Even though this is all arguably about lawful sex between two consenting adults, I'm convinced Petraeus still should have been automatically disqualified as head of the CIA - not for his failure to keep it in his pants though - but for lacking the basic common sense to avoid conducting his affair over Gmail. Holy hell. I get that old guys might not be particularly tech savvy, but come on! Blackmail could have happened. State secrets could have fallen into the wrong hands (insert plot of most recent Bond film here. And since we're on the topic of Bond, I'd like to award Tweet of the Year to @feMOMhist for this one: "Daniel Craig's face looks like a hide. If a female star had that skin she'd be peeled & lasered until her face looked like a newborn's ass").
As for the "real" Petraeus scandal? I absolutely loved Glenn Greenwald's piece in The Guardian: "FBI's abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation":
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 [Petraeus paramour Paula] 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, 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?"Exactly. Though the most recent brouhaha this week suggests that Broadwell's emails were overtly threatening of Kelley's life... who (besides that jokey, shirtless FBI agent) really knows anyway?
Two other aspects of this scandal are pushing some buttons for me.
First, seeing pictures of Mrs. Holly Petraeus just breaks my heart a little bit. Maybe it's her vulnerability as an older, cheated upon, career-less wife that I'm feeling. I just hate how folks are taking this opportunity to critique her appearance, which, to my eyes, frankly, she appears dignified, refreshingly surgically un-altered, and perfectly age-appropriate. I find the obvious victim-blaming and ageism damn depressing. Nice reminder that women are too often valued only for their sexual attractiveness to men.
Secondly, it disturbed me to see this creepy picture of Ms. Broadwell, presumably taken by the paparazzi from outside, clearly showing her inside the private home of her brother. The obvious invasion of privacy is totally jarring.