A photo of a Lexar camera card similar to the one seized at the executive library of Keith Raniere.

Part 2 Cami Pics Tampered but True? EXIF Data Is Hard to Change… Is It Really?

This is Part 2 of Cami Pics Tampered but True?

See Part 1: Cami Pics Tampered but True?

Perhaps most surprising is that FBI Senior Forensic Examiner Brian Booth trivialized the shocking lapse of competence by the FBI in losing custody of the camera card by saying something that is dubious at best.

He did not believe anything of significance was altered because EXIF data on a camera card is hard to change.

Here are two excerpts from Booth’s testimony. He is being examined by Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar:

Pg 4818 – 4819

Q Is there something unique about EXIF data?

A What’s interesting about JPEG information with EXIF data is that when you move the JPEG, the information stays within the JPEG. So camera models, things of that nature, they go with it wherever it goes.

Q Can you explain that? What do you mean, like, “they go with it,” and they stay the same?

A Well, say you want to put it on a thumb drive and then take it to your friend’s computer. Times and dates change as you move across different kind of computers.

If you take it to an Apple computer, and then take it to, say, a Linux, which is a different type of computer, and then take it to your Windows computer, times and dates can change from that movement, depending on whether or not the computers’ dates are on or off in different ways, or if someone’s backdated a computer, or for some reason, the battery on your computer has been wiped out.

A lot of times we used to turn on old computers and it used to ask us for the date because of the fact that the battery that holds the date and time information had been lost. And then you wind up having to put the new time and date in.

But with EXIF data, once it’s embedded in a picture, it doesn’t matter how many times you move it around. It stays into that photo and it’s very hard to remove. In fact, most commercial software will not touch EXIF data. It will allow you maybe to add data to it, but even in that sense, it’s very — it’s very able to be corrupted.

So if you use, say, Photoshop to touch a photo like a JPEG, chances are Photoshop is gonna remove the metadata completely or it’s gonna add “Edited by Adobe Photoshop,” which is their way of just trying to protect the data from being corrupted.

Q But is EXIF — does EXIF data remain the same when you — even if you tried to open it in an Adobe product?

A In that sense, the photo stays the same. The EXIF data might be modified to let you know that you’ve tried to modify it in an Adobe product.

Q Is there a particular reason why EXIF data is more difficult to alter?

A They purposely designed it that way.

Q Do you know —

A It’s mainly to be able to store information. And they don’t want data to be moved around and changed, especially time and date information. Those things are very hard for the consumer to be able to modify, unless you wind up getting software that’s just developed to do that.

Pg 4830

Context: AUSA Hajjar is asking Booth about why the file system creation dates of the pictures on the hard drive (including the Cami pics) are on July 26, 2003 – which is before the Canon camera had even been manufactured. The camera was manufactured beginning in 2004. Booth explains that those dates are unreliable but that EXIF data is much more reliable.

Q And what accounts — you see the created date is 2003, modified date ’05, access 2010. What accounts for the differences in those dates or what could account for those differences?

A Well, dates, times, and modified dates, they’re all deriving from the operating system, and from the file system of the actual hard drive. As I told you, with our library reference, we have a card catalog that refers back to where we find data. All of this data, that date and times and access times, they’re all derived within the computer file system on where things are on the hard drive.

As you move things from one computer to another, if the times are different and they’re different types of file systems, they’ll get a new created time and if dates are wrong they can be manipulated. So there’s times that things can change going from one computer to another. Usually, if anything, it would be the created time that would be changed. Sometimes you can get a created date that’s after your modified date, which happens when you just happen to move to a different type of file system later on after you’ve had the file.

But in this case, it’s actually reversed. Somehow it got changed to where the date is well, well, before then what might be the first modified date or a modified date.

Q You testified that the EXIF data shows the date and time associated with this image is October 18, 2005?

A Yes.

Q And so between the dates here and the EXIF data, what’s the best evidence of when this photograph was taken?

A Well, the best reference is the EXIF data because that gets put into the JPEG file and it’s not easily modifiable and it moves with the file the same way from device to device, no matter where you place it. It has nothing to do with the bearing of a file system at all or the dates and times associated with it. So it’s on its own, but are created at the same time that you take the picture.

Q And does the EXIF data match roughly one of the dates here?

A Yes, it does.

***

In a nutshell, Booth is saying that the EXIF data is reliable because it is hard to change.  But here are some links on tutorials and resources on changing EXIF metadata:

No, EXIF data is not hard to change.

Of course, this does not prove the FBI cheated. But consider the optics:

  1. FBI seizes a device from the defendant.
  2. FBI loses custody of it several months later.
  3. Someone gets on the device after the FBI loses custody of the device.
  4. The FBI says they do not know who got on the device.
  5. FBI regains custody and “finds” the most important evidence in the entire case.
  6. When challenged on the witness stand, the FBI expert witness, while admitting the above, says it is difficult for anyone to change the data on the device.
  7. In reality, a person of average competence in IT could do it.

Raniere was charged with sexual exploitation and child porn possession via a superseding indictment less than 60 days prior to the commencement of trial. All of the codefendants who planned to stand trial with him quickly made plea deals because, as it was clear, no one wanted to go to trial alongside someone who was being accused of having child porn and of being the sexual exploiter of a child.

The original six Nxivm defendants. Sketch by MK10ART.

