FROM AN UNDISCLOSED LOCATION
The phrase quoted in the title is from a Firedoglake diarist who accurately calls the Brett Kimberlin story a “complex saga, as densely peopled and subplotted as a 19th century Russian novel.” While I resent the suggestion that I’m involved in any sort of “hysteria” — vigilante or otherwise — I’m linking the FDL diary because it offers a rather concise summary of how this story connects to the WeinerGate scandal.
As explained in a previous post, Neal Rauhauser’s involvement with Brett Kimberlin apparently began in 2011. In February of this year, Rauhauser published a bizarre eight-page document (“Andrew Breitbart’s ISR Cell?”) expressing the belief that he and Kimberlin were targets of a conspiracy involving Andrew Breitbart and many others, including Mike Stack, who played a key role in exposing Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner’s online sexcapades.
Rauhauser is a fanatical “Weiner Truther,” believing in a conspiracy theory version of the WeinerGate scandal in which the congressman was the victim of a “set up” hoax perpetrated by Andrew Breitbart and/or shadowy Republican operatives. This left-wing tinfoil-hat stuff doesn’t really interest me, but it explains Rauhauser’s apparent obsession with Mike Stack, who is believed to be the only person who knows the true identity of “Dan Wolfe,” the guy who first spotted the incriminating Twitter message from Weiner. It also explains some other things, as reported by Rosie Gray at BuzzFeed in her story on the “Weiner Truthers”:
A major locus of modern Weiner trutherism is BreitbartUnmasked.com, a site “dedicated to unmasking the underbelly of Andrew Breitbart and his crew of rogues, criminals, wannabe journalists, various right wing extremists and the religious intolerant,” per its “About Us” section. Breitbart Unmasked features a large GIF of Breitbart’s face morphing into a mask, and lists the name of everyone in Breitbartworld, from editors of Breitbart.com to people only tangentially related.
One of its related Twitter accounts, @OccupyRebellion, regularly tweets about Weinergate and the alleged conspiracies therein. . . .
[Joseph Cannon observes:] These twilight warriors are obsessed with hacking and related matters. Some of them claim to have worked with Anonymous and LulzSec and allied organizations.
There is widespread suspicion that Brett Kimberlin is behind the “BreitbartUnmasked” site, which has access to information that could only have come from Kimberlin, and which is fixated on Kimberlin’s enemies to the exclusion of nearly everything else.
Now ask yourself: Why would hackers who claim affiliation with Anonymous and LulzSec be so obsessed with the WeinerGate scandal?
Rather than suggest an answer to that now, let’s trace back how it was that Kimberlin and Rauhauser became allies. In late 2009, the non-profit Velvet Revolution (a partnership between Kimberlin and blogger Brad Friedman) launched “StopTheChamber.com,” offering a $200,000 reward “for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue.” Fox News quoted a lawyer involved in that effort:
“On every issue, the Chamber is kind of the lead corporate advocate for the status quo,” said Kevin Zeese, a lawyer who sits on the board for Velvet Revolution, calling Donohue a “knee-jerk reactionary” and the Chamber a “right-wing extremist group.”
Liberal blogger Seth “Socrates” Allen noted at the time that he was suspicious of Friedman and Kimberlin’s bona fides, explaining that Velvet Revolution (VR) had previously raised money and gained publicity by offering rewards for proof of Republican vote fraud in the 2004 election, claiming that Karl Rove was part of a conspiracy to suppress such evidence. In September 2008, VR’s “Prosecute Rove” site urged its supporters:
Tell Congress to investigate Karl Rove’s cyber strategy to illegally manipulate elections. . . . [S]end an email to your Congress Members demanding immediate public hearings on whistleblower allegations that Rove architected and directed illegal attacks on Democratic candidates through the improper use of corporate funds channeled through fake Web-based front organizations, the improper political use of the Justice Department to prosecute opposition candidates, and the use of Internet based IT networks to alter election results.
Crazy? Sure. But notice something else from that site:
One of our targets is the US Chamber of Commerce which has spent close to a half billion dollars on lobbying since George Bush was inaugurated. The attorneys assert that Rove has used the Chamber to bankroll many of the illegal attacks using fake front groups posing as advocacy organizations.
The Chamber of Commerce, then, was a demonized scapegoat in VR’s rhetoric for many months prior to their offering a reward for “evidence” against the Chamber’s CEO.
