Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Woman publishes account of ‘Petraeus affair’

By Yan Hung-chun and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Margaret Liu holds a copy of her book detailing her romance with a man claiming to be former CIA director David Petraeus at a press conference in Taipei on Sunday.

Photo: Yen Hung-chun, Taipei Times

Margaret Liu’s (劉淑貞) father recently told her to “get back to shore” and save herself some dignity after she published a book recounting her “romance” with former US CIA director David Petraeus.

Liu first gained media attention in September 2011 after she was named as a fraud suspect for trying to cash in 37 counterfeit travelers’ checks totaling 18,500 euros (US$25,000) that she said had been sent by “David,” whom she claimed was her fiance.

The charges were dropped in May last year on grounds that Liu “had no knowledge that the travelers’ checks were fake when she tried cashing them at a bank.”

Although investigators have told Liu that she was the victim of an international scam, Liu remains adamant that “David” is who he says he is and is going to marry her.

She has reportedly wired about US$40,000 to her alleged fiance since meeting him on Skype in May 2011.

The 40-year-old former employee at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) who has a doctorate in physics from Florida State University, Liu said she wrote A Legend of Cyber-Love: The Top Spy and His Chinese Lover to be able to support her fiance’s “anti-terrorism efforts.”

“I have done my part, and now ‘David’ can use the money I make by writing the book to continue his anti-terrorism missions,” Liu said as she showed a copy of the book to reporters on Sunday.

The 700-plus-page book was published in English on April 26 and has been available on Amazon.com, but Liu recently released a Chinese translation entitled Ai Lien Tieh Tui Tieh (愛戀諜對諜).

She said in the book that she has been living in a real-life Truman Show and has been put under surveillance by special agents since the day she was born.

“Over the years, whether I was a student or a salaried employee, I have been assigned to sacred missions, including helping maintain cross-strait peace,” Liu wrote, adding that her encounter with “David” was the result of a “special arrangement” and that helping him combat international terrorism is just part of her efforts to “protect their relationship.”

Liu’s father said he is worried about his daughter.

“My daughter was always been the top of her class and was even awarded a scholarship for her education abroad. However, she became a different person after completing her PhD program and has remained that way all these years,” he said, adding the family has taken Liu to religious rituals to seek help for her, and also had relatives and teachers talk with her, but she remains unshaken in her convictions.

Liu said she has been in contact with “David” for the past two years and that he recently sent her a text message wishing her a happy birthday.

“All I ever wanted to do is fly to the US to meet with ‘David,’ though I cannot do so for the moment as I have used up my savings,” Liu said.

Psychologists say people who firmly believe in the existence of a non-existant relationship are usually suffering from a delusional disorder. They believe that no one else is able to understand the special connection between them and their “target” and will hold firmly to the belief regardless of evidence to the contrary.

People with higher education are less likely to be aware of their condition, psychologists say.

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