The fall of Gen. David Petraeus as director of the CIA has been portrayed as a story about sex, politics, military culture, and national security. But when all of the details become known, and we are learning more by the hour, this will be a story about the awesome power of e-mail.
In fact, our guess is that the Petraeus story will come to be known as the first great e-mail scandal of our time. Many more are sure to follow.
We've known from the outset that e-mail played a central role in Petraeus' decision to step down following revelations about an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. But let's consider just a couple of key angles we've learned about in the past 24 hours or so:
* Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, became ensnared in the scandal when it was revealed that he had exchanged flirtatious e-mails with Jill Kelley, the Tampa woman who complained to the FBI about harassing e-mails she had received from Broadwell.
* Petraeus and Broadwell used a common tactic in an effort to disguise their electronic communications. Obviously, it did not work too well.
How powerful is the allure of e-mail? A senior defense official described some of the communications between Allen and Kelley as sexually explicit and likened them to "phone sex over e-mail." But here is perhaps the most stunning revelation about the scandal so far:
The investigation focuses on emails between Allen and Jill Kelley, a close friend of the Petraeus family. Kelley was the woman who originally notified the FBI when she received threatening emails from Petraeus' mistress Paula Broadwell -- and that investigation later uncovered the affair.
Sources said officials are reviewing 20,000 to 30,000 pages of documents -- mostly emails -- between 2010 and 2012. One official would only say "there is the distinct possibility" this case is connected to the Petraeus investigation.
Investigators are reviewing 20,000 to 30,000 pages of e-mails between Allen and Kelley? Good Lord, no wonder we have been unable to fully draw down the war in Afghanistan. The top commander has been spending 90 percent of his time "sexting" a married mother of three in Tampa--an exceptionally hot mother of three, we might add. We probably can assume the general was sexting on government time, with taxpayer-funded resources.
As for Petraeus and Broadwell, they obviously tried to cover their tracks. Reports USA Today:
The Associated Press, citing a law enforcement source who declined to be identified, reported that Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a "dropbox" to conceal their e-mail traffic.
Rather than transmitting e-mails to the other's inbox, they composed at least some messages and left them in a draft folder or in an electronic "drop box," the AP reported. Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft e-mails, avoiding the creation of an e-mail trail that might be easier to trace.
That technique, according to published reports, commonly is used by terrorists. And yet, the head of our CIA was using it. How's that for irony?
It's too early to say what's next in the Petraeus affair. But we can safely predict that forced resignations and failed marriages are in the offing. To be sure, e-mail will continue to play a front-and-center role.
How is the Petraeus scandal playing on the international stage, especially in Afghanistan? Russia Today provides insights:
How long before the Gen. Allen/Jill Kelley emails become public? Can't wait to read them.
I can't wait for the SNL skits on this. Should be great.
Looks like Paula Broadwell warned Gen. Allen about Jill Kelley's seductive powers. Didn't see that one coming.
Love that headline on CBS story. Is that a case of "takes one to know one"?
Jill Kelley seeks "diplomatic protection" in calls to Tampa police. Hmmm.
Jill Kelley is smokin. Nuff said.
Sounds like the FBI agent who got this rolling is a whack job:
Aren't some of the Petraeus-Broadwell emails already making the rounds?
Yes, they are popping up on Radar Online. Probably elsewhere:
Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover must be rolling in his grave with envy that he wasn't alive to indulge this purient episode.
this is a cover-up, can't stand the anticipation of the anticipated uncovering of what this cover-up is all about.
state that owns US is not in the least bit anticipatory about what this is all about, just bombed GAZA and thus, the remaking of the ME continues despite the betrayal of US, via "honeypots?"
Here's a good rundown, from Slate, of the strangest stuff we know (so far) about the Petraeus scandal:
The shirtless FBI guy has to be my favorite loon. This guy really needs to be outed. He's an anti-Obama guy and only got interested because he thought the whole deal was a way to make the prez look bad. FBI guy should be fired, just the SS dudes who frolicked with hookers in South America.
Agree about the shirtless guy, LS. What kind of goofballs does the DOJ hire anyway??
BTW, a photo of Karl Rove and Paula Broadwell is making the rounds...
