What the Petraeus Investigation Tells Us About Online Surveillance

With regards to the David Petraeus scandal, as you dig through the very human details of a powerful man's dalliance with an attractive woman, an important question should occur to anybody with more than a National Enquirer-level interest in the matter: Wait ... The FBI did all of this digging over some bed-hopping? Yes. Yes, it did. And over at The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald wants to know why more people aren't concerned.

Writes Greenwald:

As is now widely reported, the FBI investigation began when Jill Kelley - a Tampa socialite friendly with Petraeus (and apparently very friendly with Gen. John Allen, the four-star U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan) - received a half-dozen or so anonymous emails that she found vaguely threatening. She then informed a friend of hers who was an FBI agent, and a major FBI investigation was then launched that set out to determine the identity of the anonymous emailer.

That is the first disturbing fact: it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email.

Think about that. If an FBI agent can go digging through private emails over a friend's complaint about nasty-grams, doesn't that suggest that such intrusive snooping is pretty much old hat to the feds?

Greenwald points out that the FBI's digging into Paula Broadwell's nasty-grams not only took them into her email account and revealed her relationship with David Petraeus; it then revealed Jill Kelley's correspondence with General John Allen, including a truly awe-inspiring data-dump of emails between the two. Continues Greenwald:

So not only did the FBI - again, all without any real evidence of a crime - trace the locations and identity of Broadwell and Petreaus, and read through Broadwell's emails (and possibly Petraeus'), but they also got their hands on and read through 20,000-30,000 pages of emails between Gen. Allen and Kelley.

This is a surveillance state run amok. It also highlights how any remnants of internet anonymity have been all but obliterated by the union between the state and technology companies.

Online email services are especially vulnerable, with companies like Google and Yahoo essentially rolling over for the feds. As the Associated Press reported:

The downfall of CIA Director David Petraeus demonstrates how easy it is for federal law enforcement agents to examine emails and computer records if they believe a crime was committed. With subpoenas and warrants, the FBI and other investigating agencies routinely gain access to electronic inboxes and information about email accounts offered by Google, Yahoo and other Internet providers.

In fact, older emails — those six months old or older — don't require a warrant at all. Prosecutors can grab them on their own authority. Many companies will cough up detailed information without a formal warrant, anyway. "Google, which operates the widely used Gmail service, complied with more than 90 percent of the nearly 12,300 requests it received in 2011 from the U.S. government for data about its users, according to figures from the company."

Some email providers have been so eager to comply that they actually surrender more information than the FBI requests — and more than it is legally authorized to seek. One such high-profile incident occurred in 2006.

A technical glitch gave the F.B.I. access to the e-mail messages from an entire computer network — perhaps hundreds of accounts or more — instead of simply the lone e-mail address that was approved by a secret intelligence court as part of a national security investigation, according to an internal report of the 2006 episode.

F.B.I. officials blamed an “apparent miscommunication” with the unnamed Internet provider, which mistakenly turned over all the e-mail from a small e-mail domain for which it served as host. The records were ultimately destroyed, officials said.

So remember ... Your online privacy isn't so private.

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  • John||

    Sure your privacy isn't so private. But Greenwald is either being intentionally obtuse here or is a fucking moron. You don't think these people didn't all know each other? Do you really think Kelly didn't know or have a really good idea who sent her that email? And no, the FBI didn't just launch a big investigation as a favor to a friend of an agent. The launched an investigation because they thought they had found dirt that ruin the career of the head of the CIA. That is pretty Nixonian. But not because the FBI spends its time doing investigation on random cheating MILFs.

  • Tim||

    Don't rule it out John. I've read about regular cops using DMV records and such to track their girlfriends and wives, why couldn't a shithead FBI agent trying to show off for a rich, attractive lady do the same with the Bureau's vastly superior resources?

  • John||

    They usually have bigger fish to fry. But regardless, that is clearly not what happened here. It is much worse than that. This is either the White House or the FBI going out of its way to destroy the career of the head of the CIA. This was totally political. And straight out of Nixon.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Even that theory is a little too cute.

    Would it surprise anyone to learn that Kelley is an intelligence operative?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    This was meant as a response to tim's rogue agent theory.

  • Tim||

    Here's a spy novel plot: Joe Schmoe FBI agent stalking some hot lady uncovers international intrigue; evidence of CIA secret prisons, high level misconduct.

    John LeCarre stuff.

  • kinnath||

    Barack Obama: Dumber than Carter; Dirtier than Nixon!

  • CE||

    And it makes you wonder what Obama (or whoever is pulling the strings) is really up to.

  • CE||

    And why they want Petraeus and Allen out of the way.

  • lightning||

    Problem is they were "gettin' some". Yet, in this story we are made to believe that the FBI, out of kindness, investigates emails that show no evidence of a crime. A cop sitting in a car is not comparable to the amount of man hours and effort the FBI put into this. We are also led to believe that a general (who wan't having an affair) had over 30,000 emails with a woman concerning this issue. I know government jobs aren't exactly heavy lifting, but jeez, don't they at least pretend to work? This is such a bad cover story that Hollywood could have done better. Puleeze.

  • Disgusted Dem||

    Look at how many hours and resources the IRS devoted to investigating doping in sports just because Jeff Novitzky hated Barry Bonds.

    The problem is that once an investigation is started, there is an incentive on the part of the agent and the agency to find something to justify the initial investment. It doesn't matter what the initial reason was.

