The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Anonymous’ Spokesman Barrett Brown Arrested After Bizarre Video Meltdown

Posted on | September 16, 2012 | 35 Comments

Barrett Brown calmly explains why he’s going to ‘destroy’ an FBI agent

“In an interview with Defense Technology International [March 1], prominent Anonymous front man Barrett Brown alluded to the significance of the HB Gary hacking in the movement.”
Mandy Nagy (aka “Liberty Chick”),, “FBI Bust, Aided by ‘Anonymous’ Snitch, Reveals Left-Hacker Alliance,” March 9, 2012

“I got to find out, thanks to a hack — thanks to another f–king stroke of luck, thank God — that HB Gary, since mid-February, had hired an FBI informant . . . making up reasons to raid Barrett Brown and get his information.”
Barrett Brown, “Why I’m Going to Destroy FBI Agent Robert Smith Part Three,”, Sept. 12, 2012

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
II Thessalonians, 2:11-12 (KJV)

Do Not Read This If You Can’t Handle
Full-Strength Industrial-Grade Crazy

The latest bizarre turn in the strange saga of Barrett Brown came to my attention Wednesday evening while I was on the phone with a friend talking about the (equally bizarre) attacks against me by Larry Sinclair, notorious for his claim of having once been Barack Obama’s gay lover.

Damn, I get some of the weirdest enemies, don’t I?

So I was on the phone talking about this and related stuff, and I’m not quite sure how the name Barrett Brown came up, but my friend said, “Have you seen his latest videos?”

When I said I had not, my friend said, “Oh, man, you’ve got to go check it out. It’s funny as hell. He’s talking all kinds of crazy stuff about the FBI and HBGary. It’s hilarious.”

This aroused my curiosity. When last I encountered Brown, it was Tuesday, Sept. 4, and I’d just gotten a call from Charlotte, informing me that they were waiting for me to come pick up my media credentials for the Democratic National Convention. The day before, Brown had gotten up in my face on Twitter, threatening to sue me for having reported the widespread suspicion that he was cooperating with authorities investigating the “Anonymous” hacker conspiracy.

Now, this is simply a fact: A lot of the Anonymous people never trusted Barrett Brown, regarding him as an untrustworthy egomaniacal fame-seeker trying to cash in. He did a TV interview with Michael Isikoff of NBC and announced a book deal with Gregg Housh, and did all of this while promoting himself as the official spokesman for Anonymous, whose members are . . . well, anonymous, and with good reason, because the cops would very much like to put a lot of them in prison.

After the FBI raided — but did not arrest — Brown in March, he became completely radioactive, especially after court documents in the “LulzSec” case (a rogue splinter of Anonymous) showed the feds were getting information from “unindicted co-conspirators.”

Hackers are generally smart enough to add 2 + 2, and if Brown’s get-out-of-jail-free card was contingent on him becoming an FBI informant, he had a serious problem, because none of his hacker buddies trusted him as far as they could throw him.

All of this was just plain fact, and when Brown threatened to sue me for having reported it, I laughed off his threat as absurd. I sent him an e-mail reply that ended with this advice:

You don’t need a lawyer, Barrett. You need a psychiatrist, or perhaps a priest to exorcise your demons. You are traveling a road to destruction, as harmful to yourself as to any of your chosen enemies. Get help.

Evidently, Brown refused to heed this advice. And so Wednesday when my friend told me about Barrett’s latest “hilarious” video, I was curious — and shocked by what I saw when I clicked on his YouTube channel. Are you sure you can handle the intense craziness? Because this is 13 minutes of absolute 100% bugfucking nuts:

Somebody should transcribe that before it’s deleted. You may not get all the references — HB Gary is the security firm that got hacked by LulzSec, Aaron Barr is the executive whose e-mails were stolen in the hacking, and Jennifer Emick is the former Anonymous member who identified LulzSec leader Sabu. A lot of this “Team Themis” stuff that Barrett Brown was ranting about shows up, by the way, in Neal Rauhauser’s conspiracy-theory document “Andrew Breitbart’s ISR Cell?”

