As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Story of Christmas Cheer

Via the indispensable Carpetbagger Report (seriously, I don't know when that guy sleeps, man) comes the funniest goddamn story I've heard in a long, long time. It reminds me of the guy who scammed the Nigerian email scammers into sending him thousands of dollars in carvings of British cartoon characters. You should read that one too, hilarious.

In this case, the communications director for Montana Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, a guy named Todd Shriber, tried to hire hackers to break into the TCU computer files and change his college grades. Why someone who already has the job they desire would need to do this for any other reason than narcissism is a mystery. And the correspondence, which is absolutely hilarious and posted in full on the hacker's website, shows that Shriber got the grades he deserved. Actually, maybe they were too high.

From: security curmudgeon (
To: Todd Shriber (
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 17:30:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Question for you or other Attrition members

: Wow, I feel dumb now. I honestly cannot rember if there were pigeons on
: campus or not. A lot of crazy squirrels, but I can't remember pigeons.
: Just for my own edification, why do you need to know that? I'll find out
: for you.

Hey, squirrels work fine. First, let's be clear. You are soliciting me to
break the law and hack into a computer across state lines. That is a
federal offense and multiple felonies. Obviously I can't trust anyone and
everyone that mails such a request, you might be an FBI agent, right?

So, I need three things to make this happen:

1. A picture of a squirrel or pigeon on your campus. One close-up, one
with background that shows buildings, a sign, or something to indicate you
are standing on the campus.

2. The information I mentioned so I can find the records once I get into
the database.

3. Some idea of what I get for all my trouble.

It's hard to excerpt this conversation, because you have to actually read the whole thing. Shriber ends up actually taking pictures of squirrels and sending them to the hackers. Eventually, the hackers pretend they were compromised and end the conversation after stringing Shriber along. Then, AFTER they put the whole email chain up on the Internet to mock Shriber, he writes back:

From: Todd Shriber (
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 11:31:32 -0700 (PDT)

Lyger -

I just want to say thanks for trying and it's no big
deal that things didn't work out. I was getting
serious cold feet and going to tell you to abort until
I saw your last email. To that end, I have spoken
about this to no one as we agreed and I will not speak
of it in the future. As a gesture of good faith, I was
hoping you guys would remove our correspondence from
your web site. Isn't that risky for all of us to have
it up there? Please do this ASAP. I really don't want
any problems for any of us. Thanks for considering this.

Well, someone finally noticed the sorry exchange, and it led to Shriber getting fired from his Capitol Hill job.

Seriously, go read the whole thing, this will cheer you up if you're experiencing any holiday depression syndrome. Yes, no matter how big a loser you feel, out there is a bigger loser than you. Schadenfruede: it's not just for breakfast anywhere.

By the way this brings the tally of Republican lawbreakers in Washington to... 206! Congratulations!