The document purported to be a chain of email exchanges by the Prime Minister, the Attorney General and other key Government officials is a forgery.
That’s the opinion of Mr. Jon Berryhill, a US engineering computer scientist with extensive experience in computer crime investigation.
It’s the latest in the ongoing Section 34 email scandal which first arose last month during Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley’s No Confidence Motion in the Parliament. It was there that Dr. Rowley presented 31 emails which allegedly implicated members of Government in conspiracy and spying on key institutions in the country including the Judiciary, the Office of the DPP, the Opposition and the media. The Prime Minister later turned the matter over to the police for investigation.
At a Press Conference on Monday, Mr. Berryhill, who was hired by Senior Counsel Israel Khan on behalf of his client, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, roundly dismissed the 31 emails.
He explained that when he received, via email, the document in PDF format, he printed it out and began to identify errors almost immediately.
He said from his analysis, there were several technical problems associated with messages from the ‘ email@example.com‘ email address – one of them being that it is not a valid Gmail address because it is four characters long.
Mr. Berryhill has written to Google asking them if the address ‘ firstname.lastname@example.org‘ ever existed, but he said Google would rather the request come from a Government Agency. Google usually takes a few days to respond to requests of this type.
The IT expert also highlighted that the Header information such as ‘Name, To, From, Subject’ in the emails were all wrong and did not follow the same pattern when routinely, the Header information remains the same.
He stated that this showed that the document was tampered with and as such, labeled the entire document “a bad cut and paste job.”
“As far as validating messages, if you send me an email message and I take the message with your address in it and I copy and paste it into another document, at that point how can anybody say anything about the validity of that document?”
Speaking afterwards, Senior Counsel Israel Khan said Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley has a moral responsibility to get an independent expert to verify his claims about a conspiracy, since other experts are needed so citizens will know the truth.
He added that the Section 34 email scandal has far-reaching implications and questioned the Opposition Leader’s responsibility, or lack thereof, in bringing a fabricated document to Parliament.
SC Khan believes someone should face serious consequences when the investigation is completed.
“If the emails are true, well arrest the Prime Minister and the Attorney General and charge them. And if it is false and it could have been figured out before, by just checking before you run your mouth in Parliament, you have a duty to the people of this country. So he could be charged for misleading in public office, a criminal offence.”