Hackers vs. Politicians, Part I & II
by J. Orlin Grabbe
Hackers vs. Politicians, Part
The following article, "The Still Before the Storm," by James Norman, details
how a group of "Fifth Column" hackers have initiated a campaign to clean up
political corruption, resulting so far in the announced retirement of over
thirty politicians (who have received packages of information detailing their
financial shenanigans). Norman calls this group "CIA computer hackers", though
in fact the group is totally outside government. (One member is ex-NSA, an
agency that member now despises, and another member is ex-CIA.) But, anyway, as
". . . the Fifth Column has managed to penetrate Swiss and other foreign banks
to quietly withdraw what is now an astounding $2.5 billion in illicit money from
coded accounts they have identified as belonging to government figures.
"Starting in 1991, this five-man Fifth Column team has been using its own Cray
supercomputer to break into foreign bank computers, download vast libraries of
data and trace this money to a wide range of illegal activities, from kickbacks
on drug and arms deals to insider trading profits, software piracy and the sale
of state secrets. Oh yes, don't forget tax evasion."
What I like about the Fifth Column campaign is that it simply asks politicians
to live by their own rules. If they want to launder money themselves, then they
should get rid of the money-laundering statutes and let the rest of us have the
same privileges. If they don't want to pay taxes, then let them get rid of the
tax laws. If they want to continue the insane "war on drugs," then they
shouldn't be taking payoffs from drug lords. (It is amazing how
non-authoritarian people become if forced to practice what they preach.)
This article is an introduction to the politically possibilities of hacking.
Hackers Versus Politicians, Part II, will present a brief how-to for the
enterprising hacker to (legally) prepare his or her own background report on any
given politician (sorry, Senator Exon has already received an envelope). Let's
face it: journalists are too
technically incompetent to do the job.
This is the entire text of the James Norman article from the December 1995 issue
of Media Bypass magazine.
THE STILL BEFORE THE STORM
by James Norman
By all appearances, things are business as usual in Washington. There is the
traditional budget bickering this time of the year, the partisan sniping and the
backstabbing among Republican presidential hopefuls angling for pole position
next year. Meanwhile, President Clinton and his ambitious wife manage to hold a
comfortable approval rating in the polls, enjoy favorable press and seemingly
have managed to shrug off persistent "Whitewater" allegations that have dogged
But don't be lulled by the mainstream media, which has been hard at work
pooh-poohing these corruption charges and doubts about the official "suicide" of
former White House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster. This is just the eerie
still before a storm. A hurricane lurks just over the horizon. Thunderheads are
gathering and looming darker. Distant lightning can be seen but not yet heard.
Straws are starting to blow in the wind.
This government may be on the threshold of upheaval unprecedented since the
Civil War. That is the cryptic message coming from multiple well-connected
sources close to the intelligence community, who say big things are quietly
afoot that could fundamentally shuffle this country's political deck. And that
may be just fine with Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who sources
say is quietly maneuvering to use this impending turmoil not just to
"re-engineer government" but to purge both political parties and effect what
amounts to a bloodless coupe d'etat.
Swept away will be not only a raft of big-name Democratic senators and
congressmen, but also many prominent, old-line Republicans who have been feeding
at the trough of corruption for years. It won't stop with politicians, either.
Prominent Wall Streeters, bureaucrats, military officers and a slew of
intelligence bigshots are also said to be about to take a fall. Well over 300
names are said to be involved in the scandal.
"Apocalypse soon!" predicts P.P. Willie.
P.P. Willie is actually a dog. But it is also the pen name for a legendary World
War II military intelligence veteran, now living in St. Petersburg, Fla., who
writes for a semi-weekly newsletter called WASHINGTON REPORT. It is a pithy,
irreverent Capitol gossip sheet with a penchant for pink paper. But it is read
with considerable interest by its 5,000 subscribers - mostly in Washington and
overseas - because Willie is known to be well-connected within the intelligent
community. In the past he has been uncannily accurate about goings-on in the
spook world. And times there now are very troubled.
"Remember reading about TEA POT DOME? How about WATERGATE? Then came
IRAN-CONTRA. Not bad. All the past WASHINGTON political SCANDALS are ITTY
BITTY compared to one that should surface next year, about early spring.
