DID FACTCHECK PROVIDE THE LINK BETWEEN THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN AND THE 2008 PASSPORT FILE BREACHES?
Technical Analysis by John F. Sweeney
(Mar. 21, 2010) — The two-year anniversary of “Passportgate” was this past Monday, March 14. Passportgate was the covert “accessing” of passport records by three contractors at the State Department. Two of the contractors were fired. The contractor who was not fired, but only disciplined, worked for The Analysis Corporation. John O. Brennan is the president of The Analysis Corporation. He is also a former CIA official and is now Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
The dates of access are January 9, February 21 and March 14, 2008. The initial reports indicated only a breach of Obama’s records. Later it was reported that Clinton and McCain’s records had been accessed. The names of the individuals, including the one still working at the State Department, have never been released. Officially, it was a simple matter of snooping; no criminal charges were filed and it was handled only with “disciplinary” action. For such a serious breach, the penalties were light.
So what is the relevance of Passportgate and March 14, 2008? One must go back two days to March 12, 2008 for the answer. This is because from all available information, background, verifiable data and facts, March 12, 2008 is the first verifiable history of the now infamous Obama internet COLB, exactly two days prior to the last passport break-in. Specifically, the first documentable record of the COLB starts at the hour of 22:41:37 on March 12, 2008. This is the date and time stamp from the digital photo that is shown on the FactCheck website dedicated to Obama’s COLB.
Specifically, it is the photo named “birth_certificate_3.jpg.” FactCheck has removed the original embedded data, known as EXIF data, from its website, but an original version with the EXIF data can be found at the 24ahead.com website.
What is known about this photo named “birth_certificate_3.jpg”? As stated above, the date/time stamp digitally recorded when the photo was taken indicates the photo was taken March 12, 2008 and the time is recorded as 22:41:37 or 10:41 p.m. Other data available from the EXIF data indicates the camera used was a Canon PowerShot A570IS. It was in Auto mode with red-eye reduction mode on, the flash did not fire during the photo, the exposure time was 1/60th (relatively slow), and the F-stop (aperture) was 4.00.
While these values are shown in the EXIF data, we know they were automatically selected by the camera and not the photographer because we can also see the camera was set to full auto mode — simply point and shoot. The result was a slightly blurred, overexposed photo of printed, greenish-tint document.
In the photo, a document is being held up to a light source. The light source is behind the photographer since the shadow of his arm is over the document. The light source is also the predominant lighting since the background is dark and the overhead office lights are off in the background. Analysis of the background finds: a) the overhead office lights off, and b) no natural light coming in from the large windows that can be seen. The conclusion is that that photo was taken at night. Was it at 10:41 p.m.? There is nothing in the photo to contradict that digitally-captured time.
What else can be found in the background of the photo? The carpet of the room where the photo was taken is clearly visible in the bottom of the photo. It has a distinct pattern. There is a person sitting to the right side of the photo. They are sitting at a desk or cube that has a short wall divider. The furniture appears to be red or orange (difficult to tell exactly, since it is dark in the room background). But the make and model of the furniture appears consistent with Steelcase Criterion Plus. There is a model of that chair which comes in orange fabric. The area is a large office open landscape area. Large exterior windows can be seen in the background of the photo. Lights from other office buildings can be seen through the windows.
Photos of the Obama Chicago campaign headquarters show an open landscape office environment, with short wall dividers, with Steelcase Orange chairs and with the same distinctive carpet. The background in the photo matches the well-photographed Obama Chicago campaign headquarters. The matches are perfect: same carpet, same office furniture, same office. It is clear that “birth_certificate_3.jpg” from the FactCheck site was taken at the Obama Chicago campaign headquarters. It was also most certainly taken at night. Everything observable in the photo matches the EXIF data. Was it taken March 12, 2008? Available evidence indicates this is the case. The publishers of FactCheck say no, the time was incorrectly set after a battery failure. But with that explanation, they would have to be the most inept and careless reporters in the world. Also, I have owned several makes of Canon cameras, and I have yet to have a factory-provided battery fail.
