The Daily Parker

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Why you shouldn't read emails right before going to bed

Because you might learn things neatly summed up in the headline "Petraeus Apparently Most Mentally Balanced Individual in His Own Scandal" "(From the Times …)":

Ms. Kelley, a volunteer with wounded veterans and military families, brought her complaint to a rank-and-file agent she knew from a previous encounter with the F.B.I. office, the official also said. That agent, who had previously pursued a friendship with Ms. Kelley and had earlier sent her shirtless photographs of himself, was “just a conduit” for the complaint, he said. He had no training in cybercrime, was not part of the cyber squad handling the case and was never assigned to the investigation.

But the agent, who was not identified, continued to “nose around” about the case...

Later, the agent became convinced — incorrectly, the official said — that the case had stalled. Because of his “worldview,” as the official put it, he suspected a politically motivated cover-up to protect President Obama. The agent alerted Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who called the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, on Oct. 31 to tell him of the agent’s concerns.

Says Josh Marshall:

So basically this entire scandal both at the outset and in the denouement was driven by Freakshow FBI Agent X who both wanted to bed the victim of the alleged harassment and also decided that the FBI was covering up it’s investigation of the Tampa socialite to protect President Obama. And this because of his “worldview”. Please let us meet this awesome example of American law enforcement.

Now, I understand why David Patraeus lost his security clearance and, thus, his job, because of this affair. I also agree with commentators (including one of my co-workers) who said, "he resigned because of an affair? Really?" I don't think there's anything simple about the DCI conducting an affair using a pseudo-anonymous account on GMail that someone could discover without resorting to Bond-esque espionage.

But I think our nation's top law-enforcement agency, the FBI, deserve props for deciding that an investigation of a top political official that turned up nothing criminal should be announced only after one of the most divisive elections of the last 50 years. Law enforcement should not ever be political. We're a nation of laws, not men, as many have observed. Patraeus acted stupidly, but not criminally, and he's given up his career for it. Let him go quietly into the night.

As for the petty, partisan little man that broke the law to use Patraeus's resignation for political gain, he deserves the undying scrutiny of the U.S. Attorney for whatever district he lives in.

And full disclosure: I believe strongly that the DCI needs to give up certain things upon taking office, including GMail, Facebook, and bits on the side. I have no problem with human failings; but I object in the strongest terms to people in certain offices—Director of Central Intelligence and President of the United States included—engaging in any kind of personal deceit. Professional deceit? No problem with DCI or POTUS; that's part of the job. But Bill Clinton disappointed me deeply, and now, so did David Patraeus. And that's even before we talk about illegal drone strikes.

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