CIA director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell apparently coordinated their liaisons via Gmail, using a tactic called a "dead drop." My colleague Ryan Gallagher has an excellent post explaining how it works, why it failed, and what the lovers could have done differently had they been even more circumspect (aside from, you know, not having an affair). Serious email security requires encryption and anonymity tools.
Or Petraeus could have taken a cue from his counterpart at the Department of Homeland Security. Asked in September how she keeps her email account secure, Janet Napolitano gave a simple answer: She doesn't have one. Neither did her predecessor, Michael Chertoff. Some in the press scoffed at Napolitano's admission. But given the extent of the surveillance state as revealed by the Petraeus affair, I wouldn't be surprised if a whole bunch more government officials are taking a fresh look at the old back-room-meetings, darkened-alleys, and dimly-lit-cafes approach to secure communication right about now.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Right Target
Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
The NFL Has No Business Punishing Players for Off-Field Conduct. Leave That to the Teams.
Meet the Allies the U.S. Won’t Admit It Needs in Its Fight Against ISIS
I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights
Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.
Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.
How to Stop Ebola
Survivors might be immune. Let’s recruit them to care for the infected.
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- Conservative Star D’Souza Avoids Jail Time for Illegal Campaign Contributions
- Moderate Chinese Intellectual Sentenced to Life in Prison After Show Trial
America in Africa
The tragic, misunderstood history of Liberia—and why the United States has a special obligation to help it fight the Ebola epidemic.