Have Romney’s Tax Returns Been Hacked?
[ORIGINAL] — So it is being reported, by various outlets, that a “group of hackers” has obtained, through something resembling Mission Impossible/Sneakers like antics, several of Mitt Romney’s prior tax returns.
The group claims that the files they allegedly have obtained will be released to the public on September 28th unless a sum of Bitcoins in the amount of $1 million is transferred to them by that time.
It appears the group is willing to have people bid for the documents though, so that should someone else wish to pay more than $1 million Bitcoins, they would release the documents to that person instead.
“A letter in the package corresponds to an incredible claim posted anonymously on a website popular among computer hackers that boasts of having downloaded copies of the tax returns obtained by hacking into systems via PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Franklin office. Whoever is behind the message is threatening to release the filings by the end of the month unless they receive $1 million.”
“The City Paper has been unable to independently confirm whether the county officials or PricewaterhouseCoopers have received packages. Federal law enforcement personnel would not confirm or deny an ongoing investigation into the matter.”
Which leads me to believe that there is something going on, or else there wouldn’t be an ongoing investigation to worry about.
Of course, if all of this is true, it creates a brilliant Catch-22. I’m left to wonder why, if the hacker group has the documents, they would make a spectacle like this, knowing full well that the Romney camp already knows what’s in the tax returns, unless there really is something damning, or at least somewhat embarrassing hiding within. The Romney camp couldn’t actually pay off the group, since that would obviously look just as bad.
I’ll post any other developments as I find them, or as people in the comments bring them to my attention.
[UPDATE] – Here is the original post, allegedly from the hacker group.
A statement from PricewaterhouseCooper per CNET, denying any evidence of a break-in:
“We are aware of the allegations that have been made regarding improper access to our systems…We are working closely with the United States Secret Service, and at this time there is no evidence that our systems have been compromised or that there was any unauthorized access to the data in question.”
An important contribution to the developing story from CNN:
“Many hackers take numerous steps to protect anonymity, making it difficult to track them down.”