Raniere Rule 33 Killer? — ‘EXIF Data Hard to Remove!’ — FBI Forensic Examiner Brian Booth – on Cami Photos Dating to 2005

In our post, Primer on All Evidence Showing Raniere Took Pics of 15 Year Old Camila — as We Wait for Motion for New Trial Based on FBI Tampering,  Frank Report examined the evidence that was presented at trial to establish that Keith Raniere possessed 22 nude photos of a Mexican girl, Camila, taken when she was 15 and that he was the one who photographed her.

In this post, we are going to look at the single most important evidence that convicted Raniere of racketeering predicate acts of possession of child porn and sexual exploitation of a child.

It is significant because Raniere is expected to file a Rule 33 motion seeking a new trial, arguing that the FBI tampered with the hard drive that contained the child porn pictures.

Western Digital hard drive similar to the one found in Keith Raniere’s library in Half Moon, NY.

The testimony of FBI Forensic Examiner Brian Booth provided the key evidence that the EXIF data found on the Camila photos showed the pictures were taken on November 2nd and November 24th in 2005, when Camila was 15 years old. 

What is EXIF data?

EXIF data is information [or data] embedded into a photo by a digital camera when it is used to take a picture.  The camera, in this case, a Canon Camera EOS 20D, was seized in Raniere’s library.

The EXIF data remained embedded in the Camila photos as it was first transferred to a camera card, and then to the hard drive in a Dell Dimension computer, where the photos were discovered by FBI agents.

EXIF data on the Camila photos show that a Canon Camera EOS 20D took the photos, the same ones found in Raniere’s library.

EXIF Data Reliability

EXIF data embeds the date, time of day, down to the second, camera settings, type of camera, and the serial number of the specific camera on every picture taken.

You don’t see EXIF data visibly on the photo. It is embedded in the photo file and is accessed by programs designed to open EXIF data.

EXIF data was not designed to be secret. Quite the opposite, it was designed to help photographers know which camera was used, its exact settings and when they took specific pictures.  These were things photographers used to record manually. Digital cameras, like the Canon EOS 20D, which was built in 2004, automatically imbed EXIF data on each photograph taken.

It was this EXIF data embedded on photos of Camila which established to the satisfaction of the jury that they were taken on two dates, November 2nd and November 24th, 2005.

EXIF Data Table (from Wikipedia article on EXIF data)

It is expected that Ranire’s Rule 33 motion will present forensic evidence that arguably shows the photos in question were not taken in 2005 and/or were planted on the hard drive by a person or persons unknown.

Reportedly there are findings of forensic experts, hired by Raniere, that will claim there was a plot to tamper with dates and plant evidence.  Until the Rule 33 motion is filed, we are unable to evaluate the allegations.

If FBI FA Booth is to be believed, however, the forensics prove the crimes.

Booth testified he personally examined the EXIF data of the photos and it shows the Camila photos were taken on November 2nd, and November 24th, 2005.

FA Booth told the jury that we can rely on EXIF data. In her summation, Assistant US Attorney Moira Kim Penza – and in his final closing, Deputy US Attorney Mark Lesko – also assured the jury that EXIF data indicated the photos of Camila were taken in 2005  when she was 15.

Booth’s Examination on EXIF Data 

On June 12, 2019, Senior FBI Forensic Examiner Brian Booth was sworn in as a witness in the trial of Raniere.

LinkedIn Page of Brian Booth

During the course of his examination by Assistant US Attorney Tanya Hajjar, he explained that the most reliable way to date a photo was EXIF data.

While other kinds of data, like creation date, access date, and modified date are subject to change, it is difficult to change EXIF data without corrupting – i.e., ruining – the file.

Booth: 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 does EXIF data remain the same 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. 

***

Later on, during his testimony, FA Booth explained why the best way to know the date of a photo is EXIF data because, not only is it not easy to change, but even if you move a photo to another device, or change it, and the creation, access, and modified dates change, the EXIF data does not change the date and time of when the photo was first taken.

BOOTH: 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.

FA Booth explained that someone can change some EXIF data, for instance, on a Word file, but when it comes to changing EXIF data for a photo, it is not easy. 

