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Gaffe of the Week: Director of the CIA taken down by email stupidity

(AP Canada photo)It's hard to believe that the former director of the CIA couldn't find a way to be slicker than a ninth grader.

David Petraeus, whose descent from respected CIA boss to Tiger Woods sympathizer quickly became the story of the week, had reportedly conducted his extra-marital affair using a covert email trick used by alleged terrorists, Canadian traitors, and yes, teenagers.

They call it the draft folder 'dropbox,' which begins with a shared email account where messages are saved in the draft folder and never actually transmitted to another inbox. With a shared password, both Petraeus and his promiscuous biographer, Paula Broadwell, were able to log into their joint account and read the messages directly from the draft folder.

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The trick essentially conceals the online conversation, leaving much less of an electronic paper trail than hitting send. Every email sent and received automatically creates a time-stamped record, as well as a record of the IP addresses used to access the email. The draft folder trick allowed Petraeus and Broadwell to share some 20,000 to 30,000 messages online over a two-year period.

And if it weren't for a few crazy emails sent from Broadwell's personal account, one of this week's top stories may have never come to be.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"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."

Since news of Petraeus' extracurriculars made international headlines, the potential of a burgeoning U.S. national security issue has already become a hot topic — as if the Chinese reportedly hacking into thermostats in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wasn't already a concern.

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Now, you might expect a man such as Petraeus to exhibit a little more strategic prowess than this. I mean, beyond taking a page out of the high school playbook, it might behoove a four-star general with more than 35 years in the U.S. Army to refrain from ripping off a terrorist tactic, wouldn't you say?

Congrats, David Petraeus! You have been awarded the statue of Rob Ford in butter.

Gaffe of the Week runs each Thursday on Yahoo! Canada News.
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