Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Taxes and emails

Trump told Fox News that he'll release his taxes the moment Hillary releases the 30,000 emails she supposedly deleted. This brief statement gives us a lot to unpack:

1. Trump admits that an audit has nothing to do with the release of his tax returns. He can release them at any time. By the way: Most people don't know that he has always embargoed the returns for years not covered by the audit.

From now on, whenever Trump says that an audit prevents the release, we know that he is lying.

2. FBI Director James Comey has said that Hilllary deleted no work-related emails in an effort to conceal them.

(It suddenly occurs to me: How much do you want to bet that Trump has deleted a HUUUGE number of messages from the android device he uses to blast out all of those tweets? He must do so regularly.)

3. An unknown (but large) percentage of the deleted personal emails were in fact recovered. The FBI has found nothing of interest.

A note about the deletions. Reference to the email recovery brings up another point. Remember when Trump said that Hillary used "bleach" to remove those emails? Yes, this idiot actually thought that one uses chemicals on computer data.

He was making a garbled reference to a freeware program called BleachBit, which is not a pro-level eraser. But as it turns out, we've had proof all along that NO app of any kind -- professional strength or otherwise -- was used to shred those files.

How do I know this? Simple.
In a nationally televised statement July 5, FBI director James Comey said that the FBI had discovered “several thousand” work-related emails during its investigation that Clinton had not turned over to the State Department.

Some of those, Comey said, were discovered on devices that had been connected to Clinton’s server or had been found in the government email accounts of officials she’d emailed with. Others were painstakingly reconstructed from “fragments” found on a server that had been taken out of service in 2013.

“Millions of e-mail fragments end up unsorted in the (private) server’s unused – or ‘slack’ – space,” Comey said. “We searched through all of it to see what was there, and what parts of the puzzle could be put back together.”
If you have any knowledge at all regarding file shredders and how they work, you'll understand that nothing was shredded. Or bleached. Someone simply hit the delete button.

Everyone knows that if you are trying to hide something nefarious, you don't just hit the delete button. An eraser writes ones and zeroes over the the old data. A proper eraser does that task many times -- 35 times, in one commonly-used methodology. No fragments are left behind. If you simply hit the "delete" button, as obviously occurred here, then you must not be worried about covering your tracks.

In other words: The mere existence of "fragments" indicates that the material was innocuous.

At any rate, it is clear that Hillary has made a good faith effort to give everything to the FBI.

A modest proposal. Trump has said, in public, that he will do as Hillary does, that he will follow her lead. All right. Here's a perfectly equivalent situation: He can have digital copies of his tax returns placed on a computer with a hard drive similar in size to the one used on those servers. Then he can delete those files -- without using any find of file shredder.

Just hit the delete button. Nothing else.

Then he should hand the physical computer over to an expert for forensic analysis. (I am sure that the Washington Post or some news organization will happily foot the bill.) Experts can search the unused disc space to see if it is possible to reconstruct those deleted returns.

There! Trump asked for equivalence. Well, my scenario provides exactly that.

The next move is yours, Mr. Trump.

(By the way, I don't think it would be possible to "sneak past the guards," in the above scenario. Forensic analysts always know when some sort of file eraser app has been used, even if they can't get at the shredded file. At least, that's what I was told years ago: It may be that, in recent times, those apps have gotten better at hiding their own existence. If a tech-savvy reader can offer me up-to-date information, I am all attention.)

By the way: Do you recall those 30 emails, allegedly about Benghazi? Trump was bleating about them during his rallies, not many days ago. You had to look deep into the story to learn that the emails might well have been duplicates of messages already familiar to the FBI. And, as I noted in my previous post, it was quite possible for a note to be "about" Benghazi (in a broad sense) while being utterly unimportant.

Well, guess what?
However, in a court filing early Wednesday morning, government lawyers said a closer review of the records the FBI located revealed only one of the messages was entirely absent from those produced by previous State Department searches: a flattering note sent by a veteran U.S. diplomat following her testimony on Benghazi before a Senate panel in January 2013.

"I watched with great admiration as she dealt with a tough and personally painful issue in a fair, candid and determined manner," then-U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon wrote in a message sent to State Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills official account and forwarded on by Mills to Clinton's personal one. "I was especially impressed by her ability to turn aside the obvious efforts to politicize the events in Benghazi, reminding Americans of the tremendous sacrifice made by Chris Stevens and his colleagues but also insisting that our ability to play a positive role in the world and protect U.S. interests requires a willingness to take risks."
Completely innocent. Workaday piffle.

Will Trump apologize? No; he hasn't the decency.

Will the right-wing media apologize or even inform the audience of this new finding? Of course not.

Will the mainstream media deliver the all-important follow-up? Well, Politico has done so. I doubt that the story will get much play elsewhere.
Hey Joseph!
Memeorandum linked to your story. Well done,and please keep it up.
Go, Joseph, go!
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