Posted on | July 31, 2013 | 89 Comments
Today, I found myself scratching my head at accusations made by liberal blogger Matt Osborne to the effect that the Brett Kimberlin story is actually about Kimberlin’s enemies:
Correspondents like Robert Stacy McCain and Lee Stranahan lack any journalistic integrity, however, which is why they spew these fables at high volume and then insist they are only being ignored because of Brett Kimberlin’s sinister, unseen stranglehold on the media. It’s all a conspiracy!
Two words for you, Matt: Seth Allen.
Because if you want to trace this thing back to its beginning, you don’t start with me or Lee Stranahan or Aaron Walker or anybody else on the Right, you start with Seth Allen, an eccentric liberal blogger who doesn’t like me and doesn’t like Republicans or capitalism, but who also doesn’t like Brett Kimberlin. That’s an important fact to keep in mind when you ask yourself, “What is the Brett Kimberlin story really about?”
A good place to start the story is on Dec. 11, 2009, when Seth Allen published a blog post titled, “Brad Friedman and Fake News Making News.” Please click that link and read it carefully, because Seth Allen recognized something very important: Brett Kimberlin’s 501(c)4 group Velvet Revolution (VR) was fundamentally a scam.
VR exploited conspiracy-theory fears on the Left and made unsubstantiated accusations against the Left’s pet bogeymen (e.g., Karl Rove) and, with the promotional assistance provided by Friedman’s BradBlog, was able to turn this in a modestly successful fundraising operation: $83,560 in 2008, $77,963 in 2010.
Seth Allen pointed out (a) that VR never really accomplished anything, and (b) VR founder Brett Kimberlin is a convicted felon. Seth Allen pointed that out in December 2009 — nearly four years ago — shortly after Judson Berger of Fox News reported this:
Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue is a wanted man — at least according to the liberal activist group that’s put a de facto bounty on his head.
A network of liberal groups known as Velvet Revolution started an ad campaign offering $200,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man whose trade organization has become a thorn in the side of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.
The group is not leveling any specific charges of criminal behavior. Rather, it is casting a wide net, fishing for any whistleblowers from Donohue’s past who might come forward with allegations of wrongdoing. The campaign against the Chamber was launched in response to the group’s opposition to climate change legislation and health care reform, and its plan to spend $100 million lobbying against these and other initiatives.
“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.”
It had nothing to do, you see, with Andrew Breitbart or any of the other right-wing enemies that Brett Kimberlin’s defenders have tried to vilify in the months since “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day.” Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution had targeted the Chamber of Commerce, had offered a reward (to create publicity for their anti-Chamber campaign) and were milking the whole thing for cash.
That was December 2009, and Seth Allen called “bullshit” on it:
Brett Kimberlin Productions has an interesting business model. They basically attempt to inspire donations through offers of substantial rewards for whistleblowers from tips leading to arrests and convictions for fraud. I’ve yet to see one example where this has ever led to such a result. A few years ago they were offering $250,000 for tips leading to an election fraud conviction. That type of spiel has garnered money from philanthropist Lori Grace, heiress to the Oliver Grace fortune. . . . We can see how the conspiracy chatter has filtered on down throughout the “progressive” blogosphere, despite there being zero evidence of any merit to the allegations.
Seth Allen also pointed out that, after Fox News ran its story about VR’s anti-Chamber campaign, Brad Friedman turned that into a blog post about how VR was flooded with hateful e-mail, which he said had been turned over to the FBI and, oh, by the way, “If you’d like to ‘push back’ against the thuggery, you can sign on in support of VR’s ‘Stop The Chamber’ campaign here.”
See how easy this is? Attack the right-wing bogeyman Chamber of Commerce, and when your attack attracts attention from Fox News, leverage your left-wing readership’s hatred of Fox News for even more donations. Oh, yeah, and sign up people for an e-mail list so that you can send them more fundraising appeals in the future. All of which is perfectly legal, but is also a scam, because VR never seems to do anything else except make accusations and raise money.