    Look at the resources spent by the government to get ultra runner Charlie Engle. In the end, he was jailed for falsifying information on a mortgage application. But once the investigators were in for a penny, they were in for a pound.

  • JSebastian||

    Except Charlie Engle was not a political target because of who he was but what he did - he was a highly visible (at the time) liar loaner. The allegation was his fraud "cost" banks $400K. Of course, we know that banks don't ever really "lose" money on defaulted mortgages, since the money didn't really come from their deposits and is more than compensated for by the obscene profits generated by the leverage inherent in the federal government's franchise of "fractional reserve banking". But I digress.

    Yes, it was political, but ironically it was not political because of the target's political activity.

  • Fluffy||

    Kelly actively denies knowing Broadwell.

    The initial emails Broadwell sent Kelly didn't even single out Petraeus by name, but told Kelly to leave "the generals" alone. Given the fact that Kelly has a 30,000 page correspondence with Allen, it's extremely likely Kelly thought the harasser was someone connected to Allen, and not to Petraeus at all.

  • John||

    Yeah. I just read that. Maybe the FBI got lucky. Of course if Broadwell knew Kelly well enough to get pissed off about her "strutting all over camp", it seems unlikely that Kelly didn't know Broadwell.

  • ||

    If you actually think your privacy is secure, you're fucking insane. The only thing that stops us from being in the total state is the state's utter incompetence, and we can thank our lucky stars for that.

  • John||

    Incompetence and shear numbers of people. They can listen to anything. But the chances of them ever listening to you are pretty slim.

  • Tim||

    Unless you are dating a woman who has an FBI guy horny for her too.

  • John||

    http://news.investors.com/poli.....-probe.htm

    And here is a good rundown of the various players in this soap opera.

  • Tim||

    I need a flowchart.

  • John||

    The money quote is the last paragraph. Broadwell spilled the beans about the CIA running a secret prison there. Obama signed an executive order banning the CIA from running such prisons.

    That is a scandal. Who in the CIA authorized that prison? And of course what did the President know and when did he know it? This thing is not going away and is only going to get worse.

  • Tim||

    Ya, and you know, I'm not nobody but some fool on the internet but even I know not to tell secrets to my mistress (if I had one.)
    All these top shelf careers with awards and pedigrees and here they are acting the cast of a reality trash TV show.

  • John||

    These guys love to show off to their girlfriends. Remember Dick Morris letting his hooker listen into his phone conversations with Clinton. Once they start thinking with their dick, there is no stopping them.

  • ||

    Once they start thinking with their dick, there is no stopping them.

    Samson and motherfucking Delilah.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "Samson and motherfucking Delilah"

    You mean Samsonfucking Delilah, right? But seriously, you make a good point - there is nothing new under the Sun.

  • ||

    They are the cast of the biggest reality trash TV show out there. You do realize these people ignore and live above 90% of the rules us little people have to follow, right?

  • Tim||

    point well taken.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Doesn't anyone read anymore? The Day of the Jackal, for instance, explains the folly of running your mouth quite clearly.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    Oh, people still read. Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray.

  • ||

    "Enough about your promiscuous mother, nicole. We have bigger problems."

  • CE||

    No, let's find out more.

  • Killazontherun||

    Acheson and misplaced parallels and several hundred thousand people dead. Folly.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Fear of that coming out might be the source of all of this.

    The ironic thing about it is that no one would give a shit about CIA prisons as long as the Black Jesus is the figurehead.

  • John||

    The FBI started the investigation long before the attack. This all started last spring.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Gross.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    First, the cast:

    David Petraeus...Holly Petraeus...Paula Broadwell...Jill Kelley...Marine Gen. John Allen

    OMG it's a love...pentagon.

  • db||

    That's excellent. Always remember that odd numbers are best for group sex.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The FBI did all of this digging over some bed-hopping? Yes. Yes, it did.

    Bullshit.

    The sex scandal is kabuki theater to distract the media and the public from some kind of political purge / cover up.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ah, so Obama isn't worse than Nixon, he is Nixon.

  • Paul.||

    Cornel West said Nixon was better than Obama on healthcare and Wages.

  • Killazontherun||

    From a leftist standpoint, why yes, he was, and good for West to be consistent enough to notice that. From a sound economic standpoint, on those very same matters, and throw in the NEP, ousting the gold window, creating the EPA, and refusing to cut back LBJ's budgetary expansions, Nixon was the biggest fruitcake we ever elected.

  • Killazontherun||

    Still, in terms of competence, BO is the worst in my lifetime.

  • John||

    They were running a secret prison there. Broadwell said so. That also explains why the place was attacked.

    So Obama signs an executive order in 2009 telling the CIA no more secret prisons. But the CIA continues running them any way. I doubt this was or is the only one.

    So is the CIA ignoring the President and completely out of control or is the President lying and signing an executive order for public show and then telling the CIA or allowing the CIA to ignore it? Which is it?

  • tarran||

    I doubt the CIA is running secret prisons without the president being aware of it.

    He at a minimum condoned it.

    Or it could be that the CIA has been out of control and is now being reined in... the Chicago way!

  • ||

    I regret having to say this once again, but never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. If we were able to look at the true big picture of how things are run, I am very sure we would be stunned and appalled at the incompetence and corruption, and we expect it. I would bet a lot of money it is beyond even our wildest dreams of incompetence.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah. In aggregate the world functions despite the venality of most of its actors, but drill down at random and you'll be appalled.

  • Killazontherun||

    Malice comes in when covering up the incompetence and stupidity.

