Friday, January 10, 2014

Chris Christie and Netiquette - Do you see the importance of it? I bet he does!

Chris Christie had been a very significant front runner to be a candidate for president of the United States. With the revelation of emails this week, his chances are now virtually non-existent. This is directly a result of the emails listed below. Good Netiquette is not meant to assist in covering up unethical behavior. However if taken in the context of personal records, security, sensitive information or confidential data, failure of email esecurity policies can result in damages of profound effect or importance.

The lesson to be learned here is that email etiquette has, as its core principals, fundamental ethics, the need for security, confidentiality and foresight to understand that any email can be read by anyone at a later time.

To all readers of this blog or my book, I can only reassert that Netiquette is critical to any email user, the student, kid, job seeker, employee or any other of the nearly four billion. Make it an integral part of your processes.

Below, I have included the article which broke the story and made the emails public. There are lessons to be learned!

"Diamonds Are Forever. Email Comes Close."
-Jane Kronholz

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Last updated: Thursday January 9, 2014, 12:03 PM
The Record
Full Coverage: Chris Christie and the GWB lane closure controversy

A cache of private messages linking Governor Christie’s office to vindictive lane closures at the George Washington Bridge in September plunged the administration into a deep crisis on Wednesday, threatening Christie’s national profile as a straight-talker and feeding criticism that his administration has used its power to bully political enemies.
The explosive e-mails and text messages, obtained and first reported by The Record, sparked a political firestorm that extended far beyond New Jersey and Fort Lee — which was gridlocked for days as a result of the closures — and appeared destined to stretch into the foreseeable future. They also pushed Christie to expand on his previous claims that his office had no involvement in the closures and forced him to join the chorus of outraged officials at all levels of government condemning the messages exchanged between one of his deputy aides and his two executives at the Port Authority.
Christie said in a terse statement Wednesday that he was “misled” by one of his staffers. He called the messages — which expressed delight over delayed school buses shuttling children to their first day of class and included taunts aimed at the Fort Lee mayor — “completely inappropriate” and “unacceptable.” He added, without any specifics, “people will be held responsible for their actions.”
Read emails between Christie administration and Port Authority executives: View / Download
There was no immediate indication that Christie had taken any action against the senior aide who sent an e-mail weeks before the lane closures that appeared to give a Port Authority executive approval to go ahead with a plan to exact revenge against the Fort Lee mayor.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputy chiefs of staff for Christie, wrote on Aug. 13. The recipient of the e-mail was David Wildstein, a longtime political operative who went to high school with the governor and was hired to be the governor’s eyes and ears at the Port Authority. Wildstein, who ordered the closures three weeks after the message and resigned last month amid the escalating scandal, wrote back: “Got it.”
The fallout was evident on Wednesday: Christie, who usually addresses controversies head-on and in person, canceled a previously scheduled event that drew scores to hear about Sandy relief and remained silent except for the four-sentence statement issued late in the day. And Democrats signaled that they intended to carry on their investigation in an effort to find out whether Christie or anyone else in his inner circle knew about the lane closures beforehand. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Middlesex Democrat who is leading the legislative probe, said Wednesday that he plans to call Kelly to testify at some point.
The revelations, which also included messages from Christie’s reelection campaign manager and his spokesman, surfaced on the eve of legislative hearings in Trenton planned for today in which Wildstein was summoned to appear to testify under oath. Wildstein supplied the records that surfaced Wednesday in response to a committee investigating the unannounced closures, which paralyzed Fort Lee during morning rush-hour for four days.
Timeline of events around GWB lane-closure controversy
Wildstein’s attorney waged a late legal bid on Wednesday evening to stop the hearing, asking a judge to invalidate the committee’s subpoena. The emergency court hearing was scheduled for this morning, hours before the planned hearing in Trenton.
The documents supplied by Wildstein don’t spell out the precise reason for the apparent retribution. But they lay bare a disdain for the Fort Lee mayor — who said Wednesday that he was convinced it was because he declined to endorse Christie — and an indifference to the hardships suffered by North Jersey residents who sat in traffic backups that lasted up to four hours.
In one exchange of text messages on the second day of the lane closures, Wildstein alludes to messages Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich had left complaining that school buses were having trouble getting through the traffic.
“Is it wrong that I’m smiling,” the recipient of the text message responded to Wildstein. The person’s identity is not clear because the documents are partially redacted for unknown reasons.
“No,” Wildstein wrote in response.
“I feel badly about the kids,” the person replied to Wildstein. “I guess.”
“They are the children of Buono voters,” Wildstein wrote, making a reference to Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor, who lost to Christie in a landslide in November.
In another exchange, on Sept. 9, the first morning of the lane closures, Kelly asked in an e-mail if Sokolich’s numerous calls to Port Authority officials had been returned.
“Radio silence,” Wildstein replied. “His name comes right after mayor Fulop,” an apparent reference to Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who also said this week that the Christie administration had retaliated against him last year because he didn’t endorse the governor for reelection.
When reached Wednesday morning, Kelly said: “I’m literally in the middle of a conference call. “I’m going to have to call you right back.” As of Wednesday evening, she had not returned the call.
The e-mails could damage Christie’s credibility at a time when he has emerged as a frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. And they are likely to raise questions about whether the governor’s office was involved in what Democrats have said was a coordinated coverup that has stretched on for months, as damaging details slowly emerged.
David Samson, the Port Authority chairman and one of the governor’s closest advisers, who was also mentioned in the messages, said Wednesday that he was “extremely upset and distressed.” In one of the messages, Wildstein reports to Christie’s deputy chief that Samson is helping to “retaliate” against a New York official who reversed the lane closures after he found out about them.
