Monday, November 18, 2013

Reuters article reveals FBI apparently lied about large Anonymous breaches 'not happening' anymore

Justice Dept. memo related to case of Anonymous hacker sentenced on the same day Reuters exclusive was published may contain another lie; Two months after finally covering Barrett Brown, New York Times returns to ignoring his case

Lying to the FBI is a crime, but the bureau has a long history of engaging in asymmetric behavior when it comes to truthfully informing the public. It seems like the only "change" since 2008 - after Obama was elected president - is that lying has become more routine, and that it is done for public relations or propaganda purposes, rather than collecting information or preventing crimes.

An exclusive article published by Reuters reveals that not only have "activist hackers linked to the collective known as Anonymous secretly accessed U.S. government computers in multiple agencies and stolen sensitive information in a campaign that began almost a year ago," but that an FBI official apparently lied to the US public in August when he claimed that - due to high profile arrests - "large information breaches" were "not happening" anymore.

"The hackers exploited a flaw in Adobe Systems Inc's software to launch a rash of electronic break-ins that began last December, then left 'back doors' to return to many of the machines as recently as last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a memo seen by Reuters," Jim Finkle and Joseph Menn reported for Reuters on Friday.

The article continues, "According to an internal email from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz' chief of staff, Kevin Knobloch, the stolen data included personal information on at least 104,000 employees, contractors, family members and others associated with the Department of Energy, along with information on almost 2,0000 bank accounts."

"Officials said the hacking was linked to the case of Lauri Love, a British resident indicted on October 28 for allegedly hacking into computers at the Department of Energy, Army, Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Sentencing Commission and elsewhere," Finkle and Menn report. "Investigators believe the attacks began when Love and others took advantage of a security flaw in Adobe's ColdFusion software, which is used to build websites."

The Reuters exclusive almost completely contradicts bragging - and apparently premature grave dancing - by an FBI official a few months ago.

According to the FBI, "[t]he hacker collective Anonymous has not produced as many high-profile cyber attacks as it once did, a drop-off that can be directly attributed to the arrests of the group's core members ," Gerry Smith reported for Huffington Post on August 21, 2013.

"The movement is still there, and they're still yacking on Twitter and posting things, but you don't hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches," Austin P. Berglas, the "assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's cyber division in New York," told Huffington Post. "It's just not happening, and that's because of the dismantlement of the largest players."

As Smith reported, the "41-year-old Berglas leads the FBI's cyber division in New York, one of the busiest of the FBI's 56 field offices," so it's unlikely he was left in the dark about the investigation of breaches "that began almost a year ago" revealed by Reuters on Friday. Perhaps Berglas carefully stated that "you don't hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches," because no news organization had reported on the Adobe Systems case, yet. The October 11, 2013 FBI memo noted that "the majority of the intrusions have not yet been made publicly known."

While it's possible when Berglas gave his August interview that the FBI didn't have enough evidence to tie Anonymous hackers to the breaches related to stolen information for over 100,000 victims, they almost certainly knew about it then, and presumably wasn't ruling them out.

The Reuters article was published on the same day that Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced in a New York federal courtroom to ten years of prison. Although evidence shows that Hammond's illegal hacks of private security firms and government were rooted in activism, a federal judge dismissed his clearly politically-minded actions as "mayhem."

"Before being sentenced inside a packed courthouse in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Hammond, 28, described his hacking activities as 'acts of civil disobedience' against both an expanding surveillance state and the companies that do the government's bidding," Mark Mazzetti reported for The New York Times on Friday. "But Federal District Judge Loretta A. Preska was unmoved, telling Mr. Hammond 'there's nothing high-minded or public-spirited about causing mayhem.'"

The New York Times headline - "Hacker Receives 10-Year Sentence for 'Causing Mayhem'" - focuses on the judge's derisive pronouncement, rather than Hammond's defense or the actual charges he pleaded guilty over, largely in order to avoid a potential 30-year prison sentence if convicted. Mazzetti also ignored the potential conflict of interest that Hammond's lawyers had argued should have led Judge Preska to recuse herself from the case. In February, Preska refused to step down because her husband only was a two week subscriber to Stratfor, the email address leaked by Hammond and his co-conspirators was "publicly available" at his law firm's website, and he "never provided Stratfor with [his] credit card number or any other personal financial or identifying information such as [his] name, address, Social Security number or telephone number" (pdf link).

And although journalist Barrett Brown - who embedded himself into Anonymous to report on it - is currently facing over a 100 years in prison for copy-and-pasting a link in a IRC chat room to hacked Stratfor emails which included subscribers' credit card info, Mazzetti doesn't mention his name even once. Brown is facing over triple the time that Hammond faced, even though he had nothing to do with the actual hacking. New York Times reporters often used Brown as a source for Anonymous, but - except for a few republished wire reports and an April 14, 2013 op-ed by Northwestern University philosophy professor Peter J. Ludlow - the so-called "paper of record" pretty much ignored Brown's September of 2012 arrest for nearly a full year.

Media reporter David Carr wrote in his September 9, 2013 New York Times column that "much of what has Mr. Brown staring at a century behind bars seems on the right side of the law, beginning with the First Amendment of the Constitution." But other Times journalists continue to ignore Brown's case, perhaps because he leaked some of their emails in #OpNYT, not long before his arrest. (Editor's Note: I helped provide some research for the Free Barrett website for nearly eight months, but I've continued to report objectively and sometimes critically on Brown and his defense.)

A hacker named Hector Xavier Monsegur was secretly arrested in 2011, but worked as a confidential informant for the FBI to help catch others in Anonymous. Many "hacktivists" complain that while Monsegur aka "Sabu" committed some hacking crimes for selfish reasons, the hackers he helped "entrap" acted altruistically.

In his defense, Hammond argued that the FBI used Sabu to manipulate him and other hackers "to collect information regarding the vulnerabilities of foreign government websites and in some cases, disabl[e] them." However, Department of Justice lawyers countered that Hammond's "claims are baseless."

"While the CW and Hammond did discuss vulnerabilities of foreign websites (among others), in fact, the FBI notified foreign governments about this activity and the vulnerabilities in their websites after Hammond was arrested and the CW's role could be revealed without harming the investigation so they could take appropriate remedial action. In any event, even if Hammond's allegations were true, which they are not, they do not bear on any issues relevant to sentencing," Preet Bharara - the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York - and Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Brown and Rosemary Nidiry argued in a Justice Dept. sentencing memo (hat tip: @APBlake; footnote on pages 19-29: pdf link).

At his sentencing on Friday, Hammond claimed he "broke into numerous websites [the C.I.] supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu's FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets."

Hammond specifically cited Iran, Brazil and Turkey government websites in court - which the Judge admonished him over - but the names of six or seven other foreign government websites allegedly targeted were redacted from his statement.

"These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of XXXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX and the XXXXXX XXXXXXX," Hammond added. "In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites in XXXXXX. I don't know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government's collection and use of this data needs to be investigated."

While the Justice Department memo claims "the FBI notified foreign governments about this activity and the vulnerabilities in their websites after Hammond was arrested," it seems extremely dubious that an unfriendly country such as Iran would be warned, and that the U.S government and military wouldn't take advantage of such a potential intelligence coup.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FBI director suggests Sabu helped feds build case against Barrett Brown

[October 7, 2015 Editor's Note: The headline and central premise of this article is almost certainly wrong, I should have added this correction a while ago. There's still some good stuff in article though, imo]

Update below: Brown's prosecutors claim no confidential human sources were used in case but that doesn't seem to explain warrant for March, 2012 raid, unless prosecutors were allowed to go on a fishing expedition and FBI agents were granted the go-ahead to seize a journalist's computers

On August 8, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller, III gave a speech called "The Future of Cyber Security from the FBI’s Perspective" at the International Conference on Cyber Security 2013 held at Fordham University in New York City.