  • ||

    +1

  • Zeb||

    That's basically my response to conspiracy theorists. There is no way that these people have their shit together enough to pull off any kind of grand conspiracy. And it's a good thing too. It's probably all that saves us from the total state.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I think you mean delays the total state.

  • Steve G||

    That sums up all my pre-election FB battles re: benghazi. Gonna have to steal that phrase...

  • John||

    I have no doubt that the President knew. The question is can it be proven he knew.

    Bengazi was not the victim of a terrorist attack. It was a coordinated attack by a militia. Why the fuck would the Libyan militia decide to one day attack the US consulate in Bengazi? And not only attack but attack with what appears to be at least company level tactics and crew serve weapons? The firefight lasted for hours and they took 60 casualties taking the place.

    If this was some random ass "lets kill the infidel on 9-11" attack the two SEALs would have fought them off. It wasn't. So why would they attack? To free militia prisoners being held there is about the only explanation I can think of. You have a better one?

  • tarran||

    If this was some random ass "lets kill the infidel on 9-11" attack the two SEALs would have fought them off. It wasn't. So why would they attack? To free militia prisoners being held there is about the only explanation I can think of. You have a better one?

    Actually, that's the only scenario of the many I've heard that actually makes sense!

  • John||

    It all kind of fits doesn't it? The only thing that doesn't fit is why the White House wouldn't send help. You would think someone would have thought "hey that is one of those secret prisons we are not supposed to have, we better bring in the gun ships and stop this or the shit is going to hit the fan". Why would they not act? If they had acted, this would have been a one day story.

  • tarran||

    I think Obama locked up.

    I think he was afraid of making the wrong decision, so he became paralyzed.

    I think his lack of engagement with the GWOT national security stuff meant that he hadn't gotten used to making decisions, and so he lacked the doctrine/mental thought processes to make a decision.

    I think he feared that the attackers might have an ambush planned for relief forces, and that losing aircraft or marines in a hastily planned operation would scupper his reelection.

    I think he hoped that the militia guys would break their guys out of jail and withdraw, and that they could paint it as a terrorist attack.

  • Bobarian||

    "that he hadn't gotten used to making decisions, and so he lacked the doctrine/mental thought processes to make a decision."

    I think this sums up the entire administration in a nutshell. You could apply it to anything!

  • Enough About Palin||

    "I think he was afraid of making the wrong decision, so he became paralyzed."

    Present.

    /Obama

  • lightning||

    I truly think the prison is a red herring. Were prisoners there? Yeah, but Obama knew and didn't care and I do not think this is why the attack happened. The video continues to be the stink bomb. Why the dumba@ss video that nobody watched? Well the day before 9/11 Egypt just so happened to have a protest about a video nobody saw. Then the State Department condemed said video. Why? To explain 9/11 and the kidnapping of Stevens (in exchange for the Blind Guy). If it was about the prisoners they would have attacked the annex not the consulate. Annex was attacked after the consulate. The kidnapping plot also explains why the Seals used laser designators that could give away their location on the roof. They had no reason to believe they would not have help given what they believed the nature of the attack to be (an attack on an ambassador and his staff).

  • John||

    If the militia were trying to kidnap the ambassador, they would not have put mortar rounds into the compound. High explosives tends to do bad things to hostages.

  • lightning||

    John, by then the militia had already killed the ambassador. The proposed theory on the kidnapping plot is this: Terrorists kidnap Stevens so that Egypt can secure the release of the Blind Sheik. Obama supposedly gets to play foreign policy genuis and superhero thus gaining an easy election win. Security is deliberatly loosened prior to 9/11 to ensure it no problems. 9/10, Egypt gets folks to protest a video (they have never seen) to explain why terrorist kidnap Stevens. 9/10 State Department condems said video even though viewership is stupidly low. 9/11, Steven is in Benghazi to meet with Turks even though he and his staff have talked about their fears regarding their safety. They notify State prior to attack that their local security is taking pictures of them and "casing" the consulate building. Attack commences. Within an hour Woods rushes from the Annex to help the ambassador & his staff. While at the consulate, he finds Smith dead, and can't locate Stevens. He evacuates the rest of the staff to the annex. An hour after getting back to the annex the terrorist begin attacking the annex. Dorhety shows up a few hours later from Italy to back up Woods and the annex. Both Dorhety and Woods know there is military support in the area, so they laser the terrorists firing motars. What they don't know is that help isn't coming. Sex scandals and foreign prison camps don't explain why the attack was on the consulate initially nor does it explain the pathetic video.

  • John||

    The only problem wit that theory is that if the plan had worked it would have destroyed Obama. You really think Obama would have benefited from an ambassador being kidnapped and then letting go the mastermind behind the first WTC bombing to get him back? That would have been political madness. It would have destroyed Obama.

    No way were they that stupid to even try such a thing.

  • John||

    And there is evidence for it being a prison. Broadwell says it was. Why it was there? I don't know. Incompetence and arrogance are always good explanations.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    he only thing that doesn't fit is why the White House wouldn't send help. You would think someone would have thought "hey that is one of those secret prisons we are not supposed to have, we better bring in the gun ships and stop this or the shit is going to hit the fan".

    Fear that sending help would cause the whole thing to unravel and embarrass Obama before the election.

  • Paul.||

    Are we suggesting that Patreus just happened to have some totty on the side to make his exit more palatable? That seems a little too convenient.

    What would have happened had Patreus not been having an affair? Or are you suggesting that the affair has been manufactured? I find that hard to believe.

