Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesday Roundup

Quote of the Day

First everyone said Floyd looked too NASCAR, and now he's supposed to be Mr. 2600? If Floyd Landis is a computer hacker, I'm Lex Luthor, evil genius supervillain.

(link)

News

AP report in the International Herald Tribune says that the computers of the Chatenay-Malabry lab were hacked:
PARIS: A hacker attempted to steal data from computers at the French anti-doping lab whose test procedures are being challenged by American cyclist Floyd Landis, police said Tuesday.

Some possibly stolen lab data was put into email apparently forged (not well) to look like it was from LNDD, and sent to a lot of places. The data included is said to make the lab look unreliable. The spin from those at the labs breaking the story is that the information was taken out of context. As well as the hacking, they are offended by the bad French in the email.

L'Equipe says French police are pointing a finger at someone near Landis, which remains unconfirmed.

This isn't fun and games, because there is possible criminal hackery involved, and spooky NSA/CIA/Patriot Act stuff.

Translated L'Equipe report, also CyclingNews, CanadianPress, Reuters, Eurosport, VeloNews,
ProCycling, AFP, 7Days.ae, BikeBiz (with some new info); Guardian also has a new take.

Translated Le Monde article describes the contents of the email:

On the whole, five facsimiles of documents of the LNDD were sent. Two dated September 13 mails addressed to the presidents of the French and international Federation of swimming explain why sample 338.439 was confused with the 338.349. A third mail dated July 6 and addressed to the president of the international Federation of basketball precise that “a réanalyse of sample N o336 186 cancelled the presence of one of the metabolites of the mestérolone (due to a contamination of the urinary white)”. A fourth mail dated November 17, 2005 and addressed to the president of the international Federation of associations of athletics indicates “the date of the taking away was noted the 29/11/2005 instead of the 29/10/2005” and requires “to destroy the erroneous report/ratio of analysis”.

A fifth letter dated May 10, 2005 and addressed this time to the president of the international Federation of squash precise that of “the terbutaline was allotted to the bad sample” and also requires “to destroy the erroneous reports/ratios of analysis”. In each mail, the LNDD kindly requests “[it] to excuse for this error”.

These parts, underlines Pierre Bordry, voluntarily “were taken out of their context” or “were falsified”. The heading of the LNDD is a coarse reproduction. The letters use approximate French. Thus small introductory text: “Please find herewith information very interesting.”

The documents were also sent to several French and foreign journalists having covered the edition 2006 of the Outer Loop, like with the international Union cyclist (UCI), in Amaury sport organization (ASO) - the owner of the [Tour]. The list of the recipients also includes lawyer of Floyd Landis, Howard Jacobs.


This is the first mention of the content, which Bordry says is "out of context" and "falsified."

Network World isn't impressed with the Lab's security, or Mr. Pound's reaction.

National Ledger thinks the movie will be good. I'm thinking confused.

The Arizona Daily Star reports Landis may come to Tucson Friday with Dr. Baker, but not to ride. Baker on his upcoming presentation:
"I looked at that package, and now I have a lot of facts. Now I have something to say, I was astonished at the lack of quality of the documents, or the apparent lack of quality from the lab of their analysis."

Procycling covers interview.

Forums

DPF discussion of the hackery.

Floyd: Yea, what's going on? Now I'm responsible for leaks from inside the lab? What next?

Chris t: I agree Floyd, it is pretty absurd, but seeing as your camp propogates conspiracies like rabbits breed, you must see the irony here biggrin.gif

Floyd: Yea, point taken.

Strbuk: No, but as has been stated it's the perception of the public that may make a great deal of difference. What ( unfortunately) will happen is that the REAL conspiracy people ( and I don't necessarily think that the Floyd camp has perpetuated massive conspiracies) will look at who would have to most to gain from either hacking into the C-M system to perhaps change results, (or whatever), or who would have the most to gain from perpetuating the idea that the lab is incompetent. No one in their RIGHT mind would suppose that anyone with a real vested interest in this would condone such a ridiculous act. But it may give ammunition to those out there are looking for anything ( no matter how spurious) to pin on Floyd( or even perhaps Lance?) Remember, ( lots of) the media loves misery and loves creating misery. As Don Henley once said in "Dirty laundry" ," Crap is king!" OK the second graders are back , time to teach!!

