Gmail Got Petraeus; You're Next, Mr. All-Caps Commenter Guy

Categories: Schutze

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Hey, All-Caps Guy. We need to have a talk. Really. I sometimes poke you with a sharp stick. You poke back. That's what I want. But sometimes when you poke, I wince. Not for me. For you.

You know, I hope, that every single thing you say online lives forever on servers. You know, I hope, that you never have any privacy whatsoever, not one drop, not one iota, in terms of who you are and what you say online. In terms of anything online.

Yeah, this is about David Petraeus. That whole thing has given me a bad case of the willies. I am experiencing huge cognitive dissonance over the fact that the head of the CIA got caught sending love notes by Gmail.

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Cyber attacks are a leading threat to U.S. security. The head of the CIA got tripped up by Gmail. So, basically, we're fucked.
Gmail? The head of the CIA and his girlfriend sent love notes by Gmail? Why didn't they just get stoned and get caught naked in the hotel corridor by the National Enquirer, smearing each other with s'mores?

The first day I started using Gmail -- the first day! -- I sent an illicit message to an old friend, something I absolutely did not want my wife to find out about. It had to do with a very sordid and shameful business -- my interest in purchasing a certain kayak that my wife might wrongly and unfairly have considered redundant of certain kayaks already in my possession.

That afternoon, hours after I sent my private email to my friend, the rail along the right side of my Gmail page lit up with all kinds of ads for kayaks. Some of them were little videos, and if I moused over them they started talking out loud about kayaks! Out loud!
I blushed. I gasped. I quickly put my hands over the screen to cover the ads from accidental view by others. OMG! They know! Gmail knows about the kayak I want to buy! They already blabbed it to the kayak companies.

It's on the news! BULLETIN! THIS JUST IN! Apparently Jim Schutze, not satisfied with the kayaks he already owns, intends to enter into a clandestine agreement to purchase yet another one and keep it a secret from his defenseless long-suffering spouse.

Does Gmail not know that I allow my long-suffering spouse to use my Gmail account for Ebay messages because it would take too long to set up a separate Ebay account, so she will see this? Of course they know! They laugh at my privacy, just like they laughed at the privacy of the head of the CIA.

I'm like Petraeus, though. If you make a mistake, own up to it and move on. I took the initiative. That night at dinner I told my wife I was being hounded by kayak companies for no good reason. She said nothing, not even a blink of the eye. I knew what that meant. She's way too smart. I had made a full confession.

Here is what impresses me. Petraeus, head of the damned CIA, and his girlfriend, who thinks she's a journalist, both thought they were pretty damned sneaky-secret because they used fake-name Gmail mailboxes. I just can't believe it. If they were trying to hide something, they put the paper bags over the wrong ends of their anatomies.

Gmail knows all. Gmail is God. Gmail laughs at our pathetic attempts to hide. I can guarantee you that within hours of Petraeus sending his first digital billet doux, the rail on his Gmail page was stacked with pulsating ads for Viagra, Rogaine and gold chains.
So what does this have to do with you and me, Dear Readers? We're not sending each other naughty notes, right? Our issue is more in the area of hate-mail. But it's the same thing.

Unlike that lady who kicked off the whole Petraeus affair by going to the FBI over nasty email messages, I do not attempt to sleuth out the URLs of people who send me hate mail -- not ever, not never -- because if I even started, I would never even have time to apply my Rogaine.

It's not me you have to worry about. It's Gmail. It's whoever processes or even touches in any way your digital communications. Every single thing you tell me here is etched in stone forever with your name on it, your address, Social Security number and photo. It can and will pop out and bite you in the ass for the most trivial of reasons.

The lady in Tampa told her FBI buddy that this other lady was sending her mean emails. So what? If it weren't digital, this would have been the equivalent of telling the FBI, "That bitch is standing in the corner at parties giving me the bad eye." But it was digital, and so it has produced a mushroom cloud of disastrous consequence for all involved.

