David Petraeus | News

The Real Scandal Behind the Petraeus Story?

It's the abuse of the U.S. surveillance state, writes Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian:

PetraeusWhat is most striking is how sweeping, probing and invasive the FBI's investigation then became, all without any evidence of any actual crime - or the need for any search warrant...

And how it has now eaten itself, leading to the deposition of the top official trusted with its implementation:

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. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation...

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  1. There are vastly different standards for govt. employee privacy expectations and citizen expectations. Govt. employees can't expect much privacy because of the threats they pose from the inside to the system (think espionage, terrorism, etc.). So, a counter-espionage program is triggered very quickly after evidence is unearthed. Affairs, while technically legal in most states, are part of espionage, so need to be looked into. For private citizens most surveillance occurs either through telcos (recording e-mails, web traffic and conversations), which are then sifted for keywords that might indicate criminal or terroristic activity. However, this cache is so huge and lumpy that there's barely any time to sort any information out of it at all. The quick review of all sorts of data you see on TV cop shows is a fantasy.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 14, 2012 11:49:38 AM


  2. You can't trust straight people!

    Posted by: Frank | Nov 14, 2012 12:06:25 PM


  3. @ANON,

    +1

    His employers absolutely had the right to 'spy' on him. Most employers have the right to spy on their employees.

    I'm not saying we don't have a burgeoning police state, we do. And both main political parties are at fault, including Obama, who has INCREASED government surveillance beyond what GW did. Hope and Change, my bum.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Nov 14, 2012 12:19:22 PM


  4. From this news it is clear to me that only now is this
    a scandal.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Nov 14, 2012 12:49:51 PM


  5. I should mention either telcos or shopping info or camera networks. Cell phone location tracking is also possible.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 14, 2012 12:59:34 PM


  6. The military and the CIA have stricter standards regarding adultery which supersede state laws.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Nov 14, 2012 1:06:24 PM


  7. Take note grindr usrs

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Nov 14, 2012 1:44:46 PM


  8. this proves why a gay blog should stick to gay things and not posts like these.

    the line "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" has been proven patently false. the investigation was launched because she revealed info on the CIA director's whereabouts and activities, aka, a national security threat.

    seriously, read the washington post for once and not the guardian. ugh.

    Posted by: Steve B | Nov 14, 2012 1:47:32 PM


  9. The comment, "There are vastly different standards for govt. employee privacy expectations and citizen expectations," misses the obvious - the invasion of privacy occurred before anyone knew that the email accounts were being used by government employees.

    It seems that Petraeus and/or his mistress had set up a gmail account but never sent any emails from it - they simply stored messages as drafts so that either could read them. It was only after tracing IP addresses or whatnot that they found that Petraeus had a mistress. It really is an outrageous invasion of privacy. Government employees BTW might not expect much privacy while at work, but they certainly have the same rights to privacy as everyone else when at home.

    While having to get a search warrant from a judge may be a pain, if they don't do that as a matter of course, people just might start protecting themselves by encrypting their emails, and if everyone does that, these investigations will become much more difficult.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 14, 2012 1:49:39 PM


  10. Is it just me, or does the phrase "Tampa socialite" strike anyone else as an oxymoron?

    Posted by: peterparker | Nov 14, 2012 2:22:20 PM


  11. And he's been pushing an xian agenda in the armed forces:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-rodda/hey-general-petraeus-hows_b_2122699.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

    Posted by: David R. | Nov 14, 2012 3:56:28 PM


  12. "Is it just me, or does the phrase "Tampa socialite" strike anyone else as an oxymoron?"

    Just think of it as a relative term.

    Posted by: BobN | Nov 14, 2012 4:04:12 PM


  13. This reminds me of an early Watergate story. You have no clue. Would any gay man have sex with that man. Unless it was strip naked -- but leave on the jacket.

    Posted by: Gary | Nov 14, 2012 6:41:40 PM


  14. Old man McCain was right! Gays can serve openly and now the top brass no longer respects their marriage vows -- who knew?

    He predicted this!!!

    (btw, this is sarcasm, in case some Republicans are reading it and agreeing)

    Posted by: I told you so | Nov 15, 2012 1:38:46 AM


  15. The deposition of the top official trusted with its implementation:

    Posted by: Caridad Mize | Nov 15, 2012 2:15:32 AM


  16. The Petraeus scandal is being used to cover up something else.

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Nov 15, 2012 3:19:22 AM


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