Now, I intend to extend this story with a series of updates, explaining more of how this story developed, so readers may want to bookmark this page and refresh it every hour or so, or come back tomorrow morning when I’m through. Matt Osborne’s absurd bullshit –accusing me of lacking “journalistic integrity” — deserves a thorough rebuttal. What did Professor Reynolds say?
Somebody is trying to out-crazy Stacy McCain? That’s not going to end well . . . .
Conspiracy, my ass. He chose poorly.
UPDATE: On July 4, 2010, Kevin Zeese — the same Velvet Revolution lawyer who called the U.S. Chamber of Commerce a “right-wing extremist group” — sent a letter to Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, with the subject line “Request For Prosecution Of James O’Keefe, Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart For Violating Maryland’s Privacy Statute,” accusing Breitbart of criminal conspiracy:
I also call upon your office to bring the conspiracy charges against Andrew Breitbart for paying and directing O’Keefe and Giles and then directly carrying out the distribution of the illegally obtained tapes, also a felony under applicable Maryland law. Mr. Breitbart is the director of BigGovernment.com, an Internet website that pushes far right propaganda and he has used the ACORN tapes as a fundraising tool for his operations.
Once again, as with Karl Rove and the Chamber of Commerce, VR made lurid accusations of criminal wrongdoing by right-wing bogeymen, which never resulted in anything except fundraising and publicity for Velvet Revolution. If these bastards thought they could run their dishonest hustle against Breitbart without consequence, well, they chose poorly. On Oct. 11, 2010, Breitbart published Mandy “Liberty Chick” Nagy’s 3,600-word exposé of Kimberlin’s criminal background, “Progressives Embrace Convicted Terrorist.”
To this day, nearly three years later, Mandy’s article remains the definitive resource for anyone wanting to learn about Kimberlin’s criminal history, and that article was like tipping over the first domino. When Patterico published his own post about Kimberlin, Kimberlin responded with an e-mail threatening to sue Patterico:
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.
Kimberlin also sent a similar threat to Mandy Nagy. Notice Kimberlin’s accusation that they were “conspiring with” Socrates (Seth Allen’s online moniker). But the story could be independently verified from 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.
Bottom line: There was no way Kimberlin could win a libel action for truthful reporting based on solid sources.
His threat was simply that — a threat, an attempt to intimidate Patterico and Nagy. Notice also the typical “Accuse the Accusers” motif Kimberlin employs in his effort to discredit Seth Allen: “He is under criminal investigation for cyber bullying and cyber stalking.”
This is a tactic that everyone who has ever dealt with Kimberlin learns to expect: He will attempt to confuse the uninformed observer by making accusations, so that the story is no longer about him, but rather about what terrible people his enemies are.
Kimberlin may deceive some people, but he has never deceived me.
UPDATE II: Patterico wishes to make a point:
— Patterico (@Patterico) August 1, 2013
— Patterico (@Patterico) August 1, 2013
There is no love lost between these two, but this is important to understand: Nobody has to admire Seth Allen or agree with Seth Allen in order to recognize the role Seth Allen played in the development of this story. You don’t have to like me or admire me, either. In fact, you can think all of us — Seth Allen, Patrick Frey, Mandy Nagy, Aaron Walker, Lee Stranahan, et al. — are a bunch of assholes.
So what? Who cares? This isn’t a story about us, it’s a story about Brett Kimberlin, and here is something very important to consider:
“Brett Kimberlin is a terrorist. While I firmly believe in the doctrine of redemption and conversion, I remember a few things about Brett that give me great pause.
“First, he was convicted of perjury — in federal court — before he got out of high school. Think about that for a moment.
“Second, he was not convicted of smoking a couple of joints when he was in high school. He was a major drug dealer who officials believe got into terrorism to throw officials off the trail of a murder.”