  • DK||

    I think the hypothesis is that they appointed Petraeus already knowing about the affair, and that they could use this information at any time.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Maybe the president was punishing them for disobeying his orders?

  • R C Dean||

    I've heard plausible speculation that the CIA op in Benghazi had to do with trying to gather up/buy back a bunch of the heavier weapons that the Libyans had, erm, acquired recently. Possibly to ship to Libya.

    That the "safe house" had both a bunch of money and a bunch of weapons in it, and the Libyans/AQ knew about it.

    Possibly the attack on the embassy was intended to flush out the location of the safe house, possibly they just got the chance to get two for one in their attack.

    Anyhoo, just another theory.

  • db||

    If there was a prison there, and the attack freed prisoners, why are the attackers or their leadership not trumpeting this all over global media to embarrass the U.S?

  • John||

    That is a good question. That I can't answer. But at the same time, I can't figure out why they would have attacked with such ferocity. Maybe the prisoners were killed in the attack and they militia doesn't want to admit they go their guys killed.

  • tarran||

    Because they hope to come to a truce or peace with the U.S.?

    The U.S. government has a very tough time accepting truces with organizations that humiliated it. They can be very accommodating of groups that have acted against it, but haven't publicly shamed it.

  • lightning||

    I agree. Also if a prison was there why the lax security. A few more folks would not raise eyebrows at all. Yet, not only did they not increase security, they decreased what was already there. As I mentioned before, we also have the problem with the fact that the consulate was attacked not the annex. You keep prisoners at a "consulate" that stands empty except when Stevens decides to visit? A block away for a CIA annex that is always staffed? I agree Obama is stupid, but I can't believe he is that stupid.

  • John||

    Sure you do. If it is empty, people don't think they are there.

  • Paul.||

    If there was a prison there, and the attack freed prisoners, why are the attackers or their leadership not trumpeting this all over global media to embarrass the U.S?

    This is an excellent question. But I do recall that that was the original argument that Obama's cult of personality used as "proof" that the whole Benghazi affair was just Rioters gone Wild. No one was "taking responsibility" for it. So, just some rioters.

  • pmains||

    To bolster your theory, Glenn Beck (I know, I know, it's Glenn Beck) discussed information that the Turkish ambassador had been at this prison/safe house/consulate/CIA whatever a short time before the attack. Perhaps he was acting as an intermediary attempting to secure release of the prisoners. When negotiations failed, the location was surrounded and attacked.

  • Killazontherun||

    To sabotage an arm deal is the one that seemed the most logical before I became aware of this prison.

  • John||

    And one other question Tarran,

    What were the two former SEAL CIA security contractors doing there in the first place? They were not a security team. No one has a security team of two guys no matter how bad ass they are. Why have two contractors there? Interrogation perhaps?

  • tarran||

    I presume it was interrogation. One of the guys was an IT guy too, so I assume he was supposed to extract data from cellphones/computers that they got hold of. The notion that he was part of the ambassador's security detail never made sense to me.

  • lightning||

    Woods was stationed at the annex. Dorhety was not; he was from the base in Italy (he and his party were called in after Woods evacuated the consulate). Woods and the CIA annex were buying back weapons that "got loose" during the revolution.

  • BigT||

    Question: Didn't this area come under Qadaffi's rule until quite recently - when was this so-called prison set up? It had to happen so fast it doesn't make sense. It takes a while to set up anything secure enough for prisoners.

    Sorry, don't believe it.

  • CE||

    Don't think for a minute that being a "community organizer" doesn't translate to presidential politics.

  • db||

    I sure hope President Biden remembers to pardon BO between belly laughs over this whole thing.

  • CE||

    They're not done running down the email chain. We could end up with President Pelosi.

  • Trespassers W||

    So Obama signs an executive order in 2009 telling the CIA no more secret prisons. But the CIA continues running them any way.

    If he was winking suggestively while signing the order, it has no legal standing. See Constanza v. Kramer.

  • np||

    John, wow, yeah... That one crucial bit of info leaked by Broadwell makes all the pieces fit together. Ironically despite the focus on the soap opera, we do have nutty actors to thank for bringing it to light.

    The blame placed on a months old cheesy movie on youtube, was likely another false flag to divert attention, one that seemed very successful diverting not just our attention, but the attention of the muslim world as well. The free-speech aspect is a legitimate issue that gets people riled up (I admit to being one of them) enough on both sides to ignore the odd circumstance surrounding it

  • Tim||

    Get the hounds off of the LIbya scent onto some fresh pussy. Always popular with the masses.

  • JSebastian||

    You're damn right its a purge. It was Obama's attempt to get rid of patriotic military leadership probably because he rightfully feared they were about to remove his illegitimate and unlawfully acting ass from power. What you just saw was an attempt to stave off a coup.

    The next time they won't be so subtle. War criminals and usurpers can't rest easy and always have to watch their backs. He probably thinks because he's avoided a little insubordination that he's out the woods. But he's not. In fact by doing so he probably has signed his own death warrant. I give him (and Biden) less than a year. Why do you think Speaker of the House Boehner is strutting around like the new cock of the walk?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "If an FBI agent can go digging through private emails over a friend's complaint about nasty-grams, doesn't that suggest that such intrusive snooping is pretty much old hat to the feds?"

    I think it's really cute that there are people out there who still care about this stuff!

    I overheard a guy the other day say he was hoping they'd bring the Dodgers back to Brooklyn.

