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October 11, 2006

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ed

Hmmmm.

Frankly I've long since stopped using IM programs. If it's important then I figure people will use the telephone. If it's not important then they'll use email. And a constant stream of IMs from people simply interrupts my concentration when I'm coding.

With that said I'm curious about something concerning these "log" files. Most log files are simply text files. In rare cases, usually involving SQL database engines, log files may be binary. But in most cases log files are simply text files.

So what assurances are there that any of these "log" files are in pristine form? That they haven't been edited, added to, subtracted from or massaged?

Nothing I've seen so far offers any such assurances whatsoever.

Specter

ed,

Add in the fact that AIM from that time had no automatic logging. You had to save a chat session from the "save" function on the menu and it was then saved in .rtf format. As far as I know, no header/identifying information was saved, just the chat lines themselves.

What do you end up with? .rtf files that can be added to/subtracted from with impugnity. In fact, they could be faked from the very beginning. Who knows?

Neo

ed & Specter:

I bet when Jordan Edmonds took his "big envelope" into the FBI questioning, that it contained a copy of the origin IM file that he had. This just to make sure that nobody else modified it on it's trip to ABC.

It probably also contained e-mails between him and others who knew of the IMs and/or sent the IMs to ABC. This to prove that it was never his idea.

SlimGuy

Syl

What I was trying to show is that your browser gives out a lot more information describing your computer setup and plugins installed to enable proper rendering of the website page.

It was just to give an example for those less knowledgeable about computers for whom the net is just a big black box they have no concept about. Nothing sinster I assure you.

SlimGuy

So what assurances are there that any of these "log" files are in pristine form? That they haven't been edited, added to, subtracted from or massaged?

Nothing I've seen so far offers any such assurances whatsoever.

Posted by: ed | October 12, 2006 at 08:02 AM

Hey they could have been a page to page chat with one acting as percieved Foley would act as a laugh gig thing and then did a search and replace of one screen name with maf54 and bingo you have a Foley page im set.

SlimGuy

The whole issue of email header validity and im validity side steps the issue hear. We are not trying to forensically prove who an unknown im participant was in a court of law.

We are trying to build a picture of who was involved in the distribution, their party loyalties, motive and opportunity.

Who had knowledge, when and what they did with that knowledge.

cathyf

Take one possible example... An IM was originally between Loraditch and Edmonds, and one of them just saved it in a file and did a ReplaceAll of Loraditch-->Foley. Would take a fraction of a second. Or there was an IM exchange, simply friendly and non-sexual, and Edmonds/Loraditch/whomever replaced some of Foley's innocent comments and their innocent replies with smut.

Not saying that happened, but it's just two of the gazillion different ways that the "IM logs" could simply be totally fictional. One of the oldest sayings on the Internet is that "on the net, no one knows if you're a dog." Amazingly, that simple fact is almost completely ignored -- that there is no way of knowing how fictional any of the documents that we have seen are.

sad

SlimGuy

We try to get our children and their friends to appreciate that the internet is not truly anonymous, that what they put out there can one day come back to haunt them. Additionally, we've seen instances of an enterprising youngster doing a bit of creative cut and pasting and forwarding to make it appear as though johnnie sent a really nasty message that johnnie knew nothing about. We've also seen Myspace vents that children mistakenly believed to be viewable by only their closest friends, cut and pasted and sent to cheerleader advisors, youth pastors etc...

SlimGuy

The SSP blog itself is on a google server in northern california. It is not in Royal Oak.

They baited the owner of the website to two trap websites to get the logged ip of his browser on his personal computer. That computer is in Royal Oak, not the SSP blog.

cboldt

I think pushing and probing the "IMs are counterfeit," or "Foley isn't a chickenhawk" angle is counterproductive.


It diverts from probing the questions of chain of custody, and comes off as "so you don't think Foley was a chickenhawk?" accusation. Notice how the DEM operatives on this board are inclined to divert the discussion, even going so far as to raise the totally unrelated subject of Iraq.


Without conceding that the IMs produced by ABC are fully authentic, even if they are, the cyber-masturbation there was not unwelcome to the involved pages. These are adolescents, probably not hormonally challenged adolescents at that. One can find it "icky" without finding it to be something that should be forbidden. I bet the vast majority of people fall into that camp.


I'm not sure that the vast majority of people condone the leaking by a friend, of "icky" and embarrassing personal information.

sad

cboldt

Wondering whether or not the IM's are fake came from the speculation of why JE retained a criminal defense attorney.

SlimGuy

-- that there is no way of knowing how fictional any of the documents that we have seen are.