"Over two years after the Summer of Lulz, FBI Director Robert Mueller remarks at the Fordham ICCS Conference this past Thursday, to the best of my knowledge, the first time he made mention of Lulz Security & their informant leader Sabu, better known as Hector Xavier Monsegur, Jr.," the Operation Slingshot blog notes. "It is quite curious, since apart from the arrests and proceedings themselves, the FBI leadership has more or less kept radio silence on the matter."

Eight months before Barrett Brown, a journalist who essentially embedded himself into Anonymous, is scheduled to go on trial for computer related crimes, the outgoing FBI director may have accidentally revealed that the feds may have used Sabu's cooperation to help build the case against him.

Mueller told the conference that the Bureau's "combination of technical skills and traditional investigative techniques recently led the FBI to the hacker known as Sabu—one of the co-founders of LulzSec."

"This case began when our Los Angeles Division collected IP addresses that were used to hack into the database of a TV game show. One of these led to an individual who had failed to anonymize his IP address," Mueller said. "Our New York Office used confidential human sources, search warrants, and physical surveillance to identify and locate this man, who was only known then by his online moniker, Sabu."

He added, "When our agents went to arrest him, they gave him a choice: Go to jail now, or cooperate."

"Sabu agreed to cooperate, continuing to use his online identity," Mueller continued. "His cooperation helped us to build cases that led to the arrest of six other hackers linked to groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec. It also allowed us to identify hundreds of security vulnerabilities—which helped us to stop future attacks and limit harm from prior intrusions."

Douglas Stanglin reported for USAToday on March 6, 2012, "Five alleged hackers have been charged with breaking into the computer systems of governments, corporations and media organizations after the reputed head of the LulzSec ring became an FBI informant, authorities announced."

"Five computer hackers in the United States and abroad were charged today, and a sixth pled guilty, for computer hacking and other crimes," the March 6, 2012 indictment states. "The six hackers identified themselves as aligned with the group Anonymous, which is a loose confederation of computer hackers and others, and/or offshoot groups related to Anonymous, including 'Internet Feds,' 'LulzSec,' and 'AntiSec.'"

"RYAN ACKROYD, a/k/a “kayla,” a/k/a “lol,”a/k/a “lolspoon,” JAKE DAVIS, a/k/a “topiary,” a/k/a “atopiary,” DARREN MARTYN, a/k/a “pwnsauce,” a/k/a “raepsauce,” a/k/a “networkkitten,” and DONNCHA O’CEARRBHAIL, a/k/a “palladium,” who identified themselves as members of Anonymous, Internet Feds, and/or LulzSec, were charged in an Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court with computer hacking conspiracy involving the hacks of Fox Broadcasting Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and the Public Broadcasting Service (“PBS”). O’CEARRBHAIL is also charged in a separate criminal Complaint with intentionally disclosing an unlawfully intercepted wire communication.

HECTOR XAVIER MONSEGUR, a/k/a “Sabu,” a/k/a “Xavier DeLeon,” a/k/a “Leon,” who also identified himself as a member of Anonymous, Internet Feds and LulzSec, pled guilty on August 15, 2011 in U.S. District Court to a 12-count information charging him with computer hacking conspiracies and other crimes. MONSEGUR’S Information and guilty plea were unsealed today. The crimes to which MONSEGUR pled guilty include computer hacking conspiracy charges initially filed in the Southern District of New York. He also pled guilty to the following charges: a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California related to the hacks of HBGary, Inc. and HBGary Federal LLC; a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California related to the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Fox Broadcasting Company; a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia related to the hack of Infragard Members Alliance; a substantive hacking charge initially filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia related to the hack of PBS, all of which were transferred to the Southern District of New York, pursuant to Rule 20 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, in coordination with the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (“CCIPS”) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Late yesterday, JEREMY HAMMOND, a/k/a “Anarchaos,” a/k/a “sup_g,” a/k/a “burn,” a/k/a “yohoho,” a/k/a “POW,” a/k/a “tylerknowsthis,” a/k/a “crediblethreat,” who identified himself as a member of AntiSec, was arrested in Chicago, Illinois and charged in a criminal Complaint with crimes relating to the December 2011 hack of Strategic Forecasting, Inc. (“Stratfor”), a global intelligence firm in Austin, Texas, which may have affected approximately 860,000 victims. In publicizing the Stratfor hack, members of AntiSec reaffirmed their connection to Anonymous and other related groups, including LulzSec. For example, AntiSec members published a document with links to the stolen Stratfor data entitled: “Anonymous Lulzxmas rooting you proud” on a file sharing website.
"

Last March, I reported that The New York Times oddly deleted passages related to Barrett Brown from their March 7, 2012 article, which was originally credited to Somini Sengupta and Nicole Perlroth. The story originally said, "Barrett Brown, a member of Anonymous who has often served as a spokesman for the group, said that his home in Dallas had been raided and that the F.B.I. had sent three agents to his mother’s house, where he was staying last night."

"'I received an advance warning of the raid and put all my laptops in very specific places where they couldn’t be found,' Mr. Brown said. He said the agents left without making an arrest.

Mr. Brown said the arrests elsewhere would not slow down the Anonymous movement. 'There are lots and lots of people here that continue to work. The F.B.I. did not really cut the head off of anything. Anonymous will go forward as usual. So will I. We hired an army of lawyers last January. We are prepared for a big slug-out.'
"

When I asked Perloth why all three paragraphs related to Barrett Brown were scrubbed, she sent me a bland, boilerplate statement which didn't really explain anything: "Hi Ron, Thanks for the inquiry, it's the type of q we often get from readers. In this case the story that was originally posted... on the Web was updated and revised multiple times before it went to print, with some material deleted as more was added. In happens all the time, in part to freshen the story and in part because we think that changes make it better. Hope that helps!"

Even though The New York Times used Barrett Brown as a source for multiple stories, he hasn't been mentioned by any of their reporters in a story since this scrubbing - which even Brown called odd in one of his videos. The New York Times staff completely ignored Barrett Brown's arrest last September, even though he's one of the most famous and known contributors to Anonymous. It's possible that Times reporters are purposely blacklisting all mention of Brown because he published conversations he had with a few of them in an "op" he mounted in the summer of 2012.

Mueller said that Sabu's "cooperation helped us to build cases that led to the arrest of six other hackers linked to groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec." Since only five others are named on the indictment unsealed on March 6, 2012, and Barrett Brown was raided that same day, the FBI director's speech appears to suggest that Brown was number six. Brown isn't a hacker, so it was probably too difficult for prosecutors to find a reason to charge him on March 6, 2012.

In a pastebin posted on March 7, 2012, Barrett Brown complained, after FBI agents showed up at his apartment on March 6, "At that point I began taking calls and e-mails from the press regarding Sabu, whom I learned was in fact a degenerate pussy traitor who couldn't face two fucking years in prison, making him the biggest pussy in the history of mankind. There were several people who came to this conclusion early on; I was not wise enough to be one of them. As to the various stunts he pulled in the months since his arrest - including but not limited to the unnecessary release of credit card information for Stratfor customers - we may never know to what extent such things were encouraged by his 'Justice Department' handlers in an effort to discredit this movement. But I digress, lol. At any rate, the Feds came back a couple of hours later with a search warrant for my mom's place - they fully intended to take a certain laptop, and did."