What else is in, or more importantly, not in this photo? There is absolutely no evidence of a raised seal in the lower right portion of the document where the supposed scans and other supposed photos show the raised, 3-D seal from the Department of Health machine. The seal should be located in the area that has the shadow of the arm. But it is not there. It is not visible to the naked eye; there is not a sign of it under any zooming of the original photo; no digital manipulation tools find any evidence of a raised seal in this picture. With 100% certainty, the raised seal is not there. So this is merely a picture of a printout. It is definitely not an official COLB from Hawaii.
Here is the summary of FactCheck’s “birth_certificate_3.jpg.” The digitally-encoded stamp indicates the photo was taken March 12, 2008 at 10:41 p.m. The photo was definitely taken at Obama Chicago headquarters and it was taken at night. The photo is not that of an official Hawaiian issue COLB due to the lack of a raised seal.
FactCheck has provided key evidence of a strong link between the passport file breaches and the Obama campaign. It does not take much to connect the dots — timeline or players. Yet this has not been done by any media source.
What about the other FactCheck documents, specifically, “birth_certificate_4.jpg,” “birth_certificate_5.jpg,” and “birth_certificate_6.jpg”? First, the “originals” of these photos are not posted at FactCheck. The EXIF data is not available, so EXIF data analysis is not possible. When these photos were taken, by what camera and with what settings is all unknown. There is nothing linking these or the other photos on the FactCheck website to “birth_certificate_3.jpg.” But the photos are still very high resolution and have plenty of details. But it must be pointed out that these photos were taken in artificial and very poor lighting that distorts the color of the document being photographed. Why would serious journalistic photographers intentionally take pictures in poor lighting conditions?
Before going further with these photos, it is important to go back to what appears to be the original COLB image — the image posted by Daily KOS. That is a very high resolution image. It is portrayed as a scan of the original document. That has been challenged and it is well-documented that this image is almost certainly a fake. Also, when the document is analyzed by a freeware product that can detect manipulation, the “signature” detected indicates the document was definitely manipulated using Adobe Photoshop CS3 Macintosh.
It appears at some point the source for this image was a scan, likely of an actual Hawaiian COLB. The key element here is that there are a number of distinct dots, likely from dust or dirt during the scan process, in the image. These dots were certainly not part of an actual COLB. The largest of these dots is one that is to the left of the State of Hawaii seal and below the “E” in the word CERTIFICATE that is in the border. It is clearly visible to the naked eye upon printing of the document. There are other very distinct dots in various places in the image. The other dots, though present after a high quality print, are not easily visible to the naked eye. Here is an index to these “dots” that gives each a name:
1. Big Dot — as described above, it is visible upon printing the Daily KOS image.
2. D Dot — this is below and slightly to the left of the D in the word DEPARTMENT in the DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH header on the upper right of the image.
3. Double Dots — to the right of the word AFRICAN, there are two dots close to each other. They are above the words “facie evidence” in the lower part of the image.
These dots provide the digital DNA to map other photos and images back to the Daily KOS high resolution image.
In “birth_certificate_4.jpg,” the D dot is clearly present, indicating the source for this document was the Daily KOS image. In “birth_certificate_5.jpg” and “birth_certificate_6.jpg,” the Double Dots are clearly visible under digital zoom. What is not visible in the photos is the Big Dot. Also, some of the dots that are on the left side of the document do not show up in 4, 5 and 6. What has happened is that the image from Daily KOS was cleaned up before printing. The Big Dot had to be fixed due to its size. Some of the other marks were fixed on the left-hand side of the document where people would look at the names, etc. But other distinct markers were not fixed prior to printing the image.
So these three photos are of manipulated Daily KOS images. The other photos that show a seal are not really worth reviewing. The photos are extreme close-ups, again in poor lighting. The view is so close that it cannot be determined if these images even came from the same document as in the 3, 4, 5 and 6 photos.
So there are lots of dots here. The dots, both figuratively and literally, are out in the open. The problem is that no one, certainly not the media of any type, have even looked at the dots and investigated if they connect.