– Joe Gelarden, Jan. 9, 2007
Brett Kimberlin is profoundly dishonest. Go read the reviews of Mark Singer’s 1996 book, Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin, which describe Kimberlin as “a top-flight con man” (Publisher’s Weekly), “a fairly typical hustler” (Library Journal) and “a man whose idea of the truth is utterly malleable . . . a dangerous smooth talker” (Kirkus Reviews). If you are interested in finding the truth about Brett Kimberlin, you must begin with the knowledge that you can’t trust a word Brett Kimberlin says.
UPDATE III: Returning to the narrative, Kimberlin never sued Patrick “Patterico” Frey or Mandy Nagy for libel, but he did sue Seth Allen. Kimberlin’s resources are not meager. In the five years 2006-2010, Kimberlin’s tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit Justice Through Music Project raised more than $1.6 million, including more than $220,000 in 2010. And waging “lawfare” against Brett Kimberlin’s enemies — well, hey, that could be considered “social justice” work, I guess. So at any rate, we’ll let Aaron Walker tell the story a while:
Kimberlin had sued a blogger/commenter named Seth Allen in the Montgomery County, Maryland lawsuit known as Kimberlin v. Allen (case number 339254v). . . .
Seth ended up with a default judgment against him [because he failed to respond to Kimberlin's libel suit] and on August 22 and 23, 2011, he was looking for help. And because I kind of lived kind of close to where this was going on, he sought out my help. The problem was that I am not an attorney in Maryland, so I couldn’t do very much for him. But I briefly provided him a little legal advice. . . . And that was the end of it. Or so I thought.
But Brett Kimberlin learned that I had provided Seth that brief, slight, free legal help and that was enough to make me a target of his anger.
The Maryland case went on. There was a hearing on November 14, 2011, to determine what damages would be awarded to Kimberlin for this supposed defamation. You can read the transcript of that hearing, here. He was awarded the grand sum total of… $100, and court costs, which resulted in much mockery from Patrick. But Kimberlin was also given an injunction that commanded that Seth shall never defame Kimberlin or tortiously interfere with his business relations. And as he is wont to do, Kimberlin very quickly decided that Seth had violated this order and demanded that Seth be held in contempt in a hearing set for January 9, 2012.
Here, now, is where it gets crazy. Seth Allen finds himself locked in this ridiculous legal battle with Kimberlin. Seth is trying to get whatever help he can get. Walker provides him with free advice, and then Kimberlin turns against Walker accusing him of conspiracy:
Kimberlin has gone on record as believing that I have been “conspiring with, advising, and aiding abetting [sic] Mr. Allen for over a year regarding” Seth telling the truth about Kimberlin’s deplorable past. Mind you, he has no proof of this, and indeed no evidence of it. All he has is evidence of contact, between a lawyer and a guy being sued, after he was sued, which isn’t even unusual when you think about it. And he has indicated in conversations with my counsel, Beth Kingsley, that he believes that the conspiracy includes Andrew Breitbart and/or the Chamber of Commerce, but there is no word on whether he thinks the Freemasons are involved.
You can laugh at this, but it’s not really funny, because Aaron Walker ultimately lost his job as a direct result of being targeted by Kimberlin. And to understand what was really behind it, you need to click the link to read this document which includes this:
Who was paying cyberstalker Seth Allen? The pool of suspects seems limited to Aaron Worthing, Mandy Nagy, John Patrick Frey and Andrew Breitbart.
Brett Kimberlin’s associate Neal Rauhauser wrote that, based on an Aug. 23, 2011 e-mail that Allen sent to Walker (a.k.a., “Aaron Worthing”), CC’ing Nagy, Frey and Breitbart. But there was no conspiracy and nobody was paying Allen, who is not a “cyberstalker.”
Lies, lies, lies — “Accuse the Accusers” again — but we’re getting ahead of the story, because I haven’t formally introduced Rauhauser, by whom this story is directly connected to WeinerGate.
