Petraeus, Broadwell find email ‘draft folder’ isn’t foolproof

Then-Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, center kisses his wife, Holly, in 2004 as his son, Stephen, and daughter, Anne, look on after his return home from Iraq to Fort Campbell, Ky.

Then-Maj. Gen. David Petraeus kisses his wife, Holly, in 2004 as his son, Stephen, and daughter, Anne, look on after his return home from Iraq to Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ahhh email. Where would cheating be without it?

According to the Associated Press, CIA Director David Petraeus and his mistress Paula Broadwell relied on the “draft folder” of a shared Google Gmail account to exchange messages between the two over a two-year period.

From the AP report:

“Rather than transmitting emails to the other’s inbox, they composed at least some messages and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic ‘dropbox,’ … Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail that is easier to trace.”

This trick would leave less of an electronic trail than hitting the send button. For example, sent and received messages create a date- and time-stamped record in addition to a record of the IP addresses.

The FBI, which was investigating alleged threats by Broadwell against another woman, began monitoring Broadwell’s emails when they came across messages involving Petraeus. Broadwell gave the FBI access to her computer, where more exchanges between the four-star general and author were found.

Gmail, Hotmail and Microsoft Outlook all automatically save email as it is typed. The AP says the old “draft folder” method of communicating is known by teenagers and Arab terrorists alike. What are some of the more creative ways you’ve heard (or used)  to hide emails or texts from others?

21 comments Add your comment


November 13th, 2012
12:59 pm

Mmm…so-so. I expected something a little slicker than that.

East Lake Ira

November 13th, 2012
1:19 pm

Petreaus is no spy nor should he have been in charge of them.

The militarization of the CIA needs to be rolled back.


November 13th, 2012
1:29 pm

This one time, I used pig latin to hide obscene language in a stutterer’s chatroom that only allowed emoticons to express ideas. Oh, they traced me, alright. I was banned from using the creepy little round faces for months. I hated that summer.


November 13th, 2012
1:48 pm

Send it from the command line with a the recipients address in the to: field and send it to a bogus recipient (but a valid host that will return the message to the sender.

The other option is to use one email address per girlfriend, so you never send the wrong message to the wrong woman. Also, it can save you from reply-to-all mistakes.

john dahodi

November 13th, 2012
2:12 pm

TO WHOM WE CAN BLAME? George Bush, Obama, Right wing Republicans or Left wing Democrats? I think, we should blame the Hollywood, Viagra, Cialis, SMART PHONE and TOO MUCH FREE TIME, FLOOD OF MONEY, NO PROPER CHECK AND BALANCE IN CIA-FBI-PENTAGON AND DEFENSE AGENCIES.

markie mark

November 13th, 2012
3:19 pm

john, if you cut the budgets’ by that much, then your problems with our government may well prove to be over…..however, your problems with whichever government(s) are now powerful enough to take your and my little life over may be just beginning….

when you were younger, did you ever hear the old saying about “be careful what you wish for”?


November 13th, 2012
3:58 pm

Other details helpful to your article should include those of the four Americans assassinated in Benghazi, Libya this summer where Petraeus was personally investigating over the last two weeks and the hearings which began today in which Petraeus was to participate. His biographer/mistress has been speaking freely about Benghazi details she learned from Petraeus.

ATL Born and Raised

November 13th, 2012
3:59 pm

@markie mark

Our defense budget is more than that of all our allies (potential enemies) combined. And by a significant margin. I think we could stand to cut a bit. Just sayin’.


November 13th, 2012
4:20 pm

When people write “just sayin’”, what are they attempting to communicate?

I’ve never understood that.


November 13th, 2012
4:29 pm

who cares when or where he has laid pipe? I must be missing something cause as dorky as gomer looks… more power to him if he can lay some pipe! Seems to me this should be between him and his wife…. Who knows maybe she was anti pipe laying and it’s all her fault… I mean if the fish ain’t biting in one hole then move to a new hole… Just sayin!


November 13th, 2012
4:33 pm

to talk with other chicks without my girlfriend finding out, I use text on a second cellphone that I pay by the month that can’t be traced. it works!!!


November 13th, 2012
4:40 pm

Why is this any of our business or concern? The media needs to stop swaying our attention from the major problems at hand (economy and lack of jobs) and let TMZ worry about “juicy scandals”. Is this really worthy of national news?


November 13th, 2012
5:31 pm

Markie Mark:

The US Budget is as large as the rest of the world.


If you think some country is going to “take us over”, you’ve got some serious problems.

Tap Out

November 13th, 2012
5:40 pm

I hide my emails by covering my monitor with a towel….works every time.

[...] are piling up: Why exactly did Petraeus resign? Did the U.S.’s top spy really think sex-mailing in the draft folder of an unprotected Gmail account wouldn’t be untraceable? What does an “unpaid social [...]

What the

November 14th, 2012
1:30 pm

Despite the fact that very few of you actually answered the blogger’s question, you all have been sucking on a hokie pipe too long. I can guess with 90-percent certainty which side of the voter’s booth you all stood during the elections. Makes cessation all the more appealing.


November 14th, 2012
5:13 pm

he was not sneaky enough to be the nations top spy.

That is all that happened

A moment of sanity | The Wandering Nerd

November 14th, 2012
10:24 pm

[...] extramarital affairs sending threatening letters to another of your extramarital affairs using the secret Gmail account you set up to transmit supposedly untraceable messages to each other via the drafts [...]


November 15th, 2012
1:45 am

why do we care?


November 15th, 2012
12:18 pm

None of this would have happened if the man had just kept his pants zipped and clothes on. He failed.


November 15th, 2012
1:34 pm

Here’s the deal…….if you gotta go get off like a wacked out ape in distress, don’t email……use smoke signals or get some of those ww2 wintalkers to speak navajo like they did against the g dam japs ….ahhhahahahaaaa