Friday, March 21, 2008

A Question of Doubt M'lud.

I don't like sloppy reporting. And I've just listened to what sounded like an example of just that on Radio Five. George Brook, the Saturday Editor of the Times was talking about stories in the news - perhaps in tomorrow's Times. The main story that had caught his eye is a series of unauthorised peeks into the secret files of Barak Obama. It seems that no-one has been apprehended for this crime, but Mr Brook concluded that the only motive behind it was to seek out 'political dirt'. Without presenting any evidence, he went further. He stated emphatically that this was obviously done by Barak Obama's Democrat opponents, or by the Republicans, looking for information to discredit him.

Well I'm sorry, Mr Brook, but it doesn't automatically mean this at all. The first thought that came into my mind was that it was the Obama camp itself which was responsible. Clearly, whoever had done the infiltrating had left enough evidence to ensure that the crime would be discovered - which is something I would not have expected the Clinton or McCain camps to have done. They would have remembered Watergate. And ask yourself who is the only person to benefit from revelations of this sort. Oh Dear, am I really more cynical than a the editor of a national newspaper.


Dr. Christopher Wood said...

So the Times seeks to emulate the BBC in publishing stroppy, unchecked/unverified/ 'news' stories ... what a surprise (not)!

You're right Glyn. A passport file has the barest of boring details, home address, telephone number, social security number – the stuff that one fills in and can file at a local post office, along with a couple of photographs of one’s mug, and the post office clerk might have taken a copy of a couple of proof-of-ID documents a driving license and some kind of proof of U.S. citizenship.

I dare say that Federal employees and contract workers have snooped at the files of famous actors, politicians and so on – wrong yes; invasion of privacy – yes; but did George Bush or Condoleezza Rice do it or authorize it? Nope. (Condoleezza Rice heads up the U.S. State Dept.).

Imho, Federal and State files should be subject to authorized access codes – to avoid contract employees and junior office employees fishing or giving into their curiosity and looking at files that they should not look at. I dare say the same kind of thing happens in main street banks, building societies, driving license authorities, just about any business or government organization and is probably a source for criminal ID theft, something that is a growing problem.

Graham said...

It is now being reported that John McCain and Hillary Clinton also had their files looked at.

I fear this sort of unauthorised access could occur just as easily here, and draws attention yet again to the folly and risks of the UK Government's desire to acquire and hold masses of personal information for ID cards and other purposes.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Hey Glyn, this story is getting 'better' every minute.

The Washington Times writes, "The State Department investigation of improper computer access to passport records of three presidential candidates is focusing on one remaining employee — a contract worker with a company headed by an adviser to the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama".

So the contract worker is an employee of a company headed by an adviser to Obama.

I still think the motive was curiosity ... what is that saying about a curious cat?

Glyn Davies said...

graham - so right about ID Cards. Anything to do with this Government's 'secret' files is a disaster. Might as well put your details on the village notice board.

Christopher - I wasn't saying that Barak Obama had snooped into his own files as a smear tactic against his oponents - just that his team could have done, and that it was just as likely as the McCain or Clinton teams being the culprit.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn: I know you didn't ... sorry for the miss-communication.

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