Rauhauser sent that to the FBI in February after weeks of ominous warnings about a “Kookpocalypse.” And it is almost certainly not a coincidence that Barrett popped up on Twitter a couple weeks ago threatening both me and Patterico. Rauhauser’s own connections to Anonymous are extensively documented, but the exact nature and extent of his collaboration with Barrett Brown is unknown.

Being a paranoid conspiracy theorist is not illegal, and Brown’s tinfoil-hat rantings about HB Gary and Jen Emick were just so much noise. But his threats to “destroy” FBI agent Robert Smith? Yeah, the feds don’t take that kind of talk lightly:

Dallas law enforcement authorities have arrested self-professed Anonymous spokesman Barrett Brown in what appears to have been a dramatic raid of his apartment late Wednesday night.
Barrett was having a live online video chat session with a few others when law enforcement officers can be heard storming into the room and shouting at him to comply with their commands to submit to his arrest. . . .
A spokeswoman for the Dallas County Sheriff’s office confirmed the arrest and said Brown was booked into the county jail at around 11 p.m. CT and has since been transferred to an FBI facility. A spokeswoman from the FBI field office in Dallas said the agency had no comment on the arrest. . . .
No official reason has been offered yet as to why Barrett was arrested. But it may be connected to a YouTube video Barrett released yesterday in which he appears to threaten an FBI agent named Robert Smith. In the rambling 13-minute expletive-laced video, Barrett accuses Smith of getting his mother into trouble on obstruction of justice charges over a laptop that Barrett had attempted to conceal from authorities. . . .

You can read the whole thing, which actually has video of the raid, which went down while Barrett was having an online video chat with his fellow crazies. Hilarious? Not at all.

Brown is mentally ill, but he’s also young and handsome and intelligent, which permitted him to attract a sort of fan club of enablers who encouraged his anti-social deviance and — hey! — it’s all just fun and games until somebody goes to federal prison.

What did Barrett Brown think he was doing? How has he come to this sorry end? He was playing at being an “investigative journalist,” hoping to achieve fame and fortune by exposing those corrupt evildoers using his amazing Internet skilz.

The White Knight rides forth in shining armor on his noble steed to slay the dangerous dragon!

It’s a common enough amateur fantasy nowadays, and these cyber-Walter Mitty types magnify their dragons — “Islamophobic extremist” Aaron Walker, “convicted felon” Ali Akbar, “racist neo-Confederate” Stacy McCain — in order to inflate their own glory as the triumphant White Knight. The Narcissist as Self-Imagined Hero — they’re a dime a dozen nowadays. When his long-awaited exposé of the evildoers falls flat, when the long-promised triumph doesn’t result in fame and fortune, the narcissist can’t comprehend his own failure.

“Who the hell is Jen Emick?”

You see? There is a tiny fringe of kooks who are obsessed with Jen Emick, Aaron Barr, HB Gary, yadda yadda, and a guy like Barrett Brown plays to that kook fringe, imagining that their fixation with these things represents a potential worldwide interest.

If only Barrett can prove what the fringe kooks believe — that the villains they hate are part of a vast Watergate-sized scandal — then he can imagine the unspeakable glory that awaits.

Yeah, and who the hell is Jen Emick?

You see the grandiosity, paranoia and persecution complex in e-mails Brown sent to the Daily Caller before his arrest:

“Yesterday began releasing revelations from stolen e-mails and other research on Holder/HBGary/Endgame Systems conspiracy against myself and potentially other activists associated with the transparency movement,” he wrote to TheDC late Wednesday afternoon. . . .
“My previous leaks … got me banned from Daily Kos last week after 8 years of writing there,” Brown told TheDC.

This is not merely bovine excrement, it’s delusional. Once you understand paranoia as a narcissistic disorder, you see that Barrett’s fantasy of becoming a latter-day Sy Hersh involves a vast chasm between his grandiose ambition and his actual abilities.

Barrett Brown is not as smart as he thinks he is. More to the point, Stephen Hawking is not as smart as Barrett Brown thinks he is.