"You don't suppose a few GOOD GUYS in the CIA, FBI, IRS, and NSA (they are not
many, but they exist) are fed up with tucking their tails and running in the
face of WHITE HOUSE pressure? What if they went public with TRUE DOCUMENTED
stories of ESPIONAGE, MURDER, TAX EVASION, DRUG DEALING, MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
STASHED IN OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNTS AND OTHER BIG TIME HANKY PANKY at the very
TIP TOP of the WASHINGTON manure pile? The MAJOR MEDIA would not want to
embarrass the LIBERAL DARLINGS. But WHAT IF A LONDON newspaper and PINK
newsletter broke the story? Talk RADIO would then spread the word across the
nation...The odds are this scandal will break. We hear it's a DONE DEAL."
Whispers of such a spilling of the beans are being heard from multiple, separate
intelligence sources. Specifically, as reported in the August and October
editions of MEDIA BYPASS, a small, vigilante team of CIA computer hackers dubbed
the Fifth Column has managed to penetrate Swiss and other foreign banks to
quietly withdraw what is now an astounding $2.5 billion in illicit money from
coded accounts they have identified as belonging to government figures.
Starting in 1991, this five-man Fifth Column team has been using its own Cray
supercomputer to break into foreign bank computers, download vast libraries of
data and trace this money to a wide range of illegal activities, from kickbacks
on drug and arms deals to insider trading profits, software piracy and the sale
of state secrets. Oh yes, don't forget tax evasion.
The money has been moved to a U.S. Treasury holding account at several Federal
Reserve Banks, escrowed for use by the CIA if and only if the CIA gets rid of
its own bad apples. How could the government hide that much money, denying under
Freedom of Information Act requests that it even exists? Just ask the National
Reconnaissance Office, the government's spy satellite agency, which recently
fessed up to having $1.7 billion stashed in secret accounts.
More important then the money, however, are the NAMES. Who had these accounts?
Are they still in office? Who has the list and the proof? Are they using this
information to extort political blackmail? Will the bad guys be able to buy
their way out of exposure? One thing is certain: Whoever controls this phantom
roster of corrupt politicians and money men has this government's private parts
in a tightening vise. One man who may know is Charles S. Hayes, an irascible
Kentucky computer salvage dealer and recently-retired CIA contractor believed to
be part of, or closely involved with, this Fifth Column.
Hayes, corroborating P.P. Willie's report, does declare that all the names will
come out. Eventually. "When we get good and ready," Hayes says. The Powers That
Be can do little to stop him. Any move against the three remaining Fifth Column
compatriots (one has died and another is disabled) would be certain to unleash
the information in a flood.
At least one big name has already been revealed: Vince Foster. Multiple sources
say one of Foster's several Swiss accounts was raided just before his death of
$2.73 million in proceeds from the sale of sensitive codes and other secrets to
Israel's Mossad. Which may explain why the government is so anxious to portray
Foster's death as a simple suicide. In reality, it could be the loose thread
that unravels a massive tapestry of corruption.
That suicide cover story is rapidly fraying, despite intense efforts by the
White House and Washington establishment to hold it together. For instance,
credible independent handwriting analysts concluded in late October that
Foster's supposed suicide note is a forgery. Indeed, there are a number of
recent tell-tale events that suggest that something very big is at hand. Among
CIA briefings. Beginning in late October, high-level CIA officials began
sensitive one-on-one briefings with key members of Congress and those with
intelligence committee assignments. No staff members are allowed. All parties
are sworn to secrecy. Less than a dozen lawmakers are involved. The subject,
according to two sources: Espionage activities of Vincent Foster and his
alleged partner - First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton - on behalf of Israel's
Mossad and perhaps other foreign governments.
The purpose of these briefings appears to be to prep key leaders for
cataclysmic political events ahead, including the likely indictment and
possible flight to a foreign country of the First Lady and what would surely
be the inevitable removal of Bill Clinton from office.
Resignations. There has been an unusually large number of veteran congressmen
and senators announcing their resignations, retirements or switching parties.
Among them, Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), former chairman and now ranking minority
member of the powerful Armed Services Committee. Another is Rep. Norman
Minetta (D-Calif.), former chairman of the pork-laden House Transportation
Committee. The official explanation: It's no fun now that the Republicans
But sources claim the real reason is that some of these departees have been
quietly confronted with evidence that they took bribes or payoffs through
Swiss or other offshore bank accounts. Rumor has it that about 30 current
members of the House and Senate have been identified as having such foreign
slush-fund accounts and that Gingrich is trying to weed them out before the
names become public.
