FBI Dedicated Enormous Resources to Taking Down Petraeus

Lost in all the prurient noise is some interesting signal about just how many resources the FBI had to pile into its takedown of Petraeus and the the loose justifications for, what Kate at Small Dead Animals calls a department of “Someone Sent Me a Nasty Email“.

Marc Armbinder at The Week looks into just how much the FBI had to do to get to the point where Petraeus would resign and the media would spend weeks gleefully tearing through his personal life while burying Benghazigate beneath a mountain of their own sleaze.

Prosecutors in Tampa readily gave the FBI a subpoena to look at the meta-data headings associated with Jill Kelley’s incoming email. From there, though, the FBI also had to collect the collateral information needed to identify Broadwell, which apparently included hotel guest registers, something that a hotel chain just doesn’t give up because the FBI asks it to. The standard here is that the “facts” have to be “relevant” and “material” to an ongoing investigation. The issuance of a subpoena (for email content 180 days old or older) or a warrant (for email content that is more recent) would have to be accompanied by some sort of notification to the “subscriber,” i.e, the person whose email is being tapped into, unless the FBI can justify to a court that there is a valid and pressing reason not to notify. These so-called “2705” exemptions include a fear that the person in question will hide evidence, flee, or jeopardize the investigation if they’re notified.

The FBI read Broadwell’s email, and perhaps a lot of Kelley’s email (with permission). In order to get the content of the email, the stuff you write in the body of an email, the FBI needs a judge to issue a warrant, which requires that old chestnut, probable cause.

The scope of the FBI’s investigation is quite large, and that has civil liberties advocates and journalists like myself concerned about how the agency was able to justify such an expansive collection of email based on the fairly trivial accusations and what we know of the investigation. Maybe this means that the FBI always goes full-on, so to speak, or perhaps, once again, the insinuation that generals were involved with questionable activities was enough to devote unusual resources and collect an unusual amount of data.

For some reason, the FBI was able to search through years worth of Kelley’s email and found a lot of communications to and from Gen. John Allen. Maybe Kelley’s consent was obtained to read the content of the email, or maybe the FBI found some reason to be suspicious about her and obtained a warrant to read the contents of her email. Either way, some of it was apparently flirtatious in nature, and for some reason, the FBI found it necessary to inform the Department of Defense about that fact.

The takeaway? From Small Dead Animals. “In retrospect, Ambassador Chris Stevens would have gotten more attention sending snotty e-mails to random citizens”

The other takeaway, the FBI was extremely “motivated” to devote enormous resources to investigating emails that apparently consisted of, “Stay away from my man”. Most people in this trade get much nastier emails on a regular basis.

Has Eric Holder become the new J Edgar Hoover?  All signs point to yes.

  • Chezwick

    For a couple of weeks, I felt the false narrative offered by the Admin. was the real scandal of Benghazi….and I thought the rational for the deception was because of the repeated requests over the months FROM Benghazi for more security, requests that were obviously ignored.

    By now, it's obvious the REAL scandal was the Administration's refusal to act to save lives in the course of a seven hour firefight…..that's SEVEN HOURS folks. Imagine the the frustration, the incredulity, the horror of those brave ex-Seals fighting for their lives for seven hours, waiting desperately on the help that never came.

    Penata's two offerings have been utterly pathetic…

    1) "[We didn't have the forces available inside the country to effect the outcome of the fighting]"

    …..when in fact, we had forces in Sicily – attack aircraft, helicopter gunships, special forces – that were less than an hour away by air…

    2) "[We don't send forces into harm's way unless we know exactly what's going on]"

    …..by that criteria, we'd never, ever respond to an emergency or for that matter, go to war.

    It's was so avoidable….and thus, for the families of the deceased, so heart-breaking. Leon Penata should resign, along with Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, and – if there was any justice in the world – Obama himself.

    • PaulRevereNow

      Any ideas on how we could get up an impeachment proceeding against Obama, that would convict him?

      • copperfox3

        Please be serious. Republicans won't even breathe a word about all the VOTER FRAUD. They are full complicit. The DC ELITE (both sides) are one big happy cabal who have taken money from the globalists and Islamists and probably UNIONS too. They've co-opted almost every freshman sent in 2010. NO, there will be nothing but feigned attempts to hold the line, but it is all a Kabuki Theatre for the masses of hayseeds out in the heartland. They are insuring their positions in the next govt…it won't be a Constitutional Republic. That dream is over.

  • Mason

    National security is at stake when you have top Generals in compromising situations. The FBI was correct in bringing this to light.

    • Les

      Half the Intelligence Community would be tossed out if that were the case. I know of many people that have had “relationships” that would fit your description that weren’t fired or even reprimanded. All this comes out in the 5 year updates everyone in the intelligence Community goes through. They just have to come clean on them and they get re-cleared. And oh please don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. DoD and IC since 1970. Watched it all happen and somehow now it’s important????

  • Johnconrad

    We don't send forces unless the Islamist government of Libya gives us permission.

  • Dwee

    This is so sick. Obumba and his evil cohorts (sounds like a bad video game) used all matter of bs tactics to win this election from a mentally obliterated populace. Is there not ANYONE out there with the mental ability and chutzpah to take down this farce? Chicago style politics is dirty but it's still just inner city gang methodology. Surely there are thinking men and women out there with a freakin clue and the wherewithal (i.e., money and sense to override the cult techniques favored by Obumba and company) to do something before this megalomaniac idiot and his brainwashed hoards destroy all that is good in this world? Geez people, wtf.

    • Cat K

      Yes, one wonders. Is everyone just so intimidated? I think we should convene a gathering of novelists and screen writers (OK not lefties) to write a scenario of what could happen next to save the day before the end of this movie. I am only half joking here. Are there no think tanks working on this?

      Sooner or later, a little old lady who is just tired of being pissed off is going to take matters into her own hands and pull that microphone away from the MSM and start screaming the truth.

      I guess the the left would just reopen the unfashionable long term psychiatric wards.

  • http://weroinnm.wordpress.com/ weroinnm

    Impeach Obama for Treason – Tancredo on Benghazi, Libya!
    “Food For Thought”

    Semper Fi!


  • Mary Sue

    somehow I get the feeling that the whole resignation/adultery thing is a "fake-out" in that it is designed to "fake out" people who think that Petraeus might actually start telling the truth about what went down in Benghazi. I have the feeling it's only the tip of the iceberg. I fear they are holding far worse over his head to force him to keep the story he told the first time.

  • Mary Sue

    and that's just wrong.

  • gary fouse

    Author Ron Kessler, who has numerous sources in the Fed law enforcement and intelligence community told Shepahrd Smith on Fox today that his FBI sources say the FBI passed the info on to higher ups weks if not months prior to the election.

  • truebearing

    What happened? The liberals are always whining about the Republicans wanting to control what goes on in the bedroom? How is this any different? Clinton was absolved of all wrong in the Lewinsky affair, as far a they were concerned, because it was just sex. Now, all of a sudden, cost is no obstacle in exposing Petraeus. I guess the distraction justifies the media circus.


    I keep running across the word "blackmail," and I've been doing a lot of thinking about that……I ask myself, and suggest others do too, "Just who was blackmailing whom?" …..Interesting cause for speculation!