Delusions of grandeur are symptomatic of a damaged ego, but we’ll leave aside the armchair analysis and deal with the reality: Barrett Brown went chasing a dream of eternal glory, and had contempt for lesser mortals who were merely trying to make a living as reporters or bloggers, and he actually had a better-than-average run, as such things go. He got himself interviewed by NBC News, was quoted by multiple publications as the spokesman for Anonymous, and even scored a book deal.

And it’s all fun and games until somebody goes to federal prison.

Probably there’s a Moral of the Story, but I’m too tired and depressed to figure it out today. All this swirling craziness — thank you, savage Islamic movie critics! — has pretty much ruined my entire week. Remember, I’m supposed to be covering a presidential campaign, instead of writing 1,500-word dissertations about Internet fame junkies.

Larry Sinclair called up a Mormon housewife in Colorado to tell her what an evil person I am. And how was your week, huh?

On the other hand, I’m not being held without bail in Texas, so maybe I’m doing a little better than Barrett Brown.




35 Responses to “‘Anonymous’ Spokesman Barrett Brown Arrested After Bizarre Video Meltdown”

  1. jwallin
    September 16th, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    this is what happens when
    a. you commit felonies and get away with them because you’re protected by a veil of the first amendment (well so far) that prevents the law from summarily assuming you’re guilty by association and taking you in. (just because)

    b. you get high and then get angry and then decide to go on the intertubz.

    c. are young, dumb and full of come and think you’ll live forever and bullets bounce off your chest. (You’re wrong)

    d. you direct your juvenile tirade at someone who actually DOES pack some muscle, some heat, some juice and knows how to use it. (and has lots and lots of friends)

    have a nice time in jail, punk.

  2. McGehee
    September 16th, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    Have fun, Barrett. Remember: be nice to Bubba and Bubba will be nice to you.

  3. » #Anonymous Spokesman Barrett Brown Arrested After Bizarre Video Meltdown WARNING: CRAZY! #tcot #p2
    September 16th, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    […] Spokesman Barrett Brown Arrested After Bizarre Video Meltdown… WARNING: CRAZY! #tcot […]

  4. richard mcenroe
    September 16th, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    Handsome? He reminds me of the dude from Ferris Bueller who got jailed as a child molester.

  5. Bob Belvedere
    September 16th, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    Take heart, my friend: it’s always darkest before the Apocalypse.

  6. badanov
    September 16th, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    Do Not Read This If You Can’t Handle
    Full-Strength Industrial-Grade Crazy

    Challenge accepted…

  7. Warning: Brain Bleach Required! | hogewash
    September 16th, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    […] wjjhoge The Internet has its share of crazies. Stacy McCain describes one over-the-top character here. Be careful. The bizarreness it turned up to 12 on this one. Share […]

  8. K-Bob
    September 16th, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    Moved here from Smitty’s post because, hey, DIsqus…

    “Remember, I’m supposed to be covering a presidential campaign, instead
    of writing 1,500-word dissertations about Internet fame junkies.”

    The crazy IS the campaign.

  9. Dianna Deeley
    September 16th, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    What is it with Barrett Brown?

    He gets high – and if he wasn’t (despite his claims) as high as a kite in that video, then his blown pupils were the result of a darkened room or something – and says stupid things, and gets arrested. None of this is a surprise. The kid’s supposed to be smart, but he does this any way? Why?

  10. K-Bob
    September 16th, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    But after then, there will be lights and stuff, right?

  11. Mouse
    September 16th, 2012 @ 6:36 pm Topiary is working for the government, and rang him the same day, likely to find out what he was going to release. Shows how much of a ‘kook’ he is if they need to send a former member of lulzsec to see what he had hold of.

  12. Warning: Brain Bleach Required! | hogewash
    September 16th, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    […] wjjhoge The Internet has its share of crazies. Stacy McCain describes one over-the-top character here. Be careful. The bizarreness is turned up to 12 on this one. Share […]

  13. JamieJeffords
    September 16th, 2012 @ 8:05 pm

    Barrett Brown hid a laptop from the FBI by stashing at his mother’s house so he could claim the feds were terrorizing his mother when they went looking for it? Am I reading that right? It is difficult to tell through his angry rambling.

