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20 October 2004. See also Bush Ear Piece:
13 October 2004. D. forwards a Salon article today which mentions the security device possibility:
Technical expert: Bush was wired
A Bush spokesman tells Salon there is nothing to the story. But as the final presidential debate looms, speculation grows about the mysterious bulge.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Dave Lindorff
Oct. 13, 2004 | Speculation continues to run wild about President Bush's mystery bulge. Since Friday, when Salon first raised questions about the rectangular bulge that was visible under Bush's suit coat during the presidential debates, many observers in the press and on the Internet have wondered aloud whether the verbally and factually challenged pre sident might be receiving coaching via a hidden electronic device.
Now a technical expert who designs and makes such devices for the U.S. military and private industry tells Salon that he believes the bulge is indeed a transceiver designed to receive electronic signals and transmit them to a hidden earpiece lodged in Bush's ear canal.
"There's no question about it. It's a pretty obvious one -- larger than most because it probably has descrambling capability," said Alex Darbut, technical and business development vice president for Resistance Technology in Arden Hills, Minn. Darbut examined photographs of the president's back taken from the Fox News video feed at the first presidential debate in Coral Gables, Fla., as well as 2002 photos of the president driving and working in a T-shirt on his Crawford ranch, which were posted on the White House Web site.
Darbut speculates that the device the president wears is provided by the Secret Service, noting, "They're not going to have him driving around the countryside on his ranch without being in instant contact with him."
No one in the White House or Bush campaign, however, has offered such an explanation. In fact, the Bush camp has shed little light on the mysterious protuberance, turning aside questions with dismissive humor or rising tones of exasperation. The president is "a regular guy," White House chief of staff Andy Card told Salon before the second debate last week. "Maybe his suit had a little lump in it or something." Campaign spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish took the same line with the New York Times on Saturday: "It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric." But Devenish, the Times dryly noted, "could not say why the 'rumpling' was rectangular." Campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel brushed aside a questioner in a Washington Post chat session by saying, "I think you've been spending a little too much time on conspiracy Web sites."
On Tuesday, in response to repeated questions from Salon, the Bush camp finally issued a flat denial. Campaign spokesman Reed Dickens denied that Bush has ever used an electronic device to aid his public speaking, insisting the president was wearing "nothing during the debates." When asked about the pictures taken at the Bush ranch, Dickens said the president has never used any devices except for cutting tools and earplugs to protect his ears from the high-decibel chainsaw. Nor has the Secret Service outfitted Bush with a hidden communications device, according to Dickens: "He doesn't need something like that because the Secret Service is always with him. They ride in the truck in the back. Wherever he goes, they're with him."
13 October 2004. Bear in mind that Bush may wear a communication device for personal protection, and if so, the Secret Service will not allow its revelation. Such devices are worn by security personnel, including the Secret Service, and it would not be unusual for the President's security staff to be in direct 24x7 communication with him -- in particular during public appearances, and most so when he cannot be surrounded by agents -- to alert him to danger and to give direction on what to do should a threat loom.
Other heads of state and VIPs are known to wear these devices, kept secret for security reasons. Signals are most often encrypted or otherwised protected from interception and interruption. However because encryption requires more time to process and transmit than unencrypted signal, there may be plain signals sent during an emergency, perhaps no more than a warning tone for an incoming urgent message.
How long these devices have been in use for presidential protection is not known, but they are well-established in the security field. It is possible that Bush was alerted to the 9/11 attacks by this technology while reading to school children, and that could account for his stare into space while listening; he might also have been directed to remain in place until security arrangements could be made for his escape to a secure location.
While it is not likely the use of such devices for presidential personal protection will be admitted publicly, there could be leaks from those who supply and service them, by ex-employees or others. The Secret Service Technical Security Division would probably be the contracting party for purchase and maintenance, and DoD's White House Communications Agency (WHCA), a unit of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), could be involved as well.
The Techncial Security Division might well make the presidential devices, in cooperation with government and industry communication experts, to maximize protection against disclosure of their existence and capabilities.
The US government publication, Commerce Business Daily, lists unclassified solicitations and purchases; search on "usss" or "secret service" or "whca." Classified purchases would take place by non-public procedures.
11 October 2004. James Atkinson (http://www.tscm.com) writes:
After examining numerous frames of video footage [C-SPAN 30 Sept 04] I have come to the professional opinion that either George Bush was wearing a wireless prompter/queuing system on the night of the debates, or our president is growing some kind of mutant dorsal fin. By very carefully examining the movement of his body and how it interacts with his suit jacket it is easy to rule out the possibility "the bulge" is simply a wrinkle in his clothing or a problem with bad lighting.
