Electronic Privacy

So, I know you’re all getting sick to death of this Petraeus/Allen/Broadwell/Kelley situation. But ya know, I can’t help myself.

A couple of last thoughts… at least until the next revelation:

(1) I know Doug doesn’t care about this, and I know that Imani seems to think the story is all about misogyny, but, well, they’re wrong. You just can’t have the director of the CIA setting up private email accounts and trying to hide an affair, and it is just unseemly for another general to be exchanging hundreds of emails with a woman who comes off as a slightly deranged, reality-star-wannabe.

There are lots and lots of occupations you can have in this world where having affairs and maintaining quirky personal relationships are just fine. But sorry, senior leadership positions in the national security field aren’t some of them. I know Imani sees a lot of slut-shaming in the public discussion, but personally I’m seeing more disappointment focused at Petraeus and Allen, rightly so IMHO. Both generals should have run as far away from Jill Kelley as possible, rather than, you know, getting themselves involved in her sister’s custody dispute. Sorry, but there is a lot of bad judgment going on here.

 

(2) Another issue is the question of electronic privacy. My twitter feed is full of right-wingers who absolutely, positively, love the PATRIOT Act, but who are just apoplectic about the supposed invasion of privacy in this case. Well, live by the wiretap, die by the wiretap. That said, I do think we could have a useful discussion about appropriate use of electronic records. My own view is that you can’t limit collection — just as a practical matter, everything leaves fingerprints and is inevitably “collected” or at least saved somewhere — but you can probably devise a more robust use regime.

That said, I am not sure it would apply in this case. Evidence of affairs or improper relationship is clearly “adverse information” in a security clearance situation, but for the rest of us (well, rest of you, since I am DoD employee) this is an important issue. But here is the point: Petraeus and Allen (and Finel) are close to the last people whose electronic privacy needs to be protected, since we all signed up voluntarily for greater scrutiny as part of our jobs.

 

(3) Speaking of my twitter feed, if you are interested in hearing more of my rants on this (and other) issues, I’m @bernardfinel. I’ll try not to subject the entire BJ community with my obsessive interest in this issue, but for those of you who are interested…

 

UPDATE: The latest on Jill Kelley. She thinks she’s a diplomat:

Kelley does drive a Mercedes sedan with license plates that say “Honorary Consul,” and sheinvoked her honorary diplomatic status in a Nov. 11 911 call when she was complaining about trespassers on her private property.

“I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property,” she told the 911 operator. “I don’t know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well, because that’s against the law to cross my property because, you know, it’s inviolable.”

“Ok, no problem, I’ll let the officer know,” the 911 operator responded.

 

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210 replies
  1. 1
    AA+ Bonds says:

    “Boner Scandal: Who’s That Chick With The Yams”

  2. 2
    AA+ Bonds says:

    that is pretty much the top headline on both FoxNews.com and CNN.com right now

  3. 3
    SteveinSC says:

    I just looked at the Wikipedia entry on this and clear as a bell the fundamental issue involved is the possession, no matter how it happened, of classified materials on Broadwell’s computer. As a many-year government employee, I can say that we are repeatedly pounded with the laws about and restrictions concerning classified materials and the felonies associated with unlawful possession or dissemination of those materials. Petraeus knew that the revelation that Paula having classified materials on her computer was a termination sentence for him. It is surprising that he was not taken to the gate at Langley by armed guards and thrown out into the street into the arms of the FBI.

  4. 4
    Bernard Finel says:

    @SteveinSC: In fairness, we don’t know where Broadwell got those documents. She has a clearance of her own, and is well enough connected that there are many other potential sources.

  5. 5
    ABL says:

    I don’t think it’s all about misogyny. I think the way some people are talking about it is misogynistic.

    Both men were grown ass individuals, they screwed up, they should be held accountable.

  6. 6
    AA+ Bonds says:

    its me, im the mole

  7. 7
    ABL says:

    (The women involved should be held accountable, of course, but they aren’t the ones in senior leadership roles at the Pentagon.)

  8. 8
    JGabriel says:

    Bernard Finel @ Top:

    I’ll try not to subject the entire BJ community with my obsessive interest in this issue, but for those of you who are interested…

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but I actually appreciate getting updates on this story from someone familiar with the DOD culture and the specific issues involved here. It just feels like a much more informed perspective than the gossipy speculation we’re seeing in most of the media.

    .

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    @Bernard Finel: Broadwell had Petraeus’ travel schedule which is classified because of security reasons. It doesn’t matter the reason for classification, she had the information. IMO.. Privates would be kicked out of the service for less.

  10. 10
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    Bernard Finel I like your Twitter but I wish you would not validate the paid-for ramblings of defense contractor shill/Central Asian dictator apologist Joshua Foust

  11. 11
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    But ya know, I can’t help myself.

    I seriously should start a rehab home for bloggers. I’d teach them to not respond to trolls and not read Slate and suchlike. I think it would be very successful.

  12. 12
    El Cid says:

    Well, yeah, there probably is no reason that a major intelligence agency or battle theater military deployment would keep an eye out on the electronic communications of its senior leadership even when there are signs and allegations that something very odd is going on, because what harm could come from improper communication of the sorts of information that those leaders are exclusively privy to?

  13. 13
    SteveinSC says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    Broadwell is married to Scott Broadwell, an interventional radiologist who graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine in 1996.[4] They reside in Charlotte, North Carolina and have two young sons.

    And her security clearance comes from what, being a mother of two and wife of a cuckold? If she’s not in the government or a gov’t contractor she doesn’t have an active clearance.

  14. 14
    AT says:

    Look forward not backwards. Nothing to see here. General move directly into high paying consultancy work. Move along now.

  15. 15
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Pat Robertson weighed in on Milfgate. He supports fucking milfs.

  16. 16
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @El Cid:

    Certainly nowhere near as much harm as comes from the routine, proper communications between these people (baby butchers, sycophants and Republican fundraising queens)

  17. 17
    Violet says:

    So one of the women has a twin sister. Could this get anymore like a soap opera? Will someone come back from the dead as the next plot point?

    Generals getting involved in some female friend’s twin sister’s custody suit is utterly ridiculous. Do either of those guys have a brain?

  18. 18
    Beauzeaux says:

    I don’t care about this scandal because there are adequate procedures and laws in place to handle it. The exact details will be sorted out by the investigators and periodically leaked to the media. Punishment or the lack of same will be decided elsewhere and my opinion will not be considered.

    The national security issues will be sorted out, I hope, by people who know something about national security. The rest of it is none of my business.

  19. 19
    Roger Moore says:

    @ABL:

    Both men were grown ass individuals

    Yes, they are definitely ass individuals. Whether they’re grown is apparently open to question.

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    If there’s any possibility amongst the commingled email accounts that national security could have been breached, separately from whether any breach occurred, then hell needs to be paid.

  21. 21
    Bernard Finel says:

    @SteveinSC: She’s in the Army reserves. Military intelligence.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @El Cid:

    Well, yeah, there probably is no reason that a major intelligence agency or battle theater military deployment would keep an eye out on the electronic communications of its senior leadership even when there are signs and allegations that something very odd is going on

    [phone rings in the war room]
    General “Buck” Turgidson: Hello…
    [whispering]
    General “Buck” Turgidson:
    I told you never to call me here, don’t you know where I am?…
    Well look, baby, I c-, I can’t talk to you now…
    my president needs me!…
    Of course Bucky’d rather be there with you!…
    Of course it isn’t only physical!…
    I deeply respect you as a human being…
    Some day I’m gonna make you Mrs Buck Turgidson!…
    Oh, listen uh, you go back to sleep hon, and Bucky’ll be back there just as soon as he can…
    All right…listen, sug,
    don’t forget to say your prayers!

  24. 24
  25. 25
    danimal says:

    I think the normal political response to this is different than the normal national security response. In standard politics, an affair is meaningless to the vast majority of people and prurience is really the only reason sex scandals sell. All the tut-tutting is a form of political theatre.

    But when looking at this from a security perspective, the scandal is clearly about more than titillation. While the recipients of classified information are probably fairly benign in this case, a security violation is a security violation, and they must be taken seriously. These types of violations are career-killers at most levels of government, and completely understandable within the top levels of the national security apparatus. The CIA, FBI and DoD don’t have a lot of leeway to grant, even to a high-flyer like Petraeus.

