“ALL THE LINES TO THE WHITE HOUSE WERE DOWN FOR ALL SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN”
by Sharon Rondeau
The fund was designed to provide for Lakin’s family during his imprisonment, imposed for his refusal to deploy to Afghanistan until seeing proof that Barack Hussein Obama was constitutionally eligible to serve as president and commander-in-chief.
Lakin was also forced to forfeit all pay and benefits during his imprisonment, which ended in May 2011 and was followed by a dishonorable discharge.
In 2010, Lakin was a 17-year veteran flight surgeon with the U.S. Army supporting Gen. George Casey’s unit and having served in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Beginning in 2008, Lakin queried members of Congress and his chain of command as to Obama’s eligibility but received no answers. A letter written to Obama was also ignored.
While serving his sentence, the White House released what it said was a scan of a certified copy of Obama’s long-form birth certificate. Almost immediately, however, experts declared the image fraudulent. Unforeseen at the time, a five-year criminal investigation ensued which confirmed, through the employee of two forensic analysts, that the image cannot possibly be authentic.
Last Saturday, without coordination with Ciavolino, a petition was launched by Gary Wilmott to the White House and Congress to reinstate Lakin in the Army with a full pardon, back pay and benefits. As of this writing, the petition shows 224 signatures, although there is reason to believe that it has been signed by thousands more.
On Friday Ciavolino told The Post & Email that in December, he began a quiet effort to obtain a presidential pardon from then-President-Elect Donald Trump once he took office. Part of the reasoning presented in a letter to a member of Trump’s legal team was that Obama should have granted Lakin a pardon given that Lakin’s request to see Obama’s original birth certificate was refused by the Army, but as Lakin served his sentence at Fort Leavenworth, the White House released what it said was an image representative of Obama’s original birth certificate.
Ciavolino, who has extensive experience with website technical issues, told The Post & Email that after he sent out email notifications to between 30,000 and 40,000 addressees about Wilmott’s Lakin petition and the signature counter on the petition did not change, he suspected that something was amiss.
He explained that there is a “standard online test” which can be run on any website to determine the status of security settings and specifically, SSL certificates. “Sure enough, the two certificates for the primary interface of the petition site were invalid and revoked. The website will still work in that state, but the whole point of an SSL certificate is there is some measure of certification that the website is valid,” Ciavolino told us.
The Post & Email then asked, “That’s a security measure, isn’t it, for websites which sell things?” and he responded:
There are actually multiple levels. They can be generated ad hoc. However, at the high levels, where the White House should be, along with sites like Amazon, there are very sophisticated SSL certificates that require multiple confirmation of ownership of the business, of creditworthiness…they really are thorough.
For those to have been “revoked and invalid” was astounding to me for a site at that level. They expire only once a year, so I am thinking that some disgruntled staffer revoked them, which he could have done with one button. I’m guessing there was some malfeasance there, and this wouldn’t have affected just Terry’s petition; it would affected every petition.
There is one more thing that is utterly stunning. I sent all of those emails, and then I emailed the White House through their form; I emailed my congressman’s office and didn’t get a response from either one of them. I am a friend of my congressman; I worked on his campaign, so I’m kind-of connected.
I got a call yesterday afternoon from a super-nice young staffer at my congressman’s primary office in Maryland, and she said, “We really have a problem.”
I’ve worked on the campaign side for years, but never on the administrative side.
She said, “Every congressman and senator has a liaison at every federal agency, and they have a direct phone line to their liaisons. So a congressman can call the liaison on a private line at any federal agency and they are supposed to be able to get to them immediately. There is a staffer assigned only to congressmen and senators to handle their issues, whether they are executive or legislative.
All the lines to the White House were down for all senators and congressmen. The staffer could not get through on her liaison lines to anyone. So she called the switchboard directly, just as I would, and it took her about 20 minutes to convince the nice lady at the switchboard that she was actually a congressman’s staffer. The lady put her over to the webmaster, where she left a message.
She called me back, and I explained to her about the SSL certificate and the non-responsiveness of the petition. I’m now waiting to hear back from them.
The Post & Email then related to Ciavolino our attempt to reach the White House through the online contact form as well as our inability to leave a comment on the public comment line at 4:11 PM on Monday, January 23.
The staffer has worked for the congressman for nine years, but she’s never been through a presidential transition. If you really think about it, and I know this from Maryland politics because I’ve worked with a lot of state senators for over 25 years, it’s what one of my former candidates called a “fourth branch of government” which is a huge body of appointed and career people who are GS and SES and survive from administration to administration.
When Bob Ehrlich was governor of Maryland, he was criticized for not being able to do things, and one of the reasons was that the Democrat sludge in Maryland was still there. He would issue something, and people would just sit on it for months or years and would not act on it or write the check or whatever.
It is a fascinating process.
I can hardly imagine transitioning an eight-year Democrat administration…think of all the things you have to do. But it would seem to me that some really critical things like existing web services and telephones should be working. It’s really serious.
At this point I’ve gone to the highest levels possible as a citizen, and I’ll keep you updated on what happens.