General Petraeus scandal: the TECHNOLOGY behind it

(This is a non-political commentary.)
Here is what I find so interesting …..

Most of the time Gen. Petraeus and Ms. Bromwell were not sending e-mails back and forth to one another. Hearing or reading the reports may have led you (and me initially) to believe that the General was using a personal Gmail account to further his inappropriate relationship with the author. The FBI and other agencies thought there was a crime, perhaps harassment against Petraeus, and were able to get a legal order to look into that account.

However….. most of the e-mails were not being SENT.

Sending from Gmail account to a Yahoo account or Gmail to another service like Comcast means that the messages would be stored on the servers of both services. When you are trying to do something in secret, you can’t leave two doors open. Can you do it all behind the same door?

They did or maybe its better to claim — they tried!

I’ve always told you how Gmail is probably the best free e-mail service. They even offer some high tech security options which paid services don’t provide. When you use the email on the website, a smart feature saves a DRAFT of your message so you never loose it if your computer conks out or your internet goes down. Petraeus and Bromwell were not in the habit of SENDING e-mails to one another. They were typing the messages and saving them as drafts. They only stayed on Gmail’s servers in that one e-mail account.

The both knew the password. They were both writing messages to each other, saving them as drafts, from the SAME ACCOUNT. Clever! Aside from people on the hush-hush lifestyle using this technique, an AP story that I read yesterday also claimed that terrorists frequently employ this method for electronic communications.

One other tidbit that’s good to take note of — if the federal government wants to get access to your e-mails that are 6 months or older on servers that are stored in the US — they do not need a judge’s authorization. Per a 1986 law, they only need the consent of a federal prosecutor. Emails that are 6 months or newer require a judge’s order.