BOOTH: But when it comes to EXIF data, it used to be it would only be hard-coded in. You couldn’t modify it. And only during changes during the years did they open up that you could change the author’s name of a photo or even a Word document that you might have. You can always go in and change the author and put comments in and things like that and that’s metadata for a Word file. But when it comes to photos, they still keep you from changing dates and times. It’s not easy to change those. You have to go through special processes to change those things. 

Adobe will allow you to copy a photo and modify it and it will take some of that metadata over, but it will actually put in that Adobe has modified their system. They’re taking steps to show that, listen, if you manipulate this we’re going to show it in some sense. It’s very rare that I’ve found someone has been changing metadata within a photo and that time and date does not change from place to place. It stays embedded in the photo. So, there’s no outside constraint that’s changing it, from an OS, from an Apple computer to a Dell computer.

***

Q What’s most reliable in terms of all the metadata that was discussed thus far in your examination on direct and on cross?

A The EXIF data.

Q Okay. Is that better, more reliable than the created date?

A It’s the most reliable.

Q Is it better than — more reliable than the modified date?

A Yes.

Q Is it more reliable than the access date?

A Yes.

Q Is it more reliable than the thumb DB metadata?

A Yes.

***

At one point, Booth did admit it might be possible, but not easy, to change dates of EXIF data, with EXIF “modification software”  but noted that doing so could corrupt or ruin the file. 

Q Is there any other information that you found significant with respect to the date that was — the EXIF data date?

A Well, the fact that there’s so many dates that are in the EXIF data. Say I did have a modification software, I would have to change quite a bit of dates. I mean, I would have to go through, you know, a bunch of evidence, number one. But then I have to change — in EXIF data there are dates all up and down that, including zero numbers, models of cameras, things of that nature. So there’s quite a bit of data to go through and when you modify a date and time, an EXIF date and time in a JPEG, you take the chance of modifying it to where it destroys the JPEG and that’s why Adobe likes to make a copy when they wind up changing EXIF data in the file because they don’t want to take the risk of actually ruining the JPEG file. So this is one of the reasons why a lot of software don’t go in and do a lot of changes to the EXIF data. Even if you wanted to just change the author, you’re taking a chance that you can change the data.

The Camila photos had been presented to the jury in a red binder. FA Booth was examined about them:

Q Now, all of the images in that red binder…  do they have corresponding EXIF data?

A Corresponding?

Q Like, for each of the image files that we looked at that were in the red binder?
A We had EXIF data.
Q They had EXIF data?
A Yes.
Q For each of those, did they correspond to November 2nd, 2005 or November 24th, 2005?
A Yes, they did.
Q Consistently?
A Consistently.
Q Notwithstanding difference in the creation date?
A No changes in the date.
Q And notwithstanding the fact that the modified or the access date may be different than that?
A No.

Booth Cross-Examination About EXIF Data

FA Booth was cross-examined by one of Raniere’s attorneys, Paul DerOhannesian.  He did not delve deeply into the topic but he did elicit an admission by FA Booth that EXIF data can be altered, and that Facebook and Twitter, when they publish photos, remove EXIF data.

One of Keith Raniere’s defense attorneys, Paul DerOhannsian, cross-examined FBI Senior Forensic Examiner Brian Booth

Q You agree that any metadata, whether it’s EXIF data or other data can be changed and altered, correct?

A Yes, EXIF data can be altered.

Q And there’s a variety of different ways that that can happen, correct?

A Yes, it can.

Q Companies can remove — if you send a photo to Facebook, do they take off that data?

A Yes, they actually strip off the data.

Q So Facebook, Twitter that’s what they do?

A Yes, they do.

Q And then they use that information for their commercial purposes?

A I wouldn’t know.

Q That’s another way. There’s commercial processes that do that?

A I would gather.

DerOhannesian did not press the matter further.

Prosecutors’ Closings on EXIF Data

AUSA Moira Kim Penza

During the closing arguments, AUSA Moira Kim Penza referred to the EXIF data.

PENZA: Now you also know that the photographs were taken in 2005 because that’s what the data shows. The forensic examiner, Brian Booth testified that the most reliable metadata that the FBI could obtain from the images on the Western digital hard drive, said that they were taken exactly when the folders stated they were taken.

