WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - The local journalist who was the ghost writer of Paula Broadwell's now-infamous biography of General David Petraeus has broken his silence.
Washington Post editor Vernon Loeb says he never suspected the two were having an affair.
Before becoming Paula Broadwell, she was Paula Kranz, an extremely ambitious North Dakota high school student. She was student body president, class valedictorian, a star athlete and homecoming queen. Ironically, her classmates voted her "most likely to be remembered."
"I was dumbfounded when I heard about the affair, " said Veron Loeb, who worked with Paula Broadwell for 16 months on the book. She did all the reporting on General Petraeus. He crafted the narrative.
"What was a question in my mind, quite frankly, was why General Petraeus was granting Paula Broadwell, the kind of access he granted her?" Loeb said. 13 (Vernon Loeb/Wash Post Editor)
A question among many, since Broadwell had never written a book and had no journalistic experience. Loeb speculates Petraeus viewed her as someone he could control.
"She got a lot of face time with the General, during her reporting trips to Iraq. ... He was the Commander of the war. She spent hours interviewing him," Loeb said. "Through him, she obtained access to all of his commanders."
Loeb believes Broadwell had no idea her affair with the four-star general was going public on Friday. She and her husband were in Virginia celebrating her 40th birthday, with a party planned for Saturday night in D.C. Broadwell's husband reportedly cancelled it via email hours before.
"I'm sure both of them look back at what has now transpired and realize they've both made the biggest mistakes of their lives," Loeb said.
The scandal has, not surprisingly, boosted sales of her book. It went from a modest Amazon.com ranking of 76,792 on Friday when General Petraeus resigned, to a ranking of 159 Tuesday.