After All That, The Original 'Cyberstalking' Complaint That Created Petraeus Scandal Is Dropped

from the digging-around-for-nothing dept

What has been somewhat forgotten in the ensuing situation that resulted in General David Petraeus stepping down from his post at the top of the CIA, is that the whole thing started when his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell was accused of “cyberstalking” by another woman, Jill Kelley. That led to a chain of events, including having the FBI go through various email accounts, exposing the affair and some other soap opera-y stuff involving generals. And, in the end, the original cyberstalking charge, that kicked it all off, is being dropped. Of course, that only raises even more questions about why the FBI went snooping through everyone’s emails in the first place.

It was always questionable for the FBI to pursue a cyberstalking investigation against Broadwell, who used an anonymous email account, “kelleypatrol,” to tell Florida-based military officers like Marine Gen. John Allen that socialite Kelley was bad news. One former federal prosecutor told Danger Room that it was “highly irregular” for the FBI to take up such cases.

While some insist that it’s fine for the FBI to snoop through Petraeus’ emails given his position, it seems like they should have had much more of a reason than “hey, someone’s bothering someone else online.”

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Comments on “After All That, The Original 'Cyberstalking' Complaint That Created Petraeus Scandal Is Dropped”

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Pickle Monger (profile) says:

FBI involvement

My understanding is that the reason FBI got involved was because the original complainant asked her FBI friend to take a look at the e-mails she had received. Having read those e-mails, the FBI special friend agent saw that the sender had details of calendar and itinerary of the director of the CIA. Only then did it become an official FBI investigation.

out_of_the_blue says:

Mike doesn't even suspect there's more to it.

You’d be sort of right if you’d inserted “allegedly” above about the story, but it surely ain’t more than the public excuse. No one in such high position would resign over mere marital infidelity. Heck, neither P’s wife nor Broadwell’s husband seem to be upset: what has NOT happened seems even more revealing.

“There?s his war record in Iraq, starting when he headed up the Iraqi security force training program in 2004. He?s more or less skated on that, including all the weapons he lost, the insane corruption, and the fact that he essentially armed and trained what later became known as ?Iraqi death squads.? On his final Iraq tour, during the so-called “surge,” he pulled off what is perhaps the most impressive con job in recent American history. He convinced the entire Washington establishment that we won the war.

He did it by papering over what the surge actually was: We took the Shiites’ side in a civil war, armed them to the teeth, and suckered the Sunnis into thinking we?d help them out too. It was a brutal enterprise ? over 800 Americans died during the surge, while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives during a sectarian conflict that Petraeus? policies fueled.”

Best speculation I’ve seen is that the actual cause for resignation was that CIA attempted to embarrass Obama by getting the US ambassador killed. But it’s actually worse than useless to guess about the exact intrigues: they’re all as corrupt as they can get away with.

Dirkmaster (profile) says:

Re: Mike doesn't even suspect there's more to it.

“No one in such high position would resign over mere marital infidelity.”

Well, actually, infidelity is a security-clearance killer (back when I had a TS clearance, you could loose it for even bouncing a check), as well as an actionable offence under the UCMJ ( So yeah, he should have to resign his position is infidelity is revealed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think the only mistake here…

The number one lesson: Don’t ever try to substitute obscurity for crypto. Never. That is security FAIL.

The CIA director and his paramour had absolutely lousy techniques. They relied on sharing a password to a Gmail account, and exchanging messages in the ?Drafts? folder. Where did they learn that ?tradecraft?? From terrorists whose idea of the peak of civilization is back in the 8th century.

Suppose the NSA director had a paramour. I sure hope we wouldn’t be reading about his failure to use strong crypto over a potentially compromised channel.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

At the very least he could have used Stegtunnel or OpenPuff.

A single off-the-shelf software package does not make a secure communications system.

A secure communications system ?a system? comprises not just software, but also hardware, and not just software and hardware, but also the operational protocols and techniques used with that software/firmware/hardware stack and channels.

It begins with an analysis of the threat. And, in a sense, the threat model becomes an integral part of the communications system. At base, changes in the threat necessitate corresponding changes in the communications system.

A single off-the-shelf software package does not make a secure communications system.

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