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Old 11-13-2012, 06:17 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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The real outrage in the Petraeus scandal? The surveillance state.

Just to recap the facts as we know them:

1. Some person receives a mild cyberthreat.

2. She happens to know someone in the FBI, so the FBI agent, who's clearly got a thing for her, spearheads an investigation.

3. The FBI finds the cyberthreats to be quite mild.

4. Nevertheless, they forge forward to attempt to identify who the sender may be.

5. Ms. Broadwell (the chick Petraeus banged) pops as a suspect. A suspect of a mild cyberthreat that wasn't against any crime.

6. Without any warrant whatsoever, or approval from any judge whatsoever, the FBI hacks all of Broadwell's email accounts and read all her emails.

7. They discover sexually explicit emails from somebody.

8. They investigate the sexually explicit emails, and ascertain that they came from Petraeus.

9. Profit.

That's it.

That's what happened. This all happened because the FBI devoted extensive resources for a personal favor, and with no crime, no warrant, and no judicial approval.

Simple question: is this right? Should this be happening?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...ance-state-fbi

FBI's abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation
Glenn Greenwald
Tuesday 13 November 2012 09.46 EST

The Petraeus scandal is receiving intense media scrutiny obviously due to its salacious aspects, leaving one, as always, to fantasize about what a stellar press corps we would have if they devoted a tiny fraction of this energy to dissecting non-sex political scandals. Nonetheless, several of the emerging revelations are genuinely valuable, particularly those involving the conduct of the FBI and the reach of the US surveillance state.

As is now widely reported, the FBI investigation began when Jill Kelley - a Tampa socialite friendly with Petraeus (and apparently very friendly with Gen. John Allen, the four-star U.S. commander of the war in Afghanistan) - received a half-dozen or so anonymous emails that she found vaguely threatening. She then informed a friend of hers who was an FBI agent, and a major FBI investigation was then launched that set out to determine the identity of the anonymous emailer.

That is the first disturbing fact: it appears that the FBI not only devoted substantial resources, but also engaged in highly invasive surveillance, for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of one of its agents, to find out who was very mildly harassing her by email. The emails Kelley received were, as the Daily Beast reports, quite banal and clearly not an event that warranted an FBI investigation:

Quote:
"The emails that Jill Kelley showed an FBI friend near the start of last summer were not jealous lover warnings like 'stay away from my man', a knowledgeable source tells The Daily Beast. . . .

"'More like, 'Who do you think you are? . . .You parade around the base . . . You need to take it down a notch,'" according to the source, who was until recently at the highest levels of the intelligence community and prefers not to be identified by name.

"The source reports that the emails did make one reference to Gen. David Petraeus, but it was oblique and offered no manifest suggestion of a personal relationship or even that he was central to the sender's spite. . . .

"When the FBI friend showed the emails to the cyber squad in the Tampa field office, her fellow agents noted the absence of any overt threats.

"No, 'I'll kill you' or 'I'll burn your house down,'' the source says. 'It doesn't seem really that bad.'

"The squad was not even sure the case was worth pursuing, the source says.

"'What does this mean? There's no threat there. This is against the law?' the agents asked themselves by the source's account.

"At most the messages were harassing. The cyber squad had to consult the statute books in its effort to determine whether there was adequate legal cause to open a case.

"'It was a close call,' the source says.

"What tipped it may have been Kelley's friendship with the agent."
That this deeply personal motive was what spawned the FBI investigation is bolstered by the fact that the initial investigating agent "was barred from taking part in the case over the summer due to superiors' concerns that he was personally involved in the case" - indeed, "supervisors soon became concerned that the initial agent might have grown obsessed with the matter" - and was found to have "allegedly sent shirtless photos" to Kelley, and "is now under investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal-affairs arm of the FBI".

[The New York Times this morning reports that the FBI claims the emails contained references to parts of Petraeus' schedule that were not publicly disclosed, though as Marcy Wheeler documents, the way the investigation proceeded strongly suggests that at least the initial impetus behind it was a desire to settle personal scores.]

What is most striking is how sweeping, probing and invasive the FBI's investigation then became, all without any evidence of any actual crime - or the need for any search warrant:

Quote:
"Because the sender's account had been registered anonymously, investigators had to use forensic techniques - including a check of what other e-mail accounts had been accessed from the same computer address - to identify who was writing the e-mails.