A website devoted to raising funds for Barrett Brown's defense called Free Barrett states, "Having previously been raided by the FBI on March 6, 2012 and not charged with any crime in relation to that incident, on September 12, 2012 Barrett Brown was again raided and this time arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation while he was online participating in a Tinychat session. He was subsequently denied bail and detained without charge and adequate medical treatment for over two weeks while in the custody of US Marshals. In the first week of October 2012, he was finally indicted on three counts. related to alleged activities or postings on popular websites such as Twitter and YouTube."

In the early morning on September 12, I called the chambers of the North Dallas judge who allegedly signed the warrants (which Michael Hastings later published in a report on Brown for BuzzFeed), and was told that there was no record of it. They suggested I contact the US Attorney's Office to see if the warrants were sealed. The North Dallas Department of Justice office couldn't find any record of the warrants, and was skeptical that they even existed. In a video Barrett Brown claimed that the FBI told him the warrants were sealed because he was the target of a Mexican drug cartel, but it's not clear if he was being serious or not.

"On December 4, 2012 Barrett was indicted by a federal grand jury on twelve additional counts related to data from the Stratfor breach," the Free Barrett website adds. "Despite his lack of direct involvement in the operation and stated opposition to it, he faces these charges simply for allegedly pasting a hyperlink online."

[Editor's Note: I provided the Free Barrett website with research for over six months after Brown's arrest, and I helped contribute to the last line of the preceding paragraph. I've never been in Anonymous, but I support Brown because he's an imprisoned journalist. However, I report objectively on his case, and have often criticized Brown, some of his lawyers and the Free Barrett website.]

The 12 counts on Brown's second indictment - so far - are the only charges that he faces that could be related to Sabu's cooperation. It states that Brown was "aided and abetted by persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury," and one of those persons could be Sabu.

Even though there doesn't seem to be any proof that Brown had anything to do with the Stratfor hack - or foreknowledge of the crime - the majority of the time he faces is related to it. Sabu and Hammond pled guilty to the actual hack, and while the former's sentencing keeps getting postponed (August 23rd is the next date), the latter is facing up to ten years. Brown is currently facing decades, just for copy-and-pasting a link to a fileshare that contained some credit card information into an IRC chat room so he and his Project PM colleagues could pore over the details of the emails in hopes of finding possibly illegal activities by the US government or security firms.

The unsealed March 6. 2012 indictment against Sabu and five others states, "In December 2011, HAMMOND conspired to hack into computer systems used by Stratfor, a private firm that provides governments and others with independent geopolitical analysis. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators, as members of AntiSec, stole confidential information from those computer systems, including Stratfor employees’ emails as well as account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers or clients. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators stole credit card information for approximately 60,000 credit card users and used some of the stolen data to make unauthorized charges exceeding $700,000. HAMMOND and his co-conspirators also publicly disclosed some of the confidential information they had stolen."

The Free Barrett website adds, "On January 23rd, 2013 he was indicted a third time on two more counts, relating to the March 2012 FBI raid(s) on his apartment and his mother’s house."

"Sabu was assumed to have been an informant in his case as well, until the prosecutors in Barrett’s case stated there were none at all," the Operation Slingshot blogger wrote, but I'm not sure how he or she came to this conclusion [SEE UPDATE BELOW]. The warrant for the March 6, 2012 raids on Barrett Brown's residences was looking for specific information, which seems to have been derived from an informant's claims. It sought info related to HBGary, Stratfor and Endgame Systems - a shadowy security firm Brown was probing. The warrant also mentioned InfraGard - which was hacked - but Brown said in one of his videos that he never worked on anything related to them.

"I suspect that the FBI is working off of incorrect information," Brown told Hastings - who died in a car accident two months ago - in April of 2012.

There is another informant - a wannabe security firm agent who worked with HBGary after it was hacked - named Jennifer Emick who has relentlessly pursued Barrett Brown since at least February of 2011. A future story that I have been working on for months will hopefully be finished before Brown's trial which is scheduled for April of 2014.

UPDATE - The Free Barrett website pointed out to me that prosecutors claimed no informants were involved in the Barrett Brown case in a July response to a Discovery request by his lawyers (Page 24 of PDF).

Brown's lawyers requested, "A list of all confidential sources who provided information for any application for a search warrant, arrest warrant or eavesdropping warrant in this case, regardless whether such warrant was actually sought or obtained."

"A confidential human source (CHS) is any individual who is believed to be providing useful and credible information to the FBI for any authorized information collection activity, and from whom the FBI expects or intends to obtain additional useful and credible information in the future, and whose identity, information or relationship with the FBI warrants confidential handling. see http://www.justice.gov/oip/docs/ag-guidelines-use-of-fbi-chs.pdf," the prosecutors responded. "The prosecution team did not rely on any CHSs in applying for search or arrest warrants in Brown’s cases."

Brown's lawyers also requested, "A statement of whether any evidence in the government’s possession, custody, or control was obtained through a confidential informant, and if so, a description of such evidence."

"The prosecution team did not rely on any CHSs in presenting the facts to the Grand Jury for the return of Brown’s Indictments. (See the definition of CHS in the response to #10 above.) If the prosecution team receives/reviews any information or evidence from a CHS and determines the same to be discoverable, it will notify the defense," prosecutors responded.

A member of Project PM who uses the handle @subverzo on Twitter also pointed out that Sabu isn't listed as a witness. The government doesn't have to provide all names until a day before they are scheduled to testify, and podcaster @VinceInTheBay argued that Sabu doesn't necessarily have to testify anyway.

However, the denials don't seem to explain why Brown's residences were raided in the first place on March 6, 2012. It seems unlikely that a grand jury and a judge allowed prosecutors to go on a fishing expedition and to seize a journalist's computers, without any proof that crimes were committed. It also seems unlikely that the government didn't rely - at all - on statements or evidence provided by their inside man, Sabu, or Jen Emick who has allegedly furnished the FBI with tips regarding Brown.

Friday, August 9, 2013

BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief ignored May 2012 email about possible Hastings probe

The strangest thing - in my opinion - regarding the tragic death of journalist Michael Hastings is how his employer BuzzFeed covered it. Why didn't they report he allegedly told a WikiLeaks lawyer the feds were probing him or on the last email he sent to Editor-In-Chief Ben Smith and other colleagues at BuzzFeed warning them the same?

A day after his death, WikiLeaks tweeted on June 19, "Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him." However, they haven't provided any additional details on the alleged conversation since then.

In a mostly negative article titled, "Is WikiLeaks trying to start a FBI Michael Hastings Death Conspiracy?", Alexander Abad-Santos reported for The Atlantic Wire that Robinson was "something of a human-rights watchdog and a protector of investigative journalists." Abad-Santos bashed WikiLeaks for making an "ill-timed tweet for attention," and BuzzFeed may have agreed, since they didn't do a story on it.

Christian Stork reported for WhoWhatWhy:

"A little over 12 hours before his car was incinerated on an LA straightaway on June 18, 2013, Hastings sent out a short email headed, 'FBI Investigation, re: NSA.' In it, he said that the FBI had been interviewing his 'close friends and associates,' and advised the recipients — including colleagues at the website Buzzfeed — '[It] may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news-gathering practices or related journalism issues.' He added, 'I’m onto a big story, and need to go off the radat [sic] for a bit.'"