Posted by: cathyf | October 12, 2006 at 08:59 AM

The validity of the content is not the issue, it is who presented the content for publication and what was their motivation and how do they tie into building a circumstantial case of it being a political dirty trick.

cboldt

-- Wondering whether or not the IM's are fake came from the speculation of why JE retained a criminal defense attorney. --

Could be any one of a number of reasons. I figure with all the laws on the books, all of us are criminals waiting for the pickup.

Maf54 (8:57:29 PM): your not old enough to drink
Xxxxxxxxx (8:57:44 PM): shhh....
Maf54 (8:57:47 PM): ok
Xxxxxxxxx (8:57:49 PM): thats not what my ID says
Xxxxxxxxx (8:57:50 PM): lol Maf54 (8:57:54 PM): ok
Xxxxxxxxx (8:58:13 PM): i probably shouldnt be telling you that huh
Maf54 (8:58:15 PM): we may need to drink at my house so we dont get busted


ABC News - OCT. 3, 2006

I understand the temptation to consider the IMs as fake, counterfeit, embellished, pranks, or whatever. And y'all are free to spend your time probing that angle. I just hold that the "IM's are fake" avenue is a counterproductive distraction.

sad

cboldt

Not trying to pretend that Foley didn't send stuff just like what is portrayed, or that he is being falsly maligned and a big investigation will find him to be pure as the driven snow, and the victim of a gay witchhunt. Didn't one of the articles posted here yesterday talk about a former page showing up somewhere with his computer to prove his allegations?

Syl

SlimGuy

Understood re explaining to blackbox newbies. But I doubt it does more than alarm them. I've heard even fairly sophisticated people confuse download with upload and harddrive with memory.

Movies are terrible about computers and give users such garbage no wonder they don't understand what's going on. I remember one in particular where an email suddenly showed up on a user's screen. A warning of some kind. The person who sent the email was killed so at that moment the email disappeard from the viewer's screen.

LOL


sad

I am willing to suggest that in their eagerness to play with peoples lives and appear to be bigshots to someone they wanted to impress that a group of young adults fabricated seeable, touchable evidence from their memories of actual chatroom conversations.

SlimGuy

sad

Correct, it is not the content , it is who used it regardless of its validity to enable a scandal story with obvious political dirty trick timing.

cboldt

sad -- showing up somewhere with his computer to prove his allegations? --


As if that is some sort of un-fakeable authentication.


The presence of timestamps to the second inclines me to think they are genuine.

JM Hanes

ed:

"So what assurances are there that any of these "log" files are in pristine form? That they haven't been edited, added to, subtracted from or massaged?"

I'm not sure there's any way to prove they are pristine, but we do have assurances from ABC that Edmond, as a participant, has confirmed their authenticity -- at least to ABC's satisfaction. Foley's resignation on learning that the IM's were going public can reasonably be read as tacit confirmation that such an exchange took place. Unless one of the original two parties disputes the content, I see no particular reason to doubt the basic substance of what we've seen.

If I were looking for potential alterations however, I'd start with anything (like the headers in the STOP emails) that unnecessarily or explicitly highlights Foley's identity. Such changes wouldn't impact the Edmunds/Foley equation per se, of course, but they would speak to the intentions and credibility of the document's purveyor.

windansea

If your friend is partial to Chicago or eastern style pizza then don't hold out much hope. I lived in SD area for 15 years and they really don't know how to make pizza out there. Now americanized Mexican and real Mexican - that you can get....lol.

okay...I am sick and tired of the west coast bashing that goes on here...The Filippis happen to be good friends of mine and make a fine thin crust pie that will stand up to anything from Chi Town or NY

I dare one of you east coasties or mid westies to walk in to a Filippis, perhaps the one in PB that Buzzie operates...tell Buzz his pizza sucks and you will end up in a chum line trailing from his boat!!

I heard about this Foley scandal during my vacation and expected to see proof he was caught in bed with 12 year olds, but no...we've got racy emails and IMs talking about bike rides and buff bodies...woop de doo....ride em Dummies!!

oh yeah...anonymous...you suck

windansea

PS

Pericanos in South la Jolla is also very good pizza

JM Hanes

**Edmond = Edmunds above**

SlimGuy

Hey everyone , new thread foley follies

Shifting the furniture to the new house

see ya there

JM Hanes

Hi windansea!

When you apparently live in paradise, where on earth do you go for vacation? Or do you just lock your computer in a closet and do your surfing on the water instead of the net? Hopefully, we brought the anonymous chapter to a close last night, but we shall see. The pathological need to have the last word can be hard to resist and difficult to treat.

cathyf

cboldt, it is also just as valid to point out that the IMs and/or emails could just as easily have been editted to make them less incriminating and/or salacious. (Suppose Foley said something like, "That was sure a mind-blowing threesome you set up. Your cousin sure is hot. Hard to believe he's only 12." And the page deleted the reference because the page didn't want anyone to know he had engaged in a threesome with his 12-yr-old cousin.)

As long as we're speculating, maybe the text which proves the existence of aliens at Area 51 was in there and got deleted. Or an elegant 3-line proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.

The point is not that I believe that the IMs are fake, but that I recognize that the IMs could be slightly altered or totally fictional. An amazing amount of the world's stupidity is caused by people who somehow can't wrap their brains around the concept that there are some things that are simply unknowable.

In the case of Foley, we have only one credible accusation -- which is Foley's self-incriminating act of resigning immediately when confronted with the IMs. But even the credibility of that act is severely undermined by Foley's admission of alcoholism. The act of resigning may be an admission that he is not sure that he did not carry on the IM conversations, rather than being an admission that he is sure that he did.

The pages are the only people who can vouch for the authenticity of the IMs, and they are not particularly credible witnesses. Suppose the ex-pages involved all come forward and say, "Hey, we made up the whole thing, and Foley may have been overly friendly for some deep-seated freudian reasons, but he never behaved at all improperly or 'preyed' on anyone that we know of." Then we would still have to say that we don't know, that this is simply the uncorroborated testimony of people who have proven themselves not to be particularly credible witnesses.

maryrose

Hi windansea:
Always glad to hear from you. I agree -Foley story at this point-a big yawn. I"d much rather talk about Reid's illegal land deal!

ed

Hmmm.

My point in questioning the provenance of these IMs is that the only way to truly ensure that the IMs are in fact accurate is to provide corresponding log files from all parties involved. Otherwise it's rather simple to either massage the information or simply make it up.

What makes this a serious potential problem is that Foley evidently also drank quite a bit. So there's really no telling if any of the more salacious IMs are either accurate or engineered because Foley himself may have been too drunk to remember.

Note: Not making an accusation or an assertion of anybody tampering with, massaging or fabricating these IMs.

Just making the point that there's simply no way to tell. Like many computer file these IM log files would be rather easy to manipulate.

Which is why many courts are very restrictive on what computer evidence they'll allow because of this potential for manipulation.

*shrug* as always, YMMV.

Gabriel Sutherland

BREAKING: It's a conspiracy. I have proof that CREW is coordinating with John Aravosis to mislead the public.

ed

Hmmmm.

@ JM Hanes

I'm not sure there's any way to prove they are pristine, but we do have assurances from ABC that Edmond, as a participant, has confirmed their authenticity -- at least to ABC's satisfaction.

That might be the only assurance we'll ever get. And even then are there any assurances that Edmond was actually IM'ing Foley? As I understand it Foley's office was a regular meeting point for many gay staffers and politicians in Washington where people would come and go as they pleased.

Just because an IM discussion occurs doesn't actually prove any particular individual was on the other end. If that were the case then a lot more 14 y/o hotties on AOL chat rooms wouldn't turn out to be 44 y/o police officers with handcuffs.

But there's no way to tell either way. *shrug*.

Foley's resignation on learning that the IM's were going public can reasonably be read as tacit confirmation that such an exchange took place.

I think that's reading too much into it. From what I understand Foley had to be basically strong-armed into running for office again and actually didn't want to. He may have taken this opportunity to remove himself from politics in a fashion that would make it rather permanent.

And it may be just simply that Foley was just too drunk when doing this to remember. So it might be a situation where one side gets to tell the story but the other side, Foley, cannot possibly refute it.

Unless one of the original two parties disputes the content, I see no particular reason to doubt the basic substance of what we've seen.

*shrug* If the IMs were fabricated or massaged just who would get into trouble for it? And just how much trouble would there be? Quite a few people involved in this are entirely anonymous. So they aren't worried about a backlash.

Also there aren't any other versions so there's nothing to compare it to. But there aren't any real confirmations from the Foley camp either.

*shrug* I seriously doubt we'll ever really get all the details in this nonsense.

cathyf
*shrug* I seriously doubt we'll ever really get all the details in this nonsense.
Yep, it is a wise man who knows the limits of his knowledge!
JM Hanes

ed:

I'm not quite sure what all your shrugs are intended to convey. I'll certainly concede that in the absence of a complete, unassailable, set of facts, it's possible to construct a best case scenario for Foley, but it takes some real stretching to do it. In re his resignation, for example, extrapolating from his earlier reluctance about running to suggest that perhaps he was just taking advantage of "this opportunity to remove himself from politics in a fashion that would make it rather permanent," strikes me as completely implausible. *shrug*?

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