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Broadwell Under Scrutiny for Possible Security Breach

According to ABC News, the FBI is currently investigating Paula Broadwell for possessing classified information in her home and on her computer: 

A source familiar with the case also told ABC News that Broadwell admitted to the FBI she took documents from secure government buildings. The government demanded that they all be given back, and when federal agents descended on her North Carolina home on Monday night it was a pre-arranged meeting.

Prosecutors are now determining whether to charge Broadwell with a crime, and this morning the FBI and military are pouring over the material. The 40-year-old author, who wrote the biography on Gen. Petraeus “All In,” is cooperating and the case, which is complicated by the fact that as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Military Reserve she had security clearance to review the documents.

The FBI found classified material on a computer voluntarily handed over by Broadwell earlier in the investigation. Prosecutors will now have to determine how important the classified material is before making a final decision. Authorities could decide to seek disciplinary action against her rather than pursue charges.

I agree with Max about the government’s tendency to overclassify. For all we know, the information Broadwell had could have been completely mundane. There are conflicting stories about whether she had a security clearance, but given her military and intelligence background, it’s seems likely she did. In that case, she would have been allowed access to classified information on her own, regardless of her relationship with Petraeus.

Without knowing more details, it’s impossible to say if the FBI investigation is proper and necessary. But it is interesting that it’s being taken up again now, especially if the AP’s timeline is accurate:

Late Summer 2012— Attorney General Eric Holder is notified. By this time, the FBI has long since concluded there was no national security breach, but continues investigating whether Petraeus had any role in the harassing emails sent to Kelley.

If the FBI already determined there was no security breach over the summer, why rehash this again now? Were they initially mistaken, and has something new been discovered? It’s one thing if there is truly a national security concern, but I’m curious as to why a reportedly “concluded” issue has been reopened.


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