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Did hackers steal Romney's tax returns? Secret Service investigating.

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If this story is true it could be a bombshell for the campaign. The key graph in the pastebin posting from the hackers:

Romney's 1040 tax returns were taken from the PWC office 8/25/2012 by gaining access to the third floor via a gentleman working on the 3rd floor of the building. Once on the 3rd floor, the team moved down the stairs to the 2nd floor and setup shop in an empty office room. During the night, suite 260 was entered, and all available 1040 tax forms for Romney were copied. A package was sent to the PWC on suite 260 with a flash drive containing a copy of the 1040 files, plus copies were sent to the Democratic office in the county and copies were sent to the GOP office in the county at the beginning of the week also containing flash drives with copies of Romney's tax returns before 2010. A scanned signature image for Mitt Romney from the 1040 forms were scanned and included with the packages, taken from earlier 1040 tax forms gathered and stored on the flash drives.
A little while later the same party sent a ransom demand for $1 million in bitcoins, a purportedly untraceable digital currency.

Before people get too excited about this they should remember an earlier episode in which tapes of Bush preparing for his debate with Al Gore were stolen. The GOP managed to turn a negative story for them into a scandal for the Democrats. This could be a dirty trick intended to neutralize the Romney Tax Returns issue by linking the Democrats to the extortion demand.

The one conclusion that is probably safe to draw from this affair is that there will be renewed government interest in shutting down bitcoin exchanges. The fact that the Secret Service is investigating rather than the FBI suggests that something of the sort may be in progress. The Secret Service was originally formed to safeguard the US currency against counterfeiters and they took the lead role in shutting down the eGold exchanges that preceded bitcoin.

$1 million would be a very large transaction for the Bitcoin network to handle. While the Bitcoin float is allegedly close to $100 million, this figure seems to be inflated by hoarding. It is unlikely someone could buy that much in bitcoins without the fact being noticed.

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