The Attempt At RF’ing the News

Hey Baby, Come Here Often?

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.

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17 Responses to The Attempt At RF’ing the News

  1. Paul D. says:

    This has Bannon’s liver-spotted fingerprints all over it.


    • tengrain says:

      Or certainly one of Bannon’s disciples. I agree.

      Maddow references the Dan Rather case as a precedent. I think that almost everyone agreed at the time that was a Karl Rove operation, which would make the Bannon Camp a likely contender. So who would have been at a National Security Council briefing from that camp and have had access to the material?

      — TG


  2. Jim H. says:

    It sounded to me like the implication was that The Intercept was trying to rf the liberal “MSM”. Nonetheless, Rachel, Queen of the Elves, slayed her some mighty Trump Trolls last night.


  3. motocat1 says:

    I’m afraid we’ll see more of this. It is scary.


  4. C Montgomery Burns says:

    Wouldn’t the copy RM rec’d also/presumably have a digital fingerprint?
    Who or what agency was she in contact with to verify this info, the NSC? CIA?
    Did she turn the info over to Muller’s team with whatever additional info she and her producers discovered?
    Fascinating stuff that now gets her a paragraph in tRumpf’s and the GOP’s political obit.


  5. Pupienus Maximus says:

    Textbook FSB GRU tactics there. But given the incompetent way it was carried out it wasn’t done by anyone with GRU training, nor at their direction. Given the timing, I’m putting my quatloos on the source being at The Interklept. Who was possibly / probably in contact with Bannon.


    • tengrain says:

      That’s interesting, Pup. Hadn’t thought that anyone at The Intercept might want to RF the rest of the media or alert Bannon and his minions.



      • that it what i thought – that someone at the intercept did it – a secret agent for bannon et al.


      • tengrain says:

        It’s an interesting idea: they clearly didn’t know about the dots because they were the ones who outed their source. Occam’s Razor gives them a leg-up, too.




  6. Big Bad Bald Bastard says:

    That Rachel is truly a smarty. It’s a good thing this document landed on her desk, rather than on some less-than-bright news model’s.


  7. Laura says:

    So there’s a belief that the ruskies have an IBM Selectric?


  8. jane dough™ says:

    great article! glad to have found this site!

    i also find it interesting that we used the term “RF” (shortened from “rat fink”) in my college dorm back in the late 60s! the meaning seems to have retained its meaning… we used it as a simple way of saying we had pulled a trick on a dorm-mate, such as (just one dirty trick of many) rubbing powered sugar into white sheets and then turning up the heat in the target’s dorm room so that they would glaze themselves like a warm doughnut as they sweated in the sugary sheets. fun times!

    thanks for your cogent writing, TG… well done, you!


    • jane dough™ says:

      hmmm… no edit. note to self: proofread!
      “(ALSO shortened from ‘rat fink’)
      “the TERM seems to have retained its meaning”…

      i promise to do better next time… 😉


  9. alstroemeria7 says:

    It was Jared!!!



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