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Et Tu, Dean?

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From my colleague’s Dean’s post below:

5) And yet you suggested earlier today that the House leadership should resign. What gives?

Their ethical transgressions remain a matter for investigation. Their political malfeasance does not. They got the word that a gay Member who had a reputation for lusting after young men and being overly chummy with the page program had sent inappropriate emails. How the House leadership could have failed to detect the potential for calamity here is beyond me. Call me a loon, but I think our political leaders should have a finely honed acumen for politics.

“Facts not in evidence” is the phrase that comes to mind, and as the great Dem-MSM scandal machine blows, it is important that center-right pundits keep facts separate from rumors, or at least to footnote the rumors.

I haven’t seen any post making these three assertions with on the record (or even off the record) attributions.  Dean?

Mark Levin just joined me in an interview in which we both blast the allegedly conservative pundits who are working overtime to toss Republicans under the bus on the basis of zero truthed evidence of GOP leadership complicity other than e-mails which major newspapers, ABC’s Brian Ross and evidently the FBI all deemed as insufficiently interesting to publish with dispatch or investigate further.

The pundits/activists calling for hastert’s resignation should be asking where those IMs have been for three years and why they are being leaked now? There is an innocent explanation –the Foley target has kept them and has now decided to pass them out, and that would be his right.  But there are far from innocent explanations as well, and given the Rathergate example of two years ago, pardon me if I am suspicious.

These elections could put Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker’s chair –third in line for the presidency–along with John Murtha as Majority Leader, John Conyers at the head of Judiciary and Charles Rangell (and William “The Freezer” Jefferson) at the top of Ways and Means.  Given the stakes for this country’s safety and security not to mention its economy, I think the center-right would be well served by a lot less posturing and a lot more digging from its new media members.


An e-mail from a technologist whom I trust, but about which I am not qualified to comment:

w/o driving Hugh crazy w/pointless technical details, Instant Message
technology is a direct descedant of IRC, Internet Relay Chat, which is a
direct descendant of terminal session programs (aka TTY programs), they are
some of the oldest technology around, the IM programs are a “localized”
version of these programs with modern bells and whistles…

THE POINT; i’m am not aware of ANY IM program that “logs”, that is records,
IM chat sessions “out of the box”, UNLESS YOU TURN THAT FEATURE ON
SPECIFICALLY, most people, in study after study, this is around 70 – 80

FWIW, so my EXPERT OPINION, as i would testify to under oath, is that for
the large number of Foley IM’s that are appearing now in the MSM, there is
something VERY PECULIAR going on here, as the only way they could have been
recorded was by the users either turning on the “logging” feature, which
COMPUTER…which is ***EVEN*** more unusual, given the LARGE NUMBERS of IM
Chat sessions which are now coming forward….

BOTTOM LINE: my ‘gut hunch’, if we only had a couple of IM sessions
available, i think this was all just happenstance, but with 50+ IM’s
available and more supposedly available…THIS IS A COMPLETE BLACK BAG JOB,
a political “action op” that has probably been in the works since 2002 or

Contra e-mail:

As an IT professional for over 25 years, I can assure you that the vast majority of instant messaging clients indeed DO log everything sent and received by default. In fact, I cannot think of any clients that do not log all conversations by default, past or present.

Your friendly meighborhood software developer,

Contra-contra e-mail:


What kid of that age still has the same computer, with the same hard drive, with the same operating system for 3 years?
Even most home computers are at least reloaded, maintenance, defragged or whatever. This was a 16 year old kid who probably used the PC for school work, the internet and gaming!
After 3 years, the system would have slowed down, been reloaded, had a new operating system loaded, been upgraded or whatever. KIDS KNOW THIS AND DO IT ALL THE TIME. Kids upgrade their computers they way kids in the 1970’s tricked out their cars or bought hot stereo equipment.
These messages HAD to have been copied off at the time, logged or printed.
Contra-contra-contra e-mail:
Your CALLER was essentially representative of the people who use session
logging, MANY Parents and System Adminstrators on corporate networks WILL
TURN ON ‘session logging’, but it has to be TURNED ON, and then the logs
have to stored and viewed.

but you have to DOWNLOAD the program and install, it can also be turned on
by using the “Parental Controls” in some IM programs…

AOL Instant Messenger (the number one most used IM client) makes you ADD
session logging software, exactly as your last caller said.

i’m looking for additional specific links now, but for starters see below;

I Lost My Baby, My Pickup, and My Guitar on the Information Highway
There are a variety of ways to track keystrokes and log instant messaging
sessions, but let me offer a word of caution before we go there. If your
friend believes that her husband’s affections may be wandering, the best
tool to address the problem really isn’t a computer. Spying on someone you
love, with or without the aid of technology, is ugly. Consider that you may
learn things that are very painful, or that you may anger the other party
when the subterfuge is revealed. A good old-fashioned OFFLINE chat or a
counseling session (with or without the spouse) may be the most direct, and
most effective way to get to the bottom of it all.