AUSA Mark Lasko

Finally, in the second closing, AUSA Mark Lesko mentioned the reliability of EXIF data:

LESKO: You have … the two dates associated with the [Camila photos folder], November 2, 2005 and November 24, 2005…  Those two dates correspond to the two folders on the hard drive. And then 504B is the EXIF data. I’m no expert, don’t get me wrong, but I heard Examiner Boothe, just like you did. EXIF data is extremely reliable.  It’s embedded in the jpeg, in the image itself. And the EXIF data shows that the data was created on the camera, in this instance, this particular instance, the 150 jpeg on November 2, 2005 which is consistent with the title of the folder. 

***

It is clear that the prosecution considered EXIF data on the Camila photos to be the most reliable evidence to prove that they were taken in 2005.

The overarching conclusion is that EXIF data is “very hard to remove” and, therefore, the jury could rely on EXIF data to date the Camila photos.

In our next post, we will examine whether EXIF data is “hard to remove” or “very hard for the consumer to be able to modify.”

 


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Frank Parlato

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  • Here’s a fun, Sunday sing-a-long to brighten up our last days on this Godforsaken planet raining down plastic particles that really could be alien nanobot chips activated by 5G radiation and the Black Goo…according to Q & company. Nothing to do with environmental contamination or any of that nonsense. Or military Chemtrails…but there was that crisscross test pattern over the base that darkened the skies…before the rain.

    I recommend deep stretches beforehand. The chant is pronounced: “Om Money pay me, Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhm, Ahhhhhhhhhh.”

  • https://www.bing.com/videos/search?view=detail&mid=339E59474E44286E7B17339E59474E44286E7B17&q=rhiannon heart&shtp=GetUrl&shid=8ed62d3a-8d40-4b88-972f-8acb42e4908d&shtk=U3RldmllIE5pY2tzIC0gUmhpYW5ub24gbGl2ZSAoV2lsZCBIZWFydCBUb3VyKSBVUyBGZXN0aXZhbCAxOTgzIEhR&shdk=SSd2ZSByZW1hc3RlcmVkIHRoZSBvcmlnaW5hbCByZWNvcmRpbmcgc28gZW5qb3kh&shhk=LllnOVYDOWinw56Y9nTWzawXmSkhiK0uuxO6VNf%2B0yI%3D&form=VDSHOT&shth=OVP.UEYL2tsu1e2z1_PyKWV0qAEsDh

    Just a Sunday worshipful whisper for the forgotten girls of NXIVM. “Rhiannon” by Stevie Nicks – original tempo and lyrics.

  • John Fox (Former NXIVM member) responds to a conversation on Nicki Whine’s timeline of tweets:

    https://twitter.com/innovatingfox/status/1441937366021775361

    Before you got hooked into the #NXIVM style manipulation that is on display in this tweet, read the testimony of 3 DOS women who testified under oath and were subjected to cross-examination by highly skilled attorneys (not a typical public defender). Another 4 women plead guilty.

    Also, Nicki submitted an affidavit more than a year after the trial saying she would have testified but was scared. I know well one woman who testified and told the truth and the defense released her collateral in court. #nxivm engaged in the very smear campaigns it rails against

    The hypocrisy of the #nxivm and the leaders knows no bounds. I am saddened to have been a part of it and enabled it for 12 years. As someone who watched the DOJ prosecute and had a front-row seat literally at the trial outset, I found my faith in US justice restored.

  • Everyone, stop feeding the troll.

    Alanzo has been a carbuncle on the ass of the ex-Scientology and Scio-watching online community for many years. He’s been banned basically everywhere because he’s an arrogant troll who repeats the same things over and over just to get attention.

    Like many culties and ex-culties, he’s a narcissist and craves attention. He prefers positive attention, but he’ll settle for negative attention and insults as long as he gets attention.

    Since Frank has a very hands-off attitude about off-topic and flamey posts (in fact that’s part of this website’s brand), he’ll never ban Alanzo.

    If everyone ignores Alanzo, he’ll likely shut up and move on to somewhere else he can drag people into his silliness.

    He has no influence on what’s going to happen to KR, so there’s nothing to be gained by paying him any attention. Insulting Alanzo is shooting fish in a barrel. There are better hobbies.

  • Frank –

    Did you see that Adrian Lebaron has a plan to sue the cartel for the truly tragic and heartbreaking (cowardly too) murder of his wife and the children?

    Are those the deaths that vanguard was (allegedly) referencing in the infamous, “I’ve had people killed for my beliefs” recording?

    Thanks!