  • John||

    If it turns out the CIA was running a secret prison there in violation of the EO, I think people are going to care.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I was being sarcastic.

    Of course, I care!

    I've just become incredibly pessimistic about making my fellow Americans care about this stuff anymore.

  • $park¥||

    I've just become incredibly pessimistic about making my fellow Americans care about this stuff anymore.

    That's not your job anyway. You don't get to determine what people care about. Just accept the fact that millions of dumb shits care about dumb-shit stuff.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think it is our job.

    The job of libertarians is to make more libertarians.

    I confess I stole that from Doherty.

  • $park¥||

    So your job as a libertarian is to force people to care about the same things you do? That sounds so ... unlibertarian.

  • ||

    He's not a libertarian, stop believing his lies.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Doherty is so a libertarian!

    And all of his lies are true.

  • T||

    He never said force, Sparky. One can make more libertarians by the gentle art of persuasion, too. Just be mindful that you don't use any words that might offend someone, because that's a dealbreaker.

  • Killazontherun||

    The best way to create libertarians is to keep the other guy's hands off of your shit. If he can't do anything to you, he is a libertarian by default.

  • kinnath||

    Marriage and reproduction.

  • Rasilio||

    Well if you know of any willing libertarian women I might be up to the task.

  • tarran||

    There you go again John; you never stop trying to distract people from the Rethuglican War on Women do you? ;)

  • fish||

    No one cares and eventually this will all be smoothed over with free Obama phones for everyone.

  • tarran||

    This was the perfect way to suck the air out of the Benghazi incident.

    There are no serious crimes - nor any lapses on the part of the Admin. Two generals, a reservist Major and a socialite are humiliated/lose their jobs.

    And, the CIA is going to be too consumed by the reorg/fact-finding for people to talk about Benghazi.

    If it really is happening the way it's presented in the media, Obama is the luckiest man alive - except for being married to a creature that can rip his arms off.

  • R C Dean||

    This was the perfect way to suck the air out of the Benghazi incident.

    Actually, it managed to do the opposite, since they very cleverly got rid of Petraeus right before he was supposed to testify, and with a media-friendly sex scandal, too.

    You'd think a bunch of hard-bitten Chicago operators could have done a little better than that. He testifies (the way the administration wants, because they have the goods on him), and quietly resigns, perhaps during the hullabaloo over the fiscal cliff. Done and dusted, no muss, no fuss.

    Instead, this was managed in a way guaranteed to piss off Congress and get maximum TV time.

  • db||

    I read that the FBI justified its initial involvement with the fact that cyberthreats and cyberbullying are federal crimes. Iron Rule, anyone?

  • AlexInCT||

    What many here seem to forget is that when you sign up for a security clearance you all but abdicate any right to privacy. The government basically tells you it can and will snoop around on you as often as it seems fit. To make sure you are not a risk, that is. Not condoning this snooping, mind you, but that's the known price of a job in the intelligence field.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I knew the second I got my clearance and commission that Defense or someone could pry into my stuff anytime they felt like it. It sucked, but now that I am retired, I am too old and weary to be exciting or scandalous anymore. I missed my window - damn you, Defense Intelligence Agency!

  • fish||

    I am too old and weary to be exciting or scandalous anymore.

    John...I would expect innovative thinking from a member of the armed forces.

    Two words: Organized religion...or Catholic church!

    Your choice!

    Allowing old weary guys the opportunity to be exciting and scandalous!

  • CE||

    I fully condone snooping on all the emails of any director of the CIA, past, present or future.

  • Tim||

    Was there a secret prison? Who authorized it? Somebody has the answers. If Obama authorized it after publicly forbidding it, well, his ass kissers will be OK with it. But will a Republican house?

  • John||

    A lot of his ass kissers won't be so okay with it.

  • ||

    His ass kissers are OK with anything he does. We've seen that in spades.

  • Tim||

    He could nuke Hiroshima a second time and he'd get the Nobel Prize.

  • tarran||

    Episiarch, we don't know how his ass-kissers would react.

    I thought marijuana legalization would tell us how they would react, but I am reliably informed by his supporters that Obama has steadfastly supported state level legalization contrary to my delusion that he was opposed.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    Doesn't that tell you exactly how they will react? Dispensaries get raided all over CA and no one cares/notices, then they act like he has always been friendly to pot when CO and WA legalize. What do you think they will do when CO and WA start getting raided? This is just a blip. I mean, what are Obama supporters telling you about Guantanamo? Rinse and repeat.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "From October 2011 to October 2012, federal law enforcement shut down 600 dispensaries."

    ----Slate

    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....ation.html

    There's no way Obama's gonna treat recreational sellers better than medicinal sellers in California. They're in a fantasy world.

  • R C Dean||

    Episiarch, we don't know how his ass-kissers would react.

    Ass-kissers gonna kiss ass. Its who they are. Its what they do.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Maybe not anything but a distressingly high percentage of anything. I do think they'd draw the line if he forbade his wife from getting an abortion or something like that.

  • ||

    You people are delusional if you think they won't excuse anything. They do not operate in reality any more. They operate on some fantasy level where he's the perfect president and the only reason he doesn't make the world a perfect place is because Congress won't let him.

    They've gone over. He could rape your mom and they'd excuse it. Once the line is crossed, it's over.

  • Tim||

    Plus, it helps that they know he has a file of every email and shirtless photo they've ever sent anyone.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I agree as far as political stuff goes, but if it's overwhelming, the personal stuff can still bring one of them down. Not that all of his supporters would turn on him, but enough would. What's interesting to consider is how bad he could act before they'd start trying to back away from him. I think he could go pretty far.