Meanwhile, in September 2009, Breitbart had launched BigGovernment.com with the undercover ACORN “sting” videos by James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. In July 2010, Kevin Zeese — the same Velvet Revolution lawyer who had called the Chamber of Commerce a “right-wing extremist group” — send a letter to Maryland authorities demanding the prosecution of O’Keefe and Giles.
On Oct. 11, 2010, Breitbart published Mandy “Liberty Chick” Nagy’s 3,600-word exposé of Kimberlin’s criminal background, “Progressives Embrace Convicted Terrorist.”
Please take this email as an intent to sue you for your Oct 11, 2010 post on Patterico.com which has defamed and libeled me. I have just sued Socrates on which you rely for cyber stalking, defamation, libel, violation of privacy and interference with business. Socrates has been banned from many sites and forums for stalking many people including me. He is under criminal investigation for cyber bullying and cyber stalking. By corresponding with him and relying on his defamatory posts, you are conspiring with him and are just as liable as he.
Notice that Kimberlin accuses Patterico of “conspiring with” Socrates (Seth Allen’s online moniker), even though Patterico’s post was based on reporting by Nagy, an experienced researcher who had cited multiple published sources, including accounts of Kimberlin’s crimes in the Indianapolis Star, a 2007 article by Time magazine’s Massimo Calabresi and Mark Singer’s 1996 book, Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin.
On Dec. 2, 2010, Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution announced a new site called “Indict Breitbart” with the avowed purpose “to seek accountability for the violations of criminal law committed by Andrew Breitbart, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles.”
In February 2011, “Anonymous” hackers illegally obtained nearly 70,000 e-mails from HBGary, a security firm that had been working with two other firms to prepare a proposal to help the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fight its critics, including Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks. The contract was never awarded and the HBGary plan was never implemented, but the e-mails revealed suggestions of what Andy Greenberg of Forbes called “Nixonesque tactics.” One of the hacked e-mails, sent in November 2010 from HBGary’s Aaron Barr to Patrick Ryan of Berrico Technologies, included a link to Mandy Nagy’s article about Kimberlin with the note, “We could do so much with this.”
Nagy discussed the HBGary hacking in a Feb. 14, 2011, post at Breitbart, as did Patterico at his site. Rauhauser has described himself as a “hacker,” and in 2011 Rauhauser (blogging as “Stranded Wind” at Daily Kos) started showing interest in the “Anonymous” hackers and their targets at the Chamber and HBGary:
- Feb. 28, 2011: Congressman Johnson Goes After Chamber Leaks
- March 23, 2011: Aspects Of Anonymous
- April 6, 2011: Anonthropology: Native Dialect
- April 25, 2011: Apple & HBGary : Spying Together
- May 19, 2011: Is Berico Sheltering Aaron Barr?
Meanwhile, in a May 25 post at Daily Kos — two days before the WeinerGate scandal broke — we find Rauhauser linking Kimberlin’s “Indict Breitbart” site, and boasting that Breitbart had responded to him on Twitter. A few days later, Rauhauser began blogging constantly about Weiner at Daily Kos:
- May 30, 2011: CNN Spreads Latest Breitbart Smear
- June 1, 2011: CNN Knew Breitbart Was Lying
- June 2, 2011: Bringing Breitbart (And Thomas) To Justice (Action Alert!)
- June 3, 2011: Punishing Breitbart’s Enablers
- June 4, 2011: Daily Crawler Smears Markos Over My Weinergate Coverage
- June 4, 2011: Breaking: Christian Infowar Militia Attacked Congressman Weiner
- June 4, 2011: Christian Infowar Militia: Wrecking Crew
Rauhauser consistently promoted the hoax-hack theory of the WeinerGate scandal, continuing to argue that Weiner had been the victim of some devious hacker, even after Weiner admitted his guilt and resigned from office. Rauhauser also repeatedly linked Kimberlin’s “Indict Breitbart” site and, along the way, made several interesting statements. For example, in his May 30 post, Rauhauser bragged about having FBI connections:
OK, kids, in addition to being a mouthy blogger I’m also an Infragard member and my day job gets me occasional meetings with the FBI. I just called the agent for my district who covers cybercrime and we need to get this muddle distilled down for him.
In his June 2 post, Rauhauser offered this bizarre claim:
Congressman Anthony Weiner was stalked, set up, smeared, and this was coordinated to protect Clarence Thomas from scrutiny.
What did Rauhauser link? A petition by Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution demanding impeachment and prosecution of Justice Thomas.