    • No, those deaths happened years later

      The deaths Raniere was talking about in the video were two young men, how they were related, I’m not sure.

      The deaths happened months after Raniere said he had people killed. So he had no idea at the time these deaths were going to take place.

      It was a good excuse to use because no one who believes in Raniere does research to put two & two together.

      They bought his story hook, line & sinker.

      Just like they will buy this story.

      Build enough reasonable doubt and his believers will think everyone is innocent of all crimes and should be set free. NXIVM should start up again, the family will be together again. Yippee.

  • EXIF files carry the metadata generated by digital cameras, which is displayed in photo processing programs like Adobe Photoshop. Information like camera type, focal length used, f stop and shutter speed along with date, time, and location (via GPS).

    Millions of people use these photo processing apps, including me. I didn’t realize this stuff was called EXIF (EXchangable Image Format) until I googled the term.

    The reason this information is saved is for filing purposes and later reference. Commercial photographers may have tens of thousands of images in storage.

    Most good photo processing software lets you selectively delete this metadata. Why? For privacy reasons and to save disk space (the metadata takes up significant storage).

    That’s (relatively) easy.

    Deleting the data is one thing. Altering it is a whole other animal. What legitimate reason would there be for faking the metadata?

    You can’t fake EXIF data in conventional digital photo processing software. Sure, you can buy software online that claims it lets you alter and fake metadata. You’ll likely end up with a virus on your computer and your financial information in the hands of the Ukrainian Mafia, but then that’s what you get for messing with spyware and computer hacking sites.

    So I’d say no, EXIF files are not easily faked.

    Fascinating (?) as all this technical blather may be, in terms of Raniere’s defense, it’s just a red herring. Because the claim that the photo evidence could have been faked does not indicate that it was faked.

  • Wouldn’t the reliability of dates in the EXIF data assume the user put the correct date and time in the camera? I have a coffee maker with a clock on it that allows one to make it start brewing at a certain time. It is never set it because I don’t use that feature, and so the time is always incorrect. I could imagine a non-professional photographer wouldn’t care either.

    • The dates correspond with the info from the emails between R and Daniela, the absence of the op scar, and various other details, so however ingenious that theory (KR might even ‘pinch’ the idea for his defense), it won’t fly. Besides, KR being a control freak, he would have made sure to set the exact date to ‘memorialize’ the event. When was the camera purchased? If no one put the correct date in the camera, it would show ‘factory setting’, not some random date anyway. What clusters of other pics were taken around those dates? In any case, If D decides to testify, it’s (silly) game over.

  • If only the “World’s smartest man” would have known about jstrip (freeware)
    https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/jstrip.html

    Features:
    jStrip removes the following from JPEG files:
    Comments (optionally)
    EXIF Data (optionally)
    JFIF Header (optionally)
    Photoshop Image Resource Block (optionally)
    ICC color profile
    Adobe APP14 tag (optionally)
    XMP data (optionally)
    Extra bytes at end of file
    Extra bytes or header at beginning of file
    Extra bytes between JPEG blocks
    Application-specific APPx blocks
    Photoshop thumbnails
    Any other unknown blocks in the JPEG files

    • Use this software on a jpeg file and then share with us the results including the breadcrumbs that indicate you’ve done so

    • Alanzo, post using your own “name.”

      Whatever debates that happen on this forum are beside the point. The judge will decide.

      Sorry, Alanzo, your child rapist idol whose power to manipulate, degrade and harm other people you envy will die in prison. The world is better off for it.

      You don’t have the intelligence or charisma to start your own sex cult. Nor did you even have enough skill and persistence to work your way up the ranks in Scientology. You were just a low-level wannabe OSA drone who harassed honorable fellow cult members. That’s why you are so bitter and jealous about your former boss’s, boss’s, boss’s boss, Mike Rinder.

      Reduced to being an internet troll in the small sandbox of this website, banned on any of the Scientology discussion boards, yours is a pitiful existence.

      Justice has been served by putting Raniere in a place where his power to work evil has been extraordinarily curtailed and the world is better off for it, as it is by you being nothing but a keyboard-tinkling wannabe bully.

      Maybe you should get thicker knee pads.