Curious denials. Multiple good sources have confirmed a report by veteran
Washington correspondent Sarah McClendon that over the Labor Day weekend,
Gingrich attended a "party" at the home of Vice President Al Gore that
included Sen. Bill Bradley, Attorney General Janet Reno and some other
prominent Democrats, after which Gore and Clinton had a shouting match.
But everyone said to be involved in the meeting claims it never took place. Is
it because Gingrich was there to deliver the bad news: a mountain of hard
evidence of high-level corruption? Gingrich declines to be interviewed by
This Fifth Column team apparently began its work in the late 1980s. Their
primary assignment was to break into foreign intelligence agency databases by a
variety of physical and electronic means. But the main means of entry was via
secret "back doors" programmed into the modified "PROMIS" tracking software
which our government, under the direction of CIA spymaster William Casey,
managed to market all over the globe, even to our enemies.
This initial phase of the computer spy effort succeeded in downloading data from
more than 50 foreign intelligence services, including the KGB, the Mossad and
most of Europe's spy agencies, according to various CIA-related sources.
Contrary to boastful claims by the FBI, this is apparently how Russian mole
Aldrich Ames was identified as a double agent more than two years before his
dramatic arrest in February 1994. This is also how the CIA found out Foster was
working for the Mossad, after learning that someone in our government was
delivering highly sensitive computer codes to the Israelis; Foster had been a
long-time handler of sensitive computer spy deals and covert money-laundering
for the NSA (MEDIA BYPASS, Aug. 1995). Found along with Foster's name in the
Mossad data base was that of Hillary Clinton, whose name also cropped up as an
operative for at least two other European intelligence services, as yet
At the time of his death, MEDIA BYPASS has previously reported, Foster was under
close counter-espionage surveillance involving members of the CIA, FBI, Secret
Service as well as an IRS team. Two good sources say they have heard that Saudi
Arabia also had agents surveilling Foster. He knew he was being investigated and
was apparently under pressure to cop a plea to prevent the probe from bringing
down others in the White House. The FBI apparently also knew that Foster's life
was in danger: According to two reliable intelligence sources, on the day of his
death, FBI agents used a pair of bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect Foster's Honda in
the White House parking lot - and probably planted a transponder on the car so
they could track the movements.
White House videotapes of the parking lot, which would have shown that
inspection, have allegedly disappeared, according to this intelligence source.
But sources say the surveillance teams have still photos and videotapes of
Foster's activities on the afternoon he died, July 20, 1993, showing him
entering an apartment. It is here that Foster was apparently killed, after a
sexual encounter with a brownish-blond woman photographed leaving the apartment
afterwards. Also photographed, these sources say, was the hit squad, apparently
"assets" contracted by the Mossad but not including any agents of the Mossad
itself. Foster's body was apparently rolled up in a rug and deposited at Fort
Marcy Park - which is still closed to visitors as the FBI supposedly searches
for the bullet that killed him.
Doggedly, the White House and offical Washington, aided by a blinded mainstream
press, continue to claim it was just a suicide, despite the seriously flawed and
widely discredited report to that effect by original Whitewater Special Counsel
Robert Fiske, and a cursory Senate inquiry.
Sources say it is the continuing coverup, now more than two years after Foster's
death, and the brazen nature of Foster's assassination, that has soured CIA
professionals and has prompted them to consider going public with what they
know. Adding to their frustration was the resignation of reform-minded CIA
director James Woollsey last year and his replacement by John Deutch.
Deutch's job appears to be to keep a lid on things and to protect the Clintons
and the massive, ongoing illegal drug and arms trade that provides the agency
with billions of dollars in revenue completely out of view of Congress and
Deutch's recent attempt to use the Aldrich Ames case as a club to attack the CIA
and its past directors has brought the agency's simmering revolt to a boil.
"Deutch had better watch his altitude and attitude," said one veteran CIA man.
"He'd better get off his soapbox before he gets indicted himself."
