General John R. Allen Reportedly Exchanged 20,000 to 30,000 Pages of 'Potentially Inappropriate' Emails With Jill Kelley
Those generals are really into lovelorn e-mail.
"But 20,000 to 30,000 pages? That's a lot. Like, an absurd amount. Assuming it's on the low end, right at 20,000 pages, that means the two sent, on average, 19 pages of email to each other every day between January 1, 2010 and today. That's mind-boggling."
Note: I guess you can't tell the players without a scorecard. Jill Kelley is "the other other woman." This whole investigation began when Paula Broadwell, Petraeus's mistress/biographer, was jealous of Kelley (reasons currently unspecified) and sent her some "threatening" e-mails. Kelley reported this to the FBI and their investigation of Broadwell's e-mails led them on a trail to Petraeus.
Here's something fascinating for those of you who always order the scandal-lovers pizza: "Did an anonymous Wikipedia editor try to out the Petraeus affair" about a year ago?
Dear Uncle S.,
You did an excellent job of summarizing what we know so far about the Petraeus/Broadwell/Kelley/unnamed FBI agent scandal so far . . . except for this sentence:
"Kelley reported this to the FBI and their investigation of Broadwell's e-mails led them on a trail to Petraeus."
Whoa. Wait a minute. I am amazed that all the news stories skate over this first step in the story without pausing to say, "What?!?" Since when did the FBI open an office for people to complain about annoying e-mails? When did they being to assign agents to start exploring people's private e-mails solely because a member of the public had complained about being upset by emails she had received? It just doesn't compute. The FBI doesn't do that for even clearly threatening and illegal e-mails. It doesn't do that for the millions of fraudulent e-mails sent everyday trying to phish your bank details, for example. The FBI has been caught here acting in ways they are not authorized to and they have clearly remained silent so long, because this whole affair reflects badly on them in the first place. They were snooping on private citizens solely because one stacked Florida socialite had an inside contact at the FBI and exploited that, or possibly exploited her other assets as well.
Note, that Broadwell is not even alleged to have sent Kelley a threatening email, such as "I'll scratch your eyes out." All we've seen in the press are references to "Stay away from my guy" and similar unpleasant, but hardly illegal e-mails. They are not even actionable in a civil court since they're not libelous, etc. or invasions of privacy. What would happen if anyone else in the country went to the FBI to complain about an email from an anonymous source saying "Stay away from my guy"?
Note also that nothing about the initial request for the FBI to investigate Kelley's e-mails contained any suggestion that the CIA or national security or even the US military might conceivably be involved. Kelley is a private citizen, married, like every other woman in this story, to a doctor named Scott.
Spam is illegal in most states. What if we went to the FBI to complain that we had received a spam email?! Gasp! Yeah right. I can see the FBI swinging immediately into action then.
From a longtime fan (one of those people you refer to who's never missed a day!),
I agree completely with your points, but I have so far stopped short of writing about the serious elements of the case so that I could concentrate on what I consider my blog's primary mission - making people laugh or get an erection or both. In this case, I've enjoyed making fun of grizzled generals who were acting like lovelorn teenage virgins and all-around girly-men.
The FBI agent who began the investigation was a friend of Kelley's, and obviously hoped to get beyond the friend zone. (Shirtless pictures?? Yeah, there's an investigative bonus from our nation's hard-boiled crime fighters. Was he working for the FBI or the Village People?) My feeling is that if Kelley had reported these e-mails as an ordinary and anonymous citizen reporting a series of incidents to a random FBI investigator via phone or e-mail, that there would have been no resulting investigation. Indeed, the FBI management eventually seemed to draw the same conclusion, causing them to remove that agent from the case after the investigation had begun, but not causing them to shut down the investigation itself, presumably because by that time they had stumbled on matters which may have involved national security. Because they searched Broadwell's home yesterday, we can conclude that they must still be on the trail of something they consider important, however tangential it may be to the original intent of the investigation.
Additional matters may come to light, but as of now it appears to me that nobody being investigated committed any crimes, at least none subject to FBI jurisdiction. The two generals may have violated the UCMJ, and could be subject to military justice, where adultery itself is a crime, but that is a military matter and not within the purview of the FBI. Please note that I said "may." Petraeus and Broadwell say they started the affair after he became a civilian; General Allen has thus far admitted no impropriety.
In other words, the two generals may have had their careers destroyed by information uncovered accidentally in the course of an investigation initiated inappropriately by an FBI agent doing a personal favor that might help him get laid!
The infotech writer at Live Science has a pretty good summary of the legal issues involving computer harassment, privacy, etc.