Freeholder candidate in serious trouble?
Another email was circulated yesterday claiming to be from Watchdog. Only we didn't authorize it or send it. The physical address that appeared on the email was false. It included the town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, in an apparent effort to implicate Senator Oroho's consultant.
In past emails, the address of an attorney from Somerset County, Frank Whittlesey, was listed as the physical address. Whittlesey works for the Somerset County Freeholder Board and is affiliated with that county's improvement authority -- the same agency connected with the solar deal that has cost Sussex County taxpayer's millions.
Watchdog has been the victim of several of these emails. Freeholder George Graham likewise had his identity stolen. These emails always carry the same message of hate for Freeholder Graham. He is their target.
Yesterday's email contained a copied column from another blog -- CNJ Politics -- that was pasted into the body of the email. Watchdog contacted one of the owners of the CNJ Politics website, which no longer operates. Watchdog explained what was happening and the owner told us that CNJ Politics used advanced software for tracking and identifying its readers.
The owner checked for us and found that CNJ Politics had only been accessed twice since December 31, 2015. Just two people on planet earth had gone to that website and guess what they had accessed? Yep, they accessed the exact same column that was copied and pasted into yesterday's email.
Every computer has its own fingerprint. It's called the IP address. Using the IP addresses of the two people who had accessed the CNJ Politics website, the owner found that one IP address was connected with the Alcatel-Lucent Corporation and that the other was connected to a location in Sparta, New Jersey.
Alcatel-Lucent was recently in the news, having merged with Nokia in January of this year.
The owner could tell us that the column that was lifted from his website and pasted onto yesterday's email was accessed by the Sparta IP address at 11:48 AM, March 23, 2016, and by the Alcatel-Lucent IP address at 12:04 PM, March 24, 2016.
Below are screen shots of some of the other identifiers CNJ Politics turned over to us. First, let's look at the Alcatel-Lucent IP address:
Note that the following appears in connection with the Alcatel-Lucent IP address:
URL: file://C:\Users\kgorman\, avg.
Curiously enough, there is a Kathleen Gorman running against George Graham in the Freeholder race. According to Rob Jennings of the New Jersey Herald (April 3, 2016), "Gorman works as a buyer and planner for Nokia, located in Murray Hill."
Now here is the information associated with the Sparta IP address:
Note that the following appears in connection with the Sparta IP address:
We would rather not comment on who this might be. Sigh.
This could well be a serious matter, especially if Freeholder George Graham chooses to make it so. Remember that one of these emails actually used Graham's identity so that it appeared as if it had been sent from him. Two recent cases, one involving a campaign in Passaic County, the other a campaign in Monmouth County, illustrate the pitfalls of hijacking a candidate's identity.
Man pleads guilty to deceptive phone calls (The Record, February 21, 2012)
Prosecutors: 4 A.M. Robocalls In NJ Senate Race Were Placed By Rival Campaign (CBS, New York, August 12, 2014)
Happily, there is no evidence that candidate for Freeholder Dave Gray, of Byram, has any connection to this matter.