Forget SnapChat—the only messages that disappear after you send them are whispers. If you want to keep something secret, don’t give into convenience. You must avoid the digital realm, for it leaves behind too many artifacts. This principle of secrecy has been demonstrated numerous in recent history; from the Sony and DNC leaks to the hawkish cables of Hillary Clinton—and now a particularly embarrassing text message exchange between two Chris Christie staffers.
At a press conference in December of 2013, the New Jersey Governor denied accusations that he or his top staffers were involved in an apparent plot to create traffic jams with lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Federal investigators alleged Christie’s staff were trying to punish a political opponent—Mark Sokolic, for failing to endorse Christie during the 2013 gubernatorial election.
“I’ve made it very clear to everybody on my senior staff that if anyone had any knowledge about this that they needed to come forward to me and tell me about it,” Christie said. “And they’ve all assured me that they don’t.”
But subpoenaed text messages between two of Christie’s aides tell a different story.
“Are you listening?” wrote Christina Genovese Renna. “He just flat out lied about senior staff and [former campaign manager Bill] Stepian not being involved.” She was texting Christie campaign worker Peter Sheridan, as they simultaneously watched the press conference on television.
“I’m listening,” Sheridan replied. He added: “Gov is doing fine. Holding his own up there.”
“Yes. But he lied,” Renna said. “And if emails are found with the subpoena or ccfg emails are uncovered in discovery if it comes to that it could be bad.” Indeed.
So not only did these two aides indicate senior staffers knew of the plot, they implicate Christie in possessing this knowledge as well. And all because the convenience of traceable digital technology outweighed the necessary precautions for true secrecy.
After subpoenas were issued on the case, Renna attempted to delete her text messages. But evidently, she was unsuccessful.
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