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Wed Sep 18, 2019, 02:25 PM

Well well well. Kavanaugh's "calendar" has been forensically examined.....

Here's a twitter thread on the findings.

You can read twitter without being a member.

[link:http://
?s=20|


Thomas A. Fine
🇺🇸
@thomasafine

20h
Since Kavanaugh has come up in the news I should bring up his calendar. After extensive analysis of his published calendar PDF I was never able to demonstrate that it was edited but also unable to rule it out. The PDF file was and is very suspicious.


I know when the theory of the edited calendar first came up, many well-informed people dismissed it as hand-wavy worrying. And it was a fair, if shallow, defense. But the people offering it had some expertise and no obvious political alignment.



I did a lot more research. One of the emotional drivers of this issue was Birtherism. The claim of an edited PDF was central to the Obama birth certificate people, since he did produce a PDF copy of his birth certificate.


There was much ado by birtherists that his PDF file was not a simple scan, but a "layered" document. A simple can, when turned directly into a PDF is basically a PDF document that contains one single image. It's one layer (or two if you count the PDF container as a layer).



Obama's birth certificate contained about a 11 layers if I recall correctly. They were all image layers layered one on top of another. A single image had been separated into multiple layered images. Background and text basically.
And at first glance, this is suspicious.



But then you look at the metadata in this PDF file and see that it was created using Preview on a Mac, under Snow Leopard version of the OS. This lets you do a simple test...


I took his PDF file and compressed it back into a single layer as a JPEG image. I then used Preview on a Mac with a similar version to load in this JPEG image, and then to save it as a PDF, without making any other changes, and using default settings in Preview...



And I got a multi-layered document. I think I ended up with eight or nine layers, but I was working from a different resolution source. The point is that in attempting to perform text recognition so that it could save text info in the PDF, Preview automatically created layers.



So after looking at the innards of Kavanaugh's PDF file, people saw the mess that was there, they naturally said "this looks edited", and everyone who had become a quasi-expert about PDFs from birtherism said "whoa there boy, let's not get carried away".


But here's the thing. While Obama's document had 11 or so layers, Kavanaugh's had hundreds, or thousands, depending on how you count the layers.


More important than the number of layers was the quality. I said "depending on how you count". Well, some of these layers were custom fonts created where each individual recognized letter had been separated out into a separate glyph.

Is the font a layer, or each glyph?


That's probably a side issue. The central issue is the same question we had with Obama's PDF file how can you end up here?

So I did a few tests. I recompressed Kavanaugh's calendar pages into single images, I paid for an Adobe Acrobat license, and converted to PDF.


This is where things got much more interesting. Acrobat Pro lets you save a document in different formats, using OCR and embedding text (as Preview did automatically), or plain. Or, you can click "edit" on an image, and Acrobat goes father, and lets you edit the OCR'd text.


The ONLY way I was able to get Acrobat to produce a document at all similar to Kavanaugh's was by clicking the edit button. Without doing that, I never got a document where individual letters were converted into glyphs in a custom font.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Well well well. Kavanaugh's "calendar" has been forensically examined..... (Original post)
Grasswire2 Sep 18 OP
triron Sep 18 #1
UTUSN Sep 18 #2
tblue37 Sep 18 #3
TryLogic Sep 18 #4
GeorgeGist Sep 18 #5
lunatica Sep 18 #6
George II Sep 18 #7
lagomorph777 Sep 18 #8
Blue Owl Sep 18 #9
Maraya1969 Sep 18 #10
rownesheck Sep 18 #11
intrepidity Sep 19 #12

Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 02:32 PM

1. Not very surprising but significant.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 02:33 PM

2. K&R

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 02:38 PM

3. K&R for visibility. nt

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 03:33 PM

4. Corruption perhaps?

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 03:39 PM

5. As a forensic investigator the first thing I always do is ...

make a copy.


I would never examine the original.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 03:40 PM

6. Interesting-er and interesting-er.

Maybe this document will further the forensic abilities of software. I imagine a boatload of nerds and geeks wanting to look at it.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 04:19 PM

7. I pointed out way back during the hearing that the calendar looked like it was altered....

...it was SO obvious. In some photographs you could see that it was overwritten.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 04:24 PM

8. Why produce a PDF when a PNG will do?

Way too fancy for the job.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 06:20 PM

9. In Kavanaugh's case, PDF stands for

Pervy Dick Flasher

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 09:27 PM

10. I am missing why this is important. His sex crimes are very old. Please explain.

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Response to Grasswire2 (Original post)

Wed Sep 18, 2019, 09:55 PM

11. I know nothing

of what this was talking about. I felt like I was trying to decipher an alien code sent through a telegraph. Layers on a form? Huh? Technology has apparently blown past me. Me no understand.

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Response to rownesheck (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 19, 2019, 01:27 PM

12. This is very basic stuff in image processing

The author makes a compelling case, and I do understand what he's talking about.

Layers in a digital image can be thought of like onion skin paper of old, like the kind that used to produce carbon copies ("cc" ). You could have a picture on one layer, then text on another, and so on.

Modern digital image processing uses digital layers to add or enhance content of an image. Forensic analysis of those layers can help determine whether original content was altered.

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