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Take 2: YouTube Posted
October 25, 2008

Columbus Dispatch: Investigators Probing Searches of Government Computers for Derogatory Information on Joe the Plumber

That tipped story.

"State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about "Joe the Plumber."


Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.

Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.

It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why. Direct access to driver's license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.

Paul Lindsay, Ohio spokesman for the McCain campaign, attempted to portray the inquiries as politically motivated. "It's outrageous to see how quickly Barack Obama's allies would abuse government power in an attempt to smear a private citizen who dared to ask a legitimate question," he said.


The attorney general's office is investigating if the access of Wuzelbacher's BMV information through the office's Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway computer system was unauthorized, said spokeswoman Jennifer Brindisi.

"We're trying to pinpoint where it came from," she said. The investigation could become "criminal in nature," she said. Brindisi would not identify the account that pulled the information on Oct. 16.


On Oct. 17, BMV information on Wurzelbacher was obtained through an account used by the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency in Cleveland, records show.


The State Highway Patrol, which administers the Law Enforcement Automated Data System in Ohio, asked Toledo police to explain why it pulled BMV information on Wurzelbacher within 48 hours of the debate, Hunter said.

One bit I cut: The Attorney General's office is claiming an internal investigation clears itself.


Ah, America. Where you're allowed to express any political opinion you like, so long as you're willing to permit Obama's government thugs to illegally dig up derogatory information on you and then flood it out to their media allies.

By the Way: I'm not a complete idiot. When I say I have a tip, I have a tip. Sometimes it turns out to be garbled (like that RICO thing), and sometimes it doesn't pan out for reasons beyond my control or ability to predict (babysitter source getting scared), but I'm not just making this shit up, I assure you.

I have no reason to lie. You might think "goosing traffic" is a reason to lie -- it isn't. I'm pulling in numbers now that I'm utterly delighted by and would not risk them by reporting utter nonsense just to get a one-day spike in traffic that ultimately costs me far more hits than I'd gain.

That is, even if you assume I'd be willing to lie just for my own self-interest. Even self-interest, though, favors being somewhat careful about this stuff.

I thought the babysitter thing was a go this Saturday. Nailed down. Source ready to talk, big-time Outlet ready to put it on the air. Source backed out. Not really a whole lot I could do.

As I'm not a reporter and do not have access first-hand to these sources, I can't be sure about them. I do ask myself obvious questions like:

1) Is this person in a position to know something about what he claims to know?

2) Has he provided reliable information before?

3) Is he most likely not a maniac?

4) Does this sound pretty plausible?

The other day I got an email from someone who said he knew someone who in turn knew Ashley Todd's family, and he vouched for her, said that she wouldn't do something like this.

I didn't print it. For one thing, this was the first time I'd ever heard from this particular guy.

For another thing, he really didn't know the family directly, he was just passing on I-know-a-guy-who-knows-a-guy-stuff. That's pretty attenuated.

For a third thing, I sorta thought there was a good chance Ashley Todd was hoaxing, and I really didn't want to vouch for her by proxy.*

Anyway, the point is, not everything that comes into my email box goes out on to the blog.

Everything like this I put out involves a calculation: How cool is it that I (and my readers, of course) get this early versus how much of a fucking jackass will I look like if this doesn't pan out.

That second part is a big one.

Sometimes I'm going to be wrong.

But I'm not oblivious to the concept of caution.

* It did however make me sightly more inclined to believe her tale, though, I guess. Still, I never really put the odds of the story being true at much higher than 30%. Just enough that I couldn't call her a liar.

PS: I'm not saying "trust me."

I am saying "trust I'm not outright lying to you -- my self-interest alone militates against that --, and trust I've done at least a minimal level of scrutiny into the tipster."

I can always be wrong. I'm just saying -- I'm trying not to be wrong. I'm not just throwing stuff out there willy-nilly.

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