Last night, while discussing the Petraeus scandal on CNN, the network played a 911 call from one of the four major figures in the scandal: Jill Kelley. The call is perfectly bizarre in which Kelley, a Florida socialite, claims “honorary diplomatic” status to get the police to stop people from walking across her lawn. The dispatcher listens patiently and appears to resist the temptation to tell her that he will be sending over some honorary police to protect their honorary diplomatic residence.
Kelley is the woman who went to a friend in the FBI to complain about threatening emails from an anonymous source — emails that led the FBI to Paula Broadwell and ultimately Gen. David Petraeus. She and the agent are a rather odd couple. He sent her shirtless pictures of himself and was eventually removed from involvement in the case. She is described as a “nice, bored, rich socialite” who volunteered with the military as a self-described “social liaison” and cultivated relationships with generals. This included a questionable relationship with Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, involving a remarkable number of emails described by some sources as a bit raunchy and “like phone sex.”
Just when you thought the scandal could not get more weird, it did. Last night, we heard this 911 call for “diplomatic protection:”
“Thank you and you know, um, I don’t know, but by any chance because I’m an honorary council general, so I have inviolability so I should… they should not be able to (cross) this property, I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well.
Kelley has been described as invoking her diplomatic status previously. She was given the unpaid title of “honorary ambassador” to CENTCOM, the Department of Defense Central Command. This gives her about the same diplomatic status as the hostess at an International House of Pancakes.
What is strange is that she is protected by the non-honorary title of a citizen of Tampa from trespass. She is allowed to demand the removal of people from her property so long as it is not a public space or a private space with a form of constructive easement.
She might want to stick with the Tampa title because “Honorary ambassador” does not fit neatly into the the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961). However, if she wishes to claim to be an honorary diplomat, it would allow Tampa to declare her persona non grata but it is not clear what country she would be expelled to since she is claiming diplomatic immunity in her own country. It might be just easier to get a “No Trespass” sign at Home Depot.