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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 06:37 PM

The Grand Irony of the Petraeus Scandal Done in by the Patriot Act?

There is a delicious irony to the story of the crash-and-burn career of Four-Star General and later (at least briefly) CIA Director David Petraeus.

The man who was elevated to the ethereal ranks of a General Eisenhower or Robert E. Lee by swooning corporate myth makers like the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Trudy Rubin, the Washington Post’s David Iglesias, and the NY Times’ Michael Gordon, was never really that brilliant. It wasn’t his “surge” after all that quieted things down (temporarily) in Iraq; rather it was a deal to pay off the insurgents with cash to stand down until the US could gracefully pull out without having to be shooting its way down to Kuwait in full retreat. As for his allegedly “brilliant” counterinsurgency policy of “winning hearts and minds,” we have already seen how well that has worked in Iraq, which is now basically a client state of Iran, and the writing is already on the wall in Afghanistan, where the US is almost universally loathed, with US forces spending most of their time looking out for Afghan soldiers who might turn their guns on their supposed ally and “mentor” American troops.

For a real measure of Gen. Petraeus , go to Admiral William Fallon — that rare military leader who had the guts to tell President Bush and Cheney he would not allow an attack on Iran “on his watch,” thereby quite possibly saving us all from being at war with Iran years ago. Fallon, who at the time in 2007 was head of Centcom, the military command region covering the entire Middle East, once reportedly called, Petraeus, who was being put in charge of the Iraq theater, an “ass-licking little chicken-shit” — to his face.

Anyhow, what makes the epic collapse of this consummate political general’s career so exquisite is that it was the post-9-11 spying capabilities of the FBI that allowed its agents to slip unannounced into the email of the General’s paramour, Paula Broadwell (a name that could have been selected by Ian Fleming!), and possibly into the general’s own email too, there to find the evidence, allegedly in the form of X-rated letters, of a covert adulterous relationship underway.


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Reply The Grand Irony of the Petraeus Scandal Done in by the Patriot Act? (Original post)
midnight Nov 2012 OP
Tutonic Nov 2012 #1
OnyxCollie Nov 2012 #2

Response to midnight (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 09:00 PM

1. Fallon must be enjoying this.

retired from CENTCOM because he REFUSED to go to war with Iran. Called Petraeus ass-licking little chicken-shit to his face!!!!! Now that's an Amercian General.

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Response to midnight (Original post)

Tue Nov 13, 2012, 11:01 PM

2. What can the government do?



The Stored Communications Act strongly protects communications that have been in 'electronic storage' for 180 days or less, but the government has a very narrow reading of what 'electronic storage' means in the statute. The government doesn't consider already-read or opened incoming communications to be in electronic storage (for example, emails in your inbox that you've already looked at, or voicemails in your voicemail account that you've saved after listening). Nor does the government consider messages in your sent box or messages in your drafts box to be in 'electronic storage.' Under the government's view, here's how your communications are treated under the law:

New unopened communications: If the email or voice-mail messages are unopened or unlistened to, and have been in storage for 180 days or less, the police must get a search warrant. However, you are not notified of the search.

Opened or old communications: If you have opened the stored email or voice-mail messages, or they are unopened and have been stored for more than 180 days, the government can use a special court order — the same “D” orders discussed — or a subpoena to demand your communications. Either way, the government has to give you notice (although, like with sneak & peek search warrants, that notice can sometimes be delayed for a substantial time, and as far as we can tell almost always is delayed). However, the police may still choose to use a search warrant instead of a D order or subpoena, so they don’t have to give you notice at all.

Notably, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has disagreed with the government's reading of the law, finding that communications are in electronic storage even after they are opened — meaning that the government needs a warrant to obtain opened messages in storage for 180 days or less.

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