Retired SSG Joe Biggs - who met Hastings when he was embedded in Afghanistan and was BCC'd on the email which he leaked to KTLA - told me on Twitter that BuzzFeed's Ben Smith ignored an email he sent him about Hastings' concerns. Smith blocked me on Twitter after I asked him questions on June 25:

1) When did @BuzzFeedBen learn Michael Hastings was "concerned that he was under investigation" and what did he do? nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/06/michael-hastings-fbi-wikileaks-death-conspiracies.html?mid=twitter_dailyintel

2) Did @BuzzFeedBen contact his "Washington sources" when he learned #Hastings feared he was under investigation? http://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/missing-michael-hastings

3) Why did #Hastings have to contact a @WikiLeaks lawyer? Didn't @BuzzFeedBen have lawyers that could have offered him advice or help?

4) Why did @BuzzFeedBen tell @joecoscarelli "Michael told a number of his friends and colleagues" but not specify if he was told himself?

5) Is @BuzzFeedBen "too scared" to probe Michael #Hastings' fears he was being investigated by Fed? Or does he think he was just paranoid?

6) Any journalist not asking @BuzzFeedBen hard questions about what he did or didn't do may as well take a piss on Michael #Hastings' grave.

7) Why didn't @BuzzFeedBen IMMEDIATELY contact the FBI to ask if Michael #Hastings was being investigated? Why didn't @BuzzFeed break story?

8) Why did @BuzzFeedBen ignore #Hastings pal SSG @RamboBiggs when @BuzzFeed was asked what they were gonna do? https://twitter.com/Rambobiggs/status/349284390897065986

9) Why didn't @BuzzFeedBen even RT @WikiLeaks tweet about #Hastings? Do any @BuzzFeed journos wonder what he'll do if they are ever probed?

10) Why isn't @BuzzFeedBen reporting that since Barrett Brown was arrested & ProjectPM is under probe, the FBI may be lying about #Hastings?

11) FBI, DoJ have Barrett Brown's emails & must know about email ProjectPM sent me claiming #Hastings had "leadership position" @BuzzFeedBen

12) Hastings reported FBI warrant for March 2012 Barrett Brown raid sought records related to http://wiki.echelon2.org http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/exclusive-fbi-escalates-war-on-anonymous

13) @BuzzFeedBen is Editor-in-Chief for website allegedly worth millions that focuses on Tweets but ignores chatter about #Hastings' death.

14) If @mmhastings wasn't working on a Jill Kelley story, why didn't @BuzzFeedBen bother to "correct the record"? https://twitter.com/Elise_Jordan/status/349502184049754113

"Following publication of the email by KTLA, the FBI quickly denied that the Bureau was ever investigating Hastings," Stork adds. "The Freedom of the Press Foundation and ProjectPM — the research wiki that Brown was involved with — are in the process of filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to learn if indeed Hastings was the subject of an FBI probe."

At San Diego 6 News, Kimberly Dvorak noted, "the FBI Los Angeles-based spokesperson, Laura Eimiller, atypically emailed media emphatically denying the agency was looking into Mr. Hastings background."

Stork reported, "The FBI denial notwithstanding, a number of clues indicate that the proximity of Hastings to Brown and the work of ProjectPM may have been what spawned the purported investigation in the first place."

Last year, BuzzFeed Editor-In-Chief Ben Smith ignored tweets and emails I sent him related to a possible government probe of Hastings.

Full text of email I sent Smith on May 18, 2012:

Ben,

You ignored my tweets...but can you give me a quote for an article I'm working on about how you allowed Michael Hastings to report on Barrett Brown, without disclosing the search warrant is asking for information that may include Hastings, since he was or currently is in Brown's Project PM.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/exclusive-fbi-escalates-war-on-anonymous

http://pastebin.com/vZEteA3C

8. Records relating to wiki.echelon2.org;

That is the wiki website for Project PM,

Also, his article didn't mention that Brown wrote the forward to his latest book...and that he defended him on the web when he wrote the Runaway General article...and that they used to write at True/Slant together and have a long relationship.

Also, what do you think of the way Hastings favorites my tweets to mock me, but ducks my questions.

And just to cover my bases, are you in Project PM or were you ever, too?

They have a long history of shilling for each other..and I'd like to know if Buzzfeed has any guidelines or journalism ethics rules.

https://www.google.com/search?q=michael%20hastings%20barrett%20brown&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&source=hp&channel=np

thanks,

Ron Brynaert

Former Executive Editor for www.RawStory.com

More links:

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/internet_and_the_republic_of_skepticism_part_two/

As of this writing, I have assembled a fine cadre of bloggers with a collective monthly audience of several hundred thousand people, and each of these bloggers will soon be selecting others to connect to them within the network; they will in turn choose others, and so on. We have Allison Kilkenny, an up-and-coming commentator who deals in policy as a cable anchor deals in cheery banter, and who in addition to her blogging hosts the satisfyingly wonkish program Citizen Radio along with her co-host and husband, comedian Jamie Kilstein. We have Michael Hastings, who served as Newsweek’s Baghdad correspondent and afterwards covered the 2008 election, at which point he grew disgusted with the frivolous nature of political coverage in this nation and left a prestigious position in favor of more virtuous pastures. We have Charles Johnson, the pioneering founder of the blog Little Green Footballs who was among the most widely-read of political bloggers until he found himself at odds with the bulk of his allies and audience due to his support for science and his opposition to racism. I am also in talks with other, similarly prominent commentators and journalists who have likewise demonstrated themselves to be experts in their respective subjects as well as intellectually honest.

https://wiki.echelon2.org/wiki/CENTCOM

"Along with colleagues at the research wiki he started, ProjectPM (PPM), Brown was looking into a legion of shadowy cybersecurity firms whose work for the government raised all sorts of questions about privacy and the rule of law," Stork reported.

Stork adds, "Since Hastings was familiar with the government contractors listed in the search warrant, he was also potentially culpable in whatever 'crimes' the feds believed Brown and PPM were guilty of. Is this why he was being investigated in the days before his fatal crash on June 18, 2013?"

"The busy Hastings never fully immersed himself in the work of PPM. “[Hastings] was an outlet for us to pass things to,” says Alan Ross, better known on PPM’s Internet relay chat (IRC) as Morpeth. “His relationship was one of talking to Barrett in my experience, rather than direct involvement in PPM.” He was “more of an associate than a member'."

Just before strangely disappearing for a year from Twitter, Morpeth told me in a June 3, 2012 email that Hastings had "a leadership position within our project."

Morpeth also claimed that Michael Roston - who edited Brown and Hastings at True/Slant and used to work under me at RAW STORY but now is at The New York Times - "is a senior member of PPM and has written much of our wiki."

"Yes, there are some NYT (and others) writers and editors that regularly contribute to our material and help us by editorialising in our favour in the NYT when we ask them," Morpeth claimed. "The government officials that we work with generally do not contribute writings, but rather give us leaks of confidential information relating to government, military, and contractor programmes that form the basis of our research and our core data, whilst some government/federal agency contacts enable us to feed back into their processes and make recommendations that enable us to have a more direct influence over policy (functioning as a kind of direct backchannel into these agencies and a private forum for us to express our concerns directly to those with decision-making remit within the fields of intelligence, information security, and consent manufacture. These people are in the employ of various agencies that I cannot specify here over email, for reasons that I'm sure you can understand."