Rumors of CIA involvement in drug trafficking go back to before the Vietnam war,
with heroin trade from Laos' Golden Triangle. But in the late '70s or early
'80s, the agency virtually took over and nationalized the wholesale importation
of cocaine into this country through obscure airfields like the one at Mena,
Ark., on the grounds that it was the only way to control the drug trade. In
other words: "If you can't lick them, join them." The operation was soon
generating vastly more money than ever imagined - which has come back to line
the pockets of top government officials from the Reagan, Bush and Clinton
administrations. The money-laundering operations have likewise drawn in major
banks and brokerage houses. By some accounts, the revenues still run upwards of
$7 billion a year.
Details of government involvement in this society- wrecking drug trade are now
emerging from various sources. Bits and pieces emerged during the Iran-Contra
and Iraqgate hearings of the 1980s, which produced a million pages of documents
but only a handful of indictments, and fewer convictions. Perhaps the biggest
fish caught was Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, charged with lying
to Congress. He was pardoned by President George Bush just as Bush was leaving
office in 1992. Curiously, Weinberger's right-hand-man through most of that
period was would-be presidential contender Gen. Colin Powell, who Weinberger had
brought up to be a top military advisor, out of Casey's intelligence empire
where he is said to have served with the NSA and to have been intimately
familiar with the drug and arms flow.
There is also a growing court record of sworn testimony in the wrongful
prosecution case of former CIA contract pilot Terry Reed. Reed claims in his
book, "Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA," that Bill Clinton, while
governor of Arkansas, was well aware of the drug trafficking there but played
along with the game to earn himself the status of an "approved" candidate for
the presidency. With that would come plenty of financing.
Another source now openly discussing the massive drug business is retired Navy
Lt. Commander Alexander Martin. Martin was, in effect, the chief accountant for
the Reagan/Bush drug operations run by Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, through an
obscure arm of the White House National Security Council called the Natinal
Programs Office. In a radio interview with talk show host Tom Valentine last
July, Martin spoke not only of drugs and money, but death. "Out of roughly 5,000
of us who were originally involved in Iran-Contra, approximately 400, since
1986, have committed suicide, died accidently or died of natural causes. In over
half those deaths, official death certificates were never issued. In 187
circumstances, the bodies were cremated before the families were notified."
Martin then said he was lying low.
Not low enough. In late October, Martin was arrested and jailed without bond in
Broward County, Fla., for supposed violation of his probation on a 1990
bad-check charge. Such small-time charges are a common device used to squelch
and discredit former players in this government-run drug and arms racket.
Corruption. Most Americans like to think their government is somehow immune to
the kinds of bribery and abuse of public power rampant in "Third World"
countries. The emerging reality is that the exact opposite is true. The more
wealth and power at stake, the greater the incentive to subvert and corrupt.
Sources say the dark truths predicted to be unveiled by P.P. Willie will be
Hackers vs. Politicians, Part II
by J. Orlin Grabbe
Politicians are those annoying people who--drink in hand--can stare at a
uuencoded file for hours, fall into a sexual reverie involving ASCII entities,
and then weave their way to the nearest TV camera to pontificate about
pornography on the Internet.
But, you ask, if they are so dumb, why are they so rich? Sometimes the latter
*is* a mystery, reminiscent of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.
Take the case of a man who can hardly pay his bills, but who gets elected to
national political office and goes off to Washington for a few years. Then--lo
and behold!--on his simple politician's salary, he suddenly manages to maintain
two fine homes, one inside the beltway in Chevy Chase and another in his home
town community of Rat's Ass, to purchase new cars for his wife and himself, to
accumulate lakefront property in a neighboring county, and to stash away a nice
sum of cash in a foreign bank account.
If the "simple politician's salary" bit sounds improbable, it probably is. Let's
face it: many politicians are on the take. They may have hidden sources of
income involving illegal payoffs from corporations, lobbying groups, or
individuals. Are you a student? Then you will be proud to know that educational
commissions and associations are also a hot new conduit for political bribes.
This article suggests a few basic procedures for finding out whether that
special politician you have in mind is getting more on the side than ASCII sex.
Honest politicians, of course, will have nothing to fear from any of the
Is what I am about to do legal? you ask. Of course it is. To reassure yourself,
pull out your world-wide web browser and take a peak at one of the many data
service companies, say Insights, Inc. (located at
http://isis.iah.com/insights/background/). They promise, using only an
individual or business name and/or address, to provide sufficient information
Preparing Due Diligence Reports
Locating People or Businesses
Exposing and Controlling Fraud
Uncovering & Verifying Background Information
Identifying and Verifying Assets
How do they get away with this? Simple. They legally search public records. Much
of this public-record information is computerized, although some of it is not.