"Eventually they identified Ms. Broadwell as a prime suspect and obtained access to her regular e-mail account. In its in-box, they discovered intimate and sexually explicit e-mails from another account that also was not immediately identifiable. Investigators eventually ascertained that it belonged to Mr. Petraeus and studied the possibility that someone had hacked into Mr. Petraeus's account or was posing as him to send the explicit messages."
So all based on a handful of rather unremarkable emails sent to a woman fortunate enough to have a friend at the FBI, the FBI traced all of Broadwell's physical locations, learned of all the accounts she uses, ended up reading all of her emails, investigated the identity of her anonymous lover (who turned out to be Petraeus), and then possibly read his emails as well. They dug around in all of this without any evidence of any real crime - at most, they had a case of "cyber-harassment" more benign than what regularly appears in my email inbox and that of countless of other people - and, in large part, without the need for any warrant from a court.

But that isn't all the FBI learned. It was revealed this morning that they also discovered "alleged inappropriate communication" to Kelley from Gen. Allen, who is not only the top commander in Afghanistan but was also just nominated by President Obama to be the Commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (a nomination now "on hold"). Here, according to Reuters, is what the snooping FBI agents obtained about that [emphasis added]:

Quote:
"The U.S. official said the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of communications - mostly emails spanning from 2010 to 2012 - between Allen and Jill Kelley . . . .

"Asked whether there was concern about the disclosure of classified information, the official said, on condition of anonymity: 'We are concerned about inappropriate communications. We are not going to speculate as to what is contained in these documents.'"
So not only did the FBI - again, all without any real evidence of a crime - trace the locations and identity of Broadwell and Petreaus, and read through Broadwell's emails (and possibly Petraeus'), but they also got their hands on and read through 20,000-30,000 pages of emails between Gen. Allen and Kelley.

This is a surveillance state run amok. It also highlights how any remnants of internet anonymity have been all but obliterated by the union between the state and technology companies.

But, as unwarranted and invasive as this all is, there is some sweet justice in having the stars of America's national security state destroyed by the very surveillance system which they implemented and over which they preside. As Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation put it this morning: "Who knew the key to stopping the Surveillance State was to just wait until it got so big that it ate itself?"

Having the career of the beloved CIA Director and the commanding general in Afghanistan instantly destroyed due to highly invasive and unwarranted electronic surveillance is almost enough to make one believe not only that there is a god, but that he is an ardent civil libertarian.

The US operates a sprawling, unaccountable Surveillance State that - in violent breach of the core guarantees of the Fourth Amendment - monitors and records virtually everything even the most law-abiding citizens do. Just to get a flavor for how pervasive it is, recall that the Washington Post, in its 2010 three-part "Top Secret America" series, reported: "Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications."
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:42 PM   #46
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It's not that hard for authorities to get to your email

By Bob Sullivan

Paula Broadwell is a trained intelligence officer who'd spent years working with some of the most secretive agencies in the world, according to her biography from her book publisher, Penguin. How were FBI agents able to hunt her through cyberspace with just a handful of anonymous emails to begin?

Anonymity online is a lot harder than it appears, experts say.

The downfall of CIA Director David Petraeus demonstrates how easy it is for federal law enforcement agents to examine emails and computer records if they believe a crime was committed. With subpoenas and warrants, the FBI and other investigating agencies routinely gain access to electronic inboxes and information about email accounts offered by Google, Yahoo and other service providers.
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Meanwhile, it’s possible investigators didn’t even need a court order to connect the dots between the alleged anonymous threatening emails sent by Broadwell to Gen. David Petraeus friend Jill Kelley.

"The government can't just wander through your emails just because they'd like to know what you're thinking or doing," said Stewart Baker, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security who's now in private law practice. "But if the government is investigating a crime, it has a lot of authority to review people's emails."

Unless an email sender goes to great pains to cover his or her tracks — using anonymous remailers, for example — it’s fairly trivial for a law enforcement official to obtain a court order and track down the computer used to commit a crime with the help of an Internet service provider. But how could federal investigators link an anonymous email to a suspect without even going to court?

There are several possibilities, experts say.

Emails on 'coming and goings' of Petraeus, other military officials escalated FBI concerns

Some Web mail services, including Yahoo and Microsoft's Outlook.com, send user IP addresses across the Web with every email, according to privacy researcher Chris Soghoian, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. IP addresses can be used to track the physical location of a computer user connected to the Internet, sometimes without the help of an Internet service provider.

Broadwell had used a Yahoo account publicly in the past. If she used a new Yahoo account for any of the threatening emails — federal officials told NBC’s Michael Isikoff that she used several accounts to send the emails — agents would have had an easy time gathering a list of IP addresses from the threatening emails Kelley provided to them. But even if Broadwell used another service that doesn't "leak" IP addresses, an FBI agent can obtain such information by subpoenaing those providers.

