But on what grounds? I looked up the cyber-stalking statute. It says that a crime has been committed when e-mail “causes substantial emotion distress” or places the victim in “reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.”
This strikes me as a pretty high standard. It is possible, I suppose, that the anonymous e-mails Kelley was getting from Paula Broadwell, Petraeus’s former mistress, met that standard. And the F.B.I. has worked hard to make Broadwell’s e-mails sound as threatening as possible. But once they leak out, as they surely will, I strongly suspect that we’ll see that the law was just a fig leaf.
So, too, with the “classified information” Broadwell is supposed to have. (And didn’t you love the F.B.I.’s big show of carting away her computers?) Given the government’s propensity, since 9/11, to stamp “classified” on every piece of paper short of the paper towels in the commissary, my guess is that this claim is also going to turn out to be less than earth-shattering. Once the F.B.I. learned the truth — that it was just about sex — it needed a high-minded rationale to keep snooping. Broadwell did the F.B.I. a huge favor by leaving “classified” information on her computer.