This bizarre mishandling of the camera card does not mean that the Cami photos were not taken in 2005. Or even if they were not taken in 2005, even if they were altered by the FBI, that doesn’t mean Raniere did not take nude photos of Cami in 2005 when she was 15.

 


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Frank Parlato

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  • I don’t see evidence of the dates of the photos changes; or evidence that the photos were photo-shopped to remove Cami’s scar.
    You would need to believe that the metadata of the photos was altered to place them around 2005, and that they were photo-shopped to remove the scar and belong to 2005. Additionally, they would also have had to edit and change the metadata of all the photos in that file system that were taken at the time to match the story.

    Is there any evidence that happened?

    I would also love to see the full transcript around the photos and not just snippets

    • This is the crux of any discussion of the pictures. Continual posts with snippets doesn’t prove the point and looks dodgy. Like if you’re going to analyze this, why not do a full analysis?

      I think saying “the FBI lost custody” is a very very biased interpretation. Which I am kind of surprised by. The FBI didn’t lose custody and then sometime later “found” the most important evidence of the case. Someone at the FBI, while the evidence was in the custody of the FBI, accessed the card and the access wasn’t logged. That’s all I see over and over again. 10 or 15 posts about this. Same snippets, no new arguments, no new evidence. Nothing in its full context.

      Why not just say – “Someone at the FBI accessed the media card and they could have changed the dates of the pictures?” That is all there is to this argument as far as I can see.

      “Could” have is not “Did”.

      Raniere and his team of super lawyers were surprisingly silent about these pictures during his trial. Although he was indicted on this only 60 days before trial, didn’t he have a copy of this evidence a full 5 months before he was indicted? I recall reading here about the prosecution having to embarrassingly ask for this evidence back when they discovered the Cami pictures because Raniere’s attorneys had them and that constituted possession of child pornography. Considering that, I doubt Raniere’s legal team were not aware of the pictures well before his indictment for them.

      You can bet the first thing they did when they got the Binder of Vulvas was look through the photos to make sure none were of a minor. They were probably waiting for the shoe to drop.

      Cami said the pictures are legit.

      To summarize – Someone at the FBI accessed the media card once and the access wasn’t logged; Raniere’s super lawyers had the picture evidence for 7 months before trial and filed no pretrial motions about them or the dates, and raised minimal objections at trial; Cami confirmed Raniere took the photos when she was 15.

      It’s reckless to keep trying to make the same arguments in new ways to create an impression of corruption at the FBI and dishonesty from Cami.

  • “But with EXIF data, once it’s embedded in a picture, it doesn’t matter how many times you move it around. It stays into that photo AND IT’S VERY HARD TO REMOVE. In fact, most commercial software will not touch EXIF data. It will allow you maybe to add data to it, but even in that sense, it’s very — IT’S VERY ABLE TO BE CORRUPTED”

    “And they don’t want data to be moved around and changed, especially time and date information. THOSE THINGS ARE VERY HARD FOR THE CONSUMER TO BE ABLE TO MODIFY, UNLESS YOU WIND UP GETTING SOFTWARE THAT’S JUST DEVELOPED TO DO THAT.”

    “Well, the best reference is the EXIF data because that gets put into the JPEG file and IT’S NOT EASILY MODIFIABLE.”

    He says EXIF data is VERY HARD TO REMOVE (as in being entirely from the JPEG file). In fact, he says it’s VERY ABLE TO BE CORRUPTED, implies that the consumer can change it if they have SOFTWARE THAT’S JUST DEVELOPED TO DO THAT, and that IT’S NOT EASILY MODIFIABLE, which is different from saying that it is DIFFICULT OR HARD to modify, because not being easy implies a relative range, anywhere from outside of easy to normal to difficult to impossible.

    I don’t see where Booth says or implies “it is hard to change” at all. It seems like this is what the NXIVM dead-enders are interpreting what he said (and wrongly so) to make it look like he lied on the stand or committed perjury.

    But again, any computer file which is just a stream of bits is theoretically modifiable with a HEX editor and if you know its exact structure, you can overwrite the zeros and ones in the appropriate places to change it. The only way to absolutely secure a file from modification is by making a certifiable digital signature of it at the time you wanted it to never change and pass that around with the file for verification purposes. That way if any file content or metadata changes, the digital signature would change and reflect that. But this still relies on trusting public and private keys (certificate authorities) and the actual date the file was signed.

    IMO, unless all digital evidence is considered “unreliable” without these stipulations met, the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that the FBI had the motive, opportunity, and in fact did change or corrupt the data, even with the admitted to lapse in a chain of custody. Just screaming that the prosecution, FBI, judges, etc., are corrupt isn’t going to cut it.

    • Thank you!

      Hey Frank, any chance we’ll see this post as a guest view?

      I find it questionable that you are doing your friend, Suneel’s work for him.

      I believe a guest asked Suneel to provide the transcripts and proof, which still has not been done by either of you.

      • Sherizzy, I’m going to try and say “Thank you” again and much respect. This may not appear, I have no idea why a previous comment thanking you wasn’t printed. I get that no one may say anything about Nclyne but a small token of gratitude to a real asset to this report?

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg; “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson; “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been featured prominently on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and acted as lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He was credited in the Starz docuseries, 'Seduced,' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato has appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest, which was ironic since many credit Parlato as being one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

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