    Brown is self-absorbed scum. He is one of those nutty narcissists who believes he is such a dangerous man because of his ideas that the powers that be are all out to get him, but then wets his pants when some authorities actually do come for him.

    I will bet he sobbed like a lunatic once he was out of earshot of his chatting buddies during his arrest.

  14. sablegsd
    September 16th, 2012 @ 8:27 pm


    Oh hell no.

  15. jefferson101
    September 16th, 2012 @ 9:26 pm


    Two problems here. First off, how is this any more Brownshirts at Midnight than the detention of whats-his-name-actually in California?

    Second, it is noted that “No official reason has been offered yet as to why Barrett was arrested.”

    Hotay. They don’t need a reason, now do they?

    My sympathy for the guy is nonexistent, but I have issues with the process being used, if it is as described. Is Stacy or Smitty next? Or am I? If they don’t need a reason……

    Yeah. You figure it out. I want to see the warrant and the charges, up front. Every farging time, please.

  16. McGehee
    September 16th, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    Maybe he really is, as Stacy suggested, an FBI informant — and this is how they hustle him off to WITSEC.

  17. yestradamous
    September 16th, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    I think he’s cute and i feel sorry for him that he was born with the personality that makes him an addict. I think the guy is brilliant in a lot of ways and also a huge waste of potential.

    He knows it, too. And I think this crusade is, in his view, his chance at asking a real impact despite his self-imposed limitations.

  18. Adjoran
    September 17th, 2012 @ 12:04 am

    I think he was living at Mom’s, and in order to prevent the FBI from tearing her place apart may have agreed to turn over all his computing equipment, but had a laptop stashed there he didn’t mention. If his Mom agreed to comply with the subpoena to avoid a search warrant, she could be charged with obstruction.

    Seems he’s upset his little trick didn’t work.

    With his girlish looks, slight build, and big mouth, he’ll be a popular guy in prison, I suspect.

  19. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 17th, 2012 @ 2:09 am

    Stacy: Back when you were a “ute,” it is possible you might have seeded some wild oats and created Barrett Brown? Excessive alcohol, mushrooms, some college party you were at…it could explain a lot.

  20. Bob Belvedere
    September 17th, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    Oh yes…and the song ‘I’ll Stop The World And Melt With You’ will be played over and over.

  21. Bob Belvedere
    September 17th, 2012 @ 8:19 am

    Brown is mentally ill, but he’s also young and handsome and intelligent….

    Yeah, in a very gay way. The only people he could attract are closeted Emos, fag-hags, and other queens.

  22. Bob Belvedere
    September 17th, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    Good point. The world is going through one of it’s periodic episodes of utter madness.

    It’s the end of the world as we know it
    And I feel fine

  23. Bob Belvedere
    September 17th, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    Now that’s not nice, Evi! And it’s way off the mark, besides.

    Everyone in the Inner Circle of the VRWC knows Stacy fathered Conor Friedersdorf!

  24. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 17th, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    I am also guessing Matthew Yglesias may have been a spawn of those days of beers and mushrooms.

  25. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 17th, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    All of it is disturbing to be sure. But it would explain how Brown keeps coming back to Stacy all the time. I am expecting a Star Wars reference any time now.

  26. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 17th, 2012 @ 10:17 am

    There might be more than one Bob. Scary.

  27. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    September 17th, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    I thought the United States does not engage in torture anymore.

  28. The ‘Accuse the Accusers’ Strategy: Attempting to Explain Social Engineering : The Other McCain
    September 17th, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

    […] The Lonely Conservative what evil deceptions have been practiced in this regard. Or perhaps you can ask Barrett Brown how it was that he was incited to the dangerous madness that got him arrested last week. Sincerely, – RSMPlease understand that I’ve watched […]

  29. Batshit Crazy News … because the whole world has gone Batshit Crazy! | Zilla of the Resistance at
    September 17th, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

    […] content, but in the mean time, Barrett Brown is batshit crazy, and Stacy has a big post about him HERE, and Barrett Brown sends batshit crazy emails, which you can read at The Daily Caller. Batshit […]

  30. Brian Schulz
    September 17th, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    “I got off heroin cold turkey A COUPLE TIMES…” Ummm…then you never got off heroin cold turkey…

  31. Wombat_socho
    September 17th, 2012 @ 5:24 pm


  32. Frank B
    September 17th, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    OK, I hung in there right up till the ‘my dad used to kill elephants’ part. I kept expecting him to start shrieking, “Stop picking on Britney!”

  33. LS News Group
    September 17th, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

    Stacey, perhaps next time you call us asking us let bygones by bygones you might want to have the honesty to say you have written two articles in two days calling us “Crazy,” accusing us of “Attacking you” and of being an unsuspecting dupe of Kimberlins crew.
    So far all I see is you continuing to make everything about you or an attack on you and no effort on your part to acknowledge your continued acts which are identical to those you complain are being directed at you. Our response to your email of 11:59 AM today which you published on this site:

    While I appreciate your efforts to explain to me something you
    feel I have little understanding of. Let me however remind you that I am
    probably the last person anyone would need to explain these things too. See I
    understand very well what is taking place and I understand how these idiots
    operate. I have dealt with it far longer and in far worse severity than you will
    ever know.

    While I understand that you and others feel these people are
    responsible for Ali being attacked, but nothing these individuals have done has
    anything to do with the fact that I and Sinclair News put our name onto
    something in full support, promotion & endorsement which was done so based
    on false information and claims.

    While you may not know as much about me as you might think, what
    is happening to you, Aaron, Ali, Lee or anyone else is not new to me. It’s not
    new to me because I have lived through it and through far worse and what is
    funny is that the same idiots attacking Aaron, Lee, Ali, you (?) et al are the
    same ones who went after me in addition to so of the very people you and Ali
    support, associate with and know personally.
    I do not think you are a bad person, but I do think and believe
    from all that I have seen is you do the same things you complain about people
    doing to you. By that itself you can no longer present yourself as a “neutral”
    journalist because you ceased being that when you began making threats on
    Twitter or anywhere else. Stacey you continue to inject yourself in the story
    line and when you do that you are no longer neutral no matter what you say.

    Let me ask you something, when you went on Twitter talking about
    how the Liberal Grouch published photos of Jenny and that he was wrong in doing
    it, did you contact Jenny once and ask her if it was okay for you to publish
    her pictures on your website in the article calling out Grouch? No you didn’t,
    you simply went ahead and published her picture. By that single act Stacey you
    made yourself no different from Grouch and what’s worse is that you can’t see

    No Stacey, I know very well and understand very well the tactics
    and the purpose, I just simply refuse to allow anyone to draw me in or use that
    argument for excusing one’s own actions.

    So did Neal &Brett somehow cause you, Ali or others to
    decide to sit back for more than 9 months and allow Foster Friess name to be
    drug through the mud and falsely accused of being the funding behind the NBC by
    Yahoo News, Huffington Post etc? Why is it that even today Ali nor anyone on
    the “conservative” side have bothered to clear that little false tidbit up
    other than me?
    No Stacey I understand fully what is happening and I also
    understand that both sides accuse each other while both sides are engaging in
    the exact same acts.

  34. Dustin
    September 20th, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    “you made yourself no different from Grouch”

    Liberal Grouch threatened/harassed bloggers and their families.

    Whatever you intended to say with that comment is lost on me, as is your credibility.

  35. #tcot Some Helpful Random Advice : The Other McCain
    September 21st, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

    […] Parkway Mansfield, TX 76063Tell Barrett I said “hi.” The misguided fool let himself be drawn into someone else’s quixotic delusion and drove himself insane. I never hated him, but Barrett decided three years ago that I would make a convenient target and, […]