    The GOP attempts to make this about Benghazi are just going to make them sound even more deluded and conspiratorial. My advice to them is to shut up until they find something substantive to develop. Luckily, they never listen to me…

  26. 26
    Violet says:

    @ABL: As were the women. They were grown women and they screwed up. It seems that all parties acted like idiots. Dumb knows no gender.

  27. 27
    Yutsano says:

    Green balloons. Green balloons dammit!

  28. 28
    dmsilev says:

    Re: the update,

    “Ok, no problem, I’ll let the officer know,” the 911 operator responded.

    I presume this is 911 operator-ese for “back away slowly while looking for a straitjacket”.

  29. 29
    Bernard Finel says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Respectfully, Josh Foust is one of the smartest and most careful national security analysts out there. Everything he writes is exceptionally well-sourced. I’d urge you reexamine your views on him.

    Full disclosure: He is a friend and a sometimes colleague.

  30. 30
    Keith G says:

    That said, I do think we could have a useful discussion about appropriate use of electronic records.

    I hope we do and I hope you are thinking about ways to facilitate part of that discussion here.

  31. 31
    Schlemizel says:

    the only thing so far that has surprised me is the lame as cover the head of the CIA thought of to hide his communications. the bo’s (himbo/bimbo) shared an email account & then wrote emails to each other but left them in the draft folder & never sent them. That is dime store spy novel garbage. Back in the day Soviet moles would keep a ‘diary’ in which they would talk to themselves about their issues. Agents would sneak in & read the diary to learn what the mole had to report. If caught writing these diaries with classified info in them the mole was to claim nobody ever saw it because it was their personal diary. I have no idea if that ever saved a moles life but had I been in the Politburo I would have seen right through that & the guy would have been ventilated.

    Its pathetic that the CIA chief was using a technique we discredited 30 years ago.

  32. 32
    ericblair says:

    @El Cid:

    Well, yeah, there probably is no reason that a major intelligence agency or battle theater military deployment would keep an eye out on the electronic communications of its senior leadership even when there are signs and allegations that something very odd is going on, because what harm could come from improper communication of the sorts of information that those leaders are exclusively privy to?

    Not to mention that every time you login to a government system you get a nice big frigging splash screen that says that your account can be monitored for counterintelligence purposes, and you click OK on it. This is not an issue.

    @SteveinSC:

    And her security clearance comes from what, being a mother of two and wife of a cuckold?

    Broadwell’s a reserve Army major, I think. Otherwise, she would have no responsibility to safeguard classified information, other than not committing actual espionage.

  33. 33
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    She thinks she’s a diplomat

    Jebus. That’s some Gareth Keenan “team leader/assistant regional manager” shit.

  34. 34
    hep kitty says:

    If I could keep up with the ever-evolving details of this case, I might be able to make some kind of brilliant, snarky observation.

    That said, Benghazi!

  35. 35
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    Dude, I’m smarter than Josh Foust: I knew the Iraq War was bullshit, while he wrote blog posts describing how he defended it (disgustingly) under Aquinan just war doctrine. A war of choice, propagated by obvious lies. Some analyst.

    Then again, I don’t get my pants stuffed with Republican defense contractor dollars, nor do I get whatever perks come with shilling for Nursultan Nazarbayev while he shoots his people in the streets. So maybe I’m not so smart, who knows?

  36. 36
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    See, this is why republicans are stupid assholes.

    Looking through everyone’s emails, no matter what, is just fine, because freedom must be protected

    But the second you look at someone who has the potential to threaten US security almost more than any other person within the government, Suddenly, FREEDBUMB is not allowing someone to look at that email.

    Hell, i’m fairly surprised that there isn’t a clause when being hired at the FBI or CIA that says “all your communication belong to us”.

  37. 37
    Penty says:

    Actually Gen. Broadwell is in the clear. They are still sifting through the emails but there are actually only about 100 of them and they all deal with setting up social functions. The reason for the shear number of pages is the email system that they have to use does not allow you to delete anything. So when they were passing guest lists back and forth they messages just got huge.

  38. 38
    mamayaga says:

    Not a surprise to learn that generals have groupies. Not reassuring, though, to find out the groupies are apparently nuts, and the generals not overly balanced either. Intervening in a custody battle? Really?

  39. 39
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Lord knows I have no sympathy for MIC egomaniacs like Patraeus or Allen or Broadwellon, but I’d love to know how many of the blue noses here making judgey sex comments are themselves fucking someone other than their spouse.

  40. 40
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @mamayaga:

    I was ever thus.

  41. 41
    Violet says:

    @Ted & Hellen: The point isn’t the fucking. The point is the stupidity of the people involved.

  42. 42
    YellowJournalism says:

    @SteveinSC: I’m a cuckold away from security clearance!

  43. 43
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Violet:

    That’s why I specifically addressed those making “judgy” sex comments.

  44. 44
    vtr says:

    When do Mandy Rice-Davies and Jack Profumo surface?

  45. 45

    Like most other folks in the DC area who have worked in family law, I’ve come across that custody case because IT’S THE CRAZIEST SET OF FACTS IN ANY CASE EVER. It’s neither here nor there for the larger issues here, but I’d be 100% unsurprised if it turns out Kelley sent the threatening emails to herself. Kelley offered testimony the court rejected as wildly implausible.

  46. 46

    Nard Dog, I appreciate your obsession with this. Thanks for the efforts.

  47. 47
    SteveinSC says:

    @ericblair: Unauthorized possession is a felony.

  48. 48
    hep kitty says:

    Ugh, the election’s over and I’m seeing McConnell and Cantor on my teevee again. Boehner’s no day at the beach, but those two

    I suppose we may be seeing even more Cantor in the coming days.

  49. 49
    Violet says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I don’t see many people here commenting on the sex itself. Maybe elsewhere. Mostly people here think everyone involved acted like idiots. And that for people in charge of the CIA and with the highest security clearances, they sure don’t know how to do anything clandestine.

    And choosing to get involved in the custody battle of the twin sister of some woman they know? Really? Excellent judgment. No wonder they’re in charge of things like wars and the CIA. Ugh.

  50. 50
    JPL says:

    @Penty: Is Broadwell a General now? We know that Jill Kelley is an Honoree Ambassador for the land of oz, but didn’t know about Broadwell’s promotion.

  51. 51
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Point #1 amounts to “SHUDDUP THAT’S WHY!?” Just asserting that who is sleeping with whom is important in this particular case because you say it is is not an argument.

  52. 52
    JPL says:

    @Violet: That is so strange to become involved in a custody hearing especially since the ex-husband had been awarded custody initially. In less times have changed, it takes some convincing to award custody to the dad.

  53. 53
    quannlace says:

    “I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property,”

    So now we have younger women yelling, “Hey kids, get off my lawn!!”

    Progress!

  54. 54
  55. 55
  56. 56
    ericblair says:

    @Penty:

    Actually Gen. Broadwell is in the clear

    Ya mean GEN Allen. We’re going to need a bigger whiteboard.

    As a side issue, WTF is with these fancy parties that the Tampa couple were hosting for military leadership? The couple aren’t federal contractors, so I suppose there’s nothing obviously illegal for government officials to attend, but they’re attending because they’re military leadership and not because they’re friends any other way. It’s just that when you’re in a culture where you can’t buy a govvie a cup of coffee this seems awfully strange.

  57. 57
    SteveinSC says:

    @hep kitty: Yeah we may be seeing a lot more of Smarmy Eric as in “what did he know and when did he know it?” Couldn’t happen to a more deserving dick.

  58. 58

    Bernard, our interactions in the past have been somewhat… less than cordial. But IMO you’ve been dead right on this particular subject.

    At this point it’s Jill Kelly’s antics that interest me the most. Who exactly is this ‘socialite’, and why did she appear to have so many contacts and so much influence in the intel and diplomatic community? Few of us have our own personal FBI agent to investigate emails for us. Or friends who are foreign nationals with enough rank to get us a special diplomatic license plate.

    Did the S. Korean government approve that plate? ‘Immunity’ can cause international incidents, so they tend to be pretty picky who gets to put those on their cars. So WTF is up with that?

    Fishy stuff here. Of the ‘rotting from the head down’ kind.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    I’m with Mr. Finel on this.

