Missouri Governor Still Lying About Reporters Who Uncovered Ridiculous Bad State Computer Security; Still Insists They Were Hackers

from the lie-through-it,-mike dept

Missouri Governor Mike Parson is nothing if not committed to shamelessly lying. As you'll recall, after journalists from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ethically informed the state that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website included a flaw that revealed the social security numbers of over 600,000 state teachers and school administrators, Parson responded by calling the reporters hackers and vowing to prosecute them. Again, the DESE system displayed this information directly in the HTML, available for anyone to see if they knew where to look. That's not hacking. That's incompetent computer security.

So far, this has mostly played out as expected. A month after the revelations, DESE finally admitted it fucked up and apologized to the teachers and administrators and offered them identity fraud protection services. Then, last week, a public record request revealed something incredible, though perhaps not surprising: the FBI had already told Missouri officials that no hacking took place and DESE had prepared a statement (correctly) thanking the journalists for alerting them to their own fuck up... but that statement was ditched in favor of the nonsense one claiming that the journalists "hacked" the system. As we said in that last story, right at the end it notes that the Highway Patrol investigation, instigated by Parson, was "still active."

And now Parson is still standing by the ridiculous claim that the reporters are hackers. As for how he could possibly claim that after the revelation of internal documents on the situation? Well, Parson is trotting out the old "fake news" bullshit:

Asked at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday whether, in light of the records provided by the state, he still believed the newspaper committed a crime, Parson said, “Most certainly I believe that. And most certainly I don’t know where that information’s coming from that you guys printed on that, whether it’s very accurate or not either. It has a tendency not to be very accurate a lot of times.”

Dude. What? Do newspapers make errors sometimes? Sure. But (1) from the very beginning it was abundantly clear that the problem here was with the state, not with the reporters, because under no circumstances should people be able to see the Social Security Numbers of other people in HTML and (2) if you're crying "fake news" about documents revealed under a public records law then you have to actually say what's fake. Is Parson claiming that his own government supplied fake information in response to a public records request? Because that would be fucked up. No, the truth is that Parson can't handle the fact that everyone knows he's just wrong, so he's going to lie right through it.

Missourians, you deserve better than a governor who will actively lie to you and put state employees at risk. Elect someone who is not a liar.

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Filed Under: dese, ethical disclosure, hackers, html, journalism, mike parson, missouri, security research
Companies: st. louis post-dispatch


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 9:37am

    His MAGA base will eat it up

    Yes. His MAGA base will eat up his frame-the-journalists angle he's taken. Why? Because his MAGA base:

    1. is more gullible than children
    2. hates any non-sycophantic journalist
    3. will always believe a MAGA politician over their own eyes. (see 1)

    *sigh*. My dad was from Missouri, but I think people like Parsons is why he left in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:43am

      Re: His MAGA base will eat it up

      I think they just don't care if it's bullshit or not. That it's bullshit and that they can throw it in your face, is actually both a feature and a benefit.

      Where this gets dangerous is when Fox or one of the other crazy places picks it up fact-free. Fair and balanced, you know, and it's often the elderly who eat this stuff up.

      I dunno, this is the same guy who covered up "masking works", unless I have my Red States mixed up, and he didn't pay a penalty, so why not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 9:40am

    I think the entity that filed the records request should sue, treat the governor as truthful, and see what shakes out when the governor faces penalties for lying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      Let me tell you how I think that ends...

      The poor, poor governor cries that the mean 'fake news' press is out to get him. Because it's clearly not his fault that he's a lying piece of shit. Someone, nay, a 'Deep State' conspiracy exists where the press is working in conjunction with the corrupt FBI to portray Parsons as a liar, instead of someone who simply misspoke. Several times. (For those of you playing RWNJ Bingo, you're welcome)

      They're nothing without their perpetual martyrdom.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Dec 2021 @ 1:28am

        Re: Re:

        "They're nothing without their perpetual martyrdom."

        It'd be sad if the strongest authority being a permanent victim wasn't also one of the 14 bullet points of actual fascism.

        As I keep saying, with 25% of the US voting citizenry being all on board with fascist ideology the future doesn't look too good. Hitler had to make do with 12% in 1932.

        So let's all just hope the GOP doesn't produce someone more competent than Trump in 2024.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jordan, 8 Dec 2021 @ 9:54am

    Liars

    Are not all politicians liars? Literally all of them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DeComposer (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:24am

      Re: Liars

      Are not all politicians liars? Literally all of them?

