Whatever one’s views of Generals David Petraeus or John Allen, perhaps the most baffling aspect of this affair is how ignorant of, or susceptible to, these high ranking men are of modern communications technology. Petraeus thought he could hide his philandering emails using shared gmail drafts — avoiding direct computer-to-computer transmissions like traditional email and its digital point-to-point Internet Protocol trail.
This was the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, mind you. I had a freshman student in my college communications class tonight give a presentation on Google’s sharing technologies which, apparently, surpassed Gen. Petraeus’ understanding. Woops.
And then there’s Gen. Allen. Who knows what he was doing with Tampa “socialite” Jill Kelley or anyone else in this unfolding soap opera. But over the span of a couple of years, who has time to send 20,000-30,000 pages of emails to anyone? Let alone someone running a war? I have to remind my students to turn off their smartphones and handhelds at the start of class; it appears no one was in a position to tell the head of the war in Afghanistan to spend less time emailing his “friend” while his soldiers’ lives were on the line. The stereotypes about technology use and age just suffered a reality check with this evidence of Allen’s apparent email obsession and Petraeus’ outright ignorance.