    One of the more telling instances of this willingness to discard principles for political reasons is the feminist reaction to Clinton taking sexual liberties with an intern.

  • Tim||

    What's the feminist take over two mistresses getting catty and chatty over a powerful man?

  • db||

    Ask Bill Clinton.

  • ||

    You seem to be saying what I'm saying but then contradicting yourself. Do you actually think that if Obama got caught with a 16 year old white girl, it wouldn't be immediately explained as a setup? Have you not been watching the excuses his supporters pull out of their asses on a daily basis?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't really know how far they're willing to go.

    "The bitch set me up!"

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Pro, boy was that the right quote. That was said by Marrion Barry who was just a mayor of D.C. caught smoking crack. And he was still reelected. Just think of what the Obamessiah can do.

  • John||

    You may be right Episiarch. Look at how they are saying the Broadwell's husband was a hero for sacrificing for the country and keeping all of this quiet. Basically they believe Top Men can come into their house and fuck their wives and it is their duty to keep quiet about it.

  • nicole just can't even!||

    Basically they believe Top Men can come into their house and fuck their wives and it is their duty to keep quiet about it.

    I feel almost comforted by a full return to feudalism...

  • tarran||

    I am telling you guys that's what the Progressives want!

    Look at the thinkers who founded the movement in the 19th century! Most of them were aristocrats who found themselves in a world where grubby tradesmen were amassing all the wealth!

  • Killazontherun||

    That advice column thing was pure nuts.

  • $park¥||

    We've seen that in spades.

    Nice, RACIST!

  • gaoxiaen||

    We've seen that in honkeys too, motherfucker.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    If you're concerned about privacy, don't use Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

    https://countermail.com/

  • niobiumstudio||

    Don't trust any e-mail server you don't run yourself outside the borders of the United States. If you need to write something that you don't want found out and still want to use your regular e-mail, encrypt it...it isn't hard at all. Every e-mail your write that isn't encrypted you should just assume that it isn't private.

  • CE||

    Going back to pen and paper, and then burning the paper, is the safest bet.

  • CE||

    And be sure to encrypt the words, and use invisible ink.

  • ||

    If I wanted fevered conspiracy theorizing from people like John, I would be commenting at Red State.

  • ||

    And this email spying was the first thing that popped out at me when I heard about the Petraeus scandal. I've been waiting for Reason to say something about it.

  • John||

    If I wanted conspiracy theories I would read Red State. What email spying? The FBI was investigating the holder of a security clearance. End of conversation.

  • ||

    So the fact that the FBI can read your emails without any evidence of a crime doesn't bother you?

    Yeah keep talking about cover-ups John.

  • John||

    Of course it does. But if you think that the FBI was looking into this because some agent wanted to screw some random MILF in Tampa, you are kidding yourself. All of these people know each other. The FBI was after Petreus.

  • ||

    Why?

  • Ken Shultz||

    For whatever reason!

    It doesn't matter why.

    Obama may have wanted him out for any number of reasons, and needed some kind of justification.

    It wouldn't be the first time in the last ten years that people in our intelligence services were removed--just because they weren't towing the Administration's line.

    It may have been for other reasons. Whatever the reason was, it looks like the FBI was after Petraeus.

  • ||

    So you don't know why, it just looks like that. Awesome theory guys!

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, I'm not privy to Obama's inner circle, the inner workings of the CIA or the inner workings of the FBI.

    But from where I'm standing, given what I do know? It looks like Petraeus didn't jump--he was pushed.

    If you go with Occam's razor, what do you see?

  • tarran||

    Why?

    Because Obama is a weak president who is afraid of the security services and allows them to run rampant because of his weakness.

    Can you imagine Obama being able to win a face-off with the CIA? They would crush him - the way it looks like they crushed Nixon.

    I could see Obama allowing the CIA to keep secret prisons, even though he didn't like them, because he was afraid of what happened if he said no. Then this little present got dropped on his lap.

    And, IIRC, the FBI hates the CIA, so institutionally they would love to drag them through the sewer.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Speculated too far beyond what we know is what conspiracy theories are all about.

    We should probably try to avoid those for political reasons.

    It's sufficient for me to say that it looks like the FBI was after Petraeus, and Obama doesn't seem to have been too sorry to see Petraeus go.

  • ||

    It's sufficient for me to say that it looks like the FBI was after Petraeus, and Obama doesn't seem to have been too sorry to see Petraeus go.

    Or it could be the opposite! Look, I'm speculating!

  • Ken Shultz||

    What evidence do you have that the FBI wasn't after Petraeus?

    If not going after Petraeus ended up costing him his job, then I'm not sure I understand what the difference is between going after Petraeus and not going after Petraeus.

    What evidence do you have that Obama was sorry to see Petraeus go?

  • ||

    Because stupidity is always more believable than conspiracy. It's a simple fact derived from entropic principles. The more complicated something is, the less likely it is to occur.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, I've invoked that rule myself from time to time. ...but the rule is that you should never assume malice when simple incompetence will suffice.

    If the Obama Administration had a hand in this, and it blew up in their faces to the point that it's in the news and their own party is investigating it?

    Then there's more than enough incompetence about to satisfy the rule.

  • CE||

    Because stupidity is always more believable than conspiracy. It's a simple fact derived from entropic principles. The more complicated something is, the less likely it is to occur.