As he moves his arms the jacket slides over the bulge, but the bulge does not move relative to his upper torso. The same is true when he swivels his hips where the jacket moves, and slides over the bulge between his shoulder blade, but the bulge itself does not move relative to his torso. When he moves in and out of the light, the shadows can be seem to move across the surface of his clothing and the shadows of the bulge sift accordingly, but the bulge remains at the exact same location between his shoulder blade. When he leans forward on the podium the bulge becomes more well defined as a something concealed under the suit coat, whereas a flaw in his garments would be pulled taut in such cases. This item appears to be the yoke assembly of the neck loop or wiring of a wireless prompter systems commonly used by public speakers. This behavior tends to indicate that the bulge is not attached to, or part of his suit jacket but is instead attached to an undershirt or oxford dress shirt.
The same situation is observed regarding the ridge that runs from bulge across this right shoulder blade and over his collar bone. Despite his movements the ridge does not move relative to his body, but the suit coat moves relative to it. This element behaves almost identically to the bulge between his shoulder blades and it also appears to be something close fitting and likely secured to his oxford shirt or undershirt.
Additionally, his shoulder blades, collar bone, and spine are not printing properly through his clothing and his clothing is not hanging properly on his frame. This appears to be caused by several milli-meters of stiff ballistic fabric being worn close to his body in the form of soft body armor.
11 October 2004. Manuals on wireless cueing systems and security:
11 October 2004. James Atkinson (http://www.tscm.com) writes:
Here are a few more wireless prompter channels that systems such as that used by the White House utilize. There are a huge number of additional channels, but these are quite popular.H3 0 524.200 553.800 1 525.150 552.850 2 526.825 551.175 3 530.375 547.625 4 531.000 547.000 5 533.300 544.700 6 538.150 539.850 7 545.625 532.375 8 546.925 531.075 9 550.150 527.850 A 551.625 535.025 B 553.575 541.65 C 537.325 536.350 D 527.975 543.250 E 540.675 551.125 F 542.725 553.375 L2 0 632.200 661.800 1 633.150 660.850 2 634.825 659.175 3 638.375 655.625 4 639.000 655.000 5 641.300 652.700 6 646.150 647.850 7 653.625 640.375 8 654.925 639.075 9 658.150 635.850 A 659.625 643.025 B 661.575 649.65 C 645.325 644.350 D 635.975 651.250 E 648.675 659.125 F 650.725 661.375 Ch. 0 722.325 MHz TV 56 Ch. 0 745.500 MHz TV 59 Ch. 1 723.100 MHz TV 56 Ch. 1 744.450 MHz TV 59 Ch. 2 724.500 MHz TV 56 Ch. 2 743.700 MHz TV 59 Ch. 3 725.550 MHz TV 56 Ch. 3 742.225 MHz TV 59 Ch. 4 726.125 MHz TV 56 Ch. 4 741.250 MHz TV 59 Ch. 5 728.450 MHz TV 57 Ch. 5 739.675 MHz TV 58 Ch. 6 730.450 MHz TV 57 Ch. 6 737.575 MHz TV 58 Ch. 7 731.525 MHz TV 57 Ch. 7 736.525 MHz TV 58 Ch. 8 734.175 MHz TV 58 Ch. 8 732.125 MHz TV 57 Ch. 9 738.225 MHz TV 58 Ch. 9 730.350 MHz TV 57 Ch. A 739.625 MHz TV 58 Ch. A 728.225 MHz TV 57 Ch. B 740.350 MHz TV 59 Ch. B 727.200 MHz TV 56 Ch. C 741.600 MHz TV 59 Ch. C 725.675 MHz TV 56 Ch. D 743.225 MHz TV 59 Ch. D 725.125 MHz TV 56 Ch. E 744.275 MHz TV 59 Ch. E 723.625 MHz TV 56 Ch. F 745.675 MHz TV 59 Ch. F 722.775 MHz TV 56 1 518.750 MHz 2 524.875 MHz 3 525.625 MHz 4 534.375 MHz 5 536.875 MHz 6 538.500 MHz 7 551.000 MHz 8 553.250 MHz
More frequencies of this nature may be found at: http://www.tscm.com/TSCM101bugfreq.html
Also, other materials may be found via the main page as well: http://www.tscm.com/
9 October 2004. James Atkinson (http://www.tscm.com) writes:
I have carefully reviewed the image that was taken during the Presidential debates where picture was obtained from the back which show an interesting bulge.
First, the President is likely wearing body armor. The jacket is not concealing the armor well and it is "printing though" his clothing.
Second, there are four elements that appear to be "printing" on the back of his suit coat. While it is impossible to identify the system, we can review various equiment of the same size and shape.
1. A "box" section of the device which appears to be located between his shoulder blades, and just over his spine. This is the "bodypack."
2) A wire running vertically up his back across his shoulder blade.