UPDATE IV: The damnable thing about what Matt Osborne did, in trying to make this about me — or Lee Stranahan or Aaron Walker, et. al. — is that Osborne was taking advantage of the vast ignorance about this story on the Left. Osborne and a handful of others on the Left have deliberately obfuscated the facts, which are complicated enough without having to refute Osborne’s false claims that Walker (or anyone else) “has relentlessly pursued a bizarre vendetta against Mr. Kimberlin for years” — the exact opposite of the truth!
There is no “vendetta” except the ones Kimberlin has pursued against his enemies list, beginning with Seth Allen, and subsequently expanding to include Mandy Nagy, Patterico and Aaron Walker, who responded to Allen’s pleas for help. If you help Kimberlin’s enemies — and to become his enemy, all you have to do is tell the truth about Brett Kimberlin — then you will be accused of being part of a conspiracy against Kimberlin. Matt Osborne blithely accuses Aaron Walker and his friends of pursuing a “bizarre vendetta against Mr. Kimberlin for years,” but as for me, I never even heard the name “Brett Kimberlin” before May 17, 2012, when I saw Walker’s account of how he says Kimberlin tried to “frame” him for an assault charge. And all Walker had done to deserve that was to assist a left-wing blogger named Seth Allen, whom Kimberlin had sued.
This “Accuse the Accusers” tactic — a sort of narrative ju-jitsu, attempting to make it seem that Aaron Walker and others are responsible for Kimberlin’s actions against them — only works if you don’t understand the actual sequence of events:
- July 2010 — Brett Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution demands that Andrew Breitbart be charged with a criminal conspiracy to violate Maryland law.
- October 2010 — Breitbart publishes Mandy Nagy’s expose of Kimberlin. Brett Kimberlin accuses Nagy and Patrick “Patterico” Frey of being part of a criminal conspiracy with Seth Allen. Kimberlin threatens to sue both Nagy and Frey, and actually does sue Allen.
- August 2011 — Aaron Walker provides free advice to Allen.
- October 2011 — Neal Rauhauser accuses Walker, Nagy, Frey and Andrew Breitbart of conspiring with Allen against Kimberlin, based on documents that Rauhauser could only have obtained from Brett Kimberlin. Rauhauser writes (see page 9 here) that “given the duration of the stalking, the mental harm, and the financial damage to Kimberlin’s non-profit he will probably pursue Breitbart, Frey, Nagy, [Walker] until he gets satisfaction.”
“Satisfaction”? For what? Where is there any evidence that any of these people did any wrong for which Kimberlin could expect “satisfaction”? Kimberlin tried to have Breitbart indicted on a phony conspiracy charge, Kimberlin made bogus lawsuit threats against both Frey and Nagy, and took advantage of Allen’s negligence to get a default judgment against Allen, a left-wing blogger who simply got fed up with Kimberlin’s Velvet Revolution bullshit.
For Matt Osborne to accuse others of conspiracy theories and vendettas is the exact opposite of truth, you see. And if you want to understand how Neal Rauhauser got involved in this, I’ve told that story before: “‘A Faint Whiff of Vigilante Hysteria’: Weinergate’s Kimberlin Connection.” But I’ll tell it again, because I’m starting to suspect Matt Osborne is too stupid to understand how to click a link.
UPDATE V: Neal Rauhauser is highly intelligent, but has numerous personality flaws, including a tendency to brag. In August 2010, Rauhauser described — publicly and in advance — his plans for an online war against the Tea Party, in two posts at the forum Open Left:
- Aug. 29, 2010: Organized Intimidation? Ambush Time.
