Daily Archives: September 12, 2007

A Bad Case of Federal Data Manipulation

The latest shenanigans involving the concealment and manipulation of data from the Bush Administration includes blocking search engines from indexing key documents and photographs, and changing or deleting things from the war in Iraq on its White House web site. Bush administration officials say it was just a simple mistake.

The latest faux pas was caught by CNET news. It involved using robots.txt files to block certain documents and pages from search engines so they won’t show up in search results. Whitehouse.gov was programmed to block search engines from indexing a photo gallery of President Bush in a flight suit standing in front of the “Mission Accomplished” banner from May 2003.

According to the Internet Archive, Bush’s carrier speech was originally titled “President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended” and had pictures of smiling Iraqi children. Since then, the same speech has been renamed “President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended.” Notice the photographs in the before and after articles. Supposedly the problem has since been fixed.

Other Federal Sites Being Manipulated

The White House web site isn’t the only one being manipulated. Mike McConnell the Director of National Intelligence blocks search engines from his web site too. Manipulation of the DNI web site was discovered after McConnell gave an “interview” to the El Paso Times (which has since been pulled from their web site but a cached page from Google is available) saying that Americans will die because of the discussion of National Security Agency spying in public and in the U.S. Congress.

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