"Frenchfry" (in France) writes:
There aren't a lot of details yet available, but what seems sure is that this whole situation has degraded into a pathetic cat fight. Unfortunately in the public domain it is increasingly difficult to separate the reality from the manipulations and misinformation campaigns. Hopefully the actual hearings with USADA and CAS will take place under better conditions. Pending further clarification of what happened, I won't be impressed if Floyd and his legal team try to use this to illustrate that the labs can't be trusted.

Also on rec.bicycles.racing here and here.

German Forum thread (translated) is pretty snarky from document release through now.

Blogs
BikingBis writes about the case stumbling along. Good summary of recent events.

Nardac, who left comment yesterday, slams Flandis Fumbling again.

Velogal questions L'Equipe's assertion it was "someone close to Landis."

TheParisBlog calls "Floyd the mumbler and fumbler", concluding:
However, this has to suck for Landis. The weekend he blames the lab is the same weekend that they track a criminal incident, related to his drug case and involving the lab, directly to his party. He’s become the Tonya Harding of cycling. Maybe someday soon he too will don a wrestling outfit and jump in the ring. The guy is certainly too clumsy to be in professional sports.

Dugard thinks it's getting weird. He's glad Landis fought back with the interview.
"I also have to wonder what they're so worried about. If the lab's protocol's and procedures were followed correctly, they shouldn't be worried about the various internal documents and emails that may soon spill forth to the media and general public."

Rant thinks it all makes a Strange Brew.
PodiumCafe thinks it's forged and a smear against Landis, and will vanish in a month, also, WTF? Comments are amusing.
SportsBabel wonders about the costs of securing labs on top of all the other antidoping costs.
BlawgAndEcon wonders if anyone is following, advises doing a Canseco instead of a Bonds.

TourDeFrancLogue heard the Fresh Air interview yesterday.

Bannaoj liked "no documents" and gives TBV a plug.

PolishPostal was starting to believe again on 9-Nov. No later word.

[end]

25 comments:

Burt Friggin' Hoovis said...

velonews is reporting that "an associate of landis" is being investigated

Anonymous said...

If I was on Floyd's team and broke into the labs computers, why would I send these emails and documents only to these anti-doping organizations? I would be sending the stuff to the New York Times and all kinds of other American media outlets. The information in those emails would stand a much greater chance of becoming public knowledge in the hands of an investigative media, rather than a groups of organizations that have an interest in preventing the release of information. It's sort of like breaking into a bank and leaving the money at the FBI office. Quite pointless.

And now the official mouthpiece of the lab is saying that it was Landis who did it? This just reeks of the fabrication accusations of the "conspiracy theorists".

Burt Friggin' Hoovis said...

I can't figure out if this whole thing is getting more interesting or more pathetic.

Maybe both...

nardac said...

The initial alert that they were fraudulent emails was when the head of a lab in Montreal began to doubt emails's veracity due to faulty grammar and spelling. The alert came from outside the laboratory itself.

It's important to note, as the IHT does, that this is an international and leading laboratory in anti-doping testing.

What is interesting of note is that Landis's allegations are exceptionally well-timed with the hacks themselves. The fraudulent emails were sent before the interview itself. Did Landis receive word from these remote agencies that the laboratory's reputation was being called into question? Was he alerted from someone within these laboratories themselves of the hack?

The IHT reports that information was stolen from the database. However, Le Monde reports that the hack only involved fraudulent emails.

This still does not change the fact that both Sample B corroborated Sample A, almost to the letter. I don't have a degree in biochemistry, but I'm guessing the possibilities of this being an anomaly are quite small. Unless Landis wants to go all out and say that the blood samples were contaminated, he has no case.

Another incriminating gesture is how, during the Stade 2 interview, Landis's lawyer almost tells Landis not to answer the question on how the lab could have made an error. Landis, going against his lawyer, says quite smugly that the lab could have made an error.

I wish I could believe Landis. I really enjoyed watching him during the Tour, and especially in Morzine. It pains me to see all this fumbling around. It pains me even further, though, to see someone like Ivan Basso get signed up by Discovery when he has hardly been cleared of allegations.

Incidentally, Velo Magazine, a french publication, ran an article this fall on the mechanics and velocity of several climbs during the Tour de France. It points out that most of those climbs are physiologically, given the rider's heart capacities, impossible. Aka... they were doped.

Burt Friggin' Hoovis said...

You're taking the position that Floyd is behind it...another possible read is that its all part of a frame job. The issue will provide ammo for both sides.

Thus the "more interesting or pathetic" comment above...

nardac said...

As reported by Le Monde, Floyd Landis's lawyer was one of the recipients of the fraudulent email, as were several international press agencies around the world. Landis's lawyer, however, tries to prevent Landis from saying anything regarding those emails during the interview. Landis dug his own hole, especially if this is a conspiracy.

I don't think whether it's interesting or pathetic is an issue. What's terrible is that this is now certainly a criminal situation. The man just seems to be grasping at any straw available. We all know people make mistakes but these are exceptional circumstances. The Tour tried desperately this year to rid itself of its drug image, excluding riders who were just suspected of being doped, and doing plenty of random spot tests. I highly doubt the sponsors would look at a positive test favourably. I don't know who would think of rigging Landis's test except for another rival team.

It reminds me a bit of Tyler Hamilton and his dead twin theory for why he was found to have foreign blood in his system. Just plain madness.

Burt Friggin' Hoovis said...

Again you're making the assumption that the e-mails originated from Landis or his people. If the e-mails DIDN'T originate from him, then there's no grasping going on.

Apparently remaining objective until you have actual data isn't your strong point.

Anonymous said...

The emails have nothing to do with the case. It's going to be decided by scientific interpretation of the documents provided by the lab and any problems revealed by those documents. That's all that really matters. All Landis has done is provide those documents and his team's interpretations so that people know where they stand. Public opinion does matter in emotional terms, but it won't actually affect his appeal's success or failure. Whoever hacked the lab is in big trouble, but Floyd's case will go on.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone considered that it was an insider from the lab attempting to flush out the bad guy...and that the hacker theory is a cover up by the lab...spelling and grammar issues could have been added on purpose to illustrate the labs inadequacies...

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Nardac spoke: "What is interesting of note is that Landis's allegations are exceptionally well-timed with the hacks themselves. The fraudulent emails were sent before the interview itself. Did Landis receive word from these remote agencies that the laboratory's reputation was being called into question? Was he alerted from someone within these laboratories themselves of the hack?"

In my view, it's horrible timing for Landis, because he was just succeeding in clawing some space on the moral high ground with the openness campaign. The stuff he said in the interview was the same thing he's been saying for weeks.

If it was a pre-emptive strike by someone else, it could not have been better timed. If self-inflicted, it's worse.

TBV

Anonymous said...

Why did you only identify the country from the poster 'frenchfry' (France) and not all the other posters?

Was it so the pro-Landis readers would automatically disregard his comments?

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Huh, I thought it was a rational comment, and was trying to give him credit. The name "frenchfry" seems to me to ask "is he or isn't he" pretty quickly, and it seemed fair to answer it in the attribution.

I do take it as obvious most comments in english are from the US or UK, and lean positive. A comment from elsewhere deserves attention for its different perspective.

TBV

nardac said...

Well, whether or not the hacks came from someone within Landis's entourage it should be of note that Landis was aware of the emails circulating since his lawyer had a copy of the emails. His lawyer can be heard off camera instructing Landis not to comment. It does seem probable that this hint of sloppiness did make Landis more willing to place the lab at blame.

I don't know what Landis is thinking, or if he did or didn't. I just think that he should have been more careful before publicly saying the lab might be to blame... hence fumbling.

Btw, none of us know if he is or isn't guilty. I just would like to say that frankly, I don't believe his story the way I never believed Tyler Hamilton. Cycling is riddled with doping, even from the nice guys, and Floyd just hasn't come up with a credible excuse... as of yet. But, hey, we still don't know.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

He's been saying the lab is sloppy for nearly two months, since he got the report at the end of August. No news there, or change in position. If he had seen these mails, they may have given him more confidence in saying something.

As for the excuse, his position since August is that he doesn't need one, because there is nothing to excuse: no violation was really detected.

TBV

Anonymous said...

I was about to say, where have you been Nardac, Floyd has stated his lack of confidence in the lab since the beginning. Floyd has been the only one willing to be up front in this whole mess. This latest "scandal" is just one more pitiful attempt to stab at Floyd. He must have one hell of a case. It sure looks like the opposition is starting to squirm...
Mike
Green Mountain Cyclery
Ephrata, PA.

nardac said...

