In July 2012, Broadwell appeared on a media panel at the Aspen Security Forum. “I was embedded with General Petraeus in Afghanistan,” she said. She acknowledged that her dual role as a biographer and a military reservist with the highest top-secret clearances allowed her to view “secure compartmentalized intelligence” and caused confusion for some in Petraeus’s headquarters, who saw her as a journalist.
Before the panel discussion began, she warned journalists on it about the dangers of leaking classified material and e-mailed them a report from the conservative American Enterprise Institute detailing the five most damaging security leaks of the past year.
On the panel, she said, she though that she was often held to a “higher standard, because I could lose my clearance.”
Shortly before her appearance at the conference, Broadwell became the target of an FBI investigation that was sparked by anonymous e-mails she had sent to a woman in Tampa warning her to stay away from Petraeus. The investigation exposed the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell.