This Rachel Maddow story kept me awake until the wee hours last night.
So, if you recall, Glennzilla’s Intercept received a printed document; all printers (it seems) leave a digital thumbprint that identify information about the printer, the time and date. While the Intercept was confirming the validity of the document, they let someone in one of the security agencies examine it and it lead to the arrest of a contractor, the unbelievably named Reality Lee Winner.
Sometime between the publication of the document in The Intercept and the arrest of Winner, Rachel Maddow’s producers get a similar document. Upon the publication of the document in the Intercept and the arrest of Winner and the revelation of the digital thumbprint to the world, Maddow’s producers check for the thumbprint and see that it is the same or a fragment of the same thumbprint as the Intercept document. Because we know that the thumbprint include not just the printer ID, but also the time and date of the printer, it is really clear that someone copied and pasted parts of the Intercept document and sent it to Maddow, but with different content.
So here’s what kept me up (in no particular order):
- Someone had a high resolution image of the Intercept document – remember, it had been printed and folded. There were traces of the fold in what Maddow received and fragments of the now-infamous dots.
- Copying a classified document is a crime, just FYI.
- Someone who copied it did not know of the existence of the dots, so probably not someone in the Intelligence community because presumably they would know about the digital fingerprints.
- For Maddow to receive it in the inbox, it was an electronic document of some sort, but for the dots to be replicated, it must be an image. Probably the person who made the forgery used something like Photoshop and did a Marquee-tool selection and picked up the thumbprint (or part of the thumbprint) not knowing about its existence.
- This person added the name of someone for some reason — very Game of Thrones. This presumably would be the person who would be “wronged” in the press and would be able to be outraged at the Fake News, and would shred the credibility of Maddow and indeed the entire story.
So it’s a pretty great thriller in a way. My guess is that it has to be a political operative from Trump land who would have been in on what must surely be a Security Briefing before the news broke. This person would presumably have access to the evidence, made the copy (and broke the law) and then edited it and sent it out.
We can speculate on who would know about the Intercept scoop ahead of time, but certainly this person is a true believer in Trump.
Let’s keep an eye on this story. Something is gonna break.