      When I was a child, I used to think this was (or should be) illegal. But it's actually protected speech, thank you First Amendment.

      The only consequence when a politician lies is that they might get voted out in the next election. But that requires a politician's constituents to
      a.) Remember that the politician lied.
      b.) Care (actually, care more about the lie than about just pwning the other party).
      c.) Vote.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:39am

      Re: Liars

      Of course all politicians are liars. It's just that some of them are better liars than others. Which is why Missourians should rejoice in their governor. He's so stupid, it's easy to tell when he's lying. You don't want to elect some liar you can't tell is lying, now, do you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:47am

      Re: Liars

      Most politicians deal in spin and half truths. We expect that a politician will in most cases try to soften negative info, and highten positive info. it is in the nature of an office decided by popular vote.

      Outright lies and fabrications are considered a violation of the social contract. So where we might ridicule the governor for calling them hackers when he is ignorant and blustering, and think it’s bad form, it is something different when it’s shown he has the FBI telling him it’s not a crime and the insists on a criminal investigation. That represents the perception of fabrication.

      Worse, this is the government engaging in a clear investigation for political purposes without a reasonable underlying basis. Which makes it not just a lie, but a demonstrable abuse of the police power, which is generally considered Slightly more of a problem than puffery or spin.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:48am

      Re: Liars

      Your point?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      WarioBarker (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 6:41pm

      Re: Liars

      Are not all politicians liars? Literally all of them?

      Many are to some degree or another (especially in the GQP), but some are legitly trying to fight the good fight and do the right thing - Ron Wyden being a standout example.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Dec 2021 @ 1:34am

      Re: Liars

      "Are not all politicians liars? Literally all of them?"

      No, only the successful ones. Bernie Sanders is likely the textbook example of the honest politician.

      Rare animals such as those are often included as "mascots" of a sort and brought into the fold because they're usually supported by an enthusiastic and motivated base...but they are never allowed any real power. Only given a place where they can talk often and look like the "conscience" of the party.

      So if you want to find an honest politican look for the one who talks a lot, is very popular, and who is always shoved out of any real candidacy by the party leadership. Al Gore, Brnie Sanders, etc. People like that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 9 Dec 2021 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: Liars

        ...Bernie Sanders is the Senate Budget Chair.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2021 @ 7:41am

          Re: Re: Re: Liars

          "...Bernie Sanders is the Senate Budget Chair."

          ...where his job isn't as a decisionmaker but as an executor of other people's policy. In the pursuit of which he is free to exercize his remaining energy to hold great speeches persuading people the democratic party has a conscience.

          The problem is that Bernie wanted socialist reforms and was unscrupulously honest. He was dead in the water long before the primaries.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 10 Dec 2021 @ 9:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Liars

            ...where his job isn't as a decisionmaker but as an executor of other people's policy.

            ...that is the exact opposite of the difference between being a legislator and being president.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 Dec 2021 @ 2:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Liars

              "...that is the exact opposite of the difference between being a legislator and being president."

              And Bernie no longer gets to write policy. Even his own. He's become a high-profile mascot.

              As will any other democrat refusing to bow to the game of mutual backscratching.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 9 Dec 2021 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re: Liars

        And Al Gore only missed being president because of the Supreme Court, not anything the Democratic party leadership did.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Eric, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:08am

    Fake news

    I'm pretty sure I learned in high school that if you write fake news about fake news it becomes real news - that might be what he is going with here. (note - I could be misinterpreted something I previously learned in math).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:19am

    I can't understand why anybody votes for such incompetent morons.
    It's like we go out of our way to say, "Who's the worst person we can hire? How bout that guy? He lies way more than the others! Great pick!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 3:30pm

      Re:

      Spite, the comfort of belonging to a group/cult, fear of The Other... the problem isn't that it's hard to understand why people would back someone/a group like that it's that it's far too easy, all you need to do is play to the most basic and unpleasant parts of human nature.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:26am

    I that case arrest every programmer every one who uses dos prompt is a hacker or anyone who can use the view source command in every browser also there are good hackers who test systems to make sure they are secure and report vulnerabilitys and get paid bug bountys by company's like apple Google Microsoft
    Maga Politicans will literally say anything if it gets them votes or gets them on the news free publicity they are appealing to possible voters who may nothing about technology

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:28am

    You can't fix stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:34am

    And to think, we used to go all the way to North Korea to find the insane reality-denying public officials.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 9 Dec 2021 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      "And to think, we used to go all the way to North Korea to find the insane reality-denying public officials."

