A lot of it seems to have been written in code,” says Internet security analyst Walter Brickwell. “They may well be references to people or places."
Among the words currently confounding encryption experts are dirtburrow, gushbucket and major bulb.
Gen Petraeus met Mrs Broadwell while she was writing his biography and the two became close.
Mandy Pimpkin, a Pentagon spokesperson said: “This is especially sad, as Gen Petraeus was a man known for controlling his surges.”
Meanwhile, friends and colleagues are said to be stunned.
“I’m stunned,” said friend and colleague Phil Pancetta, director of national intelligence. “I maybe should have guessed from those times I walked in and his trousers were down, and she was buttoning up her shirt… but hey, it’s easy with hindsight, right?”
Johnston says there’s another side to the story: “The one thing I’ve learned about Dave Petraeus from these emails is that he’s always on the side of the common soldier. The number of times he expresses concern about his privates… what they’re in for, what they’re going to come up against.”
Both Mrs Broadwell and Gen Petraeus studied at the West Point military academy, before going on to diverse careers, as a career soldier and a writer, respectively.
“I guess it’s true what they say though,” says Pimpkin, “you can take the girl out of the army, but you can’t take the army out of the girl.”