3) A shadow behind his right ear may be an ear-piece, but it is difficult to tell due to the poor resolution of the picture. It would be most unwise for a public figure to use an ear piece that was visible, so this may just be a shadow.
4) There appears to be something actually IN his ear, and it is likely a monitor or cueing prompter.
A system like this works by receiving a signal from a wireless microphone being used by a coach or advisor who is speaking to the person wearing the system. The "bodypack" receives the signal and supplies the coaching or cueing to the ear canal by either a hard wire, or though a magnetic neck loop induction system. The covert neck loop systems are very popular in cases where the speaker does not want the public to know they are being coached.
The frequencies for these units are very well known, and someone can sit outside many concerts with radio monitoring gear and listen to the assistants reading the words to the songs to the musicians, coaching them what to say, and quite often someone can sit outside a comedy club and listen to one-liners to cue the comedians and entertainers. Around political events these types of systems are very, very popular as the politician can have a half dozen members of his staff feeding him data, thus creating the illusion the suit has a clue of what he speaks.
When the president visited Boston back in March 2004 he stayed at the Park Plaza Hotel. The signal from the system he was using could clearly be heard 1500+ feet away, and one of his advisors could be heard doing voice checks and then feeding him data about the school he was about to visit.
The funny thing about these kinds of system is that mischief makers can set up a transmitter thousands of feet away and feed persons bogus data, and really cause them to screw up their public appearances.
Here are links to some of the more popular systems the government uses, and one which the White House has purchased over the past few years.
I can supply you with frequency tables for the more popular systems they are using.
IFB & Cueing
The RC-216 Receive-A-Cue system is a professional quality, digitally synthesized wireless cueing system operating in the interference-free 216-217 MHz band. The IR-230 induction receiver and NTC-102 neck-loop eliminates the need for visible wires going directly to the ear. With the adjustable volume control and low residual noise, this discrete earpiece is loud enough for even the most demanding environments. The dual function M-216 transmitter can be used with a lapel microphone for live cueing, or the AUX input and whip antenna can be used to send cues from a line level audio input source. Also, the AUX input on the transmitter allows for prerecorded material to be played back from another sound source such as an MP-3 player, dat recorder, or even a feed from a mixing board. When using the mic input and the AUX input simultaniously, the AUX input will automatically lower it's level to prioritize the signal from the mic input. The complete RC-216 system includes:
* M-216 wireless microphone transmitter
* CM-183 omni-directional lapel microphone
* PR-216 personal receiver
* NTC-102 neck-loop transductor
* SM-N earphone assembly
* IR-230 inductor receiver
* Auxiliary audio input cable
* C-216 carrying case
For use with miniature tape recorders, dat recorders, or MP-3 players for discrete cueing applications. Allows the user to listen to prerecorded cues when giving speeches or presentations. May also be used with all COMTEK personal receivers. The complete system includes:
* IR-230 universal-fit ear canal inductor receiver
* NTC-102 neck-loop transductor with two 32" down-lead cords (one 1/8" and one 3/32" plug)
* P-11 storage pouch.
8 October 2004. Thanks to K., who writes:
Here're 28 pics from the video of the debate [C-SPAN 30 Sept 04] that have been cropped and scaled (optimized for best quality) showing Bush's back throughout the debate with timestamps above so anyone can verify it's real.
Whatever the bulge is, it doesn't change shape, it holds its form throughout his movement, like metal wire would, so unless he's got some crazy thing going on with the guy who made that suit, he's wired.
The last photo shows Bush telling someone to "let me finish."
Another video has a interested ending where you see one of Bush's aids (or someone) come onto stage after the debate to grab Bush's notepad and look at Kerry's.
James Atkinson writes 11 October 2004 of the frequencies below:
The 400 MHz frequencies that are listed below for Wireless Microphones are not part of a "prompter" system, but instead simple wireless microphone systems used by the Secret Service for (often illegal) technical surveillance, and typically worn by agents, informants, and similar folks (not the President).
These systems work by transmitting a signal FROM the person wearing the device and relaying it to a remote listening post. For example, a Secret Service agent will wear a system such as this when they attend a 2600 meeting a show like Black Hat where they are trying to set up a sting on someone, or entice someone into committing a criminal act.
See also radio frequencies used by the White House and Secret Service, among them these for wireless body microphones:
Special Usage (Technical Security) Division 408.0000 F1 RF ALARM 411.0000 F2 RF ALARM 408.5000 F3 TRACKER- F1 408.9750 F4 TRACKER- F2 406.2625 WIRELESS BODY MICROPHONE 407.8250 WIRELESS BODY MICROPHONE 407.8750 WIRELESS BODY MICROPHONE 407.9750 WIRELESS BODY MICROPHONE
8 October 2004. Thanks to C. Comments on this invited. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
The rumor is flying around the globe. Was the president wired during the first debate?
