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Questions For the FBI

Emily Bazelon of XX Factor bypasses all the slut-shaming and titillating speculation of the Petraeus scandal and focuses on questions that matter much, much more. For example:

Did the government get a warrant to search Paula Broadwell’s email account? Conflicting reports on this one, as Julian Sanchez has noted. The Wall Street Journal says yes but Reuters says no: “The FBI investigation into the emails was fairly straightforward and did not require obtaining court orders to monitor the email accounts of those involved, including the personal email account of Petraeus.” What? Yes, the FBI can read the emails Kelley turned over to them without a warrant. But to go snooping further, shouldn’t investigators have to get one? This is not a legal nicety. Warrants are the basic constitutional check on the power of law enforcement and prosecutors to search and seize.

If we’re going to obsess over the fallout of a high-ranking government official’s sexual infidelity, let’s do it for the right reasons.