    First, I work for the Smithsonian, which is part of the federal government. We sign an agreement each year that we understand there is no electronic privacy on federal computers. That includes checking your personal e-mail from a web-based site at your work CPU.

    Second, I’m appalled at the leadership skills of both men as they were involved with and manipulated by at least three delusional and toxic people. One toxic person, well, that could happen to any of us. THREE!! No way do I want anyone with that kind of judgement in a position of authority.

  61. 61
    MikeJ says:

    @hep kitty: Next sentence in that story:

    What are some of the more creative ways you’ve heard (or used) to hide emails or texts from others?

    “We need to know. For reasons.”

  62. 62
    bjacques says:

    This is a wilderness of funhouse mirrors.

    ETA: Life imitates Burn After Reading.

  63. 63
    Ben Franklin says:

    I felt, before all the shit rose to the surface, that Petraeus was the good son.
    McChrystal was the bad seed. But, it seems there is no room for iconic heroes anymore. Feet of clay, is the primordial sin.

    http://consortiumnews.com/2012.....signation/

  64. 64
    burnspbesq says:

    @ABL:

    they should be held accountable.

    Umm, excuse me, but in what deranged parallel universe does losing your career in the blink of an eye not count as being “held accountable?”

    Jeez, for someone I know isn’t stupid, you surely do say some stupid shit sometimes.

  65. 65
    GxB says:

    @Violet:

    So one of the women has a twin sister

    When I heard that my response was “Pray, is she evil?” then I read the whole custody battle fiasco. Sounds like they are living in adjacent single wides in that old park out past the dump. Geraldo Nation – we’re living in it.

    To BF’s point, the whole sex angle really is unfortunate as it causes us to focus on the superficial blemishes while hiding the structural rot that’s the real cause for alarm.

  66. 66
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @SteveinSC:

    And her security clearance comes from what, being a mother of two and wife of a cuckold? If she’s not in the government or a gov’t contractor she doesn’t have an active clearance.

    “I was embedded with Gen. Petraeus in Afghanistan and it was a little confusing for some of the folks there because I’m also a military reservist with a top secret/SCI clearance and then some. So, a lot of my former peers didn’t know how to treat me. Was I journalist Broadwell or was I Maj. Broadwell?” she recalled. “I had to follow very clear lines of non-disclosure and signed non-disclosure agreements like my colleagues. I felt like I was almost held to a higher level of accountability because I could lose my clearance.” [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

  67. 67
    👽 Martin says:

    Honestly, I’m coming to the conclusion that we should fire all of the generals and start over.

  68. 68
    Cassidy says:

    @burnspbesq: It really depends on what all took place. Could be a trial is in order. I’m sure we’ll find out.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    @AA+ Bonds: Hey, I was momentarily trying to look at it from the point of view of people treating these agencies as normal organizations.

    Though these sorts of things are important reminders that the people given this awesome amount of secretive power act just like people who don’t possess that sort of secretive power.

  70. 70
    ericblair says:

    @Judas Escargot, Bringer of Loaves and Fish Sandwiches:

    Or friends who are foreign nationals with enough rank to get us a special diplomatic license plate.

    This just keeps getting goddamn weirder every hour. This isn’t a Coen Brothers movie; it’s a trilogy in the works.

    That wasn’t a diplomatic license plate. Foreign diplomats in the US have special State Department plates, not normal state ones. If you’re a for-real US diplomatic official in the US, like my neighbors, you drive a normal car with normal plates, and have no frigging immunity in your own damn country. Whatever she has is some sort of BS Lord High Apple Polisher royal court title that Florida dreamed up, I guess.

    This woman is seriously unhinged. She’d have to be a South Korean national with diplomatic passport and recognized status to have any immunity.

  71. 71
    hep kitty says:

    @Violet:

    The point is the stupidity of the people involved.

    I agree. And also the responsibilities and duties of the people involved. People who should know better. To even visualize Petraeus heaving on too of some young woman is beyond distasteful (and, at the same time, hilarious), so I’m getting no salacious joy from all this.

    But, thankfully, it’s beside the point entirely, of course. Everyone has affairs but not everyone is having an affair is held to the same standard (a standard Petraeus ought to be well aware of) in terms of conducting them wisely and without potentially compromising the nation.

  72. 72
    Rosie Outlook says:

    I bet Petraeus is wishing he’d kept his boundaries inviolable.

  73. 73
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    But, it seems there is no room for iconic heroes anymore.

    There never WAS this room of which you speak.

    Peoples’ immature NEED to make infallible icons of fallible human beings is one of the central tragedies of history.

    And yet we see the desperate longing from Obots every day here on BJ. :D

  74. 74
    SteveinSC says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: If she was not on active duty serving “under” Petraeus in Tampa she knows goddamn well it is a felony for her to have classified materials in an unsecured computer at home. Afghanistan as an “on active duty” reservist is one thing. Banging Petraeus off duty is another.

  75. 75
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Umm, excuse me, but in what deranged parallel universe does losing your career in the blink of an eye not count as being “held accountable?”

    And yet somehow I doubt you think “losing your career in the blink of an eye” is punishment enough for Bradley Manning.

  76. 76
    different-church-lady says:

    You just can’t have the director of the CIA setting up private email accounts and trying to hide an affair…

    You know… you just… can’t.

    Sorry, but there is a lot of bad judgment going on here.

    Well, I guess it’s a good thing you’ve been so dogged on the subject, ’cause I never would have figured that one out without your help.

  77. 77
    Cassidy says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Keep on fornicating with the poultry.

  78. 78

    @Schlemizel:

    Its pathetic that the CIA chief was using a technique we discredited 30 years ago.

    It’s even more pathetic that neither he nor his MI paramour bothered to encrypt their emails (using perfectly legal software, of course).

    (There’s a “Key Party” joke in there, somewhere).

  79. 79
    cokane says:

    @burnspbesq: exactly. They were held accountable. I fail to see the misogyny at work here. I’m sure you can find misogyny in some media coverage of the story, but that’s inevitable — it’s nutpicking in a way.

    Lost their jobs, lost future prospects at high level jobs. All in a short time frame. Unless ABL is suggesting prison time for adultery, I fail to see the lack of justice in this case.

  80. 80
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Cassidy:

    Keep on fornicating with the poultry.

    My GOD, you’re clever!

    Touched a nerve, eh?

  81. 81
    Cacti says:

    So, I know you’re all getting sick to death of this Petraeus/Allen/Broadwell/Kelley situation.

    You’re an army of one in your fascination with the Petrenis.

  82. 82
    hep kitty says:

    @Violet: Okay, but you have to admit, twins, nudge nudge, wink wink

  83. 83
    different-church-lady says:

    Peoples’ immature NEED to make infallible icons of fallible human beings is one of the central tragedies of history.
    And yet we see the desperate longing from Obots every day here on BJ. :D

    Defending the fallible from the insipid and stupid /= belief those same are infallible.

    ETA: However, I guess in the case of Petreaus, it’s a case of defending the stupid from the stupid.

  84. 84
    Mojotron says:

    I hate to get all Rusty Shackleford, but when a “liason” working with the head of the CIA has a 4 star general testify at her sister’s divorce case and gets the FBI to go full CSI on some vague bullshit e-mails, there’s more going on here than “she cray cray”.

  85. 85
    And Another Thing... says:

    Apparently Kelley is/was Lebanese and therefore is Muslim or knows Muslims, making this a plot to destroy the honorable neocon hero Petraeus, in 3…2…1…

  86. 86
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @SteveinSC: I don’t know who you’re arguing with, I didn’t write anything about her keeping things on an unsecured computer. You didn’t seem to know why she’d have clearance, that’s some info I saw I thought you might be interested it. But you know, never mind.

  87. 87
    Heliopause says:

    I’ll make a deal with you, Bernard: I’ll give a shit who all these people slept with if you can convince our mass media outlets to cover this story for about thirty seconds in the nightly news broadcast. That’s a compromise I can live with. Let me know if you make any headway.

    In terms of secrets I’d rather be apprised of, there are negotiations going on as I type this that boil down to how much of my money the Dems are going to allow the GOP to steal from me. Just slightly more important to me than the cum stains on somebody’s panties.

  88. 88
    Barbara says:

    @ericblair: Yes indeed — diplomatic plates are for FOREIGN diplomats living in the U.S. If you are a U.S. diplomat living in the U.S. you are treated like every other U.S. national.