By Dave Lindorff
Oct. 8, 2004 | Was President Bush literally channeling Karl Rove in his first debate with John Kerry? That's the latest rumor flooding the Internet, unleashed last week in the wake of an image caught by a television camera during the Miami debate. The image shows a large solid object between Bush's shoulder blades as he leans over the lectern and faces moderator Jim Lehrer.
The president is not known to wear a back brace, and it's safe to say he wasn't packing. So was the bulge under his well-tailored jacket a hidden receiver, picking up transmissions from someone offstage feeding the president answers through a hidden earpiece? Did the device explain why the normally ramrod-straight president seemed hunched over during much of the debate?
Bloggers are burning up their keyboards with speculation. Check out the president's peculiar behavior during the debate, they say. On several occasions, the president simply stopped speaking for an uncomfortably long time and stared ahead with an odd expression on his face. Was he listening to someone helping him with his response to a question? Even weirder was the president's strange outburst. In a peeved rejoinder to Kerry, he said, "As the politics change, his positions change. And that's not how a commander in chief acts. I, I, uh -- Let me finish -- The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at." It must be said that Bush pointed toward Lehrer as he declared "Let me finish." The green warning light was lit, signaling he had 30 seconds to, well, finish.
Hot on the conspiracy trail, I tried to track down the source of the photo. None of the Bush-is-wired bloggers, however, seemed to know where the photo came from. Was it possible the bulge had been Photoshopped onto Bush's back by a lone conspiracy buff? It turns out that all of the video of the debate was recorded and sent out by Fox News, the pool broadcaster for the event. Fox sent feeds from multiple cameras to the other networks, which did their own on-air presentations and editing.
To watch the debate again, I ventured to the Web site of the most sober network I could think of: C-SPAN. And sure enough, at minute 23 on the video of the debate, you can clearly see the bulge between the president's shoulder blades.
Bloggers stoke the conspiracy with the claim that the Bush administration insisted on a condition that no cameras be placed behind the candidates. An official for the Commission on Presidential Debates, which set up the lecterns and microphones on the Miami stage, said the condition was indeed real, the result of negotiations by both campaigns. Yet that didn't stop Fox from setting up cameras behind Bush and Kerry. The official said that "microphones were mounted on lecterns, and the commission put no electronic devices on the president or Senator Kerry." When asked about the bulge on Bush's back, the official said, "I don't know what that was."
So what was it? Jacob McKenna, a spyware expert and the owner of the Spy Store, a high-tech surveillance shop in Spokane, Wash., looked at the Bush image on his computer monitor. "There's certainly something on his back, and it appears to be electronic," he said. McKenna said that, given its shape, the bulge could be the inductor portion of a two-way push-to-talk system. McKenna noted that such a system makes use of a tiny microchip-based earplug radio that is pushed way down into the ear canal, where it is virtually invisible. He also said a weak signal could be scrambled and be undetected by another broadcaster.
Mystery-bulge bloggers argue that the president may have begun using such technology earlier in his term. Because Bush is famously prone to malapropisms and reportedly dyslexic, which could make successful use of a teleprompter problematic, they say the president and his handlers may have turned to a technique often used by television reporters on remote stand-ups. A reporter tapes a story and, while on camera, plays it back into an earpiece, repeating lines just after hearing them, managing to sound spontaneous and error free.
Suggestions that Bush may have using this technique stem from a D-day event in France, when a CNN broadcast appeared to pick up -- and broadcast to surprised viewers -- the sound of another voice seemingly reading Bush his lines, after which Bush repeated them. Danny Schechter, who operates the news site MediaChannel.org, and who has been doing some investigating into the wired-Bush rumors himself, said the Bush campaign has been worried of late about others picking up their radio frequencies -- notably during the Republican Convention on the day of Bush's appearance. "They had a frequency specialist stop me and ask about the frequency of my camera," Schechter said. "The Democrats weren't doing that at their convention."
Repeated calls to the White House and the Bush national campaign office over a period of three days, inquiring about what the president may have been wearing on his back during the debate, and whether he had used an audio device at other events, went unreturned. So far the Kerry campaign is staying clear of this story. When called for a comment, a press officer at the Democratic National Committee claimed on Tuesday that it was "the first time" they'd ever heard of the issue. A spokeswoman at the press office of Kerry headquarters refused to permit me to talk with anyone in the campaign's research office. Several other requests for comment to the Kerry campaign's press office went unanswered.
As for whether we really do have a Milli Vanilli president, the answer at this point has to be, God only knows.
28 images in two composites of 14 clips each of the bulge excerpted from the debate video [C-SPAN 30 Sept 04]: