A growing number of computer professionals are stepping forward to say that none of this makes sense. Norman Cillo, a former program manager at Microsoft, told The Blaze: “I don’t know of any e-mail administrator [who] doesn’t have at least three ways of getting that mail back. It’s either on the disks or it’s on a TAPE backup someplace on an archive server.” Bruce Webster, an IT expert with 30 years of experience consulting with dozens of private companies, seconds this opinion: “It would take a catastrophic mechanical failure for Lerner’s drive to suffer actual physical damage, but in any case, the FBI should be able to recover something. And the FBI and the Justice Department know it.”
In March of this year, John Koskinen, the new IRS commissioner, testified before Congress that all the e-mails of IRS employees are “stored in servers.” The agency’s own manual specifies that it “provides for backup and recovery of records to protect against information loss or corruption.” The reason is simple. It is well known in legal and IT circles that failure to preserve e-mails can lead to a court ruling of “spoliation of evidence.” That means a judge or jury is then instructed to treat deletions as if they were deliberate destruction of incriminating evidence.
Why is the loss of the Lerner e-mails particularly important? Last year’s report by the IRS inspector general set out a timeline of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. A full 16 of the 26 non-redacted events in the inspector general’s timeline took place during the period for which all of Lerner’s e-mails were “lost,” and these 16 instances refer to “e-mail” as the source for information on that event. As tax expert Alan Joel points out, much of the context about how the IRS scandal developed and who may have known about it is now “lost” in the black hole the Lerner e-mails are supposed to have been sucked into.
Since the IG report, we have learned that Lerner was engaged in highly suspect activity. As the Wall Street Journal editorial page noted on Saturday:
She shipped a database of 12,000 nonprofit tax returns to the FBI, the investigating agency for Justice’s Criminal Division. The IRS, in other words, was inviting Justice to engage in a fishing expedition, and inviting people not even licensed to fish in that pond. The Criminal Division (rather than the Tax Division) investigates and prosecutes under the Internal Revenue Code only when the crimes involve IRS personnel.
If there is an ongoing cover-up of the IRS scandal, it’s obvious why some folks would be desperate to continue it. Last year, Time magazine’s liberal columnist Joe Klein wrote that the IRS scandal placed President Obama “on the same page as Richard Nixon.” Article II of the Articles of Impeachment by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 included a charge that Nixon had caused, “in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.” The Judiciary Committee was also deeply disturbed by the Nixon administration’s apparent efforts to conceal evidence. When investigators found a crucial “18-and-a-half-minute gap” from a Watergate break-in conversation involving Nixon and his aides, the administration implausibly claimed that Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s longtime secretary, had accidentally erased that portion of the tape. Later, Woods herself said she could have been responsible for no more than five minutes of the gap.
Now we have the “IRS server ate the e-mails” excuse. “Barack Obama has brought us Jimmy Carter’s economy and Richard Nixon’s excuses,” Steve Stockman (R., Texas) waggishly observed Friday. At a minimum, the House committees investigating the IRS scandal should demand that everyone involved in the search for the Lerner e-mails appear before them and testify under oath. I strongly suspect that if anything is amiss, one or more employees will not want to commit perjury to protect political higher-ups.
You'll need to fast forward to 6:01, and you'll see video taken from behind the kids as they get ready to start singing. Duper is to the immediate right of a tall guy with a curly head of black hair in the back row, center.
Troy Tulowitzki hit two more home runs last night, bringing his season total to nine, ballooning his slash line to .408/.512./.786, and raising his fWAR to a league-leading 3.1. Those cartoonish numbers speak for themselves, and are bound to regress, but Tulo is doing things he's never done before in his career, and if he keeps doing them, nobody's going to be able to get him out.
For the first time in his career, Tulo is walking more than he's striking out. His walk rate is currently sitting at a career-high 17.8 percent while his strikeout rate is a career-low 10.9 percent. And when he's getting the bat on the ball, he's turning just about every pitch he touches into a hard hit. His BABIP is an ungodly .408, his line drive rate is 26.4 percent, and he's turning 31 percent of the fly balls he hits into home runs, a mark good for second-best in baseball behind Jose Abreu.
We were at the Mets game on Saturday, and were fortunate to see Troy get career hit number 1000. Here's hoping he stays healthy this season, and keeps up this pace!
First lady Michelle Obama told students that freedom of speech should be a universal right during her extravagant, no-press-allowed tour of China — a hypocritical move that will surely draw the ire of critics, according to an expert.
“That is troublesome. That goes beyond hypocritical, and I think the American media and the international media has every right to call her and the Obama administration on that — that they permitted that to happen,” said Tom Whalen, a political history professor at Boston University. “It makes you shake your head, albeit sadly.”