    Getting involved in someone’s custody dispute shows seriously bad judgment — throwing one’s weight around in circumstances one barely understands, with potential implications for innocent parties.

  89. 89
    Bernard Finel says:

    @Barbara: “throwing one’s weight around in circumstances one barely understands, with potential implications for innocent parties.”

    I can’t think of a better description of our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan…

  90. 90
    JGabriel says:

    @ericblair:

    She’d have to be a South Korean national with diplomatic passport and recognized status to have any immunity.

    But she’s an AMBASSADOR! She knows this, because a South Korean told her so!

    .

  91. 91
    JPL says:

    @Mojotron: According to the Post there is no social liaison position. She’s just a volunteer with boobs. Either there is something else going on or our national security has been run by idiots.

  92. 92
    J.W. Hamner says:

    If Petraeus was a good/bad/indifferent/whatever Director of the CIA on Friday morning based on your evaluation of his record, how did the objective criteria of what he has or hasn’t done changed with the revelation that he is unfaithful to his wife?

    1)It shows he has bad judgement!
    I would think his actual record at his job would show whether that is true more accurately.
    2)He might have shared classified info!
    Then you should prosecute him for that, not an affair.
    3)Strong role models are needed at governmental agencies!
    Your boss is not your daddy.
    4)He was having an affair with his hagiographer!
    The fact that the metaphorical sexual favors by the author turned out to be literal does not change the fact that nobody took it seriously from day one.

  93. 93
  94. 94
    Corner Stone says:

    and I know that Imani seems to think the story is all about misogyny, but, well, they’re wrong

    Oh no, you, sir, did not.

    Prepare for drunken Cole tweeting incoming in 3..2..1

  95. 95
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Do let us know when any of the principals in the instant case release tens of thousands of classified files to the public, won’t you?

  96. 96
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    And Another Thing…:

    Apparently Kelley is/was Lebanese and therefore is Muslim or knows Muslims, making this a plot to destroy the honorable neocon hero Petraeus, in 3…2…1…

    Lebanon is 41% Christian, as are the majority of Lebanese immigrants to the US.

    Not that I expect conspiracy theorists to know that. Which is to say, “Yeah, yer probably right.”

    .

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Do let us know when any of the principals in the instant case release tens of thousands of classified files to the public, won’t you?

    What’s the difference between Assange and a Tampa Bay socialite?

  98. 98
    Maude says:

    @Bernard Finel:
    Do you know if Petraeus will get his pension?
    Does he have one from DoD?

  99. 99
    Palli says:

    @ericblair:
    Upper class entitlement issues. The growing problems of class and income inequality are reaping great risks to our national economy, our shared cultural intelligence and our national security.

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Having an affair is a fireable offense at the Central Intelligence Agency, because it puts agents at risk of being blackmailed.

    I know the networks keep talking about this as though the problem is the morality of the whole thing, but it’s not. The problem is that the head of the CIA put himself in a position where he compromised himself and the security of the Agency.

    If, say, the Iranians had found out first, they wouldn’t have spent too much time worrying about the morality of Petraeus cheating on his wife while they were figuring out how to use it as leverage against him.

  101. 101
    Fwiffo says:

    Well, we’ve all already given up on any pretense of electronic privacy by posting all of our bowel movements on Twitter and Facebook, so there’s that…

    I posted on Facebook about a dream I had that involved my teeth falling out, and Googled the spelling of “bicuspid”, and now banner ads all over the web are offering me dental services.

    Dear advertisers: If your goal is to make me paranoid and install an ad-blocker, you’re doing a fine job.

  102. 102
    handsmile says:

    @Corner Stone:

    No Tampa Bay socialite would be caught dead in the Ecuadorean embassy?

  103. 103
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone:

    What’s the difference between Assange and a Tampa Bay socialite?

    The socialite knows how to keep secrets?

  104. 104
    Bruce S says:

    “My twitter feed is full of right-wingers…”

    Are you aware of the fact that life is short?

  105. 105
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Obviously the fuck not. Jackass pointed the gun to her own head and dared the FBI to investigate.

  106. 106
    Cassidy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Don’t waste your time. I spent the better part of the day trying to penetrate that thick skull. He’s willfully obtuse and refuses to acknowledge simple facts. It’s all about his “feelings”.

  107. 107
    Corner Stone says:

    @handsmile: I know you meant “wouldn’t be caught dead” but that opens up a whole range of great possibilities for this Mel Brooks/Guiding Light mashup of a story.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @burnspbesq:

    I think what ABL is complaining about is the fact that the media haz a sad that these evil succubi forced the honorable Petraeus into unzipping his pants when he obviously was much too moral and decent to have come up with such an idea himself.

    IOW, a lot of the coverage is turning into the old “the poor man couldn’t help himself!” bullshit where Petraeus is given a free pass for his behavior (boys will be boys, you know!) while the women are vilified as sluts.

    I don’t think that’s the whole story, but there’s definitely a strain of that coming across in the media coverage, particularly from the pundits who were the most eager to tell us that Petraeus was going to be the next Eisenhower.

  109. 109
    Del says:

    @J.W. Hamner: Having an affair, and needing to keep it secret, is about as big a blackmail risk as someone heading the CIA could ever have. We’re not talking “dead girl or live boy” level, but pretty damn close.

    This isn’t about role models, sexytime, or some Springer-style soap opera bullshit, it’s about the head of the CIA creating a situation that can be summed up as, “Hey, buddy, you wouldn’t want anyone to tell the details, would you?”.

  110. 110
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone: True I suppose, but at least she didn’t publish them on the web.

  111. 111
    Corner Stone says:

    Fuck it. Somebody needs to do a remake of the 1985 movie Clue .

  112. 112
    Gwangung says:

    @J.W. Hamner: gee, you really are stupid.

    Glad someone with your colossal bad judgement is far away from any power.

  113. 113
    Corner Stone says:

    @different-church-lady: Oh yeah? 30,000 freakin pages? Are we sure about anything at this point?
    I mean beside the fact that P Broadwell has some delicious guns in that sleeveless shirt.

  114. 114
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    People get irritated when I bring up Bill Clinton in response, but I don’t see how you get around it as a liberal. He was easily as vulnerable to blackmail as Petraeus but with the additional power of being able to unilaterally invade countries. If I’m ok with him staying president after such a clear case of “bad judgment” I don’t see how it’s reasonable for me to be upset about Petraeus.

  115. 115
    rikyrah says:

    if they weren’t kneedeep in the national security apparatus of this country, I wouldn’t care.

    but, they ARE kneedeep in the National Security Apparatus of this country…

    and, they set themselves up to be kneedeep in BLACKMAIL.

    I don’t think that’s a laughing matter.

  116. 116
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Gwangung:

    Nice rebuttal. Thanks for proving you guys have no substance to offer, just weak and nonsensical post hoc justification for the fact that the only reason you think this affair is soooo important is because it tarnishes somebody you hate.

  117. 117
    different-church-lady says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Are we sure about anything at this point?

    I ain’t been sure about nothin’ for at least a decade now. For all I know this stuff is just being generated by an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of iPads.

  118. 118
    JGabriel says:

    __
    __
    Fwiffo:

    Dear advertisers: If your goal is to make me paranoid and install an ad-blocker, you’re doing a fine job.

    If it’s any consolation, I just got an ad telling me I can now buy a Cray computer for the affordable price of just $200k.

    I am so far from being able to afford a $200 anything much less a $200k personal supercomputer that it evokes wells of pathos deep enough to drown in.

    On the other hand, it’s encouraging that the advertisers don’t know that yet.

    .

  119. 119
    Cassidy says:

    @J.W. Hamner: Already been explained to you. It isn’t a hard concept. Your refusal to acknowledge facts is our problem, not ours.

  120. 120
    handsmile says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Yes, while I’m struggling to be a Very Serious Person about the national security/surveillance implications of this “scandal,” revelations about Generals Petraeus and Allen writing character references for Jill Kelley’s sister and Kelley herself proclaiming “diplomatic inviolability” render that effort futile.

    At this point, I’m beginning to feel sorry for the Kardashian family, because “Keeping Up with the Kelleys” is sure to be a smash hit soon.

  121. 121
    Corner Stone says:

    @handsmile: I just saw a pic of the twin sister. Good Lord. Who could resist?
    If I were a 60 something old dude I’d be looking around for the height challenged guy calling for “da plane! da plane!”.

