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View Diary: How metadata brought down CIA boss David Petraeus (61 comments)

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  •  The fact is that he was at (4+ / 0-)

    far greater risk from being caught in one of the many investigations a person with his clearance must go through over the years. They could easily have figured out that he had a gmail account, for goodness sake.

    •  consider this: (7+ / 0-)

      impressive sleuthing:

      Ms. Broadwell apparently attempted to shield her identity by using anonymous email accounts. ... “[b]ecause the sender’s account had been registered anonymously, investigators had to use forensic techniques—including a check of what other e-mail accounts had been accessed from the same computer address—to identify who was writing the e-mails.”

      Webmail providers like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft retain login records (typically for more than a year) that reveal the particular IP addresses a consumer has logged in from. ...
      Although Ms. Broadwell took steps to disassociate herself from at least one particular email account, by logging into other email accounts from the same computer (and IP address), she created a data trail that agents were able to use to link the accounts.
      ... “agents spent weeks piecing together who may have sent [the emails]. They 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.” .. “it took agents a while to figure out the source. They did that by finding out where the messages were sent from—which cities, which Wi-Fi locations in hotels. That gave them names, which they then checked against guest lists from other cities and hotels, looking for common names.”

      So she created anonymous email accounts and used them only from hotels but was tracked down nonetheless. Yikes or wow, depending on your p.o.v.

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