- Aug. 31, 2010: Social Media’s Neighborhood Watch
That was just weeks after Rauhauser was a speaker at the Netroots Nation conference, where he was listed thus in the schedule:
Rauhauser described his specialty as “solving problems in the social media work space for political campaigns and causes.” What he described in those two August 2010 Open Left posts was a claim that he and other progressive “leaders” on Twitter were “subject to harassment and intimidation from the right,” which he declared was a “centrally initiated effort.” Rauhauser simply asserted this, and then explained what he planned to do in response:
I’ve personally taken an aggressive stance with my stalker and I’ve simultaneously put him under a bit of surveillance. I’ve openly declared that I’m hunting his handlers and I won’t engage in anything more than trading insults until I explore his connections and determine that hauling him into court is a gateway to identifying the source of the strategy.
So, according to Neal, there is this “stalker” on Twitter, who is part of a “centrally initiated effort” to harass and intimidate him and, in order to find “the source of the strategy,” Neal anticipates “hauling him into court,” for reasons he subsequently explained:
We’re dealing with people who have likely had no interaction with the court system beyond a traffic ticket; the potential for a pro se litigant to force them into expensive, long distance, lengthy, discovery laden litigation doesn’t seem to cross their minds. The reality of travel, or frightful expenses, or summary judgments needs to be made real. We probably need to make a very visible example of at least one of them before the rest understand.
In August 2010, Neal Rauhauser declared that he was looking for someone of whom he could “make a very visible example” through litigation — with malice aforethought, so to speak. And two days later, he expanded on his plan:
I want us to get up inside their network and collect actionable information.
As a civil outcome a suit penetrating the outer ring of crazy talkers, getting to their handlers, and then to the money men would be the final solution.
There were “handlers” and “money men” who were directing and funding the “crazy talkers” on Twitter, Rauhauser asserted, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. He went on to say that he was seeking evidence “admissible in both civil and criminal proceedings“:
A citizen knowledgeable as to the players in the various right wing cells in evidence on Twitter can dramatically reduce the work load for investigators and plaintiff’s lawyers, turning cases that might have been ignored into slam dunk wins.
What happened instead was something entirely different, an episode that became known as “TwitterGate,” in which Rauhauser was accused of organizing a crew of Twitter thugs to harass Tea Party activists, a mortifying embarrassment for Rauhauser. But you see that this basic germ of an idea, to pursue civil litigation and criminal prosecution against persons he accused of “harassment and intimidation,” in order to ”make a very visible example of at least one of them” — well, the game plan was right there, in August 2010.
Three years ago, Rauhauser laid out his plan to identify “handlers” and “money men” behind a “centrally initiated effort” — i.e., a conspiracy — and that was before he had any association with Brett Kimberlin, or had ever heard of Aaron Walker, Patrick Frey or Mandy Nagy.
UPDATE VI: Having worked past 3 a.m. to produce the first 3,500 words of this, I awoke before noon with still more more of the tale to tell. But readers will expect me to have something to say about recent news — the rent is still too damn high — so I’ll have to find a stopping point soon and continue the story at a later time.
What happened in “TwitterGate” is essential to understanding why, when Neal Rauhauser became an “associate” of Brett Kimberlin in mid-2011, the harassment of Aaron Walker, Patrick Frey and others took the form it did. Rauhauser learned lessons from his 2010 embarrassment and put them to good use later.
The perpetrators of the “TwitterGate” harassment of Tea Party activists on Twitter were a group of accounts Rauhauser called his “Beandogs,” a term originating in a Japanese children’s cartoon described by Variety magazine in February 2010:
Japanese advertising giant Dentsu is looking to export “Mameshiba,” an entertainment property revolving around beans with puppy-dog faces, to the U.S. and turn what’s become a surprise hit in Asia into the next fad for teen and tween girls.