I think the Rove/Broadwell photo could get extremely interesting. Rove tweeted it in June, and C&L suggests that Petraeus might have been using Broadwell to pass along negative information about Obama--doing it for purposes of the election.
Depending on the nature of the information, that sounds almost like treason. Perhaps someone could enlighten me on the relevant law, but to pass along harmful information about a sitting president, while we are at war . . . well, that smells like a possible federal crime to me.
Have you ever noticed how Ms. Broadwell loves to wear clothes that show off her buff arms? (Sorry for sounding like Andy Rooney) She does have mighty fine arms, but God give it a rest, woman! Quit showing those puppies off.
LS, the angle about Petraeus possibly passing information to Rove is very interesting. Heck, Rove is the guy who politicized the Justice Department, so why would he not try to use the military for political purposes.
I'm not an expert on constitutional law, but I'm pretty sure Petraeus did not engage in treason. Some other federal crime? Perhaps.
Glenn Greenwald says the real concern should be about the U.S. surveillance state. I tend to agree:
Are you freaking joking? What about what the administration did? LS you kill me sometimes
Anon at 4:08--
As you probably know if you read this blog with any frequency, I'm not a big defender of the Obama administration; in fact, I'm a major critic on justice issues. But I'm not sure what you are referring to when you ask, "What about what the administration did?" What did the administration do, in your mind, that is comparable to the question at hand?
Mr O did!
Mr. O did what?
Wouldn't Petraeus be subject to the Hatch Act?
I'm quite sure loyalties still lie to the US of A and not to Obama, unless I'm missing something and that too was added into Obamacare or another act? Wouldn't preventing those nearby from helping those in danger be considered treason among other things?
Anon at 4:24--
Not sure about your point. But I agree with @3:51 that this probably doesn't get into the realm of treason. On the other hand, I think @4:21 raises an interesting question about the Hatch Act. Not sure if that question has been addressed in other quarters.
He said Patreaus didn't commit treason.
You do have to wonder why the FBI was seizing documents from Broadwell's house.
The links between Rove and Broadwell seem pretty weak at the moment. But if the documents in Broadwell's home prove a link between Rove and Petraeus for political purposes, I think someone could be in trouble.
Not sure exactly what statute would apply, but the Hatch Act sounds like a possibility.
Anon at 4:31--
Obama said Petraeus didn't commit treason? OK. That's not Obama's call, of course, although I'm not sure Eric Holder is capable of making any call. It's an interesting comment, though.
ProPublica has an interesting take on the privacy issues involved in Petraeus scandal: "Was Petraeus Borked?"
Not Obama LS anon 3:51 said that.
TO:Legalschnauzer FROM:Paula DATE:11/14/2012 4:34
IF you print just one more lie about me, anyone in my family or any of my friends in the service of my country, I will turn over copies of you blog to my cousin in the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. You should also know that I am a close personal friend of Ted Rollins and that he has you on his list.
Thanks, Paula. Great to hear from you.
I'm curious what lies I've printed about you. Also curious how you know Ted Rollins. Maybe from living in Charlotte?
Give my best to the general, or as you call him, "your man."
Bahahhahahahh! Oh the webs we walk into. Well that pretty much could sum up how it became known.....She's a dumbass!
Now I'm concerned about what information she may have learned about. She's not too smart! Patreaus must be just kicking himself. She's the fatal attraction type! Wonder if she helped set him up?
Has Ted Rollins ever sent you a post?
I assume you mean, "Has Ted Rollins ever sent me a comment?"
Not to my knowledge. He certainly could do a comment as "Anonymous," like anyone else, but I don't know that he has.
I've received 2-3 letters from Mr. Rollins' lawyer in North Carolina.
I have to admit to my little joke by posting as Anonymous at 4:46 PM. My intent was to do a take off on Paula's email to Petraeus' other girlfriend in Tampa. Sorry if I upset anyone in the Schnauzer household.
I was fairly sure it was a joke, but I didn't realize it came from you. That's a good one. Congrats, because you stumped the band.
No one upset on this end. Must admit it threw me a little, but ultimately gave me a smile--and I always appreciate that.
Post a Comment