Strategy to Hide Emails During Affair Didn't Work

General Petraeus and Paula Broadwell saved messages as "draft" in a shared email account to avoid sending them, thinking they would be less traceable. A technique used by Al Qaeda terrorists (and teenagers), not sending emails prevents them from being tracked to IP addresses that are linked to specific computers and their users.

Gen PatraeusAnother possible strategy to hide one's identity through email is to use public computers that don't keep permanent records. It's unclear which strategies were used-and failed-between the other players in this unraveling story: General John Allen and Jill Kelley. General Allen succeeded General Patraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Kelley is described as a "Tampa socialite." More than 20,000 pages (or hundreds) of "flirtatious" emails between the two are also under investigation.

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Related: "Trying to Keep Your E-Mails Secret When the C.I.A. Chief Couldn't

Discussion Starters: 

  • What are the many ways in which draft emails can be made public?
  • Critics question how well General Allen is managing the situation in Afghanistan as he sends so many pages of correspondece with Kelley. What's your view?