It’s important to note that most ISPs have hotlines which respond to subpoena requests with high efficiency, and that subpoenas do not require government authorities to prove probable cause before a judge. For example, Google, which operates the widely used Gmail service, complied with more than 90 percent of the nearly 12,300 requests it received in 2011 from the U.S. government for data about its users, according to figures from the company.

As one former federal prosecutor describes the process, many investigators have "a desk drawer full of blank subpoenas, and they just fill one out and fax it to the company. Often, the ISP has the data waiting before the fax even arrives." The former prosecutor spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of investigations.

An IP address by itself would have told investigators little, but agents could have used one of two techniques to identify the person behind the keyboard. The former prosecutor said that agents could have linked some of the IP addresses on the emails to hotels where Broadwell stayed, then called the hotels and retrieved guest lists, which hotels often volunteer to investigators. Anyone who logged on from hotels at the time when the menacing emails were sent would be a suspect, he said. If agents found someone had checked into multiple hotels which matched the list of IP addresses, that would narrow the suspect list considerably.
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Federal officials told NBC News' Pete Williams that the FBI used this method to link the menacing emails to Broadwell.

But agents may not have had to work that hard, Soghoian said. They could have taken an IP address from Kelley’s email, called an email provider like Yahoo or Google, and asked for details on any accounts that logged in from that same IP address at the same time. If Broadwell slipped up just once, and logged into her personal account during the same "session" that she logged into her anonymous account, agents would have been able to link her to the menacing emails.

Some reports suggest Broadwell and Petraeus did take steps to evade cyber-investigators. They apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teenagers alike, to conceal their email traffic. The Associated Press reported Broadwell and Petraeus composed some emails and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder for each other to read. That avoids creating an email transmission trail, which is easier to trace. It's a technique that al-Qaida terrorists began using several years ago and teenagers in many countries have since adopted.

"The lesson for the rest of us here is you have to go through a lot of steps to maintain anonymity, and you only have to screw up once," said Soghoian. "The FBI was able to pierce the veil of anonymity even for someone who's been trained. The government only has to get one clue. You have to be successful 100 percent of the time."

To actually read the content of Broadwell’s emails — as opposed to viewing the IP address and other header information about the emails — investigators would have had to obtain a fresh court order, but that’s not much of a legal challenge, either. Under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, federal authorities need only a subpoena approved by a federal prosecutor — not a judge — to obtain electronic messages that are six months old or older. To get more recent communications, a warrant from a judge is required. This is a higher standard that requires federal authorities to convince a judge that there’s probable cause that a crime is being committed. And if they wanted to intercept emails in real time, a federal wiretap order would have been required. But those 180-day-old emails probably told the story.

Public interest groups are pressing Congress to update the privacy law because it was written a quarter-century ago, when most emails were deleted after a few months because the cost of storing them indefinitely was prohibitive. Now, "cloud computing" services provide huge amounts of inexpensive storage capacity. Other technological advances, such as mobile phones, have dramatically increased the amount of communications that are kept in electronic warehouses and can be reviewed by law enforcement authorities carrying a subpoena.

"Technology has evolved in a way that makes the content of more communications available to law enforcement without judicial authorization, and at a very low level of suspicion," said Greg Nojeim, a senior counsel at the Center for Democracy & Technology.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:20 AM   #47
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The love-sick FBI agent would be interesting fodder for a made-for-tv movie. The shirtless pics... contacting Republicans in the Congress after he was removed from the case...you can't make this stuff up.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:28 AM   #48
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Different story concerning surveillance states... is anyone else hearing the rumor that the cause of the demolished homes in Indy, was an armed drone that crashed?

It kinda makes sense, they havent found proof of a gas leak, not sure what else could cause that kind of damage.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:33 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by scott free View Post
Different story concerning surveillance states... is anyone else hearing the rumor that the cause of the demolished homes in Indy, was an armed drone that crashed?

It kinda makes sense, they havent found proof of a gas leak, not sure what else could cause that kind of damage.
I don't think that's a plausible theory. This was Indianapolis, not Dearborn.

j/k Dearborn.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:35 AM   #50
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Yup.
And/or the ECPA.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:25 PM   #51
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sorry, doesn't work that way anymore. Thanks to the Patriot act.
Yep. They can do this as well with your cell phone as well. With those GPS chips that are in every cell phone they know where you are as long as your cell phone is turned.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:43 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott free View Post
Different story concerning surveillance states... is anyone else hearing the rumor that the cause of the demolished homes in Indy, was an armed drone that crashed?

It kinda makes sense, they havent found proof of a gas leak, not sure what else could cause that kind of damage.
Is patteau your source on this?
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