However, Morpeth strangely signed his email calling himself John Morpeth Jameson, Orchestrating Director Project Pm Europe, instead of Alan Ross.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, during a roundtable discussion on Current's "The Young Turks" (video clip), Hastings speculated that his conversations with Barrett Brown - before his arrest - were being recorded, that he was "careful" to only talk about things "in context", and he noted that his number was on Brown's "phone which has been seized by the government." At the time, Hastings said he could not confirm that he was being monitored, "except that people tell [him] all the time in the Special Forces community."

In another article for WhoWhatWhy published in May, Stork reported, "On April 2, the DOJ served the domain hosting service CloudFlare with a subpoena for all records and personal information on one of its clients, a research wiki known as ProjectPM."

The warrant for records was signed by FBI agent Robert Smith, who Barrett Brown is accused of threatening. Many have questioned why Smith's involvement isn't considered a conflict of interest, but since threats to agents could derail investigations the FBI probably doesn't reassign agents unless they have personal conflicts of interest.

Stork noted that "CloudFlare will likely be forced to turn over records on third parties who were engaged in constitutionally-protected conduct related to curating or visiting the website."

In January, after ignoring my tweets for months after Brown's arrest in September, Hastings told me on Twitter that he was finally working on a story and his excuses for taking so long was that "there was an election, and still a few wars going on. but get ready for your mind to be blown." The FreeBarrett website owner said that Hastings was due to meet with Brown in prison in June or July, but the latest filing by Brown's lawyers seems to indicate that they wouldn't have approved of it.

"For instance, the government states that “Brown’s friend confirmed in a statement to the press (posted on August 7, 2013) that lawyers had discussions with a specific media person to arrange an in-person interview with Brown in jail.” GB at 11 (¶27). Presumably, the “specific media person” referenced by the government is Michael Hastings, a journalist, friend and colleague of Mr. Brown who passed away on June 18, 2013 in Los Angeles California. Counsel does not dispute that Mr. Hastings, as with many other members of the media, contacted counsel seeking an in-person interview with Mr. Brown. To counsel’s knowledge, Mr. Hastings did not visit or conduct an in-person interview Mr. Brown before his death.

Counsel has received numerous requests from members of the media, including documentary filmmakers, to interview Mr. Brown. Counsel has advised members of the media seeking an in person interview with Mr. Brown that there is a Protective Order in place, that members of the media would need authorization from all the relevant parties including the authorities at Mansfield Correctional, and that Mr. Brown would be advised not to answer any questions unless submitted in advance, and in writing, so that counsel could screen questions to comply with the Court’s Protective Order, Gentile, Brown, et al .
"

Dvorak vows that "San Diego 6 News will continue to seek the truth with the assistance of Judicial Watch, a Washington DC based foundation."

"One puzzling aspect of the LAPD's objection to the release of the police report is the inference in the FOIA/CPRA response to San Diego 6 News that a federal investigation may be in progress, which only adds further questions as to what agency is investigating since the FBI said it is not investigating. This turn of events reaffirms this reporter's contention and the tens of thousands of individuals who have responded to this story that it IS in the public interest … Hastings was a national figure.

To find-out who is investigating and why, this week Judicial Watch will serve additional FOIAs against the DOJ (AKA Eric Holders’ war on journalists), Department of Homeland Security’s HSI, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Secretary of the Department of the Army (due to unchallenged threats made directly to Mr. Hastings).
"

But I fail to understand why BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone don't seem to care about any of this. Hastings' employers seem to have little interest in the strange circumstances of his death, and seem content to leave the reporting to smaller media outlets and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Oddly, Hastings' widow, Elise Jordan - who used to be a speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice and a spokesperson for the National Security Council - has done nothing but praise BuzzFeed, even though I don't even think they sent a reporter to the scene of the accident, and Smith ducked questions I asked him on Twitter regarding his response to Hastings' last email. Jordan recently appeared on CNN and said that she thought her husband's death was just a "tragic accident." Instead of being asked if she knew why Hastings was speeding between 80 and 100 MPH, if he had talked to her about the alleged probe or if it's true that she had hired private investigators as Hastings' military pal @RamboBiggs and Dvorak reported, Jordan was asked insipid questions about New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez.

Biggs blocked me on Twitter after I sent him Direct Messages advising him that talking to Alex Jones would make it easier for the media to stop reporting on Hastings' death, and that I suspected it was most likely that Hastings was spooked by a bogus source, not assassinated. He also scrubbed many of his tweets about Hastings, and accused Dvorak of misquoting him on a story which claimed that Hastings was cremated against his family's wishes. After Jordon spoke to CNN, Biggs told Jones that he had cancelled a planned trip to Los Angeles because she allegedly claimed it might ruin the investigation. Jones complained that Jordan was "smiling like she went to the first Beatles concert," while talking about her late husband on CNN.

Dvorak ignored Biggs' complaint that he had only told her he "wasn't sure if that's what Michael wanted or the family", and hasn't replied to anyone on Twitter. Journalist Peter Ludlow tweeted to Biggs that "if she deliberately misrepresented you that pretty much makes the rest of her reporting on this worthless." Dvorak claimed on San Diego News 6 that she had received a threat over her reporting, and later told Russia Today that there was more than one, but she ignored my tweets asking for more details and if she had reported it to the police.

Dvorak also reported there was a gag order enforced on LAPD and firefighters regarding Hastings but she hasn't substantiated the claim. "How did @makmak47 get quotes from lead detective in #Hastings case this week if there's a gag order?" I asked her on August 10. Michael Krikorian also got quotes from the coroner's office, who told him that the toxicology report will finally be released within two weeks.

An obviously distraught Biggs is complaining on Twitter that he is being accused of being "after 'fame'", but that he is "sad and miserable" and almost "failed out of school when [M]ike died and because [he] released the email."

"So many people hate me because I spoke up," Biggs tweeted on August 11. "Sorry, I felt obligated to say something. What would you do if you got that email[?] I had to speak."

A recent article co-written by Jill Simpson - a "whistleblower" who once made unsubstantiated allegations to a RAW STORY reporter that former President George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove had tried to kill her and had burned down her house, and spread a rumor he was gay in 2012 - misreported that I was friends with Hastings. In 2011, Hastings followed me after retweeting me, but he smeared me as crazy last year after I complained about his article on the Barrett Brown search warrant. I wouldn't presume to think or speak for Hastings, but I seriously doubt he would have been happy that controversial conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has taken the lead in probing his death, instead of his colleagues at BuzzFeed and Rolling Stone.

"#Hastings didn't get to 'blow [my] mind' with @BarrettBrownLOL story but @BuzzFeed or @RollingStone can if they do real story on MH's death," I tweeted on August 10.

Hastings deserves better than this.

(Afterword: A BuzzFeed contributor favorited a tweet I made linking to this story, so not everyone at Hastings' former job must be happy with how his death has been covered there.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More lines from Anthony Weiner sexting story New York Times yanked

Update: Former porn actress tells New York Times she can't bear scrutiny of being linked to Weiner; Reporter Michael Barbaro seems to ignore the fact that some of the women in his story flirted publicly with Weiner
"The New York Times 'inadvertently' posted an article on the women involved in Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal — and then deleted it," Mackenzie Weinger reported for Politico.

As Kara Bloomgarden-Smoke noted at The New York Observer, "Clicking on the link to the story, once entitled 'For Women in Weiner Scandal, Indignity Lingers,' now takes readers to a page that reads 'Production Note: An article was posted on this page inadvertently, before it was ready for publication.'"

