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Gmail's Location Data Led to Discovery of Petraeus Affair

Mon, 11/12/2012 - 7:00pm

By Megan Garber

Courtesy of Reuters/handout David Petraeus, then Commander of the International Security Assistance Force/U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, shakes hands with Paula Broadwell, July 2011. Courtesy of Reuters/handout

More details about the Petraeus affair have come out. FBI investigators, it seems — in a twist of irony fit for either a crime drama or a soap opera — discovered the CIA director's affair by accident: A social acquaintance of the Petraeuses (her precise connection to the family isn't yet fully clear) seems to have unknowingly triggered the series of events that would lead to his resignation. And, even more ironically, it was the particulars of the ubiquitous system Petraeus used to communicate with Paula Broadwell — Gmail — that would lead investigators to discover information that they weren't seeking to find.

Sometime in May, The New York Times reports, Broadwell apparently began sending emails to Jill Kelley, the Petraeus acquaintance — and those emails were "harassing," according to Kelley. The messages were apparently sent from an anonymous (or, at least, pseudonymous) account. Kelley reported those emails to the FBI, which launched an investigation — not into Petraeus, but into the harassing emails.

Read more.

Source: The Atlantic

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