  122. 122
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone: Probably not much, other than one is hiding out in an embassy and the other is pretending to be an embassy. But the difference between Manning and the any of the principals in this case is that Manning is accused of collecting and passing tens of thousands of classified files to a person who was not cleared to see them, and the principals in this case are….not.

  123. 123
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Maude: I’m not Bernard, but there’s no reason known at this time why he wouldn’t.

  124. 124
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Cassidy:

    Yes, yes, I know, you think that a retired officer committing adultery is a very grave matter of public concern that needs to be outed at all costs. I don’t find that persuasive however.

  125. 125
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Actually isn’t she a USAR LTC? Anyways she’s branched MI and presumably has clearances up the wazoo. As a former MI soldier myself (97E) I feel that many on the left are sorta missing the big point here.

  126. 126
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt: Well then I am glad I did not mention Manning.
    And, unfortunately, it seems we are no where near the end of this episode yet either.

  127. 127
    Bernard Finel says:

    @Maude: Yes, he will unless recalled to service and subject to administrative action… which won’t happen unless some new, really damning details arise.

    BTW, his pension from the military? Somewhere around $230k a year.

  128. 128
    Cassidy says:

    @J.W. Hamner: And there you go again misrepresenting anything that doesn’t fit into your myopic ideals. But, please, don’t let facts intrude on your little head.

  129. 129
    Barbara says:

    @Bernard Finel: Well, yes. Hard to disagree with you there.

  130. 130
    Soonergrunt says:

    @J.W. Hamner: It’s not the retired officer aspect. It’s the Director of Central Intelligence exhibiting startlingly poor judgement, a rather distressing lack of discretion, and some pretty serious dishonesty. All of these are forgivable in a politician in elected office if the public so chooses. They are very bad traits for the Director of the nation’s premier intelligence agency, whose very job is to discretely gather information, collate that information, and make conclusions from that information using his best judgement, and to honestly present that information, and the conclusions generated therefrom to the President and the Congress.

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Yeah, she’s a USAR MI officer. I’ve heard she was a MAJ. She supposedly is (or was) cleared SCI.

    @Corner Stone: No, you didn’t mention Manning, but you replied to my comment which itself was a reply to Timmy’s attempt to bootstrap the Manning case into this one.

  131. 131
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    The trespassers probably thought a Romney rally was being held there.

    “Where’s the VIP entrance? We’re VIPs!”

    Were they driving Range Rovers?

    @Cassidy:

    Give it up already, you’re arguing with a hammer in a bag.

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Because the president has far more checks on his power than the head of the CIA. Contrary to what some firebaggers claim, the president can’t actually call hellfire missiles down on anyone he wants, any time he wants. He has to explain and publicly justify what he wants to do.

    The head of the CIA has far less public transparency. Not only that, but he’s the president’s conduit to foreign intelligence. Do you really not see a problem with the head of the CIA being pressured into giving the president bad or misleading information and letting the president act on it?

    When part of someone’s job description is, “Has good enough judgment to advise the president about what actions he should take overseas,” do you really not see a problem with the person in that position having the demonstrably bad judgment to not only cheat on his wife, but to simultaneously cheat on his mistress?

  133. 133

    […] barely understands… Over at Balloon Juice, in a thread on the Petraeus situation, one of the commenters condemned his behavior: Getting involved in someone’s custody dispute shows seriously bad […]

  134. 134
    notoriousJRT says:

    @ABL:

    (The women involved should be held accountable, of course, but they aren’t the ones in senior leadership roles at the Pentagon.)

    No, they are not. But, Ms. Broadwell seems to have behaved like a full-on kook. Ms. Kelly may attain “piece of work” status as this thing continues to drizzle out over the media. The entire episode has a surreal “quality.” You can take the “secrets” out of sordid secrets, but you can’t remove the sordid – doesn’t matter if one is rich and/or famous.

  135. 135
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    It’s the Director of Central Intelligence exhibiting startlingly poor judgement, a rather distressing lack of discretion, and some pretty serious dishonesty. All of these are forgivable in a politician in elected office if the public so chooses.

    I just don’t see the distinction between the CINC and D/CIA in this. Elected or not, he can start bombing places as part of blackmail or as a symptom of poor judgement. I seriously need a stronger case than that an appointed official is different in some nebulous way when the risks are the same or greater.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, something I was thinking of on my way home: I think this whole thing would have been much less damaging (and dangerous) if Petraeus had kept his dick within the confines of the CIA and had an affair with someone within the agency. The thing that bothers me here is that he was running around with and giving CIA information to people outside the agency.

    Now, he probably thought it was fine because Broadwell was a military reservist with a security clearance and Petraeus still thinks of himself as part of the military. But having the supposedly civilian head of the CIA still think of himself as an Army general and continue to conduct himself the way he did when he was in the Army is in itself not a good thing.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    I just don’t see the distinction between the CINC and D/CIA in this.

    Really? You don’t see any difference at all between an elected official who is accountable to the public and an appointed official who is accountable to no one but the president? There’s no possible way you could picture the head of the CIA manipulating the president by presenting or withholding information?

    You may need to read up on J. Edgar Hoover, because you seem dangerously naive about these things.

  138. 138
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    When part of someone’s job description is, “Has good enough judgment to advise the president about what actions he should take overseas,” do you really not see a problem with the person in that position having the demonstrably bad judgment to not only cheat on his wife, but to simultaneously cheat on his mistress?

    Why do you think the quality of his assessment of “what actions he should take overseas” is in any way tied to who he sleeps with or lies to about it? That’s a very moralistic and conservative construction.

  139. 139
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne: How was Clinton accountable to the public as a lame duck? And how would being accountable to the public make you insusceptible to blackmail? (EDIT: Couldn’t you argue that being accountable to the public would make someone more likely to be blackmailed to avoid any damaging secrets from becoming public?)

  140. 140
    pete says:

    @J.W. Hamner: Heard of the honey trap? Why look, here’s a whole article about it in Foreign Policy. Being vulnerable to blackmail is a bit sketchy, no?

  141. 141
    pete says:

    And HuffPo is saying that Jill Kelley ran a shady cancer charity that went bust

    I really don’t want to know too much about this, but it’s stunningly irresistible. The fact that it’s Petraeus getting canned is just a bonus.

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Why do you think the quality of his assessment of “what actions he should take overseas” is in any way tied to who he sleeps with or lies to about it? That’s a very moralistic and conservative construction.

    Ah, okay. It wasn’t entirely clear that I was trying to explain to a polyamorist that there are such things in the world as inappropriate relationships.

    Here’s one clue: giving your girlfriend the password to your CIA account is an example of bad judgement, even if she has a high security clearance.

    @MattR:

    How was Clinton accountable to the public as a lame duck?

    You may have forgotten, but we had this whole thing called an “impeachment” where Clinton could have been removed from office if the people’s representatives (ie Congress) had voted for his removal despite the fact that he was a lame duck. It’s written into the Constitution and everything.

    And how would being accountable to the public make you insusceptible to blackmail?

    It wouldn’t, but the president’s freedom of independent action is much more restricted than that of the head of the CIA.

  143. 143
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I thought the issue was blackmail/security breaches/judgement… not that Bill Clinton would have been judged by voters (and likely won) in a hypothetical third term. Before knowledge of said affairs was public both seem equivalent in their vulnerability and power to wreak havoc. Note that we are also not talking about Obama learning about this scandal and saying “I can’t trust you – you have to go”… which would obviously be his prerogative… we are talking about whether an affair makes somebody a priori unfit to occupy certain executive branch positions.

    I tend to want to evaluate people’s job performance based on how they do their job, not about whether I approve of their choices in their personal life.

  144. 144
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It wouldn’t, but the president’s freedom of independent action is much more restricted than that of the head of the CIA.

    Perhaps, but it is definitely debatable the degree to which this is true and how much this makes the actions of one worse than those of the other.

  145. 145
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It wouldn’t, but the president’s freedom of independent action is much more restricted than that of the head of the CIA.

    This is utter nonsense.

  146. 146
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    I tend to want to evaluate people’s job performance based on how they do their job, not about whether I approve of their choices in their personal life.