“To be clear, neither I nor anyone on the Board had any knowledge of these lane closures until” the New York appointee, Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye, sent out an angry internal e-mail reversing the lane closures.
The records obtained Wednesday show that Trenton was aware of the Port Authority’s first public explanation of the sudden lane closures.
On Sept. 12, the fourth day of the lane closures, Wildstein emailed Kelly and Michael Drewniak, the governor's spokesman, a statement that was later issued by the Port Authority in response to inquiries by The Record. That statement read, in part: “The Port Authority is reviewing traffic safety patterns at the George Washington Bridge to ensure proper placement of toll lanes.” Since then, the governor and his representatives have described the closures as a study aimed at seeing if Fort Lee got more than its fair share of access lanes onto the bridge.
He dismissed questions about the issue as overblown, joking that he moved the cones himself. At a Dec. 13 press conference, Christie defended the lane closures as a matter of fairness, echoing the defense previously offered by his top Port Authority appointee, Bill Baroni, who subsequently resigned.
“The fact is, I didn’t know Fort Lee got three dedicated lanes until all this stuff happened, and I think we should review that entire policy because I don’t know why Fort Lee needs three dedicated lanes to tell you the truth,” Christie said at the time. “And I didn’t even know it until this whole, you know, happening went about.”
He added later: “The fact that one town has three lanes dedicated to it, that kind of gets me sauced.”
Wisniewski on Wednesday seemed skeptical that Christie was unaware that members of his staff and his appointee at the Port Authority organized the lane closures.
“There are two possibilities,” he said. “Either the governor doesn’t know … or there’s lying going on.”
Wisniewski said none of the documents his committee received have shown that the governor was directly involved in the matter, but he didn’t rule out subpoenaing Christie in the future, should the documents lead in that direction.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, also questioned how Christie could say he did not know about the lane closures.
“Either his staff lied to him or the governor was less than truthful with the people of New Jersey,” she said.
Wisniewski said the Port Authority’s “entire apparatus is utilized for political purposes.”
Wisniewski said he has received 3,000 to 5,000 pages of documents, which he described as a puzzle he is trying to piece together. He said the investigation is ongoing.
Port Authority's top executive orders end to lane closures
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top executive at the bi-state agency, Foye, ordered an end to the lane closures after he found out about them when The Record’s Road Warrior columnist John Cichowski called for an explanation, four days after they began. Foye was not informed of them in advance. Neither were Fort Lee officials or commuters.
At the time of Foye’s reversal, the public knew little about the behind-the-scenes disputes that were unfolding. New Jersey officials fumed, the records show.
On Sept. 13, the day Foye reversed the lane closures, Wildstein wrote to Kelly: “The New York side gave back Fort Lee all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate.”
David Samson, a close adviser to Christie who headed the governor’s gubernatorial transition committee four years ago, is the chairman of the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners. He was appointed by Christie to the post.
Four days later, as it became clearer that the closure of two out of three lanes to the bridge were a surprise to local officials and police, the media began asking more questions. Wildstein sent a message to Bill Baroni, the deputy executive directory of the agency who was also appointed by Christie, on the afternoon of Sept. 17 telling him a Wall Street Journal reporter had called him on his cellphone.
“Jesus,” Baroni responded, before advising Wildstein to call Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman.
Christie’s campaign manager exchanged messages with Wildstein the next day, and he blamed the Fort Lee mayor.
“The mayor is an idiot,” Bill Stepien, Christie’s campaign manager, wrote to Wildstein on Sept. 18, in reaction to the Wall Street Journal story about local officials’ complaints.
“When (sic) some, lose some,” Stepien wrote.
Wildstein responded to Stepien: “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian,” an apparent reference to the Fort Lee mayor, who Baroni also referred to as “Serbia” in text messages. Sokolich is Croatian, not Serbian.
Stepien was promoted this week to chairman of the state Republican Party and is an adviser to the Republican Governors Association, which Christie now leads.
When a media report appeared in early October revealing that Foye, the New York appointee, had privately called the lane closures “abusive” and possibly illegal in an internal email, Wildstein wrote to Stepien again. It was five weeks before the election. “I feel terrible that I’m causing you so much stress this close to November,” Wildstein wrote.
The bridge scandal did not pick up steam until after the election.
Baroni testified in late November, before the same legislative panel leading the investigation, that the lane closures were part of a traffic study. He was not under oath. Baroni, the records show, was concerned about whether the governor’s office thought he performed well during his testimony on Nov. 25.
“You did great,” Wildstein wrote to Baroni.
“Trenton feedback?” Baroni asked in response.
“Good,” Wildstein responded.
“Just good? Shit.” Baroni replied.
Wildstein later clarified that three people in Trenton, who he referred to only by their first names, thought he did “great.”
Foye and two other Port Authority officials later testified under oath that Wildstein had ordered the closures on short notice, bypassing agency protocol, and that he had instructed a bridge employee to keep it a secret from Fort Lee officials.
Wildstein resigned on Dec. 6, calling the bridge scandal a distraction. Baroni resigned a little more than a week later.
An email shows he had met with Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman, two days earlier.
“Thanks again for all your sound advice last night, I always appreciate your friendship,” Wildstein wrote.
“Same to you, David, and thanks for a great dinner,” Drewniak responded.
As Wildstein was announcing his resignation later that week, Drewniak forwarded to Wildstein a statement he was releasing to a Record reporter.
The statement called Wildstein “a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s interests at the Port Authority” and expressed gratitude for his “commitment and dedication.”
Drewniak informed Wildstein that the governor had personally reviewed the statement.
“This was my revised [statement]—which I sent to the Gov and he approved …”

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