"There used to be an established order to the world," writes Noah Shachtman in the intro to Wired's "15 Most Dangerous People in the World" feature. "A structure to things. You couldn't print a gun like a term paper. It was impossible to wreck a nuclear production plant with a few lines of code. Flying robots didn't descend on you in the dead of night and kill you in your home."
He's so right! The world is a terrifying place, run by evil geniuses pulling the puppet strings. Who are they, pray tell?
Well, #15 — the only woman on the list — is Paula Broadwell:
One day you're pitching a biography of a top general. The next you've brought down a CIA director, stalled the career of another top general and ensnared numerous federal agencies - and yourself - in a sprawling investigation-cum-media circus. Paula Broadwell didn't mean to wreck any careers, but she accomplished something that no U.S. adversary could: remove David Petraeus from the U.S. government.
Uh, no, Petraeus removed himself from office, and he also chose to sleep with Broadwell. Spencer Ackerman, who wrote the piece, does mention that "Petraeus, and not Broadwell, is ultimately responsible for his own poor decision-making" (you think?) but only with the caveat that "the next time a cabinet official sleeps around, he'd better make sure his mistress keeps the affair offline." Or he could not sleep around. Or he could sleep around, and take responsibility for his actions! Or he could sleep around, take responsibility for his actions, and Wired could portray him as a bit of a martyr who was ruined by a vindictive whore.
As of this week, Broadwell isn't even facing cyberstalking charges any longer. So why is she on this list instead of Petraeus? Because she's hot.
Seriously, Wired: we know end-of-the-year slideshows make for killer page views, but Paula Broadwell doesn't belong on a list with terrorists and drug traffickers. Lame.