Even the director of the CIA cannot escape the watching eye of Big Brother
Paul Joseph Watson
November 14, 2012
Almost lost amidst the speculation surrounding former CIA Director David H. Petraeus‘ extramarital affair is the question of how the FBI was able to hack Petraeus’ private emails without breaking the law.
As Judge Andrew Napolitano summarized during a recent Fox News appearance, the FBI could only have set about the process of intercepting Petraeus’ emails in three different ways.
1) The FBI would have needed a search warrant from a federal judge and to obtain it would have had to demonstrate that Petraeus possessed information related to a crime or was involved in a criminal activity.
2) The FBI would have had to write up their own search warrant under the Patriot Act in which case they would have had to demonstrate that Petraeus was involved in terrorist activity.
3) The FBI hacked into Petraeus’ CIA computer to obtain the emails, which would have been a criminal offense.
The circumstances clearly indicate that the FBI illegally hacked Petraeus’ computer and email account in order to obtain the emails. It has now been confirmed that Petraeus and his mistress Paula Broadwell used draft emails stored in a shared email account to communicate with each other – they didn’t even send the emails out over the Internet.
Although the surveillance aspect of the scandal has been largely ignored by the mainstream media, privacy experts are asking the hard questions.
“There should be an investigation not of the personal behavior of General Petraeus and General Allen, but of what surveillance powers the F.B.I. used to look into their private lives,” Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the New York Times. “This is a textbook example of the blurring of lines between the private and the public.”
“Given the weakness of the initial case here, given the fact that it now seems the initial impetus for this investigation was not actually a crime, you have to wonder, were they able to get access to some of these older emails in part because they didn’t have to show probable cause that a crime had been committed?” Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, told NPR.
Although it has been reported that investigators probably [used] a search warrant, to [gain access to] Ms. Broadwell’s Gmail account,” the process of how this unfolded has not been properly explained.
The power of the surveillance state to uncover troves of personal emails with little fanfare illustrates why the likes of DHS head Janet Napolitano and her predecessor Michael Chertoff don’t even have email accounts.
With governments now trying to introduce powers to monitor email communications in real time, whatever shred of online privacy that remains is about to be decimated.
Of course, many would suggest that this is just a way of codifying into law what governments are already doing in secret. Over 10 years ago, the European Parliament found that the global eavesdropping program Echelon was carrying out, “inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers” and that all Internet traffic was recorded and analyzed with keyword software for “suspicious” content.