How Email Stupidity Took Down The Director Of The CIA

One of the bigger news stories recently has been the fact that apparently David Petraeus, now-former head of the CIA, had a wandering spy gadget. It’s kind of a big deal in the sense that cheating sets you up for blackmail, which is a bad thing for the head of America’s overseas intelligence apparatus to be exposed to.

But it’s also a big deal because it turns out he was busted for it thanks to his mistress (and biographer) Paula Broadwell being a bit free with the email threats, and his not being a bright enough bulb to keep his Gmail password private.

Essentially a woman Petraeus was in contact with started getting threatening emails from Broadwell, and she called the FBI. The FBI started monitoring Broadwell’s email account and… drumroll please…

During the course of the investigation, federal agents monitoring Broadwell’s emails found messages coming from Petraeus’ personal Gmail account, and were concerned that his account had been hacked, “leading to concerns about potential national security breaches,” according to officials.

It gets worse: Apparently Broadwell got the names and email addresses of people she was sending these emails to from Petraeus’ personal Gmail account. While Petraeus may not have state secrets in his personal email, he’d have personal information like his travel schedule or the fact that he was interrogating his biographer with his crotch, things that foreign intelligence services would like to know. Consider that the Chinese are willing to hack thermostats in the US Chamber of Commerce in the hope of getting secure data, and you can see what the problem is.

It’s a moot point now: Petraeus has stepped down as head of the CIA. But it’s useful to remember to keep your email password well away from your mistress. Or maybe just skip that whole cheating on your wife thing.