Generals and E-mail

G. Donald Allen
What is so utterly unbelievable about the Generals Petraeus and Allen is their apparent naivety.

These are experts at secure communications. They are intelligent and capable military officers. What could ever bring them to believe that any communication on the open net is secure and undiscoverable? Firms such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and others actually do a lot of data mining, well beyond most of our comprehension. (Just use your favorite search engine on any topic. You will get thousands of hits. Imagine the computing power this requires. During the nights when few are hitting on searches, these servers do not rest. ) Anything that appears interesting is flagged. Even I know this. This is why it is good advice to never post anything of any salacious, sensitive, or derogatory nature through these messengers.

But if you must... Use a messenger that supports encryption, such as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), very difficult -- no; incredibly difficult -- to decrypt. Make certain your messenger does not support (unknown to you) built in keylogger software. This goes well beyond well beyond virus software detection. (BTW -- this also applies to texting.)

At this point, I feel certain that whatever company was the email provider has the complete transcript of the communications. This puts the information in the hands of third parties for further processing. So much for "national security."

It is simply inconceivable these guys have been doing this. While Petraeus and Allen are great patriots, warriors, leaders, visionaries, and consummate generals, we have to ask -- how dumb can they get? Can it be that the good general was used as needed, then fired, and discarded? We may never know, though Petraeus does.

I do feel bad for them and the country (mine) that may lose their services -- they are phenomenal public servants. But we the people are the bigger losers in this game of mayhem and indiscretion.

What is so utterly unbelievable about the Generals Petraeus and Allen is their apparent naivety.

These are experts at secure communications. They are intelligent and capable military officers. What could ever bring them to believe that any communication on the open net is secure and undiscoverable? Firms such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and others actually do a lot of data mining, well beyond most of our comprehension. (Just use your favorite search engine on any topic. You will get thousands of hits. Imagine the computing power this requires. During the nights when few are hitting on searches, these servers do not rest. ) Anything that appears interesting is flagged. Even I know this. This is why it is good advice to never post anything of any salacious, sensitive, or derogatory nature through these messengers.

But if you must... Use a messenger that supports encryption, such as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), very difficult -- no; incredibly difficult -- to decrypt. Make certain your messenger does not support (unknown to you) built in keylogger software. This goes well beyond well beyond virus software detection. (BTW -- this also applies to texting.)

At this point, I feel certain that whatever company was the email provider has the complete transcript of the communications. This puts the information in the hands of third parties for further processing. So much for "national security."

It is simply inconceivable these guys have been doing this. While Petraeus and Allen are great patriots, warriors, leaders, visionaries, and consummate generals, we have to ask -- how dumb can they get? Can it be that the good general was used as needed, then fired, and discarded? We may never know, though Petraeus does.

I do feel bad for them and the country (mine) that may lose their services -- they are phenomenal public servants. But we the people are the bigger losers in this game of mayhem and indiscretion.