      Or the USSR. Actually I'd say the current GOP propaganda machine has much more in common with the old soviet union than it does to North Korea. Although the commissars were a lot more polished about their message.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 10:44am

    How is this not defamation? And actual criminal actions, i.e., filing a false police report?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 8 Dec 2021 @ 11:05am

    Blow harder Parson

    Governor Mike Parson said..."I don’t know where that information’s coming from that you guys printed on that, whether it’s very accurate or not either"

    He doesn't know where it's coming from? He doesn't know if it's very accurate? I think Governor Parson flunked out of basic reading comprehension. I imagine he doesn't believe in that "science stuff" either.

    All you need to say Gov, is "Show Me".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bluegrass Geek (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 2:34pm

      Re: Blow harder Parson

      He doesn't care where it's coming from, and is intentionally avoiding learning about it. Because he's pushing the narrative that the media is out to get him, so why would he ever trust what the media publishes? It's all about riling up his base, and he knows the chances of him paying any consequences for this are basically nil.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 11:05am

    ... and Dorothy 'hacked' The Great Oz, too...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 11:25am

    This could be a win for the reporters, think of all that cash that will be injected into the paper due to a defamation lawsuit, and without BIG TECH being charged/fined/taxed even once. And thanks to a dumb MAGA hat no less

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 11:34am

    If only there was some punishment for politicians lying & wasting state resources to score points in an imaginary culture war.

    But his faithful will believe him over their own lying eyes every time, because being the 'winner' in the war matters more than the truth that there never was a war and you gave your money to a grifter who exploited you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 8 Dec 2021 @ 1:00pm

    FTFY

    "from the very beginning it was abundantly clear that the problem here was with the governor, not with the reporters..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 1:34pm

    "Elect someone who is not a liar."

    Given our range of public officials, starting at the presidency on down, this might be a hard one to fulfill. It seems those in power, always turn to this answer rather than the more embarrassing one of the truth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 3:51pm

    Step 4 - Profits

    (2) if you're crying "fake news" about documents revealed under a public records law then you have to actually say what's fake.

    Oh no no no, that's not how the fake news trick works, you not only don't have to specify what is fake you very much don't want to as that gives the other side a specific target to attack. Rather all you do is insist that the other person is lying, refuse to accept the possibility that you might be wrong and double/triple/quadruple down any time someone tries to challenge you and/or tries to present contradictory evidence.

    The gullible and/or stupid will side with you since someone that steadfast and confident must be right and anyone who sees through your lies can just be lumped in with the 'fake news' and dismissed to play to the gullible/stupid even more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Dec 2021 @ 7:51am

      Re: Step 4 - Profits

      "...that's not how the fake news trick works, you not only don't have to specify what is fake you very much don't want to as that gives the other side a specific target to attack. Rather all you do is insist that the other person is lying, refuse to accept the possibility that you might be wrong and double/triple/quadruple down any time someone tries to challenge you and/or tries to present contradictory evidence."

      Goebbel's playbook around the lügenpresse or, as the alt-right echo chambers first to dig up a proper translation for an old scam has it - fake news.

      I'd call it disheartening that the whole damn republican party has gone hook, line and sinker into using old nazi rhetoric tricks...if I didn't know their dogwhistles to the neo-nazi crowd had been replaced with bullhorns lately.

      Considering they held a god damn CPAC literally on top of a winged odal-shaped podium - the symbol the US neo-nazi movement just replaced the swastika with...they were never good at being subtle but these days I wouldn't be surprised to see a republican walking around with a swastika armband in red, white and black, trying to pass it off as a "korean fortune wheel".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2021 @ 3:58pm

    It's pretty obvious where the fake news is coming from, governor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    floodthegovoffice, 8 Dec 2021 @ 4:39pm

    everyone should get the govenor's site code

    everyone that knows how to use a browser should copy the HTML raw code of the dumb*** Governor's site and send it in to the gov office
    what is he going to do claim millions of hackers hit his site and good luck trying to deal with that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    CanadianByChoice (profile), 8 Dec 2021 @ 6:06pm

    Translation

    "Elect someone who is not a liar" = "Elect someone who is not a politician"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 9 Dec 2021 @ 8:47pm

      Re: Translation

      ...yeah, considering how that "elect someone who is not a politician" idea worked out in 2016, how about shut the fuck up forever with that shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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