In any event, I do not advocate illegal or questionable access methods, or the
breaking of any laws. Checking up on the (possibly criminal) politician of your
choice doesn't have to be a crime.
Still not convinced? Hop over to Infonet
(http://www.infi.net/~dgs.assc/locator/bgrndnfo.html), which for a fee will mine
public records for nuggets like:
Felony and Misdemeanor Criminal Filings--"Search any court in the nation for a
seven year history of criminal filings and possible convictions." (Many
politicians wait until they reach office to work on this part of their resume,
but some are early starters.)
Driving Histories--"Search a three to seven year history of an individuals
driving performance, including tickets and accidents." (So you don't really care
if your politician speeds a little now and then. But, on the other hand, did
that official who helped him get out of a DWI expect a quid pro quo?)
Upper and Lower Court Civil Filings--"Obtain a civil litigation history of any
individual in any court in the United States." (Is there some hidden reason this
guy is getting sued all the time?)
Social Security Number Tracking--"Access all three credit bureaus to verify the
user of a social security number and the addresses being used." (Having your
politician's social security number is the next best thing to having his Swiss
bank account number.)
Professional Licensing--"Verify the existence and status of an entity's license
in a specific practice area, such as private investigation, medicine, real
estate and more." (Was your politician really a world-renowned physicist before
returning home to run for mayor of Rat's Ass?)
Consumer and Business Credit Reports--"Review account balances, credit terms and
payment histories for an individual or business." ("So, before he went to
Washington, he couldn't pay his bills . . .")
Well, if they can do it, so can you.
So where do you start? Well, first see what the politician him/herself has to
say about the money flows. Federal law (5 USC app. 6, section 101 et seq.)
requires members of Congress to file *Financial Disclosure Statements* yearly.
The Financial Disclosure form has nine parts:
Schedule I: Earned Income
Schedule II: Payments in Lieu of Honoraria Made to
Schedule III: Assets and "Unearned Income"
Schedule IV: Transactions.
Schedule V: Liabilities
Schedule VI: Gifts
Schedule VII: Fact-Finding, Substantial Participation,
and Other Travel
Schedule VIII: Positions
Schedule IX: Agreements
Want to see Newt Gingrich's personal finances for the year 1993? Direct your web
browser to http://www.cais.com/ newtwatch/93sei.html.
Many state, county, and city elections have similar requirements, either on a
personal or a campaign basis. Want to see a copy of the *Candidate Campaign
Statement-Long Form-Form 490* for Joel Ventresca, candidate for Mayor of San
Francisco? Visit Campaign Net at http://tmx.com/sfvote.
These statements represent what a politician says he or she has or gets. But the
really interesting items--like those kickbacks from the Cali cartel--not
surprisingly go unreported. To get the good stuff, you will need your full
The first thing to get is your politician's *social security number (SSN)*. It's
not difficult. Your politician loves to be photographed doing his/her civic duty
of voting. Which means he or she fills out a *voter's registration card* (public
information) which will contain said politician's name, address, date of birth,
party affiliation, and--usually--social security number. Voter files may be
obtained at your politician's local county court house, as well as on many
on-line data bases. A person's SSN is the common key that links together many
commercial and government data bases.
Can't find the SSN number on the voter's registration card? Then try *DMV*
records. The insurance lobby has made sure that driver's records are easy to
get, along with the details of any accidents, and critical driver information
such as height, color of eyes, address--and social security number, if the
latter was required information on the form. (California won't give out
addresses, if a request has been filed not to do so--the "movie star"
exemption.) In about 20 states the individual's social security number is the
driver's license number.
Still searching? Then go with the triple whammy of the major credit
bureaus--TRW, TransUnion, and CBI/Equifax. The Fair Credit Reporting Act
essentially implies you must be contemplating a business relationship--such as
selling a car, renting an apartment, giving a loan, or attempting to collect on
a judgment--with a party to request his credit report. But the *header*
information in the file--such as social security number, date of birth, address,
and spouse's name--is legally available to anyone, and your inquiry (unlike an
actual credit report) will leave no footprints. The addresses and phone numbers
660 N. Central Expressway, Exit 28
Allen, TX 75002
Automated phone: 800-392-1122
5505 Peachtree Dunwoody, #600
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.