Bloomgarden-Smoke further adds, "According to a Google cache, the story, by political reporter Michael Barbaro, began, "For those on the other end of Anthony D. Weiner’s sexually explicit conversations, the episode damaged careers, disrupted educations."

"Customers still taunt Lisa Weiss," the story began. "'Talk dirty to me,' they joke. 'We know you like it.' Colleagues still refuse to speak with her. Strangers still bad mouth her in nasty online messages."

By searching for particular phrases, I was able to find more lines from the scrubbed New York Times story, although they might not necessarily be in the same order as Barbaro intended.

"'I cannot tell you the devastation,' said Ms. Weiss, a 42-year-old blackjack dealer who exchanged hundreds of explicit messages with Mr. Weiner, then a congressman, in 2010 and 2011."

"In spring 2011, Mr. Weiner sent a 21-year-old college student an image of himself in boxers, with an obvious erection. Now, the young woman, Gennette Cordova, is trying to reclaim her identity, online and off. Ms. Cordova, who has told The New York Times that she had chatted with Mr. Weiner about politics and not about sex, was shocked by his unwanted advances."

"She moved from Seattle to New York City, before Mr. Weiner's decision to run for mayor, eager to leave a place where she had become known for her ties to the unfolding drama."

"Traci Nobles, who has said that a roommate leaked her correspondence with Mr. Weiner without her permission, quit her job as as a fitness instructor in Georgia because of the unwanted attention."

"'It broke my heart,' she said in a little-watched interview for an online talk show. Determined to explain her online dalliance with Mr. Weiner and its impact on her life, Ms. Nobles proposed a book that has yet to be published."

"Ginger Lee, a former adult film actress with whom Mr. Weiner flirted online, said she could no longer bear the scrutiny of being linked to him."

"'Every new headline and news story about him reminds reporters and bloggers that we exist, and the cycle starts all over,' she said in a statement released by her lawyer."
New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote in an article called "Weiner Story Appears Briefly, Then Disappears, From The Times’s Web Site," that the paper "has a strong policy against what it calls 'unpublishing' articles. But there are occasional exceptions."

"From what I’ve been able to piece together, there was a miscommunication among Times editors," Sullivan added. "Some thought the article was ready to go, and sent it on through the editorial production cycle. At least one other editor — higher up on the food chain — disagreed about its readiness and did not intend it to be published, at least not at that point."

Although Barbaro reported that the photo Anthony Weiner sent on May 27, 2011 contained an "obvious erection," many liberal bloggers argued that it looked like the former Democratic Congressman had stuck his arm in his boxers, which would explain why he later referred to it as some sort of a joke.

In October of 2011, I published a story called "Twitter Socks Attacked Lisa Weiss Then Hid Evidence."

"Like everyone else involved in Weinergate, Lisa Weiss also received many nasty tweets from anonymous twitter 'socks', including calls for her to get fired from her job," I wrote. "Many of the nastier tweets were deleted later while others made their twitter accounts private."

The casino Weiss worked for "lost my business if you continue to deal there," someone using the handle @tweeterlaura sent to her at her @liberallisa account, "no grifters at the tables please."

Another nasty tweet by @bellaboo2220 told Weiss to "crawl into a hole," and that she should be "ashamed of [her]self and [her] whorish ways." Another tweet by the same account mocked Weiss using antisemitism, saying that she was "doing the Jews proud."

Weiss later told me that she almost lost her job after Radar Online published a picture of her dressed in her work uniform at the casino without her permission. She also claims that she never told the gossip website anything bad about Weiner, despite what they reported, and she remains an ardent supporter.

NY Times reporter seems to ignore that some of the women publicly flirted with Weiner

Some of the women flirted publicly with Weiner, which New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro may not have mentioned in his article. And instead of ducking the media, four women chose to release sexually charged texts and private messages they shared with the former Congressman. Of course, that doesn't mean any of the women deserve to be harassed or humiliated, but it is a fact that the paper should report if they republish his story.

Ginger Lee has complained that Weiner made unwanted advances to her, but she tweeted provocatively about the Congressman before he even followed her back. She also strangely drew attention to herself after the scandal broke by trading tweets with a Twitter account that was mocking Weiner in a sexual manner. I've asked her on Twitter many times why she did that, but she has ignored my tweets.[Editor's Note: My laptop is giving me fits, but I will add screenshots and links proving this as soon as possible.].

For the last two years, Barbaro has ignored my complaints that he reported Weiner made "unwanted advances" to Cordova, since she has argued otherwise. Cordova has strenuously argued that the only flirtatious message she ever received from Weiner was the infamous underwear tweet sent on May 27, 2011.

Nobles, Lee and Cordova wrote flirty tweets or public Facebook messages before the Weinergate scandal broke out, which, again, is something that the New York Times should be including in this article, that some of his defenders are referring to as a "hit piece," even though they didn't read it. While most of the public messages were mild, Nobles made many crude sexual references on Weiner's public Facebook account.

On October 29, 2010, after Traci Nobles left a Facebook comment that joked, "Word Weiner. How BIGGGG?" she was reprimanded by an angry supporter who admonished, "Traci, that's very childish. How old are you? Are you old enough to be on Facebook?"

Nobles left a few bizarre messages that referred to Weiner's "balls" in the fall of 2010, as most media outlets neglected to report after the scandal broke in the spring of 2011.

"Ahhhhhhhhh, if only Obama had those super-sized Weiner balls!" Nobles left on Weiner's public Facebook account on November 12, 2010. "A girl can dream. Keep it fired up Weiner! I heart you!!"

On November 3, 2010, Nobles rued that "they can't all be blessed with those balls, unfortunately for us!"

"Keep on keepin on 'weiner and balls'!" Nobles wrote on November 16, 2010. "MUAW! Luv u."

On November 10, 2010, Nobles wrote, "Can I sit in your lap? I love a good tough Weiner!" A Weiner supporter advised Nobles to "restrain" herself, since it was a "public page."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Less than forthright Anthony Weiner now claims he did not attend sex-addict rehab

Anthony Weiner has apologized to the press and to the public for misleading everyone about being hacked to cover up sexting relationships with up to six women. But now that he is officially running for NYC mayor, perhaps some reporters should start questioning why the former Congressman spent much of the last two years being less than forthcoming with the press and public.

For the last two years, Weiner essentially dodged the media and allowed many false stories to percolate, which appears to be for his own benefit or myth-making. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that Weiner sought therapy after leaving Congress - even though he was engaging in reckless online relationships dating to the beginning of his marriage, and even though he admits he had no way of knowing if all his online paramours were over the age of twenty-one. He and his wife did a People magazine spread and he gave sporadic soundbites to make it seem like he was working out marriage problems, yet he's bragged that his wife didn't even want him to quit his congressional job in the first place. And he and his wife have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars consulting for clients, many of whom seem to have ties to the Clintons.

What exactly are the "tough lessons" that Anthony Weiner learned? That it's possible to come back after a sex scandal if you avoid and mislead the press and public for two years, but use your political connections to cash in? Weiner went from living in the outer boroughs to a pricey Manhattan apartment that he had no way of affording in 2011. Did the landlord - who is also linked to the Clintons - just trust that Weiner would score lots of loot with a consulting firm he kept secret and ignore the fact that the rent was more than his wife made in a year at her job?

