Sunday, April 20, 2008

Upon further review...

In my article last Friday about the use of video to help voters gain oversight of their elected officials, I used as one example the "Hacker-gate" incident, where Sen. Joe Lieberman and his campaign made wayward and irresponsible accusations against Ned Lamont, his campaign staff, and the bloggers who were sympathetic to his campaign. The investigation both by the FBI and Dick Blumenthal's office turns out to show absolutely NO evidence of foul play by any of them/us.

Subsequently, the FBI's investigation further showed that the definite blame for Sen. Lieberman's website crash was caused by his own staff's incompetence and their use of a low-bandwidth ISP package, which was easily overwhelmed by their own email usage the day before the primary.

The primary was held on August 8, 2006. Attorney General Blumenthal's own investigation wrapped up in late December, which was after the general election concluded, though the results of his investigation weren't officially announced. Brian Lockhart of the Stamford Advocate made an inquiry to Blumenthal's office about the investigation and was told they had found no evidence of wrong doing in the crash.

The FBI's investigation wrapped up in October, at least 10 days before the general election, and an internal memo from October 25th was revealed by an FOI request earlier this month that not only exonerated Ned Lamont and his staff, but also placed the fault of the website crash firmly on Joe Lieberman's people.

This information may never have become public had it not been for Brian Lockhart's FOI request, which took well over a year to process.

When I interviewed Dick Blumenthal four days after the date of the FBI memo, he stated that his investigation was ongoing, which at the time it was.

This raises several immediate questions. Why didn't the FBI share this information with the CT AG's office? Why did it take so long for Blumenthal's investigation to conclude? And why, when it was clearly in the public interest to reveal the results of both the Federal and State investigations since so many people had been harmed by Lieberman's false accusations, did it take so goddamned long for this information to come out?

That being said, I do want to apologize to Dick Blumenthal if my article made it look like he had been less than truthful with me. I am now convinced that he was answering my questions honestly, and while there are many things about this case that still puzzles me and justifies further investigation, I wouldn't want any lingering doubt about Mr. Blumenthal's honesty to remain. He and his staff have been very good about having an open dialog with me ever since this story cropped up earlier this month.

So, in the parlance of an NFL referee, "upon further review, the ruling on the field is overturned."

I'll close with this, a lovely original composition by former Lieberman campaign wizard Sean Smith, entitled "An Ode To Lamont's Hackers":

Is it any wonder why so many of us were upset by this bullshit?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CT Bob said...

Using the word "boy" to describe one of the leading Democratic candidates for president will always get your comment deleted from this blog.

Use your head, you stupid anonymous douche.

ctblogger said...

I think you should check the videotape...


In a statement released last week, Blumenthal said his office never saw or read the FBI e-mail until its contents were reported by The Advocate.

"Even when we work cooperatively, the FBI never shares such internal documents with my office, a practice and policy we respect given our very different roles and responsibilities," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal, a Democrat, said his investigation into the crash "was active and ongoing" until December 2006.

"Throughout the investigation there were discussions between my office and the U.S. attorney's office regarding the direction of the federal investigation but not any conclusion until after the election," Blumenthal said. "To have made any premature public predictions before our investigation ended . . . would have been irresponsible and improper."

Thomas Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney, said in a statement that the office updated the Lieberman campaign and Blumenthal on the investigation in late October 2006.

"In accordance with our usual practice . . . the Lieberman campaign, as the alleged victim, and the office of attorney general, which had been conducting a contemporaneous investigation . . . were provided with limited information," Carson said. "The investigation was administratively closed several weeks later."

Tom Swan, Lamont's former campaign manager, said Carson's response is alarming.

"They acknowledge letting the Lieberman campaign know and never letting anybody from the Lamont (campaign) know," Swan said.