Automated phone: 800-685-1111
North Olmsted OH 44070-7000
Automated phone: 800-851-2674
Phone: (714) 738-3800, ext. 6450
Are you a hacker-journalist? Then take a peak at the National Institute for
Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR; located at http://www.nicar.org/). Their
bylaws prohibit them from selling data to nonjournalists (not that you want to
*buy* data anyway--we're just exploring *possibilities*). But data is "sold at
or below costs to journalism organizations or individuals for legitimate
journalism uses only." (Doing your civic duty to keep tabs on your politician
is, naturally, a legitimate journalistic use of the data.) Their data bases
include these publicly-available information sets, among others:
Organization: Government Services Agency
Databases: Federal Procurement Contracts for 1992-1994.
Organization: Federal Election Commission
Databases: Campaign Contributions for the 1991-1994
Organization: Federal Reserve Board
Databases: home mortgage loans covered by Home Mortgage
Disclosure Act (for 1992-1994)
Organization: Federal Aviation Administration
Databases: Service Difficulty Reports, Airman Directory,
Organization: Federal Bureau of Investigation
Databases: Uniform Crime Reports
Organization: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Databases: Gun Dealer Licenses
The existence of such data immediately brings to mind a barrage of possibly
Is there an incestuous relationship between the donors to your politician's
campaign and subsequent federal government contracts? (It always starts
somewhere . . .) To find out, compare federal procurement data with campaign
contributions. Campaign contribution data from the Federal Election Commission
are supposed to include all contributions by individuals and political action
groups (PACs) to a politician's federal election campaign. The Government
Services Agency, meanwhile, keeps Individual Contract Action Reports (ICARs),
which has information about the federal agency granting a government contract,
the identity of the contractor, and the contract dollar amount.
Has your politician recently purchased a new home? What is its value? What was
the down payment? Is he or she living suspiciously beyond his or her means? What
is your politician's race or gender (DNA sequence?)? To start to answer these
questions, look at home mortgage data. The Federal Reserve Board started keeping
data like this in order to check on "fair" lending practices. So the Fed began
tracking home and home-improvement loans, as well as bank-purchased loans. (And
just to help the enterprising hacker, when your politician is buying, or
possibly refinancing, a house, most banks will now ask for his Social Security
Number on the Deed of Trust, especially as the Federal National Mortgage
Association now requires it.)
Does your politician own an aircraft? What's its value? Did he purchase it with
cash? Check the FAA's aircraft records.
Does your politician own a gun even while advocating gun control? If he bought
the gun from a dealer, ATF records can help out here.
And so on.
Now let's get to the nitty-gritty: *city, county, and state records*. The *City
Clerk* in your politician's home town will have a list of business licenses
(name, address, date) and building permits (name, address, cost of
construction). The *County Clerk* or *County Recorder* should have liens on file
(lien holder, payment agreements), a Probate Index (estate settlements), records
of lawsuits and judgments, powers of attorney with respect to real estate,
records of mortgages on personal property, and bankruptcy papers. Here you can
find out not only the value of your politician's property, but also the names,
addresses, and property values of everyone who lives on his street. *City and
County Courts* will also maintain a Civil Index (civil actions, plaintiffs and
defendants, as well as civil files: description of any disputed property or
valuables), a Criminal Index (criminal cases in Superior Court, as well as
criminal files), and voter's registration files.
The *county tax collector* will have a description of any property owned, as
well as taxes paid on real estate and personal property. The *county assessor*
may also have maps and photos, or even blueprints showing the location of your
politician's hot tub. The *Secretary of State* will have corporation files and
possibly annual reports of your politician's company.
Okay, let's go over it again, taking it slow. With your politician's social
security number in hand, you can get header information from the major credit
bureaus. This will give you a seven to ten year history of addresses, as well
any spousal name or names. The latter is very important, since your average
politician's instinct will be to keep questionable sums of money and suspect
personal assets in the name of his or her spouse, sibling, business associate,
Next you go to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, to find out your
politician's tastes in cars, trucks, motorcyles, boats, trailers, and
recreational vehicles. Of course if your politician leases any of the above, he
or she will not show up as the vehicle owner. So the next thing to do is to run
the license plate number of that Caddy parked out front, since this will give
you the name of both lessee and lessor.
Next you talk to someone who does business with your politician, and who thus
has a permissible reason under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to run a credit
check. This will give you a listing of all your politician's credit accounts,
current balances, payment history, and payment terms. Any bankruptcies in the
last ten years, or liens or judgments in the last seven years, will be listed.
