FBI Investigation: Discovers CIA Chief Under Covers: “Embedded Journalist” Given Whole New Meaning

It all started in May, when Jill Kelley; a voluntary liaison to the military’s Joint Special Operations Command in Tampa, FL, complained to an FBI agent she knew about receiving a series of harassing emails:
Although the friendly FBI agent was removed from the case due to potential conflict of interest (he had sent a shirtless picture of himself to the married Mrs. Kelley)The FBI spent months tracing metadata footprints left by the emails, piecing together who may have sent them and what locations they were sent from. They matched the places, including hotels, where Ms. Paula Broadwell was during the times the emails were sent. FBI agents and federal prosecutors used the information as probable cause to seek a warrant to monitor Ms. Broadwell’s email accounts.
As General Petraeus’ biographer, Ms. Broadwell, co-author of All In, is described on Amazon as having been “Afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends, Broadwell embedded with the general, his headquarters staff, and his soldiers on the front lines of fighting and at the strategic command in Afghanistan to chronicle the experiences of this American general as they were brought to bear in the terrible crucible of war. All In draws on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers to tell the inside story of this commander’s development and leadership in war from every vantage point.”
Ms. Broadwell, along with Mr. Petraeus had set up private Gmail accounts to use for their communications, which included explicit details of a sexual nature, according to U.S. officials. But because Mr. Petraeus used a pseudonym, agents doing the monitoring didn’t immediately uncover that he was the one communicating with Ms. Broadwell. Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teenagers alike, to conceal their email traffic, one of the law enforcement officials said. Rather than transmitting emails to the other’s inbox, they composed at least some messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic “dropbox,” Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail that is easier for outsiders to intercept or trace.
However, Gmail is not to blame for helping the FBI uncover the affair of CIA Director David Petraeus, which led to his resignation. His email client, on the other hand, likely is. The reason the FBI was able to figure out the identities of Broadwell and Petraeus was, at least in part, due to so-called metadata that is embedded in every email we send. The information contained in email metadata differs depending on which service is used; however, most email metadata includes sender email address, recipient email address, date and time that the email was sent, and IP addresses associated with sending and delivery of the email. If you send an email from a Gmail address – but rather than use Gmail.com, you do so through an email client like Microsoft Outlook – then your actual IP address will be added to the email header, thus allowing the FBI (or anyone else) to easily find out the physical location from which that email originated. The same is true for Gmail emails sent from Apple’s Mail client for OS X, as well as Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client. It is this last bit of info – IP addresses – that would have told the FBI where the various damning emails were coming from.
Once they figured out the emails had come from Broadwell, they began tracking her movements. Then they went to court to get a warrant to read her email. They apparently got a warrant to monitor a second email account belonging to someone Broadwell was having an affair with. It turned out to be Petraeus.
As the news initially broke, one could only wonder about the clout Ms. Kelley had for such an investigation to have been launched, the indiscretion on the part of Ms. Broadwell, and the resignation along with the fall from grace of Mr. Petraeus.
The FBI also looked into whether a separate set of emails between Petraeus and Broadwell might involve any security breach. A federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the investigation, said the FBI had concluded relatively quickly — and certainly by late summer at the latest — that there was no security breach. Absent a security breach, it was appropriate not to notify Congress or the White House earlier, this official said.
Extramarital affairs are viewed as particularly risky for intelligence officers because they might be blackmailed to keep the affair quiet. For military personnel, adultery is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
In a speech Ms. Broadwell recently gave in Denver; she laid out a scenario of what happened in Benghazi, Libya that culminated in the death of four US citizens, including a much beloved ambassador. No government testimony up to date had portrayed the occurrence in the same light; nor revealed as much about CIA operations in Libya. Subsequently the FBI removed the hard drive from the computer that they found in Ms. Broadwell’s home, and are investigating whether or not it contains classified information.
Update:The FBI has recovered classified documents in Ms. Broadwell’s home, and her security clearance has been revoked.

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