CIA Director Ousted By Metadata


Team IT-Lex is back from a great trip down to South Florida for the 2012 eDiscovery Leadership Conference, and what do you know? Metadata is in the news! And not just any old metadata, but Gmail metadata that uncovered some racy affairs, and suggested possible national security violations. It’s safe to say that Metadata, the subject of IT-Lex Productions Episode 3, is having a moment.

As you’re doubtless aware by now, former general David Petraeus resigned on Friday from his post as Chief of the CIA after news of an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, became public. The FBI began investigating what they thought was a cybersecurity threat, or a breach of classified information, and using sophisticated digital forensic techniques, they were able to find the more-salacious truth. From the WSJ’s extensive coverage:

[FBI agents] used metadata footprints left by the emails to determine what locations they were sent from. They matched the places, including hotels, where Ms. Broadwell was during the times the emails were sent.

FBI agents and federal prosecutors used the information as probable cause to seek a warrant to monitor Ms. Broadwell’s email accounts.

They learned that Ms. Broadwell and Mr. Petraeus had set up private Gmail accounts to use for their communications, which included explicit details of a sexual nature, according to U.S. officials. But because Mr. Petraeus used a pseudonym, agents doing the monitoring didn’t immediately uncover that he was the one communicating with Ms. Broadwell.

To clarify, that’s the head of the CIA undone by email monitoring. He got e’Discovery’d! While news sources gossip over the scandalous details, we’d like to take a moment to remind you, for the hundredth time in our short lifetime, that everything – everything – that you do on a computer, can come back to haunt you.

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