Did your politician suddenly receive a huge campaign contribution from some
source, soon after your politician found himself stuck with a quarter million
dollar judgment against him? If so, he won't be the first person who has sold
out his country to pay off a personal financial debt.
What property does your politician own? The offices of County Recorder and
County Tax Assessor will give you the land value, improvement value, and total
assesssed values for any property. They will frequently have also the amounts
received for any sales, the sale dates, as well as information on the
mortgage-holder or other lender. Did your politician get a large loan from
Washoe International State Bank just about the time Washoe International State
Bank was having trouble with state banking regulators, who are overseen by a
legislative committee on which your politician sits?
Does your politician own a business of any consequential size? Then run a
business credit check. Who are (were) your politician's business associates? Who
are the company officers and principals? Or--if as is commonly the case--your
politician is a lawyer, who are the law partners? Look also for bankruptcies,
tax liens, public records filings, judgments, and UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)
financing statements. These documents may turn out to be filled with all sorts
of unexpected names, dates, and activities.
On what honorary commissions does your politician serve? Do the commission's
audited financial statements show any payments for services not rendered? This
was apparently what New York Attorney General Dennis Vacco was wondering, when
he noted, on January 9, 1996, in a letter to the National Center on Education
and the Economy: "Statement 11 on your 1990 Federal 990 and Note 5 on your 1990
audited financial statements indicate that the Center had retained the services
of Hillary Rodham Clinton, a member of the Rose Law firm, to direct your
Workforce Skills Program while she also served as a member of the Center's Board
of Trustees. Statement 11 of the 1990 filing indicates that Mrs. Clinton
received $23,000 for unspecified services. The 1990 filing also refers to a
second contract, which was reported to be in the amount of $150,000 covering the
period February 1, 1991 through January 31, 1992, and a similar statement
appears on Statement 11 attached to the 1991 Federal 990."
Moreover, did either Hillary Clinton or the Rose Law firm pay taxes on the sums
received? (A little birdie tells me neither one did.)
The office of the Secretary of State in any of the 50 states can be a source of
UCC searches. UCC Indices will show whether your politician is listed as either
a debtor or secured party. (Okay. So your politician is up to his neck in debt
to Jackson Stephens. That doesn't mean he listens to a word of political advice
Stephens gives him. No way.)
Superior Courts, Federal Bankruptcy Courts, Small Claims Courts, and city,
county, and state tax authorities keep records of tax liens, court judgments,
and bankruptcy filings. These reveal not only outstanding financial obligations,
but also personal and company affiliations, partners, subsidiaries, and
dependents. (Is there a Don Lasater or Don Tyson in your politician's
Does your politician really have those degrees he claims? Call the college
registrar. Despite what you think, many politicians don't believe in their own
"self-made man" rhetoric, and will enhance their resumes with unearned degrees.
This in itself may only be a venal sin, but someone who records falsehoods in
this area will likely also lie in others.
Has your politician been in the news? Check your library's newspaper file, along
with reader's guides, and other news indexes. On the Internet, you can quickly
search for your politician's name among the 8 billion words on 16 million WWW
pages, using the new Alta Vista search utility created by Digital Equipment
Corporation. You can also do a name or keyword search through all 13,000 Usenet
groups. Alta Vista is located at .
Be sure to read Lee Lapin's book The Whole Spy Catalog (Intelligence
Incorporated, 2228 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403; ISBN 1-880231-10-7)
for literally dozens of names, addresses, and phone numbers of data information
providers, along with an evaluation of their services. You don't need to
patronize these services in order to steal ideas from them.
Basically none of these providers specializes in politicians, so after a little
self-education and set-up, you may be in a position to start your own business
in political investigations. Bill yourself as a 21st Century Sherlock Holmes.
(*Somebody* has to stop the nefarious influence of DigiCrime, Inc., found at
Oh. About those foreign bank accounts. Well, I'll leave that to your
imagination. But a little birdie told me if you call a military base computer,
find an out-dial number, call another military base, and so on, going through a
*minimum* of three military bases, any trace back will stop at the third
Whatever you do, don't do anything
END OF JAMES NORMAN ARTICLE FOR DEC 1995
MEDIA BYPASS [Transcribed and first posted to Internet
by Ken Cook]
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