It seems that we can't go even a few weeks without some new political sex scandal setting up shop in the news cycle. You would think that politicians and those generally in the public eye would have learned a lesson or two from a long list of disgraced public figures who have been caught cheating on their spouses, but that would be giving them too much credit.
Most recently, General David Petraeus resigned from his position as CIA director last week after it was revealed that he was having an affair with Paula Broadwell, his biographer. As the story continued to unravel over the past few days, it was revealed that General Petraeus' illicit activity was discovered via his use of Gmail.
Confusingly amateurish on its face, right? Indeed, shortly after the story broke I received a text from a friend which read, "you have to wonder about the capabilities of a CIA director who could not keep an affair under wraps."
Tongue in cheek, of course, but still a valid question. The man tasked with overseeing the most potent spy organization in the world was betrayed by... Gmail? What gives?
Well as it turns out, Petraeus was more sneaky that one might first assume.
First, Patraeus set up a dummy account. And second, it's been reported that Petraeus and Broadwell never actually sent any emails to each other. Rather, the two relied on a strategy that has previously been used by terrorists in an effort to keep investigators off the scent.
Here's what they did.
Petraeus would log into said Gmail account, write an email and save it as a draft. Broadwell would then log into that same email account, read the draft, and leave a draft of her own. That way, the two were able to correspond without actually having to send any data from point a to point b. Pretty clever, but alas, Petraeus' affair began to unravel once Broadwell began sending anonymous threatening letters to Jill Kelley, a friend of the Petraeus family. Kelley subsequently turned to a friend of hers in the FBI and once they began peeling back a few more layers of the onion, they noticed that Broadwell was also communicating with a private Gmail account that belonged to Petraeus.
And so, an investigation ensued and it wasn't long before the FBI uncovered what was going on.
And if that weren't enough for a Lifetime movie, there's more. A lot more.
An FBI agent is also under investigation for sending topless photos of himself to Broadwell while another US General - John Allen - is now being investigated for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with Kelley.
All in all, it's a huge fall from grace for General Petraeus, whose biography is so grandiose and impressive that one might ordinarily think it was made up. Lastly, and Gmal tricks aside, perhaps Petraeus being exposed will serve as yet another much-needed and appropriate warning to others in the political/governmental realm - you will get caught eventually.