Look, I know I'm really only talking to a very small number of reader/commenters here. Most of what most of you have to say to me is fair play and often wonderfully smart, all the better for the pointed enmity it sometimes conveys. I am a person, after all, who asks for it.

But the N-word writers. The overt racists. The really over-the-top purveyors of misogynist and homophobic hate-talk. You, All-Caps Guy. You do understand, I hope, that all of that stuff is in the memory bank forever waiting to come back at you when you least want to see it again. Not our memory bank. We don't have one. THE memory bank. The big one.
I believe fervently in free speech. I am not saying this to try to intimidate or ward off harsh criticism. I kind of like verbal harshness. It's often just the right pepper for the bland soup of daily life.

But it would be derelict not to remind you that you are not anonymous on the Internet, not here, not anywhere, not now, not then, not ever. Look: The guy was head of the CIA. He couldn't hide it. What do you think your chances are? This is just a word to the wise, that's all. And a word for you, as well, All-Capsie.



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72 comments
MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Once again you completely misunderstood how this process worked. They both had access to the same account and merely logged on to read the drafts in the same account. It would have stayed unseen except she used the account to send those weird e-mails to the Tampa lady. Since she is in your profession, technical details are too difficult to handle. She thought the various encryption devices would hide her. Instead she hands the FBI E-mails of a threatening nature describing close familiarity with a senior military official's schedule. They jumped all over that one. Then she keeps confidential material received from unknown places on the same computer that sent the threatening e-mails. These are very unaware individuals that pushed their electronic personal lives into very touchy areas. When the inevitable response got triggered, you expect the FBI to be ok with "nothing to see here.". Too late at that point. Once again your rant has almost nothing to do with facts of event except that e-mail was involved.

DALLASMEDIA
DALLASMEDIA

I'm afraid you're out of your depth on this one, Schutze . This has little to do with kayaks or repeating lines from "The Social Network." 

 

The DEVELOPING Petraeus scandal is a little more complicated than a county commissioner and involves a whole lot more cash.  

 

I'm not sure who's doing it or why they're doing it, but the goal was to remove Petraeus from the equation.

 

What's going on is a well-orchestrated media campaign with all the hallmarks of an intelligence operation. A couple ways to tell:

 

As the story breaks, timelines keep getting shuffled around. (Who received  what e-mail first?)

People are made up. ("Generous Lebanese socialite Jill Kelley!")

New, absurd elements are added. ("You didn't know she had a twin sister?") 

 

Though e-mail and adultery are involved on some level, they are just glitter to distract seasoned journalists.

 

 

 

 

 

mcdallas
mcdallas

I'VE FALLEN AND I CAN'T GET UP.

Double-O-Joe
Double-O-Joe

Jim, as a corollary to your statement about "all-caps guy", I would direct you to John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, or G.I.F.T.:

 

Normal person + anonymity + audience = total fuckwad

UpACertainCreek
UpACertainCreek

JimBo, Kayakers Anonymous will have their first meeting at the new White Rock lake Boathouse.  

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Ol' General P might be a brilliant military strategist, but I'm guessing that he's about as hip to the interwebs as most of his generation is. This whole thing kinda' sneaked up on those Boomers and took them unawares in the middle of their hard fought battle to wrest the reigns of power from the Greatest Generation. Just when they thought they could rest easy, they had to go back to school and relearn EVERYTHING.

 

I'm guessing he's had his share of "Reply All" SNAFU's and probably thought once he'd cleared that bar, he was all good.

 

Outflanked by technology? Resign, dinosaur, you're obsolete. Good riddance I say.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Gmail doing what they do is the equivalent of the Post Office going through your mail, making a copy, then selling your name to bulk mail advertisers.

 

For some reason, when the internet grew, the 1) old rules no longer applied and it was OK to grab peoples information and sell it for your own gain.