    So Petraeus telling classified information that he learned at his job to his girlfriend was just a personal choice that he made in his personal life and has no bearing on evaluating his judgement at his job?

  147. 147
    Jason says:

    @Corner Stone: I just saw a pic of the twin sister. Good Lord. Who could resist?
    If I were a 60 something old dude I’d be looking around for the height challenged guy calling for “da plane! da plane!”.

    I think I could easily resist, but I do think Petreaus sure has a type, doesn’t he? That “fitness model” type with that slightly masculine-but-not-too-masculine face and body. No wonder Broadwell was warning Jill/Natalie (Jatalie?) off her man?

    Srsli, twin gold-digging sisters from Lebanon involved with a top US general and the head of the CIA? Who writes this stuff? Kitty Kelly must be having an orgasm right now.

  148. 148
    Mnemosyne says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    This is utter nonsense.

    Really? Who is supposed to get a vote in Congress before taking military action, the president or the head of the CIA?

    Who chooses the list of drone targets that will be presented to the president, the president or head of the CIA?

    Who evaluates all of the available intelligence and puts it into a report for the president, the president or the head of the CIA?

    The independent choices that a president can make are restricted in our form of government by design. A president is not a king or a dictator, and he can’t do anything he wants whenever he wants.

  149. 149
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So Petraeus telling classified information that he learned at his job to his girlfriend was just a personal choice that he made in his personal life and has no bearing on evaluating his judgement at his job?

    I think the point is that it is the telling of classified information to someone who should not have had access to it that was the problem, not that that person was his girlfriend. It would have been equally problematic and reflective of poor judgement if he had told his wife. So crucify Petraeus for leaking the info, not for having the affair.

  150. 150
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You are drawing conclusions not based on the available evidence. It is possible he did this, but to me it is a separate issue. As I said early on, if he was providing classified info to a biographer to make himself look like a genius (or whatever) then that is certainly an issue. It is independent of whether or not he has a sexual relationship with said biographer.

    EDIT: Or what MattR said

  151. 151
    Mandalay says:

    @Bernard Finel:

    In fairness, we don’t know where Broadwell got those documents.

    Right. Broadwell’s home was searched for four hours by the FBI last night, and they left with a few boxes. But there might be stuff in those boxes that Petraeus should not have given to Broadwell.

    Given that, how can Petraeus have already been cleared of any security violations? Surely it is not yet known that he is innocent.

  152. 152
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Who is supposed to get a vote in Congress before taking military action, the president or the head of the CIA?

    Who has ways to avoid going to Congress for that vote if he really wants to take military action?

    Who chooses the list of drone targets that will be presented to the president, the president or head of the CIA?

    Who chooses which target is actually bombed?

    Who evaluates all of the available intelligence and puts it into a report for the president, the president or the head of the CIA?

    Who makes the ultimate decisions about what to do with that info? An alternative argument is that the Iraq War has shown that the president has just as much of an ability to influence the intelligence presented to him by the CIA.

    The independent choices that a president can make are restricted in our form of government by design. A president is not a king or a dictator, and he can’t do anything he wants whenever he wants.

    That is the theory. Too bad it is becoming less and less of a reality. (Note: I am not trying to blame Obama for this. There has been a creep in that direction for decades)

    (EDIT: I should add that blackmailing the president does not have to be restricted to strictly military actions. For instance, the Iranians could blackmail POTUS to take a public stand against sanctions even if that public stand is not a guarantee that sanctions will be lifted)

  153. 153
    Cassidy says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: I know. Feeling combative today. Especially when someone keeps pulling a Republican and refuses to acknowledge facts because they don’t line up with his feelings.

  154. 154
    fuckwit says:

    Rules of Advice for Young People (or CIA directors):
    Never interfere in a boy-girl fight.
    Beware of whores who say they don’t want money– the hell they don’t. What they mean is they want more, much more.
    If you are dealing with a religious son of a bitch, get it in writing! His word isn’t worth shit, not with the good lord telling him how to fuck you over on the deal.

    I miss William S. Burroughs.

  155. 155
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I don’t want to be too flip here, but seriously: Which one is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the President?

    Seems like the CINC sort of has checkmate there.

  156. 156
    Soonergrunt says:

    @J.W. Hamner: ” I seriously need a stronger case than that an appointed official is different in some nebulous way when the risks are the same or greater.”
    Then you are the outlier here. Perhaps you should try to explain to the rest of us why you think it’s OK for the D/CIA to be fucking some woman who isn’t his wife when he isn’t her husband, and giving her access to sensitive information that she doesn’t need to fulfill her duties in order that he can keep fucking her, and why it’s a good idea for this to be going on while he’s setting policy for the agency that provides intelligence information to the President and the Congress?
    Cause I and most others here aren’t seeing it.

  157. 157
    Mandalay says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Yes, yes, I know, you think that a retired officer committing adultery is a very grave matter of public concern that needs to be outed at all costs.

    No, no, but nice try.

    A CIA Director committing adultery is a very grave matter of public concern that needs to be outed at all costs.

    FTFY

  158. 158
    Soonergrunt says:

    @J.W. Hamner: Yes, because the President ALWAYS knows when he’s being played, and never has to trust the judgement, discretion, or honesty of the people beneath him, because he always just knows.

  159. 159
    kc says:

    “I have inviolability” would be a great rotating tag line.

  160. 160
    Corner Stone says:

    @Soonergrunt: This is a curious response.

  161. 161
    MattR says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Perhaps you should try to explain to the rest of us why you think it’s OK for the D/CIA to be fucking some woman who isn’t his wife when he isn’t her husband, and giving her access to sensitive information that she doesn’t need to fulfill her duties in order that he can keep fucking her, and why it’s a good idea for this to be going on while he’s setting policy for the agency that provides intelligence information to the President and the Congress?

    The problem is that the bolded part of your statement is a strawman. Everyone agrees this is unacceptable and that he should be held accountable for those breaches if they are proven to be true. But if we are talking strictly about the decision to sleep with someone who is not your wife, I have not seen a persuasive argument for why the D/CIA should be held to a higher standard than POTUS.

  162. 162
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    a) I don’t care who he is having sex with
    b) We do not know that he gave her info that he shouldn’t have, and regardless that is separate from prosecuting him for the sin of adultery
    c) Somebody can be a bad person and still be good at their job

    I don’t honestly care one way or another about Petraeus as D/CIA, but I don’t like outing and public shaming.

    Regardless, all of the same things you brought up apply equally to Bill Clinton, which was the entire point. If you think Clinton should have resigned as president for the same reasons you state about Petraeus, then I don’t agree but fine… at least you are being consistent… otherwise I think you are being hypocritical.

  163. 163
    gwangung says:

    I have not seen a persuasive argument for why the D/CIA should be held to a higher standard than POTUS.

    What? What part of “specifically banned for all employees” is not persuasive?

  164. 164
    Cassidy says:

    but I don’t like outing and public shaming.

    No one here has done that. The affair has been discussed in regards to national security implications and the possible root corruption of Petreaus’s cult of personality. You’re the only one obsessed with the sex. Go watch some Redtube and get it out of your system.

  165. 165
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Corner Stone: In what way?

    @MattR: @J.W. Hamner: Other than the fact that more than one news article indicates that the person sending the emails to Kelley (Broadwell) had access to sensitive information about the comings and goings of the D/CIA and a couple of active duty General Officers, no, we don’t know that she was accessing information which she didn’t need to fulfill her official duties.
    And as far as the difference between the President and the D/CIA, the President can be removed from office by losing an election or by being successfully impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. Neither of these remedies apply to the D/CIA.
    He serves at the pleasure of the President. He offered his resignation to the President, and the President accepted it.

  166. 166
    MattR says:

    @gwangung: I am not sure which exact policy or actions you are referring to, but are you saying that if that one regulation did not exist then you would be cool with what Petraeus did? The same way you were cool with Clinton’s actions.

  167. 167
    Mandalay says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    Regardless, all of the same things you brought up apply equally to Bill Clinton

    Another thing that applied equally to Petraeus and Clinton was that neither offered to resign when they got caught. In Clinton’s case that was obvious, but the MSM is flooding us with swill about Petraeus doing the “honorable thing” when he actually refused to resign when he was caught.

    It was only when Petraeus realized that his affair would become public knowledge that he finally decided to resign. But of course Clinton had more spine than Petraeus, and did not cave.