    This isn't complicated at all. Someone at a high level wanted Petraeus out, so they found an excuse.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Does anyone know what party would Petraeus run under if he were planning to run for President before this all blew up?

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    And while I'm being all conspiracy theorizing. Does Justice Roberts have a little strange on the side as well?

  • Ken Shultz||

    What's the point of being a Supreme Court justice if you can't have any fun every once in a while?

    And chicks notice that.

    ...that you're a Supreme Court justice. And they dig it!

  • gaoxiaen||

    Fuckin'-A. You can be naked under your robe, have a woodie, watch some porno, hear sadistic rape stories AND GET PAID FOR IT!

  • pmains||

    Republicans wanted Petraeus as a candidate, but he declined. I'd link to the website, but it's already down.

    He was a registered Republican, but he keeps his personal politics close to the vest.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way, and in terms of political parties, Petraeus is on the side of the U.S. military.

  • niobiumstudio||

    None of the federal departments particularly like each other and there are tons of rivalries. They all think of themselves as the best intelligence/enforcement agency and that the other agencies are a bunch of people who are better funded, sit on their thumbs, and don't do half the work they do. They don't share intelligence because they feel that if they give up intelligence, the other guys will get credit for the big score and it will hurt their reputation. All of the rivalries are based on reputation because reputation determines funding.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The FBI was after Petreus."

    I'll just pipe up that I think John is probably right about that.

    I just don't think any action taken on it is likely to pay any political dividends.

  • Killazontherun||

    heller, you're being silly dismissing everyday human experience, affairs, power seeking and back stabbing, as nothing more than conspiracy theory. This isn't Illuminati, this isn't Shakespeare, this is everyday shit people do when they come to Washington, like keeping a certain blue dress.

  • R C Dean||

    No kidding. This is the national security state at work. Its a conspiracy by definition, so the only real question isn't "Was there some kind of conspiracy?", its "What was/were the conspiracy/conspiracies?"

  • John||

    Fuck you heller. You have a better explanation? Why did Broadwell go out and say there were prisoners there? Was she lying? Mistaken? Explain that.

    If you have something to say, say it. But running around yelling Red State just makes you look like a retard.

  • ||

    Yeah I have something to say: Idiots before masterminds, John.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Or idiot masterminds.

  • ||

    I mean, these conspiracies don't make sense on any number of levels? Who exactly was silenced by this scandal?

  • John||

    No one is saying anyone is. We are talking about what happened at Bengazi. It is just a weird happenstance that the whole thing may unravel because Petreus couldn't stop thinking with his dick.

  • ||

    Apparently it unraveled because the CIA wanted to take down Petraeus for some reason! Derp!

  • ||

    Oh but of course the CIA had someone pretend to leak the info to Eric Cantor, because...! Something!

  • John||

    And do you think Broadwell was lying when she said there were prisoners there? If so, why? How did she get such an idea? Why would she say such a thing?

  • ||

    Um, why do you think that has anything to do with this scandal? Nothing stopped that story from coming out.

  • John||

    yeah Heller. The CIA and FBI never work at cross purposes. Stop being a troll. And again, if you have a better explanation provide it. If you have no explanation and don't care, stop pissing on the threads and acting like Shreek.

  • ||

    OK, so you don't have a reason for why the FBI or Obama would want to kick out Petraeus (but not silence him, just remove him from the job). And you have no answer as to why the FBI didn't tell anyone about Petraeus even though they wanted this scandal to come out, and the information had to be leaked to Eric Cantor for it to come out.

  • John||

    The FBI told Holder. Why Holder didn't tell anyone, including the President, is a good question. Right now the official story is that the FBI was investigating the head of the CIA for security breaches but the AG never bothered to mention it to the President. That seems a bit odd and rather incredible don't you think?

    And all of this is separate from what happened at Bengazi. The FBI was going after Petreus before Bengazi. Bengazi is a separate but related issue.

    Again Broadwell says there was a prison there. There being a prison certainly explains why the Libyan militia attacked and attacked in such a persistent and coordinated manner.

    I don't think it is a conspiracy theory to take notice when the head of the CIA's biographer and mistress says that the CIA was running an illegal prison at Bengazi.

  • ||

    I don't think it is a conspiracy theory to take notice when the head of the CIA's biographer and mistress says that the CIA was running an illegal prison at Bengazi.

    That's because taking notice isn't a conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory explains something as a plot by a certain group of people. The result in this case being the Petraeus scandal.

  • John||

    That's because taking notice isn't a conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory explains something as a plot by a certain group of people. The result in this case being the Petraeus scandal.

    The administration lied its ass off about Bengazi. It also waited a very long time to drop the dime on Petreus. There was a reason for that.

    I am sure it was completely innocent. Whatever.

  • ||

    It also waited a very long time to drop the dime on Petreus.

    Did it?

  • John||

    yes. It knew about the whole thing back in July and sat on it.

  • Ken Shultz||

    They knew about it for months.

    He didn't resign until after the election.

    Maybe Petraeus just did that out of consideration for his boss.

    But maybe? Maybe the Administration didn't push on the resignation until it wouldn't cause any trouble on the way to reelection.

    You can see whatever you want there.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Kind of how Reagan held down the lid on Iran-Contra until right after the election, keeping everyone running around with the WOD.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Right now the official story is that the FBI was investigating the head of the CIA for security breaches but the AG never bothered to mention it to the President."

    If that's true, then the head of the FBI should be fired for dereliction of duty.

