2. The FBI read Broadwell’s email, and perhaps a lot of Kelley’s email (with permission). In order to get the content of the email, the stuff you write in the body of an email, the FBI needs a judge to issue a warrant, which requires that old chestnut, probable cause. Weirdly, the FBI needs only a subpoena to read email content that is more than 180 days old. Additionally, if the FBI want to monitor your email in real-time, a warrant-type “order” is required. In this case, the FBI seemed to have obtained a warrant to read Broadwell’s email after establishing that the emails sent to Kelley came from email accounts associated with Broadwell. But so what? Wouldn’t the obvious next step in an investigation focused solely on threatening emails be to interview Broadwell? Maybe, but maybe the FBI suspected that there was something bigger at stake, something potentially involving national security, once they were able to identify Broadwell by name. That may be why they decided to read her emails before they spoke to her. In the context of their investigation, it might have been a reasonable assumption.
3. The scope of the FBI’s investigation is quite large, and that has civil liberties advocates and journalists like myself concerned about how the agency was able to justify such an expansive collection of email based on the fairly trivial accusations and what we know of the investigation. Maybe this means that the FBI always goes full-on, so to speak, or perhaps, once again, the insinuation that generals were involved with questionable activities was enough to devote unusual resources and collect an unusual amount of data. Perhaps they requested an additional warrant once it became clear that Broadwell had access to information about the director’s personal schedule, although this is something that they could easily infer had they Googled Broadwell or questioned her, or Petraeus before they dove into her emails.