FBI Abuse of Surveillance an Issue in Petraeus Scandal

Email spying doesn't appear to be tied to anything resembling an actual threat


The Petraeus scandal is receiving intense media scrutiny obviously due to its salacious aspects, leaving one, as always, to fantasize about what a stellar press corps we would have if they devoted a tiny fraction of this energy to dissecting non-sex political scandals (this unintentionally amusing New York Times headline from this morning—"Concern Grows Over Top Military Officers' Ethics"—illustrates that point: with all the crimes committed by the US military over the last decade and long before, it's only adultery that causes "concern" over their "ethics"). Nonetheless, several of the emerging revelations are genuinely valuable, particularly those involving the conduct of the FBI and the reach of the US surveillance state.

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.

NEXT: Is Closing Guantanamo Just a Pipe Dream?

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  1. Surveillance is a latent monster. I have been shocked for years over how dismissive the average media is toward the growth, prevalence, and destructiveness state surveillance poses to the open society.

    Perhaps I’ve gone loony but is the average journalist being trained by psyops people posing as professors to become drone-like and indifferent when addressing national security issues? It just doesn’t seem normal NOT to be alarmed about enforcement/security elites pawing through private information on a massive scale with zero accountability and oversight.

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