The Other McCain

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‘The Gaped Crusader’: Brett Kimberlin Associate Neal Rauhauser Stalked and Taunted SWATting Victim Patrick Frey

Posted on | June 27, 2012 | 21 Comments

Neal Rauhauser: Democrat consultant at 2010 Netroots Nation conference

A Democratic political consultant harassed the victim of a SWATting hoax, employing the online alias “The Gaped Crusader” to taunt popular conservative blogger Patrick “Patterico” Frey and others.

Neal Rauhauser became obsessed with Frey during the 2011 Anthony Weiner cybersex scandal, declaring in a July 2011 post at the Daily Kos blog that Frey “looks to be a pretty good candidate for the planner/operator behind Weinergate.” Both Frey and Mike Stack — a New Jersey resident who helped expose Weiner’s online activities — were targeted by so-called “SWATting” hoaxes in June and July 2011.

Frey published a 3,000-word post at his site Wednesday morning that provides extensive evidence showing Rauhauser, a consultant who has previously worked for Democratic politicians including Rep. Raul Grijalva, used the “Gaped Crusader” alias in a two-month cyberstalking campaign in November and December 2011.

The dates of the “Gaped Crusader” online harassment of Frey, Stack and others are important because Rauhauser has boasted of his connections to Brett Kimberlin, director of the tax-exempt 501(c) group Justice Through Music Project (JTMP), and to another non-profit group, Velvet Revolution (VR), co-founded by Kimberlin and progressive blogger Brad Friedman. Rauhauser has described Kimberlin as a “client” and represented himself as an agent of VR in a September 2011 e-mail to leaders of the Occupy Boston protests. Rauhauser accompanied Kimberlin to a May 29 Maryland court hearing where blogger Aaron Walker was arrested for having written about Kimberlin’s criminal past.

Kimberlin has become the subject of widespread controversy since May 17, when Walker published a 28,000-word account of how he says Kimberlin tried to “frame” him for an assault charge earlier this year. Walker, a Virginia attorney, had provided legal assistance to Seth “Socrates” Allen, a progressive blogger who criticized Kimberlin, Friedman and VR in postings at a variety of liberal Web sites, including Daily Kos and Democrat Underground.

Kimberlin is a convicted felon who in 1981 was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for a weeklong bombing spree in Indiana that maimed a Vietnam veteran and blew up a police car. Released from prison in 2001, Kimberlin founded JTMP and VR in 2005; the two groups have since raised more than $2 million in tax-exempt contributions.

Rauhauser, a founder of the Democrat political consulting firm Progressive PST, was a featured speaker at the 2010 Netroots Nation conference organized by the Daily Kos blog. He described his specialty as “solving problems in the social media work space for political campaigns and causes.”

Rauhauser’s reputation was damaged by his role in the so-called “TwitterGate” scandal in 2010, when he was accused of organizing an online harassment campaign against Tea Party activists. The association between Kimberlin and Rauhauser evidently began in July 2011, when Rauhauser used his “Stranded Wind” account at Daily Kos to write, “someone forwarded me the complaint [made by Kimberlin] regarding Frey running a cyberstalking campaign in conjunction with South Easton, Massachusetts resident Seth L. Allen.”

Rauhauser has called himself a computer “hacker,” and is a known associate of Gregg Housh, a figure connected to the “Anonymous” hacking conspiracy. In a comment posted at a progressive blog in October 2011, Rauhauser described being contacted by a “very big dog from the Anonymous pen” who agreed to assist Velvet Revolution in an apparent plan to attack enemies of Rauhauser and Kimberlin.

In a May 25 blog post at Patterico, Frey described how he was “SWATted” in July 2011, handcuffed in a police raid prompted by a fake phone call. Frey identified Kimberlin, Rauhauser and former Raw Story editor Ron Brynaert as those he suspected of complicity in that incident.

In identifying Rauhauser as “The Gaped Crusader,” Frey noted multiple similarities between Rauhauser and his online alias, including an obsession with the 2011 WeinerGate scandal, which forced a formerly popular New York congressman to resign in disgrace.

Rauhauser claimed that Anthony Weiner was the victim of a conspiracy, and elaborated his theories in multiple postings at Daily Kos under his “Stranded Wind” psuedonym. On July 4, for example, Rauhauser claimed — without citing any evidence — that a “Christian Infowar Militia” had attacked Weiner. Rauhauser then repeatedly attacked Frey in a series of Daily Kos posts:

Rauhauser has boasted of his contacts with law enforcement — including the FBI — and routinely accuses his enemies of criminal activity. Among the targets of Rauhauser’s accusations was an Alabama man, Greg W. Howard, who was viciously harassed during the 2010 TwitterGate scandal. In August 2011, Rauhauser filed a criminal complaint against Howard with the Alabama attorney general’s office, saying that Howard “has constantly menaced me via the Internet.”

In fact, Rauhauser had described in two August 2010 articles at the Open Left site his plans to use “a synthetic presence” — i.e., false identities colloquially known as “sockpuppets” or “trolls” — against conservative activists online, to “penetrate their anonymity,” in order to ”get up inside their network and collect actionable information.” Rauhauser explained that he hoped to be able to bring civil lawsuits or criminal charges against his political enemies:

“People engaged in provocative online conduct feel insulated; they’re in the comfort of their own home, if they’ve engaged in a little bit of caution they may feel completely anonymous, and this emboldens them. Specifying the strategy we’ll use to break their anonymity won’t permit any mitigation on their part without adjusting their behavior, which counts as a win for us. 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.”

Rauhauser was subsequently accused of recruiting a number of individuals whom he called “beandogs,” who used Twitter to engage in an orchestrated campaign “to harass, threaten, provoke, disparage, intimidate, verbally assault, berate & employ hate-speech against those not in agreement with his brand of politics,” as conservative logger Patrick Read described it in September 2010.

The use of Internet aliases was the subject of an article Rauhauser posted online, describing “Persona Management” methods for maintaining online secret identities in order to avoid detection by others, including law enforcement agencies.

One of the targets of Rauhauser’s online activities was a conservative activist who uses the Twitter handle “@ZAPEM,” who Rauhauser believed to be a New Jersey woman named Michelle Lessick. ZAPEM played a key role in exposing Rauhauser’s role in the TwitterGate scandal.

Frey’s exposure of Rauhauser’s “Gaped Crusader” persona highlights the ways in which Rauhauser has employed deceptive methods in his online activities. In February, Rauhauser sent to law enforcement agencies (including the FBI) a bizarre document titled, “Andrew Breitbart’s ISR Cell?”

This document described a far-fetched conspiracy theory involving Frey, Andrew Breitbart, Mike Stack and the HBGary firm, among others. Rauhauser’s accusations, which seem implausible, may have succeeded in confusing officials responsible for investigating the SWATtings of Stack and Frey, crimes that have remained unsolved for the past year.

Red State editor Erick Erickson was SWATted in May. Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant and more than 85 House Republicans called on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate these crimes. Despite increasing pressure, sources say, the federal investigation has lagged, perhaps because of the indifference of political appointees in the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, Kimberlin has continued filing a series of lawsuits and criminal complaints against bloggers in an attempt to silence his critics. In a Maryland court hearing Tuesday, Judge Nelson W. Rupp Jr. issued an emergency ruling that lifted a gag order that had prevented Aaron Walker from blogging about Kimberlin, who responded by filing his own motion that accused Walker of inciting harassment against Kimberlin. The same day Walker scored his courtroom victory in Maryland, he was targeted by a SWATting attack.

PATTERICO: Brett Kimberlin Associate “Gaped Crusader” — And the Evidence Connecting Him to Neal Rauhauser

(Note: This report was originally posted in a series of updates. The “update” notations have been removed for ease of reading.)

Robert Stacy McCain, Whereabouts Unknown








21 Responses to “‘The Gaped Crusader’: Brett Kimberlin Associate Neal Rauhauser Stalked and Taunted SWATting Victim Patrick Frey”

  1. GadsdenJazz
    June 27th, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    The Intrepid Other McCain is first to say what others will only hint at!  Keep up the GREAT work, Mr. McCain.

  2. Nathan
    June 27th, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    Nothing has brought me more joy over the past month than these two dumbos getting caught red-handed. They think of themselves as such brave, untouchable geniuses. Seeing them exposed as the pathetic, pretentious amateurs we all know them to be is fantastic.

    On a side note, I live about a mile away, as the crow flies, from Speedway High School, where the worst of [convicted domestic terrorist] Brett Kimberlin’s crimes took place.  Even though it was thirty years ago, and most young people don’t know about it, the older locals (40+) remember it very well.  When I mention to them that the Speedway Bomber (AKA double-digit felon Brett Kimberlin) only did 20 years and got out in 2001, they get a look on their face like they want to throw up.  Then they always ask some variant of:

    “Why the f— is he out of prison?!” 

    This was said by a sweet, middle-aged lady at the supermarket.  (Then she apologized to a mother with small children near by, before giving her the Cliff’s Notes version of the story, much to the mother’s horror.  “What? At the HIGH SCHOOL?”)

    His release is a terrible injustice.  At least we can comfort ourselves that he’s too stupid and narcissistic NOT to screw up again and go back.  Let’s just hope for something white-collar and non-violent. 

  3. Adjoran
    June 27th, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

    It just occurred to me why the FBI may not have made arrests in the SWATting cases, especially those of Patterico and Stack which happened nearly a year ago.  If the perp is involved with Anonymous, he may have been found and turned to use as a CI against the group in the ongoing investigation of their hacking. 

    There was just a hacking bust of a major theft ring yesterday, and a similar crime took place today with $75 million being stolen.  Related?  Who knows?

    But if the FBI did pluck a low-hanging fruitcake, it makes perfect sense that they would use him in a larger operation.  And no, the FBI feels no obligation to keep the public – or victims – up to date on their investigations.

  4. The #BrettKimberlin Report D+32: Ring Around The Rauhauser « The Camp Of The Saints
    June 27th, 2012 @ 2:33 pm

    […] also check out the rest of Stacy’s report here, which he has updated twice already and promises to continue to do […]

  5. underdown
    June 27th, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    can we please stop calling SWATting “hoaxes”? These are serious crimes – not funny pranks.

  6. SeanInNYC
    June 27th, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    Pro-level Hackers know how to cover their trails well enough that they’ll never have to worry about the FBI tracing their exploits. Unless LE is tipped off, and the hacker deliberately “stung”, law enforcement is powerless against real computer hackers.

  7. jwallin
    June 27th, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    Kimberlin is still making the false claim that someone talking about him on the internet and then having a google alert arrive in his email because of that alert,  is therefore  harassment and he will continue to take people to court (in this case Aaron Walker) over  that behavior. (go to for all of it.)

    Frankly, this could be the best result; if he repeatedly sues using this false claim, eventually someone in Maryland is going to have to examine those claims in a more judicial light than the lower echelon judges that have done so so far.

    Also the idea that any idiot can make a claim of a violation and get someone arrested by some late night application to some court functionary makes Maryland law look ridiculous.

    Like ALL criminals and those with a criminal mind set, Kimberlin will be undone by his repetition of previous acts. Notoriously criminals get caught because they get
    a. lazy
    b. greedy and
    c. take one too many trips to the well.

    Ask  an LEO and they’re tell you how many times they catch people doing the same crime the same way. Sometimes even the same store or locale. Sometimes the same day.

    That’s because if they were smart/and or sane, they wouldn’t be criminals in the first place.

  8. Adjoran
    June 27th, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

     Right, I suppose the two dozen busted yesterday were just careless, huh?

  9. G Joubert
    June 27th, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

     I can’t believe that the trial court doesn’t have continuing jurisdiction over this cowboy reprobate until at least the fifty-one years, six months and 19 days of his original 1981 sentence runs.

  10. robertstacymccain
    June 27th, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    This is all part of their “accuse the accusers” tactic, which is intended to confuse investigators by casting suspicion on anyone who may oppose them. It may fool some people, but it does not fool me.

  11. melanerpes
    June 27th, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

    Question:  Does “Gaped Crusader” refer to the space between Rauhauser’s incisors?  Maybe not.  I guess that would be “gapped”.

  12. dcnj
    June 27th, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

     YES. It only takes one. House of Cards so to speak.

  13. robertstacymccain
    June 27th, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

    The word “hoax” is not the same as “prank,” as the former can include many sorts of deceptions of a serious nature, for example hate-crime hoaxes, in which a person manufactures fake “evidence” of attacks motivated by racism, etc. Hate-crime hoaxes have become particularly common on university campuses.

    A short label to describe “SWATting” in a first reference is a necesary element of a news account about this subject. You will note that the phenomenon is subsequently explained in more detail lower in the story.

  14. Datechguy's Blog » Host of DaTechGuy on DaRadio on WCRN, still Catholic and Still with Fedora (also featuring Roxeanne De Luca!)
    June 27th, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

    […] clues continue to be uncovered by Patterico, Aaron Worthing and of course Stacy McCain and Aaron will be on the Lars Larson show tonight at 8 p.m. […]

  15. bradley
    June 27th, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

     I had assumed the ‘gape’ in his pseudonym referred to a condition located somewhat lower on the body… Google Image Search. Not that I’d recommend it.

  16. A twisted mess… | Roderic Deane
    June 27th, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

    […] and outs of the Brett Kimberlin story. It’s just too weird! What I can do is turn you on to Stacy McCain’s reporting. He has done a great job of keeping the story alive. Others that you can tune into are Patterico, […]

  17. ChePizza
    June 27th, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

    Seriously, Rauhauser needs to get better acquainted with his toothbrush.  He also needs to learn the difference between a hacker and a script kiddie.

  18. Mike3
    June 27th, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

    If you have a warrant and some smart people with time and determination behind it you can do a lot of things even the best hacker won’t anticipate.

  19. Me
    June 28th, 2012 @ 12:13 am

    Maryland generally doesn’t need Kimberlin’s help to look ridiculous.

  20. DonaldDouglas
    June 28th, 2012 @ 3:57 am

    Great posting, Robert!

  21. McCain dishes on Neal “Gaped Crusader” Rauhauser « Bob Owens
    June 28th, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    […] Stacey McCain adds his commentary to the recent exposing of Neal Rauhauser as the likely man behind the sockpuppet alias “Gaped […]