Nov 152012

The sordid saga around the resignation of Gen. Petraeus continues. It became such a tangled story, actually published a flowchart to make it easier to decipher.

Meanwhile, however, The Guardian raises some very troubling points:

  • In response to Ms. Kelley’s initial complaint about a vaguely offensive e-mail, the FBI devoted substantial resources and engaged in highly invasive surveillance for no reason other than to do a personal favor for a friend of an agent;
  • Without any evidence of an actual crime, and without a search warrant, they gained access to Ms. Broadwell’s e-mail account;
  • Again, without any evidence of any actual wrongdoing, they also got their hands on e-mails exchanged not only between Ms. Broadwell and Gen. Petraeus but also between her and Gen. Allen.

The Guardian comments about the “sweet justice” aspect of all of this: namely that America’s security surveillance system that is running amok is targeting the very people in charge of that system, such as the head of the CIA. However, I do not share their implied optimism; I don’t think the growth in surveillance will stop anytime soon. We are nowhere near close to anything like the McCarthy era’s pivotal “have you no sense of decency?” moment. For that, a lot more good people will have to be harmed a lot more gravely first.

 Posted by at 10:13 am