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Unnamed group threatens to leak Romney tax returns

An unnamed (for the sake of clarity, let’s NOT call them “anonymous” 😉 ) group says that it stole Mitt Romney’s tax records and will release them unless the company (PricewaterhouseCoopers) pays them one million dollars! The company says there is no immediate evidence that any such theft took place (as if they would know – they’re almost certainly running Windows! 😉 ), and the Secret Service is investigating.

“Using your office” in Franklin, Tennessee, the group tells PricewaterhouseCoopers in an online posting, “we were able to gain access to your network file servers and copy over the tax documents for one Willard M Romney and Ann D Romney.”

It threatens to send encrypted copies to “all major news outlets” and warns, “If the parties interested do not want the encrypted key released to the public to unlock these documents on September 28 of this year then payment will be necessary.”

If the money is not received, “the entire world will be allowed to view the documents with a publicly released key to unlock everything,” the group warns.

It looks like the hacker group is an “equal opportunity” thief – it is perfectly willing to take the $1 million in the online currency “Bitcoins” from either people who want the tax records private or from those who want the tax records released!

PricewaterhouseCoopers tweeted that it is working with the Secret Service and that, at this time, there is no evidence of unauthorized access to their data. (As if they would know – they’re probably running Windows.)

A word about Windows…. I used to rely on “Hanlon’s razor” which states: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Ever since the Stuxnet worm, I have decided that SOME of the holes in Windows are deliberate and are not explicable by stupidity alone. :-)

Postings by the responsible group say that copies of the stolen material, on flashdrives, have been sent to PricewaterhouseCoopers and to the county Democratic and Republican offices and included a scanned copy of Romney’s signature. Both Republican and Democratic organizations CLAIM not to have looked at the material stolen n August 25! 😉 The group that allegedly committed the theft says that all available tax returns from Romney are included, including some from before 2010.

Romney has released his 2010 and 2011 tax returns and has said that he will not release others. :-)

Jeff Garzik, listed on the Bitcoin website as part of its development team, told CNN the “consensus among the Bitcoin chattering class appears to be that this is a hoax.” He cited an online forum in which many users express that view.

The currency is traceable, even if users go by pseudonyms, Garzik said. Every transaction is stored in a “block chain,” which he compares to “a public ledger.”

“It seems unlikely that thieves would make so public a heist, with law enforcement so likely to watch the block chain and associated Bitcoin exchanges,” he said.

Personally, I would like to see the tax returns released. If the hacker group statement constitutes a hoax, I would like to see the returns released by Mitt Romney, himself.

I think that the American people should demand a little more transparency in their would-be leaders.

-Bill at

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