The first lady stopped at Peking University in Beijing yesterday during a weeklong trip that was billed as cultural rather than political. She told students, accustomed to China’s tight Internet restrictions, that the free flow of information is crucial “because that’s how we discover truth, that’s how we learn what’s really happening in our communities and our country and our world.”
Meanwhile, the first lady’s camp has kept the press away from her vacation, a potential public relations misstep.
“You see that this administration is tone deaf when it comes to politics. They do not understand the political sentiment,” Whalen said. “It seems like it’s one disaster after another when it comes to PR. You don’t want to do this right now.”
“We just didn’t have the resources to conduct all of those exams. Basically we would get about 3,000 requests a month for [medical] exams, but in a 30-day period we only had the resources to do about 800. That rolls over to the next month and creates a backlog,” Mitchell said. ”It’s a numbers thing. The waiting list counts against the hospitals efficiency. The longer the veteran waits for an exam that counts against the hospital as far as productivity is concerned.”
By 2008, some patients were “waiting six to nine months for an exam” and VA “didn’t know how to address the issue,” Mitchell said.
VA Greater Los Angeles Radiology department chief Dr. Suzie El-Saden initiated an “ongoing discussion in the department” to cancel exam requests and destroy veterans’ medical files so that no record of the exam requests would exist, thus reducing the backlog, Mitchell said.
Audio from a November 2008 meeting obtained by TheDC depicts VA Greater Los Angeles officials plotting to cancel backlogged exam requests.
It'll be different with Obamacare. We'll always have plenty of doctors, no backlogs, and it will be super easy to get in to see your doctor. So nothing to worry about. Absolutely okay to have the Government in charge of your health.
In order to treat Gabriel, physicians at Stony Brook University decided to try a completely new kind of operation – one that would cut down on the time the infant spent in the operating room.
Through a collaboration with Medical Modeling Inc. in Golden, Colo., Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Elliot Duboys were able to virtually plan the entire surgery beforehand. Additionally, the company created 3D printed before-and-after models of Gabriel’s skull for the surgeons, so they could accurately predict how the operation’s results would look.
“The first thing we do, after we make a diagnosis, is a CT scan of the baby’s head… and we sent the CT image to [Medical Modeling],” Egnor, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, told FoxNews.com. “Using a computer program, they simulated the baby’s skull with the symmetry and dimensions it should have. Then the company manufactured these templates and sent them to us, so we had the exact measurements.”
Knowing exactly how the skull should look after the procedure, 6-month-old Gabriel was brought in for surgery and placed him under anesthesia. In order to get to the deformed bone, the surgeons made an incision across the top of Gabriel’s forehead, exposing the entire front of the skull and eye sockets.
Through the use of a special saw, the surgeons removed four pieces of deformed bone and made special cuts in the skull to help reshape and restructure the baby’s head. In an attempt to make the remodeling more precise, Egnor and Duboys utilized the 3D printed templates provided by Medical Modeling, which helped to highlight where the surgeons needed to make their incisions.
“They sent us cutting templates, which were pieces of 3D modeling that we were able to place on the child’s skull during surgery,” Duboys, associate professor of surgery at Stony Brook Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “And then we just traced where the cuts should be on the skull, almost like a stencil… And then we know where to cut.”
The software, dubbed Careto, is a sophisticated suite of tools for compromising computers and collecting a wealth of information from them. Whoever is behind the malware sends out "spear phishing" e-mails, with addresses designed to be mistaken for the Web sites of mainstream newspapers, such as The Washington Post or the Guardian. If the user clicks on a link, it takes her to a Web site that scans her system for vulnerabilities and attempts to infect it. There are multiple versions of the malicious software designed to attack Windows, Mac OS X and Linux versions, and Kapersky believes there may be versions that attack iOS and Android.
Once Careto has compromised a system, it begins collecting sensitive information from it. The software can "intercept network traffic, keystrokes, Skype conversations, analyse WiFi traffic, PGP keys, fetch all information from Nokia devices, screen captures and monitor all file operations."
It can also capture any encryption keys found on the machine, which can help launch attacks against other machines. The software has a plug-in architecture, allowing the attacker to dynamically load new software to perform tasks such as monitoring keystrokes or capturing the victim's email.
So who's behind the malware? It's likely that only national intelligence agencies have the resources to build software of this complexity and sophistication. Fragments of Spanish embedded in the software's files suggest that the culprit is a native Spanish speaker. But it's not clear which Spanish-speaking nation would build such a sophisticated intelligence operation. And the researchers note that the fragments of Spanish may be a "false flag" operation: The software's authors may have deliberately inserted Spanish slang into the software's source code to divert attention from the real authors.
Regardless, the emergence of the malware underscores that software-based espionage is an important new source of power. Last year, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency has a large "Tailored Access Operations" department dedicated to building offensive hacking capabilities. If the NSA didn't build Careto, it's a safe bet that they have something like it. And intelligence agencies in China, Russia and other great powers are likely working on software like it too.