Hmmm. Interesting because from over here, it sure seemed like his beer drinking from the day before was his initial excuse. Which flopped and flipped to him naturally producing high levels of testosterone. After the second test went positive, he just said that there must have been an error somewhere but he didn't know where. From what I followed after, I knew that he was preparing some kind of case with "scientific" proof, but I never heard him say that it was specific lab errors which caused the anomalous result, a result, oddly enough, which seems to duplicate itself.

I beg your pardon if I'm not reading Landis's site.

I highly doubt the hack is by someone out to make Floyd look bad. It just seems plain old weird, and concerns more than just cycling.

As for being upfront, I think that the Velo Mag article on the science behind the physiological demands of climbing some of the major mountain stages, I'll try and translate it and put it up somewhere when I get a moment, condemns a lot of cyclists, not just Landis. I find it hard to believe that we ask our athletes to be superhuman and ethical at the same time, especially in a world where sports exploits equates big money.

You know, I get the feeling people think I don't like or don't support Landis. I just find it hard to believe that a laboratory which has an international reputation and literally no financial stake in the contest would deliberately malign him. His story, before the drug scandal, worked towards the reputation of the Tour and he was certainly embraced by the French public. I published a lovely picture of the Landis and the boys from when I was at the Champs Elysees, and you can see I totally tried to defend him in the comments. Hell, I cried after his heroic performance in the Alps. It was performance with panache, as they say. So...say it ain't so, Flo.

Anonymous said...

Ah Nardac, a bit jealous of AFT are we?

Amen to what Mike of Ephrata said.

As to Floyd answering "smugly" to the question of how the lab could have made a mistake, you reveal your ignorance (of the word). Instead of embarassing the lab even more by detailing the sloppy paperwork, Floyd humbly stated that even the best can make mistakes.

Anonymous said...

My first time hitting this site with an opinion, but I have been following for months(!). Just a thought: If someone is sophiticated enough to get through/around the security of a french anti-doping lab's internet site, how could they be so incompetent to mistranslate and botch other aspects of the e-mail? Sounds very fishy to me. Also fishy is the loose implication (unfounded as yet) of "someone" close to Landis responsible.

nardac said...

What's AFT?

I know what the word smug means, thank you very much for the personal attack, and I know what I saw. You see humility where I see a twinkle of something exactly its opposite. Oh well.

And the translation? Well, I agree that the botched translation sounds incredibly fishy, not because hackers are great spellers, but because the other four letters quoted display a sophisticated and orthographically correct french.

L'Equipe, which does sometime publish odd things regarding cycling, is not what I would call an airtight source of doping information. It is a badly hidden secret in France that their parent organization would prefer to reduce the amount of coverage it places on cycling.

All that still doesn't change the fact that Landis didn't need to do that interview, that the timing was bad for all involved, that the courts and scientists will decide the case, that the LNDD in Chatenay-Malabry is an accredited and reputable lab, and that the only information we have to go by is that Sample B matches Sample A which projects testosterone in excess of accepted limits.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Hi Nardac,

I appreciate your continued interest and reasonable positions. The rest of you be nice.

AFT is the "anonymous fortune teller"
referenced here in TBV .

TBV

Anonymous said...

"Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you."

Who has the most to gain by making an attempt to make Floyd Landis, his attorney and associates look stupid? Is Howard Jacobs a total fool? How do we know that hackers actually got into the LLND computer system?

Lots of questions. Not many answers. And the case is getting outright weird.

Anonymous said...

Where is AFT? We need a theory from him regarding this hacking story.

tbv@trustbut.com said...

Where's AFT? Could be too wierd for him. It's too wierd for me!

TBV

Anonymous said...

Dick Pound is trying to sell a book. Any publicity regarding anything to do with athletes, labs, or doping might help him, simply by putting doping issues in the news. Floyd Landis is trying to act like a believable, honest athlete. He's been "busted". He knows people are watching him. Are we to believe that he and his associates concocted a plan to send fake emails from the French Lab. This is so insane, it has people scratching their heads, saying, "Huh?" I'm not so much into conspiracy theories, but this hacking story is such a bassackward crazy bunch of nonsense, it's outright laughable.

Anonymous said...

Theory: Floyd and Lance got together somewhere, drank too much Jack Daniels. Lance is still pissed off about the EPO/frozen urine story. They went off-the-wall, decided to hack into the lab's computer. It was a Jack Daniels prank. Amber wasn't around to talk sense to Floyd.

But wait, if they drank so much Jack Daniels that their common sense went out the window, how did they managed to figure out how to hack into a French computer?