This article originally appeared in the 11.15.12 issue of Metroland
going to write about the Petraeus thing, because everybody else is. But since most everyone is missing the most
important story here, what the hell.
Here we go.
amount of familiarity with the “facts” is assumed. Here’s how it looks to me right now (with the
understanding that it could be all different by the time you read this on
Thursday): We start with a Tampa
“socialite” Jill Kelley, who’s married to a doctor (who can charitably be characterized
as a “good sport”), who runs some shady charities, who acts as an unofficial,
unpaid “social liaison” between the US Central Command (CENTCOM) and,
apparently, big parties at her mansion (which is being foreclosed on). Ms. Kelley seems to have a thing for a man in
a uniform, a fetish that has always bugged me out.
ago, Ms. Kelley began receiving weird anonymous emails. They’ve been described as “kind of cat-fight
like”, mocking Kelley for having too much presence on the CENTCOM base, telling
her to know her place, and one that appeared to accuse her of fondling Gen.
David Petraeus under a table at one of her lavish soirees. While there were only a handful of these
emails, which could hardly be called harassing -- maybe annoying
is the right word, Kelley was getting a little agitato. So she called an FBI agent she “knew”
(apparently this guy had previously sent her shirtless pics of himself, like
classless horny guys do on dating sites) and the agent dutifully commenced some
kind of investigation. His superiors let
him pursue it hesitantly; a couple of annoying emails is not the sort of thing any
law enforcement agency would ever
be interested in. But for some reason, the FBI took the
warrants and subpoenas, the FBI was able to trace the annoying emails to
Patricia Broadwell, a North Carolina writer who appears to have an arm fetish
(her own) as well as one for the men in uniform. While the FBI was “looking around” at
Broadwell’s email accounts, they noticed a whole bunch of emails from General
Petraeus. At some point, shirtless
wonder FBI guy was taken off the case because he was a little too gung-ho;
miffed at what he thought was disinterest in the matter, he contacted
Republican House members David Reichert and Eric Cantor and gave them the
low-down on the down-low. Why did he
go blabbing to two Republicans, one of whom is a Tea Bagger darling? Something to do with his “worldview.”
the FBI was “looking around” at Kelley’s stuff (for which she presumably gave
them permission, although maybe not) they found a shitload (defined as 20-30
thousand pages) of too-friendly emails between her and General Allen, our head
guy in Afghanistan.
know what happened next and what’s continuing to happen.
Most of the
media is captivated by the tawdriness of it all; it’s like Peyton Place in
military dress. Who was boinking who,
when, where, how? What about the
spouses, the families? Are there any really good
emails, you know, like sexting? Then there is the business of national
security. Was it breached during post-boinking
pillow talk? Then there is the political
angle: how come this didn’t come out until after the election? Why did this come out on the eve of the
Benghazi hearings? Why didn’t Cantor do
something? When did Obama know? Then there is the ethics: does infidelity
disqualify you from military service?
From public service? But mostly,
it’s all about the boinking. Oh, and the
cat fight. Grrrr!
but a few writers are missing is this: what the hell is the FBI doing snooping
around in the private communications of some lady who sent stupid annoying
emails to another lady who happens to be a “friend” of a low-level FBI agent
with a hard-on? What gives them the
right to do that? Where is the right of
privacy, where is due process?
that the FBI was acting pursuant to a federal law that says a federal
prosecutor can freely subpoena anyone’s electronic communications that are more
than six months old. No judge looking
over his shoulder. You’re a prosecutor,
you can just go get it. For
communications less than 6 months old, you need to get a search warrant from a
judge. Apparently the FBI used both of
these devices, and then looked not just at one account, they helped themselves
to all of Kelley’s and Broadwell’s email accounts. Everything.
horrifying. What judge signed the search
warrant? What crime did the FBI tell the
judge had been committed? That someone
broke the crazy-lady e-catfight law? You
might think the ends justified the means here.
If you do, I can’t wait for the blunt force of unrestrained government to
take you down, too.
Paul Rapp is a local
IP lawyer who’s planning on seeing the Charlie Watts Riots and Five Alpha
Beatdown the night before Thanksgiving.