 

Petraeus and Broadwell forgot the two important rules:

 

1) Do not talk over the phone

 

2) Do not use the mail

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @MikeWestEast You have lost me. So Broadwell and Petraeus were actually brilliant, and that's why nobody caught them? 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @DALLASMEDIA I think the obvious conclusion is Petraeus is an alien. His assignment to infiltrate the US Government military was too successful, and his assignment to lead the CIA was not meant to happen. His overlords want him to return to his home planet and this scandal was conceived as a way to make him "disappear".

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

 @DALLASMEDIA 

You're right. This isn't about sex or adultery. It isn't abut politics, ether.

Can you guess what it's about?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @DALLASMEDIA Goes back a little farther than that, I'm afraid, Mr. Naive-o. Did you think it was just coincidence that the Canaanites, in what is now Lebanon, invented the 24-letter alphabet that morphed into Phoenician and significantly influenced the alphabet that Petraeus and his stooge fake girl friend used for their emails? Wake up and smell the coffee and buy some swamp land and buy the Brooklyn Bridge, too, why don't you, Mr. Double-Gullible.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@DALLASMEDIA - Jim just threw your résumé in the trash.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@DALLASMEDIA - When the White House press corps smells a rat, they know dinner's being served, and they don't seem eager to piss off the chef.

EdD.
EdD.

 @DALLASMEDIA The Kelley sisters were on the Food Network as long ago as 2003 so clearly this conspiracy dates so far back as to require time travel. Why is Obama hiding the time machines from the American people?!

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@TheCredibleHulk - President Techno still uses a blackberry

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @TheCredibleHulk Hey, screw that. My generation grew up with DOS. We can still do a mean workaround when we have to. It's the youth wing that grew up thinking of computers as TV sets that you just turn on and they work. Now, you could have  case to make about people who have worked all their lives for large organizations with big IT departments. They're like people who have always had chauffeurs. God forbid they should get caught alone with a flat tire. But be careful here about you damn agist generalizations and who you call a Luddite.  

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul - There's an even older rule Patreus should have remembered.

dallasmedia
dallasmedia

 @bmarvel  Still can't figure it out. Best guess is Jill Kelley is a spy, not a "generous" host for high-level generals who's bankrupt and has a twin sister and is Lebanese and a Korean consul and was on the Food Network. Think Broadwell got some documents she shouldn't have about her.

If you believe what we're being fed so far. That's a decent narrative.

 

Or this could just be a stress-test between the FBI, CIA, et. al. on who wields the power. Occam's Razor.

kduble
kduble

 @bmarvel  It's about a lot of things. But Jim is right. When even the CIA chief can't keep a tryst secret, any expectation of privacy is illusory.

dallasmedia
dallasmedia

 @JimSX Well played, sir. But the alphabet is actually 27 letters. Only a mason of the 34th degree knows the secret letters. Eh, maybe you're right. It's only an open-and-shut case with multiple federal investigations, the most respected contemporary general/CIA Director, somebody named Jill Kelley who NOW THEY'RE SAYING is an 'honorary consul' of Korea. What?! I mean really.

 

But, hey, some fish are bigger. LIKE THE MASSIVE JOHN WILEY PRICE/ SOUTH DALLAS/INLAND PORT CONSPIRACY THAT'S GONNA EXPOSE EVERYBODY ALL THE WAY UP TO CITY HALL!

 

(P.S. I'm actually with you on the Price-is-a-crook bandwagon. I'm just saying, there's more going on to this Petraeus story.)

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@JimSX @DALLASMEDIA Jim, I love ya man, but I think you as a licensed journalist seem a bit more advocate than skeptic on this. A guy like you is going to bust a guy like like Obama. Can I borrow your abilities for a couple of weeks and make a bundle?

dallasmedia
dallasmedia

 @EdD. Was this one of the same Jill Kelley's that never visited the White House before, according to their official logs? Oh wait! White House just confirmed today she has visited before. Multiple times. I'll brush up on my Food Network reruns.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@Montemalone @Double-O-Joe - The Internet has depleted our reserves of insults, not even fuckwad works any more when at some point, everyone's a fuckwad. This is what brings us together as Americans, we're a bunch of pricks.

