Beck conspiracy theory: “Cash for clunkers” website lets Feds take over your computer

Posted Aug 1, 2009, 1:38 AM PT by Jed Lewison • First broadcast: Jul 31, 2009

Note: Beck’s conspiracy theory is completely false. For more details, please see Daily Kos.

Get Adobe Flash player



BECK: Let me bring in Kimberly Guilfoyle. She’s here. She’s a FOX News anchor.

Kim, I wanted to bring you in because the — and I recommend, America, do not try this at home. I’m going to show it to you. This is somebody else’s computer. I took it from their office, because I wouldn’t do this on mine.


BECK: This actually came in a tip from what I call a constitutional watchdog. I’m asking my radio listeners earlier all this week to watch these things, because 10 million eyes on radio, and God knows how many millions of eyes here on television watching things that we can’t watch. This is a frightening thing.

GUILFOYLE: It really is.

BECK: Yes.

GUILFOYLE: Don’t — people shouldn’t go on it right now while you’re doing it. Don’t do it.

BECK: Do not do this at home. Trust me. You’ll understand why.

OK. Can you take a shot here of this, Oscar?

Here is Let’s say you go in. If I understand this right, I go in and I say, "I want to turn in my clunker." The dealer goes to, and then they hit "submit transaction." Here it says "privacy act and security statement," and it’s like, oh, it’s the Privacy Act of 1974. Whatever. I agree.

Now, this is how bad this system is. It probably won’t pull up, because the system is so overwhelmed. You know, it was a $19 million Web site.


BECK: So, let me — it’s not going to pull up now. Watch. It’s thinking. It’s trying really hard.

Let me show you what it does say when you pull it up. Can you bring up the full screen on what it says?

A warning box comes up, and it says, "This application provides access to the DOT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a federal computer system and it is property of the United States Government. Or — any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized CARS, DOT, law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign."

Good God Almighty!

GUILFOYLE: Could it be any more broad and frightening? Here you are trying to be a good citizen and make a charitable contribution, do something that’s good — and guess what? They are jumping right inside you, seizing all of your personal and private.

BECK: Yes.


GUILFOYLE: And it’s absolutely legal, Glenn. They can do it.

BECK: There’s nothing — you know what? In a million years, I wouldn’t click "continue." In a million.

GUILFOYLE: You can’t.

BECK: You can’t.

GUILFOYLE: Because guess what? They can continue to track you basically forever. Once they tap into your system, the government, of course, has like malware systems and tracking cookies and they can tap in anytime you want.

Now, look, I’m not suggesting that the government engages in any kind of nefarious activity.

BECK: No. That would be crazy!

GUILFOYLE: I wouldn’t — no, that they do that.


GUILFOYLE: But, you know what? They said "for any intended use, purpose, foreign, domestic — it’s so broad that they can just about do anything with it, saying that it’s in the government’s interest that they’re trying to protect against fraud and that type of thing.

BECK: I have to tell you. I mean.

GUILFOYLE: Can you believe that? I mean, seriously, they can got all your information.

BECK: Yes. Actually, I do, because I know who our czars are now. And I think these are — this collection of these czars, these are evil people. These are wicked.


BECK: . crazy, frightening people.


BECK: Jonah — where do you even go with this? Where do you even go with this?

GOLDBERG: Yes. The thing is, is that we can separate out what the intent might or might not have been. I mean, maybe it’s just someone being really stupid in the federal government.



GOLDBERG: But the reality of it is, it’s possible. It’s possible.

BECK: Really, is it? OK, you’re right.

GOLDBERG: Look, as a conservative.

BECK: Tell me the one about goldilocks.


GOLDBERG: Look, as a conservative, you always have to hold out the possibility that government people are just stupid rather than evil.

BECK: Well, let me tell you something.

GOLDBERG: That said.


BECK: You know, I went down that road, Jonah — I went down that road for a long time, but all of this stuff fits together. When you see the czars that they’re putting out there.

GUILFOYLE: It makes sense.

BECK: . it all makes sense. These are people that just think that they’re smarter than us, and not only have to take care of us, but they need to make sure that they take care of the things they need to take care of, because it’s better for the collective.

GOLDBERG: Now, look, I agree that there’s — that it’s all very troubling. And, look, let me give you a hard example of this. Say you use Skype or some other Internet phone system, right? If you’re on the phone while logged in on this thing, according to this, according to a lawyer I talked to before — Kim can verify this — the government can legally listen to your phone call. They can check out what Web sites you’ve been searching.

GUILFOYLE: That’s correct.

GOLDBERG: Because it says that the government — your computer is a government’s property.

BECK: That’s — wait, wait, wait. That’s correct?

GUILFOYLE: One hundred percent correct. It’s legal. There is nothing that you can do about it.

BECK: If you log on to this at your home.


BECK: . everything in your home is now theirs?

GUILFOYLE: Basically, and there’s nothing you can do.


BECK: Well, not your couch, just your computer.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, you may not like the language or maybe off-putting. But it’s completely legal. They’re well within their recourse to do so and it’s very broad. It’s like an octopus that keeps like regenerating tentacles every five seconds.

BECK: OK. All right.

America, we’re going to do more on this on Monday. Thank you very much. I mean, I can’t.

GUILFOYLE: Don’t do it.