Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is criminal here?

Glenn Reynolds points out that the Petraeus affair exposed him to blackmail from both inside and outside of our government. He links to a Bloomberg article by Margaret Carlson entitled "Topless Tampa agent topples two generals."

Carlson links to a story in the Wall Street Journal which reports, "New details about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation handled the case suggest that even as the bureau delved into Mr. Petraeus's personal life, the agency had to address conduct by its own agent—who allegedly sent shirtless photos of himself to a woman involved in the case prior to the investigation."

Here are some of Carlson's thoughts: "Once upon a time, it would have been hard to expose Petraeus. Love letters could be stashed away in a box. No more. Love may be fleeting, but e-mail is forever. We’ve now had this technology long enough to know that any time you click “Send,” your innermost thoughts may become known not just to the recipient but to your employer, the recipient’s employer, the FBI and the New York Times. Yet we keep tapping away, day and night, giving our ephemeral feelings technological permanence. It’s a worldwide addiction. We can’t stop ourselves.

The FBI can, however. What’s criminal here is that the agency kept investigating even after realizing what it had on its hands was a reckless affair -- and aren’t they all? -- not a threat to national security. We’re not Saudi Arabia. We don’t stone adulterers. The punishment suffered privately is more than enough.

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