So what's all this about Romney's tax returns being hacked?

Supposedly an anonymous person or persons talked themselves into an office at Price Waterhouse Coopers and copied files containing a bunch of Mitt Romney’s tax returns. They claim that encrypted drives have been sent to various news outlets and political party offices. They’re demanding that $1,000,000 be deposited in a BitCoin account or they’ll release the encryption key. On top of that they’ve set up a second BitCoin account for the opposite. If somebody deposits $1,000,000 into that account they will release the key. Which account receives the full million first will determine whether or not they release the key. If nothing is deposited anywhere they will release it on Sept. 28.

The story seems to have started with a pastebin post.

Then it was reported in the “Nashville City Paper”.

It all seemed like a bunch of bull to me. Now ABC News is reporting it, and flash drives are being delivered as promised.

I’m still skeptical that they actually have the files, but this may get interesting.

I’m extremely doubtful. It would be so much easier to make up a fake return than to steal the genuine one.

Supposedly they also sent a drive to Price Waterhouse Cooper. Presumably this one would not be encrypted (PWC already has the information anyway) in order to prove that they have the returns. I don’t think PWC has said anything yet.

Dumbasses are going to jail is about all that is likely to happen.


I’m doubtful that you could do something like this with BitCoin. Wouldn’t an attempt to purchase a million dollars worth drive the price through the roof?

Maybe the whole thing is an attempt to manipulate the BitCoin market.

If I had a tinfoil hat, I’d wonder if this is really just a ploy from the left or someone anti Romney to push Romney to release them on his own-- ya know, to head off the blackmailers and all that. Sort of like what I think Harry Reid was trying to do. . . just on steroids.

Or it’s a false flag operation by the Romney campaign (or another GOP outfit of ratfuckers) trying to neutralize the tax return issue for Mitt by turning him into a sympathetic victim of a dastardly crime.

The tinfoil hat theory I’ve heard is that the White House already has the tax returns (illegally gotten courtesy of the IRS), and will plant them somewhere, claiming they were “hacked”.

It has a certain elegance to it.

Not that I believe it.

I can’t see the White House creating such a stupidly elaborate plan to release them like this though— just leaking them, sure, but this?

This has “amateur” written all over it.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the story as reported is accurate, it sounds like the perpetrators are doing a pretty good job of covering their tracks. And assuming that the story as reported is not accurate, there may well not even be any genuine crime here at all.

Is there any verifiable way for third parties (i.e., us) to determine how much has been deposited into either of the bitcoin accounts? Watching those numbers might prove interesting.

My (completely uneducated) guess is that it’s someone trying to draw mainstream attention to the very existence of bitcoins.

Hmmm…wasn’t someone here just asking if these things were ever going to be a viable currency? :eek:


Oh, also: Why is this being reported as a “hack”? So far as I can tell from the original messages, there was no computer hacking involved: They physically sneaked into a building, then physically gained access to hardcopies of the returns (they say that they weren’t in a convenient electronic form), then scanned and saved them onto hardware to which they had legitimate access. Social engineering, sure, and lockpicking and related activities, likely, but hacking, no.

And yet also: Even assuming that the theft really did happen, there’s no evidence that the folks who pulled off the theft had any connection whatsoever with the folks who posted the ransom messages. It’s possible that someone saw the original posting, and decided it was an opportunity to turn a quick buck.

With a little fluffing and the right actors, this could be an okay movie.

They could easily release scans right now with the juicy bits redacted, or at least enough to show it’s not BS.

I’m thinking Kevin Spacey for the lead.

Who are you thinking for the fluffers?

Oh man, I *gotta *see how this ends up. It could be larceny. It could be fraud. I am equally interested either way!

Ooh! Ooh! Pick me!!!

Because “Watergated” doesn’t have quite the same pizzazz.