    But there's no way anyone's ever going to be able to prove this. If Obama doesn't invoke executive privilege, someone will come forward to take the fall.

    The best you can hope for is someone like Rove being forced to leave over the Plame Affair. There's no way we're gonna get to the president.

  • Tim||

    Here's another comforting thought: almost all the people who do cyber spying for FBI, CIA, etc. eventually move on the "private sector" where they do the same shit for political parties, corporations and rich people.

  • tarran||

    Yes, but they can't get away with kidnapping you and throwing you into jail.

    I have less to fear from Target than the FBI

  • Tim||

    Yeah but if you run for office, or if you're an actual journalist you gotta be worried about somebody daylighting that stuff.

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, but then they're stuck with tools like facebook and Spokeo, so they get what they deserve.

  • tarran||

    OK. I was going to save this till the afternoon links, but I think we could all use a laugh:

    Jeff of Coupling asks for help after a swallowage incident.

  • Paul.||

    This seems remarkably similar to the Joe the Plumber situation back in the early 2004 campaign. Within minutes of Joe asking Obama an uncomfortable question, we had all of his electronic records, financial records and medical records plastered all over the internet. No one cared.

    We have a socialite who asked a personal friend who happened to be an FBI agent to look into some emails, and apparently that FBI agent became "so involved" in the investigation that the FBI brass barred him from the investigation. Impropriety indeed.

  • db||

  • db||

    Really? Nothing?

  • Fluffy||

    The sex scandal is kabuki theater to distract the media and the public from some kind of political purge / cover up.

    Yeah, it looks like a purge to me, too.

    I'm not entirely sure who's purging who or what the goal is, though.

    The detail that's really Hollywood to me is the original FBI agent getting canned for sending a "shirtless photo". When you write your potboiler spy thriller, remember to have the hero framed with a spoofed IP email of a photo stolen from his Flikr account.

  • John||

    It just shows that you can't make people up. I have no doubt that the FBI agent was legitimately some doofus trying to get in Kelly's pants. If the whole thing were some kind of orchestrated cover up, that part of the cover up would have been rejected as being too stupid for anyone to believe.

    The sex is just a distraction. The real story is the possibility they were holding prisoners there.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If Obama just wanted to announce that he was replacing Petraeus after the election--for whatever reason--he could have done so.

    I just don't believe that the FBI was investigating the head of the CIA, and the Obama Administration didn't know anything about it.

    I haven't seen anything to suggest that Petraeus wanted to go, and that leads to the question of whether they asked him to resign ahead of time, and he just basically dared them to fire him.

  • Killazontherun||

    BO probably didn't want hi to leave, P-Diddler gave Obama enormous amounts of credibility just by being willing to be a member of the administration. My money would be not on Obama attempting to ouster P-Diddler, but instead making sure nothing came of this until after the election.

  • gaoxiaen||

    "Out of the loop" worked for Bush 1.

  • CE||

    Maybe cleaning out the opponents of a possible war on Iran? Maybe Petraeus wouldn't play ball on genning up false intel.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "an attractive woman"

    [citation needed]

  • John||

    I think Kelly is pretty hot. But I have a thing for Semitic women. Broadwell looks good in some pictures and funky in others. But neither are horrible.

  • Calidissident||

    Agreed John. Kelley is very good looking, especially for her age

  • Killazontherun||

    This is my assessment to a 't'.

  • Paul.||

    *squints eyes*

    The one in the fatigues on the left or the one in the blue blouse on right in the photo?

  • R C Dean||

    Kelley looks to me like your standard issue used-to-be-the-belle-of-the-ball cougar who just can't stop wearing clothes 15 years too young for her.

    Not my thing. At all. Your mileage may vary, but I have no doubt there's a lot of miles on her odometer.

  • Killazontherun||

    Personally, I hate women who have standards, and are frugal with their vaginas.

  • Ken Shultz||

    We should judge these women through the eyes of guys in their, what, late 50s early 60s? who've been married for a number of decades.

  • SFC B||

    Not just that, but have spent a not-insignificant amount of time in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sure, a general's HQ rarely lacks for Army-pretty women, but either Broadwell or Kelley would be an upgrade for most of the women you'll routinely see during a standard deployed-military day.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I remember the joke from, "Just a Soldier," concerning graffiti in the women's latrine at the R&R complex in Bahrain: "How does it feel to know that when you get back to the World, you'll be ugly again?"

  • John||

    What Ken said. IN the over 35 mom class, Kelly punches quite well for her weight class.

  • DK||

    This is one area where I give Obama and his team high marks. First, he propagandizes "most transparent administration ever!". Then, releases as little information as possible to allow all sorts of conspiracy theories. He uses the MSM knowing full well they won't call him on any this stuff. When the media (including the alternative media) even attempts to get information, the administration simply refers to the numerous ridiculous theories that have been brought up and ignores the plausible ones.

    This is why Julian Assange, et. al., should be given high praise.

  • db||

    Remember when Petraeus was being floated as a VP pick for Romney? Remember how quickly the admin and Petraeus himself moved to quash that? They wanted no, absolutely no, media inquiry into Petraeus's life at that point.

  • CE||

    Which means the Repubs may be stuck with socially awkward candidates like Romney, because they're the only ones with no skeletons in their closets.

  • CE||

    What "attractive woman" are you referring to?

  • joey89924||

    why couldn't a shithead FBI agent trying to show off for a rich, attractive lady do the same with the Bureau's vastly superior resources?
    www.hqew.net

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