Grown-up fans of Japanese cartoons for “teen and tween girls”? Perhaps just another random coincidence. But the games Neal’s beandogs played on the Internet were not fit for children:
You can see more of these messages at my October 2010 post about TwitterGate, or at Catholic conservative Patrick Read’s blog. It was believed by Read, by Greg W. Howard and by others who witnessed this spree of obscene harassment, that Rauhauser was the mastermind of all this. And because Rauhauser was the lead partner in an online consulting firm that claimed several Democratic candidates as clients, it was believed that this harassment was funded (however indirectly) by Democrats. Such was the belief, at any rate, but good luck conclusively proving such a thing.
Whatever actually happened, however, Rauhauser’s role in it was abundantly clear to anyone who looked at the copious volume of screen-capped Twitter messages compiled by the conservatives who documented “TwitterGate.” This must be seen in the context of Rauhauser’s plan — announced to his leftist comrades in August — to entangle his targets in litigation or criminal prosecution. This obscene harassment, Greg Howard and others believed, was intended to provoke them into making death threats or otherwise doing something that would expose them to the kind of legal action Rauhauser contemplated, to “make a very visible example of at least one of them.”
Once this “beandog” scheme and Rauhauser’s involvement in it were exposed, however, Neal claimed to be a victim.
Using his “Stranded Wind” account at Daily Kos, Rauhauser wrote a post headlined, “Tea Party Stalks Me and My Kids.” The “threat . . . was directed at me because I’ve been effectively organizing on Twitter and the blogosphere,” Rauhauser wrote on Sept. 28, 2010. “Last weekend this cyberstalking overflowed into kooks discovering and sharing where my children live.”
This was a classic example of the “Accuse the Accusers” motif: Whereas the real story was about what Rauhauser and his “beandogs” had done to Greg W. Howard and other Tea Party activists on Twitter, the story Neal told to his progressive pals at Daily Kos was about how these “kooks” had been “cyberstalking” him. And when the story subsequently made headlines (see, for example, Scott Baker’s post at The Blaze, “Did Democrats Hire a ‘Twitter-Thug’ to Smear the Tea Party?”), Rauhauser played it off as a “prank” — which was a damnable lie, a deceitful cover story that Neal managed to convince Adrian Chen of Gawker to help publicize:
“Basically we’re a group of likeminded people who think Twitter is a place to kick back and have fun,” said Beandog Member Sam Birbeck, a 30-year-old from Adelaide, Australia. (Twitter handle: Methadonna.) . . .
“We’re a bunch of guys on Twitter trying to be funny and vulgar and offensive,” said one Beandog member from Florida who goes by the Twitter username TheRealSomebody. “Through that, we came across a lot of conservative people on Twitter. It was very easy to race-bait them and get them to say horribly racist things.”
Beandogs targeted Greg W. Howard, the Glenn Beck of Twitter, after Howard spearheaded the takedown of a highly-publicized anti-Glenn Beck account called @murderglennbeck. “The main reason he’s been such a consistent target is because he’s such a big mouth,” said Birbeck.
So, the Beandogs started tweeting vulgar things about Howard’s children and wife, spreading rumors about him and generally making his Twitter life miserable. Eventually one of the Beandogs dug up some embarrassing documents that revealed Howard’s financial planning business was in shambles, and that he was behind on his child support payments. The Beandogs consider this all a harmless prank.
Just a “harmless prank” that had nothing to do with Rauhauser, his “beandog” buddies told Adrian Chen, who accepted this alibi without any apparent skepticism. Chen then proceeded to portray the following as merely coincidental:
While Howard [led] the Wrecking Crew [as his Twitter posse of Tea Party friends called themselves] in battle against the Beandogs, he was simultaneously engaged in an intense ego clash with the left-wing blogger and social media consultant, Neal Rauhauser. It’s unclear exactly what their beef is. When I spoke to them on the phone, each offered impassioned arguments for why the other is engaged in a vast left/right-wing conspiracy. And both accused the other of cyberstalking and of having a hand in Internet death threats against them.
