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Anonymous Linked to Petraeus Scandal Through Stratfor Hack

Anonymous, the loosely associative collective responsible for the Christmas-Eve hacking of Stratfor in 2011, is being linked to the recent resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus. The link comes from the fact that his alleged mistress’ email account was dumped and exposed during the Stratfor breach.

Paula Broadwell, an alumnus of West Point and married mother of two, is the woman with whom Mr. Petraeus is accused of having an affair. She also happens to be Petraeus’ biographer, and author of “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus”.

Broadwell had a Yahoo email address that was included in the list of 800,000 accounts leaked by Anonymous when they attacked Stratfor in 2011. Confirmation of the connection between her an Anonymous comes from the list of harvested data published after the Stratfor hack last year, and her own Twitter account.

That is where the connection stops, and pure rumor and speculation begin. There is no evidence that her accounts were compromised after the Stratfor incident. However, the running rumor is that they were, and that the threatening emails that were delivered to Jill Kelley – who reported them to the FBI, which eventually led to the public learning of the Petraeus scandal – were part of a trolling effort. But that’s just too far of a stretch.

However, the latest reports on the scandal say that the FBI knew of Mr. Petraeus’ affair earlier this summer, yet waited until after the election to mention it. For their part, law enforcement officials told the New York Times, that they didn’t notify anyone because the investigation was incomplete.

“Some members of Congress have protested the delay in being notified of the F.B.I.’s investigation of Mr. Petraeus until just after the presidential election. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that her committee would “absolutely” demand an explanation,” the Times reported.

The report mentions that adultery can be a crime under military regulations, but at the CIA it isn’t one – at best it is considered a security risk because, “it can make an intelligence officer vulnerable to blackmail...”

So yes, there is a link between Anonymous and the Petraeus scandal, but it is thin and circumstantial at best. The real story here is just starting to emerge.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.