I’m sure you all know by now that I don’t venture into scandals, per se, on this blog; except when they involve our area of examination: Technology, privacy, evidence and eDiscovery.
That said, I’ve certainly been following the messy Patreaus developments, becoming more and more interested in the Gmail connection to all of it. None of the initial stories answered my question; if a woman was allegedly being harassed by Paula Broadwell, why did they need to monitor her (Broadwell’s) Gmail account, since the victim would be the recipient of all of the emails, and have them in her possession? It suggested to me – and probably to some of you – that the harassing emails were probably being sent anonymously and had to be traced back to the source to specifically identify who was behind them (Broadwell).
This morning, we received confirmation. Naturally, the situation is going from bad to worse faster than you can say, “October surprise”, but for our purposes, the interesting link is the metadata (specifically rich location-data) gleaned from the victim’s inbox, which provided the trail back to Broadwell by linking her physical whereabouts to the devices that were the sources of the emails; which ultimately led back to Petraeus through clandestine emails in Broadwell’s – not his – inbox.
Got all that? Good. And what are the things that bother me (I refuse to utter the oft-annoying “raises questions”)?
- What in the world is the Director of the CIA doing with a Gmail account?
- If any of these messages were sent via mobile technology, why didn’t the sender disable GPS monitoring (recall my recent post about location-privacy)?
- Apparently some of the correspondences between Broadwell and Petraeus were pretty racy. Did they really think it would remain private?
Considering both Petraeus and Broadwell apparently set up anonymous Gmail accounts specifically to facilitate carrying on their affair, it once again calls into question the very knowledge, training – and self-awareness – of those who we charge to protect this country and its secrets.
Simply put, if even Petraeus doesn’t get it, who the he** does???