  • As a 20+ year tech thought leader and professional, I agree w Booth’s assessment on EXIF data. Sure, any metadata can be altered including EXIF but in doing so, breadcrumbs of the original metadata would remain as well as new metadata of the hack/edit. The exception to this would be if the EXIF data is stripped out in it’s entirety, as Keith’s attorneys pointed out. That said, if the EXIF metadata is stripped out in it’s entirety, it would be almost impossible to reinsert EXIF without it being glaringly obvious that the file had been heavily compromised and very likely would corrupt the entire file structure. Keith and his attorneys are grasping at straws here and whatever experts have supposedly provided an opinion that EXIF is easily manipulated or edited must have received a huge payday to arrive at such a conclusion or opinion as it can be easily challenged and debunked. In fact, if I were Keith’s attorneys, I would have one of these ‘experts’ demonstrate for me how EXIF can supposedly be easily edited without leaving any trace of manipulation in the file (or alternatively strip it out and reinsert) so that I don’t look like an asshat before the court and my colleagues.

    • So you agree that EXIF data is easy to alter, and it is also easy to prove that it was altered?

      Wouldn’t that be the basis of the new evidence which justifies this Rule 33 motion?

      It is my understanding that these pictures of Camila were sent to the defense less than a month before the start of the trial, even though the government supposedly possessed these pictures for over a year. Wouldn’t this leave the defense with too little time to have the pictures forensically evaluated?

      And now that they have been forensically evaluated by the defense, aren’t you saying it will be easy for them to prove Camilla’s pictures have been altered?

      Alanzo

        • True, Anonymous.

          But he did say this:

          “The exception to this would be if the EXIF data is stripped out in it’s entirety, as Keith’s attorneys pointed out. That said, if the EXIF metadata is stripped out in it’s entirety, it would be almost impossible to reinsert EXIF without it being glaringly obvious that the file had been heavily compromised and very likely would corrupt the entire file structure.

          So I said “easy” instead of this, meaning it would be easy to prove in court this had occurred.

          Alanzo

          • I am glad that you agree, that what you were saying before was not true. And yes, I get that in your opinion this would be easy to prove it in the court. Whether it’s actually easy or not, would be determined once it’s proven in the court,

      • Alanzo, why do you approve of Raniere raping children?

        Shame on your immorality and stupidity.

        To paraphrase one Mr. Stanfield, an internet sage beloved here on the Frank Report: yours is a core stupidity which can never be repaired or healed. We must simply expose and humiliate your stupidity so you are too afraid to express it in public.

        • “To paraphrase one Mr. Stanfield, an internet sage beloved here on the Frank Report..:”

          Absolutely, Scientologist.

          Mr. Stanfield is totally beloved here on the Frank Report.

          Alanzo

          • OSA wants Alanzo 😂😂😂

            https://twitter.com/alanzosblog/status/1441281483570749441?s=21

            Alonzo was only dObEe 🐝

            A simple drone 🐝

            Oh my, someone is a self-important do-bee.

            What would ASO want with a man who lives in [redacted], USA?

            Allen SAO has better things to do than harass a malcontent.

            ___________________________
            If you’d like to call Alonzo, his phone number is [redacted]
            ————————————————

            Relax Allen-Alonzo! I’m not OSA or CIA. I’m just a crank like you. -👀😂

            Or am I SAO 😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣

      • Alonzo-

        I love how you, automatically, assume Cami, and the scores of other women, who have come forward, are lying about Raniere sexually assaulting – i.e., raping – them…

        …And you assume they are helping the government frame Kieth Raniere.

        And you say “cult haters” are morons.

        LMAO @ U!

  • Getting swamped in technical details is a great way to blow smoke. Confusing the issue is the point of this Rule 33 gambit.

    The judge probably doesn’t know an EXIF file from a hole in the wall. One expert will say it’s difficult to alter, another will say it’s easily changed. That’s the whole point, to sow confusion and raise doubt.

    Unfortunately for the appeal, there’s nothing behind the smoke.

  • The NXIVM dead-ender strategy pushed by Raniere: “You’re corrupt! You’re corrupt! You’re corrupt!”

    From the FBI to the prosecution to the judge to the media to whoever else. Yada yada yada.

    It reminds me of Oprah’s, “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!” Or something like that.

    Everyone else is guilty except the man himself.

    It’s the last ditch strategy of the desperate.

  • Maybe there’s something I fail to understand. There are at least a dozen free applications that allow editing of exif data in photos, including date, time etc.

About Frank Parlato

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.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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