In his June 3 post, Rauhauser invokes two of his Twitter nemeses and threatens to get Dana Loesch fired from CNN:
When you read this, Ms. Loesch, and I know you will, I have a personal request for you. Go get with discredited, disorganized dullards @SwiftRead and @GregWHoward of Twittergate fame, and then show me those pretty, pouty lips of yours saying my name on PJTV again. That’s the only TV outlet you are gonna have, honey, because we’re going to make it impossible for CNN to keep you …
Uh, “Twittergate fame”? The MSM never covered TwitterGate, the 2010 episode in which Rauhauser was accused of organizing a crew of online thugs to harass Tea Party activists on Twitter, and so the “fame” of the participants exists only in Neal Rauhauser’s warped mind — but there seem to be a lot of things that exist only in Neal Rauhauser’s warped mind, eh? Right-wing super-hackers who can hijack a congressman’s Blackberry to send pictures of the congressman’s wang over Twitter as part of a genius scheme to protect Clarence Thomas, for example. Also, the “Christian Infowar Militia“:
Congressman Weiner was stalked and set up by a Christian Infowar Militia cell based largely in Oklahoma City.
I’m sure residents of Oklahoma City were deeply alarmed to discover that this particular figment of Neal Rauhauser’s depraved imagination was located in their midst. The “Christian Infowar Militia cell” delusion eventually faded, however, as Rauhauser’s attention focused on the real villain of WeinerGate: Los Angeles deputy district attorney Patrick “Patterico” Frey!
- July 4: Weinergate: Patterico’s Penalization
- July 4: Disingenuous Chart, Dishonest D.A. (Weinergate)
- July 17: Weinergate: Patterico’s Petulance
- July 19: Patterico’s Personal Pipsqueak
- July 23: In Which Patterico Imperils Breitbart
- July 25: Patterico’s Prattling Puppets
By July 27, 2011, Rauhauser declared that Patterico “looks to be a pretty good candidate for the planner/operator behind Weinergate.”
Patterico had been one of Kimberlin’s prime targets since October 2010, and by late July 2011, Rauhauser was using his DailyKos diary to attack Patterico every other day. If you’ll read Rauhauser’s July 4 post, you’ll find that this isn’t exactly a coincidence:
Who has been in sight, frantically flogging explanations that don’t add up, is Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Patrick Frey . . .
And when someone forwarded me the complaint regarding Frey running a cyberstalking campaign in conjunction with South Easton, Massachusetts resident Seth L. Allen, well, maybe this whole situation is about to become much clearer.
Click. Three days later, on July 7, Rauhauser announces on DKos his plan to move from Illinois to Washington, D.C., for a job that would “provide for me more in a week than I make for a whole month at my part time day job here in Illinois.” And in October 2011, Rauhauser described himself as doing “protective service work” for a client who is “the head of a Washington D.C. NGO.”
This description fits Kimberlin, whose 501(c)3 Justice Through Music Project has collected about $1.8 million in contributions since its founding in 2005. In December 20, 2011, Seth Allen himself made that connection in a post titled, “Sadistic Cybersmearing and the Roots of Blogging Fascism.”
Having pointed out all these dots in the pattern, do I really need to connect them for the perceptive reader? Rauhauser’s February conspiracy-theory treatise (“Andrew Breitbart’s ISR Cell?”) shows his ongoing obsession with the HBGary “Anonymous” hacking as well as WeinerGate– and the “Weiner Truthers” at the “Breitbart Unmasked” site are “obsessed with hacking and related matters.”
Kimberlin has been targeting Patterico since October 2010, and it was evidently Rauhauser’s anti-Patterico blogging that brought him into Kimberlin’s orbit so that, by October 2011, Rauhauser seemed to be describing Kimberlin as his client.
As Investors Business Daily reporter David Hogberg observed at Aaron Walker’s hearing last week, Rauhauser is now accompanying convicted felon Brett Kimberlin to court.
Another coincidence: What do “SWATting” victims Patterico and Mike Stack have in common, other than the fact that, as Patterico himself notes, Rauhauser hates their guts?
Is Rauhauser being paid by Brett Kimberlin — with proceeds from tax-exempt non-profits — to pursue these vendettas?
Back in October 2010, when his “beandogs” scheme was blowing up in his face, Rauhauser boasted that he is armed with a pistol. Is it really wise to leave such a man, clearly obsessed with getting revenge on his enemies, running around with a firearm?
Far be it from me to encourage “vigilante hysteria,” but if Rauhauser and Kimberlin aren’t under investigation by the FBI yet, why not?
– Robert Stacy McCain, Whereabouts Unknown