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Sunday, September 09, 2012

About the alleged Romney tax record heist...

A Daily Kos writer named Demigod Mac thinks that the theft is real; some of the people commenting on his piece agree, while others do not. He makes a good point: The person or persons who sent the messages could be found guilty of extortion even if no heist took place. That fact argues against the "hoax" theory. Who in his right mind would risk serious jail time just to pull off a puckish prank?

Also, the Secret Service has the jump drives. By this point, they must have looked at the contents of the drives -- if the encryption key protecting the files is the same as the key used within the PWC system. If the drives do not contain tax records, wouldn't they have said so by this point?

In previous posts (here and here), I have offered reasons why I believe that this theft -- if real -- was the work of one person, not a group. I also believe that this person works for PWC and that his motive is not monetary, even though he has gone to great lengths to create the opposite impression.

Much of my speculation focuses on those seemingly senseless recognition phrases meant to verify future communications. (They seem senseless because they were published.) The phrases come from a famous text by early LDS leader Heber Kimball:
However, all these considerations did not deter me from the path of duty; the moment I understood the will of my Heavenly Father, I felt a determination to go at all hazards, believing that he would support me by his almighty power, and endow me with every qualification that I needed; and although my family was dear to me, and I should have to leave them almost destitute, I felt that the cause of truth, the Gospel of Christ, outweighed every other consideration.
To my eyes, those words speak to motive -- and the motive has to do with conscience. So far, the only other sites to note the Kimball connection are Security News and Secular Cafe.

The messages so far have intimated that copies either have been or will be sent to various news outlets. Larry Flynt has said that he will pay a million dollars for the documents; there's some chance that he has already received an encrypted file. Forbes notes that receiving stolen goods is a federal crime.

This isn't the first time Flynt has become involved in this sort of controversy. At one point, he became the target of a complex con involving an alleged sex tape depicting Ronald Reagan, Vicki Morgan (remember her?) and a strap-on dildo. The tape exists. (Or at least, it existed; I don't know if Flynt still has his copy. He used to show it at parties.) I've heard that the video actually uses Reagan and Morgan lookalikes, and was originally prepared by either the CIA or an eastern bloc intelligence agency. In other words, it was a spook-vs-spook thing, repurposed to take in Flynt.
On the other hand, the whole thing could be a Republican disinformation stunt (like the one that ensnared Dan Rather and made it impossible to raise W's rather odd military career ever again). Produce convincing returns with false information, get everyone to bite, and then prove them false (loudly and publicly).

Or it could be an extortion attempt by one or more very stupid criminals. And make no mistake about it, most criminals are extremely stupid.

Or the returns could be real and the "heist" an inside job by someone at PWC.

Or the returns could be real and the source could be someone inside the IRS - with the heist story just an attempt to throw off investigators.

Or they could be real and have originated with the same mysterious sources who always seem to produce confidential information on Obama's opponents (Paul Ryan's divorce proceedings, anyone?).

The possibilities just boggle the mind.
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