What’s clear is that at some point Rauhauser noticed that he and the Beandogs shared an enemy in Howard and started encouraging them on Twitter. The Beandogs in turn began pretending that Rauhauser was their leader, intimating that they were being paid by George Soros and generally playing on the Tea Party’s paranoia. Both the Beandogs and Rauhauser deny there’s any collusion, just mutual admiration between Tea Party tormentors.
In other words, “On the one hand this, on the other hand that, and how are we to choose between these two enemies?” But go read that Gawker article, and notice that Adrian Chen makes no mention of the two Open Left articles (Aug. 29 and Aug. 31, 2010) in which Neal Rauhauser outlined his plan for a game that wasn’t really a game, but was in fact a scheme intended to ensnare his enemies in civil litigation and criminal prosecution. Rauhauser did this while a partner in a Democrat consulting firm, and if the equation is not as simple as 2+2 = 4, you don’t need a Ph.D. in mathematics to add it up.
Rauhauser blamed all of this on his Tea Party enemies like Greg Howard and, as I said at the time, “It’s like blaming the Beach Boys and Doris Day for Charles Manson.” (A joke you won’t get if you don’t know how Manson’s pursuit of a music career involved Day’s son, producer Terry Melcher, and Beach Boy Brian Wilson.) Rauhauser evaded responsibility by displacing blame onto his Tea Party enemies, the “beandogs” said it was all a “harmless prank” and Adrian Chen evidently never suspected this alibi was anything but the whole truth.
Neal Rauhauser knew exactly what he was doing, he just didn’t plan on getting caught at it. First he claimed victimhood, and then he convinced Adrien Chen it had all been a joke that those crazy Tea Party “kooks” turned into a conspiracy theory when, in fact, there was actually a conspiracy and Neal was its architect.
The fact that Neal’s plan failed (because it got exposed) or that the “beandogs” may not have known the full extent of Rauhauser’s plan, in no way exonerates him for what he was attempting to do: Create a Tea Party scandal with headlines about “a very visible example” (perhaps Greg Howard) getting arrested and/or sued, so that there would then be “legitimate news” about what dangerous extremists these Tea Party people were, perhaps just weeks or days before the 2010 mid-term elections that were then approaching.
“You think that would fool a Corleone? . . . Today I settled
all family business, so don’t tell me that you’re innocent.
Admit what you did. … Don’t tell me that
you’re innocent, because it insults my intelligence
and it makes me very angry.”
Neal Rauhauser insulted the intelligence of everyone who closely examined what he did in 2010. Instead of taking that short “ride to the airport” that Michael Corleone arranged for Carlo Rizzi, however, Rauhauser drifted back into the Internet shadows, plotting to redeem his damaged reputation by successfully doing to someone — anyone — what he had so spectacularly failed to do to Greg Howard.
As I say, I’ve told this story before — please go read “‘A Faint Whiff of Vigilante Hysteria’: Weinergate’s Kimberlin Connection,” or re-read it, if you’ve forgotten how Rauhauser’s interests brought him into Brett Kimberlin’s orbit in mid-2011. The sequence of events involving Seth Allen and Aaron Walker happened while I was up to my eyeballs in covering the fight for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, so I had no idea that Rauhauser had joined forces with Kimberlin, a man I’d never heard of at the time.
You can therefore well imagine my reaction Wednesday, when I found Neal’s buddy Matt Osborne claiming that Aaron Walker was pursuing a “vendetta,” and that Lee Stranahan and myself lacked “journalistic integrity” because . . . well, because Matt Osborne is the Official Arbiter of Journalistic Integrity, you see. And I’ve now expended 5,000 words to explain exactly how this story began, just to demonstrate the actual sequence of events that Osborne don’t want anyone to examine too closely. Contrary to what Matt Osborne would have you think, this is not a story about me or Aaron Walker or Lee Stranahan. This is a story about Brett Kimberlin.
“You think that would fool a Corleone?”
Fuck you, Matt Osborne.
You don’t fool me. You don’t even fool Seth Allen.