James080
James080

 @JimSX  @TheCredibleHulk Hahahahaha....this from an old white man who calls anyone who disagrees with him socially or politically an "old white man." Hahahahaha.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @JimSX Hey, gimme a break. I said *most* of that generation, but I get the chauffeur / tire analogy.

 

Also, an firm intellectual grasp of an OS like DOS does not equal internet / email savvy. You ever had a "Reply All" moment? Don't lie...

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@JimSX @TheCredibleHulk - If you're accustomed to big IT departments, you're aware that anyone who wants to read your private correspondence can whenever they want to.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

 @dallasmedia 

Almost all conspiracy theories violate Occam's Razor.

This is, if anything, a straightforward espionage investigation.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @bmarvel Fair enough.

 

These Kelly twins seem like twits, high profile twits, at that. Seems like bad form for those in the spying business. But it may just be the clever ruse of a sophisticated spy ring.

 

FBI cybercrimes veritably laughed Agent Shirtless and his transparent agenda off immediately. He had to shop this thing all over the place to get someone to take it seriously. FBI involvement ramped up only when it became apparent that Petraeus was involved and *then* the dominoes started to fall domestically.

 

So maybe you're right, we'll all find out eventually, or, we wont.... 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

 @TheCredibleHulk  @bmarvel 

Hulk,

1. The FBI does indeed investigate domestic spying, that is, espionage that takes place on these shores. So if that's what's going on, or what the agency suspects was going on, it falls well within their purview.

2. The agency moved quickly to disengage Agent Shirtless from the investigation, for reasons that are all too obvious. The FBI itself became very engaged.

3. There is always the possibility this is just about adultery. But of course nobody will know until there has been an investigation. In the meantime the whole scandal closely follows the scenario of a number of well-known spy cases. Cherchez la femme.

 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @bmarvel  My guess is that if the FBI thought that this was about some international monkey business, the FBI probably wouldn't be involved. And as far as this story has gone, it seems like they've tried to disengage themselves from the outset by sidelining Agent Shirtless, so you may be correct.

 

 OTOH, men, women, sex, jealousy, Occams Razor and all that... Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

 @TheCredibleHulk  @kduble 

Okay. If it's not about sex and it's not about politics and it's not even about privacy, and the FBI is involved, then what do you think it might be about?

Or, better, what does the FBI think it might be about?

You have sex, you have several beautiful women whose involvement is hard to explain, and two of the women -- twins -- have connections with Lebanon and one of the two has an involvement with an important military base that is even harder to explain. You have two generals with easy access to top security information. You have classified papers found in an apartment where classified papers shouldn't be.

So, Hulk, what's your best guess? 

Now, is it really about that? We don't know yet, and we might not ever find out. But I'm thinking it's prudent for the FBI to find out. If you follow me.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @bmarvel  @kduble Well????

 

Don't keep us all tittering with anticipation, oh luminous one. Spill the beans if you think you've got 'em.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

 @kduble 

It's not about privacy, either.

kduble
kduble

 @albert.finney000  Wow! Albert's confession of man-love will now remain on the internet forever!

 

Journalists don't have licenses, btw.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

But in fairness to Patreus, his wife is not quite as hot as his girlfriend, and shit happens. At least the President didn't know about this when he was flying around reviving local economies and such, imagine added stress on the leader of the free world, knowing his chief intelligence officer had been seriously compromised in the middle of a political campaign. We like the President, must credit the FBI, for their discretion in keeping the President un-informed.

albert.finney000
albert.finney000

@TheCredibleHulk @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul - Yes, but not the other's other

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