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Highlights from Hair Balls
Some Real-World Advice for General Petraeus & Co.
BY JEFF BALKE
I'm no Dear Abby (she's shorter than me), but reading the sordid details of the David Petraeus affair and how the whole thing blew up in his face causing him to resign from the CIA helped to confirm the fact that way too many people do not understand technology and need some help. Oh, sure, my first thought was something similar to when Jim Carrey's character in the movie Liar Liar was forced to tell the truth to a client who was arrested yet again, "Stop breaking the law, asshole!" But, given what amounted to "Bitch, step off my man" e-mails were what blew the story wide open, that tells me you guys (and, especially, gals) need a little help.
Of course, the cat is already WAY out of the bag on this one, but, you know, future reference.
To David Petraeus:
Where do I even begin? Obviously, your first mistake was having an affair, but what is more important to me is how you handled it. Right now, my question to you is, why did you think it was a good idea to e-mail your mistress about ANYTHING not related to work? Seriously, dude, you were the freaking head of the CIA! Don't they have a guide on e-mail security there? Didn't your IT guy warn you not to accept offers from Nigerian princes, buy herbal Viagra and, you know, DISCUSS YOUR AFFAIR online?
You may have read that the guy who founded McAfee is wanted for murder and may be addicted to bath salts, but don't try and blame it on him and his software or on a computer virus or hackers or something stupid like that. You look bad enough to the world at large, don't turn the nerds against you. You think the wrath of three women is bad, try Anonymous. After all, it looks like hackers were the ones that found the e-mails that got you busted!
My advice to you: Stay off the Internet. Don't text. Don't e-mail. For God sake, don't Facebook. Save yourself.
To Paula Broadwell:
Wow, did you ever step in it. It's bad enough you, a married woman, had an affair with a married man, but what transpired next should qualify you for Crazy Girlfriend...er...Mistress of the Year.
Did you honestly believe some dummy Gmail accounts would keep you from getting caught, particularly when they involved the director of the Central Intelligence Agency? Maybe you are unclear how stuff like this works. Maybe you still use Internet Explorer and own an AOL account. But, as a writer and someone in the public eye, you must know that hackers dig things up all the time. I bet you even used a sad face emoticon. C'mon, Paula! Nevermind that the e-mails you sent were basically the rantings of a jealous 16-year-old. The fact that you thought you would stay anonymous is just, well, :( .
My advice to you: From now on, if you want to deliver a bitchy message to a romantic rival, go analog and do it in person. It might turn into a cat fight. Rawr.
To Jill Kelley:
I have no idea if you were just a "family friend" as has been reported or if Broadwell's envy radar was on the mark, but I have to question the judgment of someone who would report potentially defamatory e-mails to the authorities before going to your friend. By all accounts, there were no legit threats to you or anyone else other than some "Girl, you better back off my may-un" statements, which is more appropriate for a daytime talk show than for the FBI no matter who they may have referenced.
My advice to you: Unless it was your intent to out Broadwell, don't assume every e-mail is a threat to national security. Check with the subject(s) of the e-mail first. Also, don't use reply all. Everyone hates that.
To the Shirtless FBI Agent:
So, you got asked to investigate a threatening e-mail from Jill Kelley and you thought an appropriate response was to send her a shirtless photo of yourself. Someone at the FBI said you became obsessed with the case. Two things: first, has sending a shirtless photo of yourself to a woman EVER WORKED? In what world does something like that actually turn into, "Heeeeyyyy, big boy"? Second, knowing all of the celebrity leaked photos and sex tapes, did you not think you would be found out? YOU WORK FOR THE FBI, MAN!
My advice to you: Seek professional help from a therapist or the Nerd Herd or both.
To Holly Petraeus:
I know that, at the moment, you are probably considering going Lorena Bobbitt and chopping off the general's little sergeant major, but that won't lead to anything but court dates and a successful porn career for your hopefully soon-to-be ex. It's unfortunate this happened, but you appear to be a classy lady and, so far as we know at this point, use technology capably — or at least cover your tracks, and if that's the case, hey, look at you!