    But regardless of all that, you are comparing apples and oranges; the mechanism to remove a president is completely different to that for removing the Director of the CIA. Assuming you know that already, I am not sure why you are pursuing the point.

  168. 168
    anonymouse says:

    @MattR:

    For instance, the Iranians could blackmail POTUS to take a public stand against sanctions even if that public stand is not a guarantee that sanctions will be lifted)

    blackmail? why wouldn’t they just state their demands on national tv like netanyahu? speaking of which, how much longer will the administration continue to appease a dangerous, out of control foreign govt. that actively worked against obama’s re-election?

  169. 169
    Sammi says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Your comment is very rude. I don’t know why you’re calling ABL’s comment stupid. She said if they screwed up, they should be held accountable. Period. She did not say that being forced to resign as CIA Director did not constitute “being held accountable”.

  170. 170
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    And as far as the difference between the President and the D/CIA, the President can be removed from office by losing an election or by being successfully impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. Neither of these remedies apply to the D/CIA.
    He serves at the pleasure of the President. He offered his resignation to the President, and the President accepted it.

    These things are all true, but I don’t honestly understand how the mechanisms for removal of either makes any qualitative difference in whether an affair makes them unfit for their position. I’m no Constitutional scholar, but I’m pretty sure Congress could impeach any civil officer of the United States which would presumably include the D/CIA… so then the distinction seems to come down to the fact that instead of being directly elected they are appointed by someone who was elected and then approved by Congress who was also elected. Which, uhm, what?

  171. 171
    MattR says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Other than the fact that more than one news article indicates that the person sending the emails to Kelley (Broadwell) had access to sensitive information about the comings and goings of the D/CIA and a couple of active duty General Officers, no, we don’t know that she was accessing information which she didn’t need to fulfill her official duties.

    Your faith in the accuracy of the news media amazes me. Did you not notice their erroneous reports of tens of thousands of emails between Kelley and Gen Allen?

    And as far as the difference between the President and the D/CIA, the President can be removed from office by losing an election or by being successfully impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate. Neither of these remedies apply to the D/CIA.
    He serves at the pleasure of the President. He offered his resignation to the President, and the President accepted it.

    I’m not sure what your point is here. How does this affect the standard we use to judge them?

    @Mandalay:

    But regardless of all that, you are comparing apples and oranges; the mechanism to remove a president is completely different to that for removing the Director of the CIA. Assuming you know that already, I am not sure why you are pursuing the point.

    I guess I have a similar question for you as I had for soonergrunt. Yes they are different, but what is there about that difference that makes you hold one to a higher standard?

  172. 172
    Soonergrunt says:

    @J.W. Hamner: The mechanisms make all the difference in the world. One is political and the other isn’t.
    That, combined with the other reasons given above by multiple people is pretty much the game.
    The fact that you don’t understand, or refuse to deal with that is irrelevant since you don’t make the rules and customs by which high ranking persons in the government, and particularly the national security arena get, hold, and lose their jobs.

  173. 173
    MattR says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    The fact that you don’t understand, or refuse to deal with that is irrelevant since you don’t make the rules and customs by which high ranking persons in the government, and particularly the national security arena get, hold, and lose their jobs

    Oh, Jesus. If that is the case, we should all just STFU.

  174. 174
    aimai says:

    @Mandalay:

    It should go without saying, but no one has said it, that the “reason” that as a democracy we should prefer our Presidents to continue serving despite moral lapses, and our CIA directors to resign, is that the President is quite likely to have domestic political enemies who would actually prefer his resignation to blackmailing him. Thhattt’s right folks. Clinton’s enemies were domestic. His foreign enemies, if any, probably wouldn’t have benefitted nearly as much as the Republicans intended to when they began their relentless witch hunt (see, e.g. The Hunting of the President.)

    The important civil liberties and privacy issues in this case are really longstanding–for anyone with any memory functions at all the fact that the FBI were brought in to a tiny domestic dispute/email spat between equals and blew this entire thing up into a multi-general-investigation of two other bureaus (military and CIA) is horrifying but not surprising. The witch hunt and the violation of privacy should disgust us all.

    However: Petraeus lived by the laws and prosecuted those same laws when he was a general (with respect to other people’s handling of classified information) and when he assumed control of the CIA. My withers are wholly unwrung that this preening, posing, “perfumed prince” actually got his dick caught in the wringer. “But that’s private” and “it was consensual” are not defenses that he and his CIA administrators would have respected even as they are probably suborning and bribing and extorting information from hapless wandering dicks the world over as a matter of professional pride.

    aimai

  175. 175
    AA+ Bonds says:

    This one time, I jumped Clinton’s dick on a dirtbike

  176. 176
    gwangung says:

    @MattR:

    Oh, Jesus. If that is the case, we should all just STFU.

    That’s generally a good idea if you don’t understand the rules…

  177. 177
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    The mechanisms make all the difference in the world. One is political and the other isn’t.

    You are not making any sense. Petraeus could have been impeached and was appointed by and could be fired by the President. How is that not political? They don’t call it a political appointment for nothing.

    That, combined with the other reasons given above by multiple people is pretty much the game.

    This keeps coming up, but I have yet to see evidence of these mythical “other reasons” that are allegedly so persuasive. Feel free to lay them out here so I can be appropriately awed by their power.

  178. 178
    Soonergrunt says:

    @MattR: I never said that. What I meant was (and this seems like another case here) is that you can refuse to deal with the fact that the situation is the way it is, or not. It has been explained over and over again what the rationale is. Some people here, yourself and J.W. Hamner among them obviously don’t like it.
    Well, OK.
    But there’s no point in continuing this conversation at this point.
    It’s like “Hey, the world is round. You can start at that port, and sail west-bound for months and months and eventually, you’ll come back here from the east, while always heading west. A guy did that last week, in fact. And you get the response “I don’t believe the world it round. I feel like it should be flat.”
    Well, OK.
    And just as it’s irrelevant that the second guy thinks the world should be flat, because the world is round, it is irrelevant that you and J.W. don’t think the D/CIA should lose his job because he was fucking somebody he shouldn’t have been fucking. Because in at that level, when you fuck somebody you shouldn’t fuck, you don’t get to continue as D/CIA.

    And while I’ll never say you should just STFU, I will say that there’s no profit or gain for me in continuing this conversation.

  179. 179
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gwangung:

    What? What part of “specifically banned for all employees” is not persuasive?

    The part where JW Hammer and MattR have a specific view about how the world ought to work, so they ignore little things like existing workplace rules and demand a broad explanation of how things should be.

    We really should have just left it at “because CIA regulations demand that Petraeus be fired, and if you don’t like that, go tell the CIA to change their regulations.” People who don’t understand the difference between an elected president and an appointed cabinet member aren’t really amenable to anything else.

  180. 180
    MattR says:

    @Soonergrunt: So your argument is that it is what it is and so there is no point in trying to convince others that the status quo is wrong? What are you doing on a political blog?

    @Mnemosyne:

    We really should have just left it at “because CIA regulations demand that Petraeus be fired, and if you don’t like that, go tell the CIA to change their regulations.”

    Yes, you should have. Because that is a fair and logical argument. Unlike claims that having an affair showed such a huge flaw in Petraeus’s judgement that he couldn’t be trusted to do his job (but that Clinton was still trustowrthy enough to do his).

  181. 181
    Soonergrunt says:

    @MattR: No, you willfully stupid bastard. It means that you are not in a position to change it, so your feelings are irrelevant about how it should be. If that really bothers you, then go get elected President where you can change it, because your complaining about it on a blog is accomplishing fuck-all.

  182. 182
    johnny aquitard says:

    @JPL: @JPL:

    Either there is something else going on or our national security has been run by idiots.

    No reason it can’t be both.

  183. 183
    different-church-lady says:

    @fuckwit: The old fool sold his soul for a strap-on.

  184. 184
    MattR says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    because your complaining about it on a blog is accomplishing fuck-all.

    As opposed to the complainings of any other person on this blog?

    PS. The first part of that comment, “If that really bothers you, then go get elected President where you can change it,” demonstates the stupidity of your previous analogy to someone who wants the earth to be flat. (EDIT: I guess I should be explicit since you haven’t proven able to grasp anything else I’ve said. A CIA policy can be changed and therefore it is reasonable to advocate for that change. The shape of the earth cannot.)