That said, most instant messaging programs either have session logging built
in, or you can install a third-party plugin to enable logging. A quick web
search will show you where to find those plugins. Also, the Google Toolbar
will archive and allow you to search email from Gmail, Outlook, Outlook
Express, Netscape Mail and Thunderbird; Web pages you have visited; files on
your computer, including text, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, image, audio, and
video files; and yes… chats from AOL, AOL Instant Messenger, and MSN

There are also general purpose loggers that can track every keystroke that
is sent or received. I won’t provide any links to those, because I’ve never
used them, recommend against them for ethical reasons, and wouldn’t trust
them on my computer. The problem with all of these logging utilities is that
they are detectable, either in the Windows system tray, Task Manager or by
anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

So what happens if the suspected infidel finds out that he or she is being
spied upon? Chances are it will either shatter whatever trust remains in the
relationship, or they’ll just find another venue to communicate. The chances
of ending up in a win-win situation are very slim.

here’s some logger s/w; you will note they ADD logging capabilities;

One more:
here’s a d/l site that specializes in loggers, you will note, just from reading the program descriptions, that most of the features are stated NOT to exist in the basic IM clients, but have to be added;
“your friendly neighborhood software developer” is missing the point…Corporate System Admins ***WILL*** routinely turn on session logging (as i have done when i was a SysAdmin)….we NOT talking about corporate networks, we’re talking about personal PC’s
***canonical link**** about AOL IM; from WikiPedia;
the money graf; about 7 para’s down in the “About” section….
AOL has recently released its new client software, AIM Triton. Triton is an overhauled version of the AIM client, which has many of the features from the popular third party plug-ins, including tabbed messages and AIM logging. Triton replaces the classic AIM client software. Along with the release of Triton, AOL opened up AIM for developers, allowing anybody to create a plug-in, or AIM custom client for Windows. People may also embed AIM online presence on their websites.”
here’s the “Triton” version history, NOTE ALL AOL TRITON version are from 2006, the “Preview” version wasn’t out until August 2006


AIM has had the following current official versions available at :

 and, finally,
OK, I WAS ***TRYING TO AVOID THIS***, The Geeky Details….

The Top Chat Clients Are (in order of popularity), AOL IM (aka AIM), ICQ
(the Rolls-Royce of the bunch, orig. from Israel, btw), MSN Messenger,
together they account for about 80-90%+ of all the IM network shares.

AIM (as you have seen), just added built in logging, ICQ and MSN have had
(depending on the version) poor-to-moderate logging abilities, depending on
how you install the program, most of the time you will either have little or
no logging, sometimes the “log” will be no more than what is called a
“buffer”, which is a kind of “scratch pad” of limited size, that operates on
a FIFO (“first in, first out”) principle, as your chat sessions progress,
the oldest material is “erased” and “written over”, as the maximum capacity
of the “buffer” is reached.

a “buffer” enabled log is, BY DEFAULT, of very limited capacity, and
sessions will be written over, every few sessions, so there is a VERY
LIMITED retention, esp for frequent chatters….

UNLIKE a “buffer” based-log, a specific “session log” is a SEPARATE TEXT
FILE, that is stored independently on the computer’s hard drive, and can be
assigned to pretty much any size the USER or SysAdmin specifies…BUT, for
the Session Log to be of any ***MEANINGFUL SIZE OR CAPACITY*** this must be

BOTTOM LINE: NO IM Chat program could possibly have a default setting of


the problem with many Geeks, is that they are susceptible to the
“One-To-Many” Fallacy, if we had been discussing corporate networks, we
would have had a very different conversation….Remember Ollie North and the
NSA email archives?….i laid down some large (UH, non-monetary, of course)
bets when they thought those emails had been “erased”, the G archives
EVERYTHING, and then usu. replicates the archives in numerous (freq VERY
numerous) places…as Ollie and Brendon found out<G>

but, we’re NOT talking about that, we’re talking about regular Uses, BTW,
teens are QUITE AWARE of these loggers AND are very good at defeating
them….but, that’s another conversation…

LEGAL STUF; If someone put a “keystroke logger” on Foley’s machine that a
HUGE FEDERAL FELONY (essentially illegal surveillance/wiretaps), and would
be easily provable by routine computer forensics examination….

OTOH, you could “encourage” at talky person to come on to you and just log
and/or print the sessions w/o going anywhere near a Federal statute…

Just one more, on The Corner’s discussion of this stuff:
They are completely tech challenged..

i’ll make this really fast, around 7P PT, just got a chance to check out the
IM thread on The Corner….

Trillian Pro, the IM Client they are MOSTLY talking about, is the Formula 1
car of IM s/w (the one i use, the first choice of Alpha Geeks
everywhere)…if Hugh use IM at all, you should give it a spin,, it supports ALL the major Chat n/ws AND IRC

Trillian is very, very advanced, and does indeed enable logging
automatically, and does indeed BY DEFAULT create a large session log, i
don’t have ANY real idea of how large Trillian’s market share is, but would
bet that it can’t possibly be 4% of the total installed base (my instincts
tell me that Trillian’s market share is NO MORE THAN 1 or 2 %, total
installed base, in 2002/3 it probably wasn’t 1%)….

in the 2002 – 2003 timeframe applicable here, the overwhelming odds are that
both parties were using some version of AIM, in that timeframe AIM had
around 70%+ of the IM marketshare, with ICQ and MSN splitting the balance,
even if using the ICQ client, they were probably using it on the AIM Chat

also, returning to the subject of the default settings, remember IM clients
were very primitive in 2002/3, and even if there was a default sessions log,
it probably was quite limited in size, and was set to “overwrite” when full
on a FIFO algorithm, which means that the IMs retained would have to have a
great degree of temporal consanguinity to be retained, the chances of IMs
with a high degree of non-adjacency being retained a very small….

one of the reasons i find this all so peculiar…


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