A month ago, Elizabeth A. Harris reported for The New York Times on April 23, 2013, that the Weiners were "paying the going rate for their apartment, where they moved a few months after he resigned from office, swept from Washington by a tidal wave of embarrassment and some exceptionally revealing Twitter posts," but "declined to provide proof of their rent, like a lease or canceled check."

"Some Weiner-watchers are stunned that the pol, who gave up his $174,000 salary when he resigned, and Huma, who makes around $155,000 annually, can afford the posh pad at 254 Park Ave. South at East 20th Street," Jeane Macintosh, Jennifer Gould Keil and Josh Margolin reported for The New York Post on August 13, 2012.

The State Department and President Obama defended Weiner's wife in the summer of 2012 after GOP Congress members questioned her alleged familial ties to Muslim Brotherhood, but no one told the press or public about her "new working arrangement", I reported a few days ago.

"Ms. Abedin reached her new working arrangement in June 2012, when she returned from maternity leave, quietly leaving her position as deputy chief of staff and becoming a special government employee, which is essentially a consultant," Raymond Hernandez reported for The New York Times on May 16, 2013. "A State Department official said that change freed her from the requirement that she disclose her private earnings for the rest of the year on her financial disclosure forms. Still, during that period, she continued to be identified publicly in news reports as Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff."

At a July 18, 2012 daily press briefing, the Acting Deputy Spokesperson and Director of the Press Office Patrick Ventrell was asked a question by a reporter who specifically referred to Abedin as Deputy Chief of Staff, but he didn't correct him.

Republican Senator John McCain defended Huma Abedin in a speech on the Senate floor on July 18, 2012, and - as a result - The New York Times published multiple stories online and in the paper about Huma Abedin, three of which that wrongly referred to Weiner's wife as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's current deputy chief of staff.

Four more articles about Huma Abedin which unknowingly wrongfully reported she was still Deputy Chief of Staff were published in The New York Times that summer, but apparently no one in the State Department or Weiner and Clinton households informed the paper about the new "working arrangement," even though all have a history of reacting rather quickly to complain about factually incorrect errors.

A few weeks ago I reported that the NY Post apparently misreported Weiner went to a Florida sex addiction clinic in July of 2011, when evidence suggests he actually was on a work trip for a client. Weiner did absolutely nothing to alert the press that the reporting was wrong, and the Post story spread across the media, creating the impression that Weiner was taking his therapy seriously.

Weiner apparently snagged Parabel as a client within two weeks after incorporating his firm, since he appeared to be doing homework on the way back from his reported sex addiction clinic trip. However, the New York Post story - which many media organizations unquestionably reported - assuming Weiner visited Florida in July of 2011 for therapeutic reasons related to the scandal appears to be wrong.

"A Post reporter spotted Weiner on Wednesday night flying first-class from Orlando to La Guardia Airport on a Delta flight, carrying nothing but his iPad and several documents," Josh Margolin, Brigitte Stelzer and Dan Mangan reported for the New York Post on July 22, 2011. "Orlando is near the Winter Park, Fla., offices of the New Leaf Center, which on its Web site says it provides outpatient therapy for sexual addiction and sexual compulsivity issues, including for 'politicians.' Staff there asked a reporter to leave when he asked about Weiner yesterday."

Although part of the headline for the 7/22/11 exclusive New York Post was called "Weiner in Therapy," the tabloid never actually proved that Weiner's trip to Florida was to visit a sex addiction clinic. And there doesn't even seem to be any definitive proof Weiner spent all that much time in therapy, or even saw a doctor after leaving Congress and starting his firm just weeks later.

"It is unclear where Weiner is undergoing therapy -- and whether it's simply as an outpatient on a shrink's couch or involves more intensive therapy at a special clinic," the Post actually reported, about the 7/20/11 flight that photographer Brigitte Stelzer happened to catch Weiner on. The photograph oddly didn't show Weiner's face, as if he was embarrassed being captured on the trip, and it's strange that one showing his face wasn't used instead.

A long, but mostly non-informative ten-page April 14, 2013 story in The New York Times magazine - that read like a P.R. piece - claimed that "Weiner started seeing a therapist almost immediately after the scandal broke." Weiner presumably revealed to Jonathan Van Meter that the only doctor he visited was in New York, since he wouldn't have been able to sneak out-of-state during the height of Weinergate.

"Therapy wasn’t something that came naturally to me," Weiner told Van Meter. "I am this middle-class guy from Brooklyn, the men in our family don’t hug each other, we don’t talk about our feelings. It wasn’t a comfortable place to be. And now I start sentences with, 'My therapist says....'"

Strikingly, Van Meter begins the next paragraph with, "What does your therapist say? I asked the next time we met," but Weiner responds in the past tense: "It’s none of the easy stuff. She didn’t tell me: 'You have a sex addiction! You were abused as a child!' None of that stuff, which in a lot of ways, I’d kind of prefer.' He laughed. "It’s an easy explanation that people intuitively get."

Another sentence uses the present tense to report that Weiner was "in therapy," but there doesn't seem to be any definitive proof that the potential mayoral candidate even saw a doctor after leaving Congress.

The corporate offices for Parabel Inc. are located at 1901 S. Harbor City Blvd. in Melbourne, Florida, so Weiner might have actually been on an all-business trip when Stelzer happened to catch him on an Orlando-to-New York flight. That's only about a 60 mile distance or an hour's drive from the airport in Orlando.

At the New York Post, caustic columnist Andrea Peyser wrote on May 24, 2013, "Weiner told me Wednesday, without hesitation, that he did not attend sex-addict rehab but only met with a therapist in Texas for three or four days. But when a reporter asked him about that assertion, he denied it."

"'First of all, I did go, so I don’t know what you’re talking about,' he said. He identified the rehab facility — which he swore he never attended — as the Gabbard Center in Houston.

"I went there to visit with some doctors at a facility there. Some psychiatrists. To try to get some help."

But he wouldn’t give his diagnosis, or describe his treatment, though he denied taking medication to treat his psycho need to strip and send.

What else is he not telling us? Or flat-out fibbing about?
"
The New York Daily News reported on May 23, 2013 that "Weiner gave new details of the frantic, humiliating days when he resigned from Congress in June 2011 with a promise that he would seek 'professional treatment to focus on becoming a better husband and healthier person.'"

Jonathan Lemire continued, "At the time, political sources said he would seek an evaluation of his compulsive behavior and sexual urges." But Weiner appears to only be talking about what he did in June before resigning from Congress. These "new details" again seem to suggest that Weiner spent no time in therapy after quitting, and instead spent most of his time building a bankroll so he could live in Manhattan with his wife and newborn.

"Weiner revealed Wednesday that he went to the Gabbard Center in Houston, a psychiatric facility that specializes in intensive “three-day outpatient psychiatric evaluations,” according to its website.

'It wasn’t an addiction thing,' he told The News. 'I mean, it was just a place to get away and to meet people ... who might be able to help.'

He did not reveal the diagnosis he received, but called his clinic stay the beginning of 'a journey' to becoming a 'new man.'
"
In her original column on May 23, Peyser wrote, "Weiner now admits he did not attend sex-addict rehab."

"I didn’t go to rehab anywhere," Weiner told Peyser. "A couple of days I worked with a therapist in Texas I was referred to. Two days, twice, for a total of four days. Or, it might have been three."

It's curious that Weiner denies ever needing sex addiction treatment, even though he continued to recklessly sext women he never met in real life, despite the fact that he knew conservative trolls were monitoring his online actions. And Weiner continues to use his wife as a prop for his political ambitions, yet there's no evidence that they ever even spoke to a marriage counselor.

