Petraeus let down guard, pants; Broadwell revealed CIA ops as self-appointed mouthpiece

At Wired Danger Room, Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman have an update this morning on the Petraeus/Broadwell mess. The focus: what the hell was Broadwell doing, apparently leaking CIA operational secrets at a public appearance she gave at an October 26 alumni symposium at the University of Denver?

The mistress of former CIA Director David Petraeus publicly discussed sensitive and previously unknown details about the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In an October 26 alumni symposium at the University of Denver, Paula Broadwell said that the CIA annex at the Benghazi consulate came under assault on Sept. 11 because it had earlier “taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. It’s still being vetted.” (That information was not part of the CIA’s timeline of the Benghazi assault, and Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reports that the CIA has denied any such detention.) “I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this,” Broadwell prefaced her remarks by saying.

It was a surprising disclosure, given the deep classification of the CIA’s detention policies — and the enormous political stakes surrounding the Benghazi assault. But in many ways, it was only natural for Broadwell, given her evolution from Petraeus protegee to biographer to paramour and unofficial spokesperson.

More here, all worth reading, with some juicy details on the sex lives of the military elite.

Also out today, Petraeus says he knew nothing about Broadwell's harassing emails, and was shocked, shocked, to discover the behavior.

Previous reports, citing people involved in the FBI investigation that resulted in Petraeus' ouster, say Broadwell had classified docs on her computer, but that the CIA chief wasn't the source. So who was? And if we're reading this correctly, and Broadwell did leak secrets, will the administration prosecute her with the same zeal it has shown in going after Bradley Manning, Wikileaks and anyone suspected of being a Wikileaks supporter, and other corruption whistleblowers?

Additional questions I'd like to understand: if Petraeus didn't commit a crime, and there was no policy violation, why was he booted out—and in such dramatic fashion? Why did any of this end up going public, once the FBI determined he'd leaked no secrets and broken no laws or conduct codes?

Can the FBI be your private army? Harassing emails are not a crime. How did the FBI get access? If harassing emails are grounds for an FBI investigation, hoo boy, let me take you to my in-box, people.

Jill Kelley, the "other other woman," the unpaid "social liason" for CENTCOM in Tampa, evidently received a handful of "why are you flirting with my man" and "get away from my boo" emails from Broadwell, who used an alias and a poorly-cloaked Gmail account to send the harassing email.

Kelley is said to have contacted a friend who was an FBI agent, who very helpfully launched an official FBI probe to figure out who was sending her these annoying emails, which did not, according to reports, contain threats of personal harm or death.

Since when is the FBI available (for anyone with the right social connections) as a private troll-uncloaking cyber police force?

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get the FBI to take action on an actual online death threat case, if the recipient isn't a well-connected "honorary ambassador" in the military social elite? The short version: it simply does not happen. This whole story smells.

As former Wired News reporter Ryan Singel tweeted, "If the Broadwell/Petraeus case doesn't show how ridiculous the FBI's powers are, I don't know what will prove it to you."