The Petraeus/Broadwell email dragnet, which hasn't yielded evidence of any crime, has brought our attention to the FBI's sweeping powers to surveil email. But as ProPublica's Peter Maas writes
, "It's not just email."
In July, Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, cajoled major cellphone carriers into disclosing the number of requests for data that they receive from federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies: In 2011, there were more than 1.3 million requests. As ProPublica reported at the time, "Police obtain court orders for basic subscriber information so frequently that some mobile phone companies have established websites — here's one — with forms that police can fill out in minutes. The Obama Administration's Department of Justice has said mobile phone users have 'no reasonable expectation of privacy.'"
There's a particularly cruel irony in all of this: If you contact your cell-phone carrier or Internet service provider or a data broker and ask to be provided with the information on you that they provide to the government and other companies, most of them will refuse or make you jump through Defcon levels of hops, skips, and clicks. Uncle Sam or Experian can easily access data that shows where you have been, whom you have called, what you have written, and what you have bought — but you do not have the same privileges.
Read more: Was Petraeus Borked? (ProPublica)
The FBI's dumpster-dive into Paula Broadwell's email archive has not yet revealed evidence of any crime, but it has revealed to America the extent to which our government is capable of collecting and surveilling our electronic communications.
Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima in the Washington Post
Many details surrounding the case remain unclear. The FBI declined to respond to a list of questions submitted by The Washington Post on its handling of personal information in the course of the Petraeus investigation. The bureau also declined to discuss even the broad guidelines for safeguarding the privacy of ordinary citizens whose e-mails might surface in similarly inadvertent fashion.
Geoffrey Fowler and Evan Perez in the Wall Street Journal write about
one practical (and, yes, obvious) takeaway from the Petraeus scandal: "Privacy protections for even the most sophisticated users of consumer-email services actually protect very little." Or, as Kurt Opsahl from the EFF
puts it in the article, "If the director of central intelligence isn't able to successfully keep his emails private, what chance do I have?"
First published by the Seattle Times. You're welcome. David Heath at CPI met him some years back, and has a blog post about him here.
From a Washington Post article with more details on the Paula Broadwell cyberstalking
: "A person close to Kelley said that investigators have found Broadwell had at least four e-mail accounts under aliases, including 'KelleyPatrol,' 'Tampa,' and the name of another U.S. city. Broadwell avoided using her home computer, sending the messages from cybercafes and other public locations, according to the person close to Kelley and U.S. law enforcement officials."
, investigator and chart-maker, is trying to make sense of the Petraeus scandal. So are we. So it was with great delight that we encountered her explanatory flowchart. LARGE: Download PDF
, or JPG
. (Headline HT: @joneilnyt)
that a computer used by Paula Broadwell, whose affair with CIA chief David Petraeus led to his resignation, "contained substantial classified information that should have been stored under more secure conditions," according to law enforcement and national security sources. "The contents of the classified material and how Broadwell acquired it remain under investigation, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to comment publicly. But the quantity of classified material found on the computer was significant enough to warrant a continuing investigation." Read more: Reuters
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Frederick Humphries
. I am glad I haven't encountered the actual shirtless sexted photos, and hope to avoid such an occurrence. (NYT)
John Aravosis quotes a very apologetic spokesperson from ABC Denver, where a staffer's search for a picture of Paula Broadwell's All In ended in failure: "When the 7NEWS reporter went on the Internet to get an image of the book cover, the reporter mistakenly grabbed a Photoshopped image that said, 'All Up In My Snatch.'" [America Blog]
This is a tumblog of greatness
. "Everything you need to know about the CIA Director David Petraeus sex scandal. All photos and headlines are real." (HT: @itsmikerock)
Tampa military socialite and Petraeus scandal figure Jill Kelley ran the "Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation," which claimed on its tax forms that it "shall be operated exclusively to conduct cancer research and to grant wishes to terminally ill adult cancer patients." Huffington Post
From the records, it appears that the charity fell far short of its mission. While the origins of the seed money used to start the charity in 2007 are unclear, financial records reviewed by The Huffington Post reveal that the group spent all of its money not on research, but on parties, entertainment, travel and attorney fees.
More at HuffPo
Mrs. Kelley also made 911 calls to Tampa police this week about trespassing reporters, and claims her property is considered diplomatic soil. "I'm the honorary consul general so they should not be on my property," Kelley said. "I don't know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well."
Consul general of what? CrazyVaginaStan?
Gen. John Allen, L, who is being investigated for "inappropriate communications" with unpaid military socialite Jill Kelley, R. (ABC NEWS)
It's bad enough to learn that Marine General John Allen and CIA chief David Petraeus intervened in a custody battle
involving CENTCOM socialite Jill Kelley's sister, and shocking to learn that Allen may have sent as many as "30,000 pages" of email
to Kelley (this is how the FBI measures email, guys, in printed pages). But what, pray tell, the fuck, is this?
Boing Boing pal Andrea James, who is a Wikipedia editor, saw an odd edit when writing the Jill Kelley bio: On 9 February 2012, a US Central Command IP added "Jill Kelley, amateur ambassador and chess player" to Arcadia University's Wikipedia page.
Your theories? I mean, who was that, John fucking Allen? I'm so baffled by this thing, I don't know that I have it in me to even try speculating anymore.
From Patrick Radden Keefe, in the New Yorker
: "The serialized revelations that have unfolded since Friday—when Petraeus, who left the military as a four-star general, resigned from the C.I.A. because of an affair—are, to say the least, honeyed with irony. In the decade following September 11, 2001, the national-security establishment in this country devised a surveillance apparatus of genuinely diabolical creativity—a cross-hatch of legal and technical innovations that (in theory, at any rate) could furnish law enforcement and intelligence with a high-definition early-warning system on potential terror events. What it’s delivered, instead, is the tawdry, dismaying, and wildly entertaining spectacle that ensues when the national-security establishment inadvertently turns that surveillance apparatus on itself."
Mother Jones has a very good summary/explainer/de-WTFer
up today. I've given up on trying to keep up with the story right now, it's too weird and too sprawling and there are too many sets of penises and vaginas involved.
Via Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone. The chart is by Hilary Sargent (@lilsarg).
I don't know who created it, but will add credit when I figure that out.