  185. 185
    gwangung says:

    @Mnemosyne: Why do I get the feeling that the Law of Unintended Consequences would hit them up side the head, big time?

  186. 186
    MattR says:

    @gwangung: I am actually very worried that I’m going to get fired tomorrow for surfing the internet for personal reasons from my work laptop since company policy forbids it.

  187. 187
    Marshall says:

    As someone who had a security clearance when I worked for the Navy, I am very surprised that people who should know better (I’m looking at you, Glenn Greenwald) don’t seem to register that possessing a clearance means giving up some privacy and, at the highest levels, “some” can be quite a lot.

    I heard an extended discussion today on NPR about whether the Feds had a warrant to search Petraeus’s emails. I am not a lawyer, but I bet they don’t need one, as long as Petraeus has a compartmentalized clearance. The whole bunch on NPR seemed pretty clueless.

    I also remember being briefed on “honeypots,” which was a fun briefing. (That was before they went and set one up on Marion Barry.)

  188. 188
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Imani’s probably right about the slut-shaming going on, but that’s hardly the only story. It needs to be called out, but let’s not pretend that there’s nothing more to this. Like you, Bernard, I am extremely perturbed by Kelley’s multiple attempts at invoking “diplomatic immunity”.

  189. 189
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    What do you mean? Incessantly whining on a blog about something that is beyond your control can require a lot of effort. Ask Matt and the Bag of Hammer about how tough it is, I’m sure they will tell you all about it.

    Whining all of the way.

  190. 190
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @ABL: Both men were grown ass individuals, they screwed up, they should be held accountable.

    Allen hasn’t stepped down yet, and that makes him still a powerful man (unlike Petraeus, who quit, making his “Jezebel’s” identity less salient, although, OK, that TDS interview was pretty funny in retrospect) and powerful men must be protected, so let the slut-shaming begin!

    Seriously, that’s the vibe I get. Gross.

    I have to say, on this blog it’s been more “I can’t even follow this story” and “meh”. IMO, there is a “there” there, but when all the media is talking about is who’s banging whom…

  191. 191
    gwangung says:

    @MattR: Well, there you go…Watch out!

  192. 192
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Pat Robertson weighed in on Milfgate. He supports fucking milfs.

    IDK about ABL, but this “MILF” thing is driving me crazy. It was one thing when we were talking about grandmothers, but these women are just not that old. In fact, Broadwell is quite a bit younger than Petraeus. HOW FUCKING YOUNG ARE YOUNG THINGS SUPPOSED TO BE, AMERICA? Since when is the younger woman a MILF? No offense to MILFs, but there seems to be some sort of implication here about women’s expiration dates that is quite disturbing.

  193. 193
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, while I think the rules in question are puritanical, I have no particular interest in what they “ought” to be.

    What I have a lot of interest in is the lack of any logical consistency apparent here in regards to applying (suddenly popular!) moralistic standards. Bill Clinton was a good democratic president so his infidelity is a minor issue, but David Petraeus was at the forefront of a lot things progressives object to, so obviously his infidelity proves that all the bad stuff they said about him was dead on.

  194. 194
    Mandalay says:

    @MattR:

    Yes they are different, but what is there about that difference that makes you hold one to a higher standard?

    A fair question, but I am not holding one to a higher standard than the other, since I don’t endorse the extra-marital conduct of either of them.

    That said, I don’t get to make the rules on whether either of them should keep or lose their jobs. But I did post earlier that I thought that Petraeus should be dismissed for sheer stupidity if nothing else; his behavior showed that he wasn’t fit for the job, regardless of any other rules governing his employment.

  195. 195
    Marshall says:

    @JPL: If it is just his travel schedule, he probably had discretionary power to reveal it to uncleared civilians. As Director, I bet he has a lot of discretionary power of this sort. He is, after all, not an undercover agent, and if he says it is in the interest of the CIA for him to meet with a journalist (or anybody else, for that matter), who below him is going to say that that involves an unauthorized leakage of his travel schedule?

    My own feeling is that there is something very badly radioactive at the bottom of this, bad enough that, if / when it becomes public, no one will wonder why he resigned and why the FBI became involved.

  196. 196
    Mandalay says:

    @J.W. Hamner:

    What I have a lot of interest in is the lack of any logical consistency apparent here

    What “lack of any logical consistency”?

    You build a strawman by insisting that the rules must be identical for the Director of the CIA and the President, and then get upset that everyone doesn’t fall in line and agree with your unproven assertion.

  197. 197
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Ted & Hellen: If I’m not getting any right now, does that clear me to make “judgy” comments?

    FFS.

  198. 198
    Roy G. says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Well, technically, a MILF can be any age, as long as she’s old enough to have a kid. However, if we’re being technical her, we are dealing with MGLFs – Mother a General Likes to Fornicate.

  199. 199
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Roy G.: Given the origin of the term, I’m thinking a milf needs to be old enough to have a teenaged son whose teenaged son friends find her alluring.

  200. 200
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mandalay: Don’t bother. He’s obsessed with his false equivalency narrative between Clinton and Petraeus. What he can’t seem to grok is that being supreme politico is not the same as being head of an executive agency, but it’s all been said and said again. Also he wants to blame us for defending Clinton or something, which is lame. I was pretty damn pissed at Clinton at the time and personally believed he owed it to the Democratic Party to resign, but whatever. At the end of the day, Broadwell apparently had Peaches’ (classified) travel schedule, while all Clinton gave Lewinsky was the OMG NSFW Leaves of Grass. Which I’m sure had the thousands of teens at the dozens of Walt Whitman High Schools across the country giggling for a year.

  201. 201
    Roy G. says:

    @Or something like that.Suffern Ace: Can’t argue with said provenance.

    Best factoid from Wikipedia:
    The concept of a MILF predates the term itself, as exemplified by Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MILF_(slang)

  202. 202
    sm*t cl*de says:

    I felt like I was almost held to a higher level of accountability because I could lose my clearance.

    Yes, Ms Broadwell, people with a security clearance are held to a higher level of accountability.

  203. 203
    BrianM says:

    @MattR:

    Unlike claims that having an affair showed such a huge flaw in Petraeus’s judgement that he couldn’t be trusted to do his job (but that Clinton was still trustowrthy enough to do his).

    Because the commenters have flipped into a “we’ve decided MattR and J.W. Hammer are BAD and so nothing they write can be correct” pile-on, I thought I’d say that I understand your main argument to be:

    1. Both the President and Director of the CIA could be blackmailed by someone who discovered a secret affair.

    2. Either of them has enough power that he’d be a dandy target for blackmail.

    3. Therefore, it’s weird to say that if one (either!) has an affair, he’s obviously shown bad judgment that makes him unfit for the job, but that the other hasn’t.

    I think that’s a good argument, one that hadn’t occurred to me.

    As far as I can tell, neither of you are disputing that:

    1. The Director of the CIA has to have the confidence of the President. If a revealed affair causes the President to lose that confidence, he’s justified in demanding the Director’s resignation.

    … or that:

    2. There’s no one who can make such a demand of the President.

  204. 204

    […] Electronic Privacy (balloon-juice.com) […]

  205. 205
    Elie says:

    @Marshall:

    This:

    “My own feeling is that there is something very badly radioactive at the bottom of this, bad enough that, if / when it becomes public, no one will wonder why he resigned and why the FBI became involved.”

  206. 206
    Elie says:

    @Marshall:

    This:

    “My own feeling is that there is something very badly radioactive at the bottom of this, bad enough that, if / when it becomes public, no one will wonder why he resigned and why the FBI became involved.”

  207. 207
    Elie says:

    @Marshall:

    This:

    “My own feeling is that there is something very badly radioactive at the bottom of this, bad enough that, if / when it becomes public, no one will wonder why he resigned and why the FBI became involved.”

  208. 208
    fidelio says:

    @Bernard Finel: Here’s another take on things from an acquaintance of mine, one with a good many years of military service as an interrogator. I believe you may find it interesting.

  209. 209
    Metrosexual Manichean Monster DougJ says:

    No, not the Petraeus part, I care about that. I don’t care about that other fucking general.

  210. 210
    Paul in KY says:

    @Violet: I wonder where their trusted staff (no, not that one!) was in this. Didn’t any of their underlings know of these 2 whack job women & counsel them to stay away?

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