"First, there was the decision to resign," Weiner told The New York Times magazine in April. "Huma didn’t really want me to, frankly. But I just had to cull that part of the conversation out of our lives and focus on my marriage, my family, her family. I just didn’t have any bandwidth. My career seemed the least important of all of those other things. That wasn’t easy for Huma. Her frame was: We’ve gotta get back to normal somehow."

Starting a firm weeks after quitting a job - that he claims his wife didn't want him to quit - and saying nothing while the media incorrectly reported he went to a sex addiction clinic, seems at odds with the official Weiner story so far.

Even New Yorkers who forgive Weiner may wonder why he appears to think that he wasn't in need of more therapy or counseling.

And if Weiner doesn't reveal who the other women he sexted with are, then how can the public allay fears that no one might try to blackmail him?

But as long as critics waste their time cracking sophomoric dick jokes instead of asking deeper questions, Weiner will probably be able to avoid talking directly about anything that happened before, during and after the Weinergate scandal.

Monday, May 20, 2013

State Dept. spokesman fielded question about Hillary Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff after Huma Abedin 'quietly' left position

State Department and President Obama defended likely NYC mayoral candidate's wife in summer of 2012 after GOP Congress members questioned her alleged familial ties to Muslim Brotherhood, but no one told the press or public about her "new working arrangement"

Last Thursday, Politico and The New York Times broke the news that Anthony Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, "quietly" reached a "new working arrangement" in her last months at the State Department, where she worked closely with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"The disclosure of the agreement that Ms. Abedin made with the State Department comes as her husband, former Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat, prepares for a mayoral run in New York City," Raymond Hernandez reported for The New York Times. That same day, news broke out on Twitter that Weiner and Abedin shot what appeared to be a TV commercial at his childhood residence in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

"[S]o @anthonyweiner & Huma (gorgeous!) are shooting a commercial on my block. i wonder what it's for.. #runanthonyrun pic.twitter.com/DW2OZqK6cJ," @chippygee tweeted, and posted the following picture:

"Ms. Abedin reached her new working arrangement in June 2012, when she returned from maternity leave, quietly leaving her position as deputy chief of staff and becoming a special government employee, which is essentially a consultant," Hernandez reported for The New York Times on May 16, 2013. "A State Department official said that change freed her from the requirement that she disclose her private earnings for the rest of the year on her financial disclosure forms. Still, during that period, she continued to be identified publicly in news reports as Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff."

Maggie Haberman, John Bresnahan and Glenn Thrush reported for Politico that "Abedin never would have had to make the information public had her friend not provided the details."

Some critics of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin believe that there may have been another reason why a "new working arrangement" occurred in June of 2012.

"Did Huma Abedin ‘quietly’ step down as Deputy Chief of Staff in same month Bachmann letter sent to IG?" Walid Shoebat, asked at his blog on May 17, 2013. Shoebat notes that on June 13, 2012, a "letter sent by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Tom Rooney (R-FL) to the State Department’s Deputy Inspector General...specifically named Huma Abedin and her familial connections to the Muslim Brotherhood."

The letter sent by Bachmann and four other Republican congress members charged that "the Department’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members – her late father, her mother and her brother – connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations. Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making."

In an article which unknowingly wrongly reported Abedin was still Deputy Chief of Staff, Politico's Jonathan Allen reported on July 19, 2012, "Similar letters were sent to inspectors general at the departments of Defense, Justice, Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence."

"Had an announcement been made in June of 2012 that Abedin was stepping down as Deputy, it clearly would have fueled the controversy," Shoebat speculates.

Shoebat is "a Palestinian militant turned peacemaker", according to a 2004 BBC News profile, but a 2010 Washington Post column questioned his terrorist "credentials," and quoted critics who suggested that "Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. military" were "promoting terrorists-turned-Christians, with potentially deadly consequences" to "spew[] Islamophobic hatred."


At a July 18, 2012 daily press briefing, the Acting Deputy Spokesperson and Director of the Press Office Patrick Ventrell was asked a question by a reporter who specifically referred to Abedin as Deputy Chief of Staff, but he didn't correct him.
QUESTION: No? All right. Well, I was going to bring this up, but since Senator McCain took to the floor of the Senate this morning --

MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- and delivered a rather stirring defense of the Secretary’s Deputy Chief of Staff, I’m wondering if you, speaking on behalf of her employer, would like to add your two cents to that.

MR. VENTRELL: Can you repeat your question? Sorry, I didn’t hear the --

QUESTION: Do you have anything to say about the allegations that are being made against Huma Abedin?

MR. VENTRELL: We think that – again, if you’re referring to the very specific thing that was about a member of Congress writing to the OIG --

QUESTION: Five members of Congress, yes. And Senator McCain --

MR. VENTRELL: -- I’ll have to look into it for more information on that. But, obviously, the Secretary very much values her wise counsel and support, and we think that these allegations are preposterous.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you know if the Inspector General, to whom Representative Bachmann and the others have sent the letter to asking for him to open an investigation, do you know if there is going to be an investigation being opened, or is it just so preposterous, in your words, that it doesn’t even warrant that?

MR. VENTRELL: I’ll have to check in with the Office of the Inspector General. I don’t have any information, but I’ll check in.
The next day Ventrell was asked, "anything new or any new development in terms of what may have transpired since yesterday in terms of this Department’s response to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s accusation of Ms. Huma Abedin?"

"As I said yesterday, we find those allegations preposterous, and we continue to think so," the Director of the Press Office shot back.

The reporter followed up, "Were you able to get an answer from the IG? Are they actually going to look into this?"

"I have not yet, but I’ll continue to inquire," Ventrell responded, and that appears to be the last time the subject was ever broached at a State Department briefing.

Republican Senator John McCain defended Huma Abedin in a speech on the Senate floor on July 18, 2012, and - as a result - The New York Times published multiple stories online and in the paper about Huma Abedin, three of which that wrongly referred to Weiner's wife as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's current deputy chief of staff.

On July 18, 2012, KJ Dell’Antonia reported for The New York Times Parenting blog, "Maybe Friday’s People cover story will focus instead on how Ms. Abedin juggles a young baby and a high-profile job as a deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton."

On July 18, 2012, Kate Taylor reported for The New York Times City Room blog, "Now, for the second time, Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff in the State Department, has been thrust into the limelight under unlikely, and unpleasant, circumstances."

On July 18, 2012, Ashley Southall reported for The New York Times Caucus blog, "She stayed by Mrs. Clinton’s side in the Senate and during her 2008 run for the Democratic presidential nomination, and is now her deputy chief of staff."

Four more articles about Huma Abedin which unknowingly wrongfully reported she was still Deputy Chief of Staff were published in The New York Times that summer, but apparently no one in the State Department or Weiner and Clinton households informed the paper about the new "working arrangement," even though all have a history of reacting rather quickly to complain about factually incorrect errors.

On July 16, 2012, Robert Mackey reported for The New York Times Lede blog, "Ms. Ahmed then directed Mr. Bradley to a transcript of a recent conversation between two American conservatives who claimed that Mrs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, was participating in a Muslim Brotherhood plot 'to penetrate our government.'"

On July 27, 2012, Jennifer Steinhauer reported for The New York Times Caucus blog, "Ms. Bachmann and four other lawmakers last month sent a letter to the State Department charging that Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff in the State Department and a long-time aide to Ms. Clinton, may be a part of a group of Muslims with ties to terrorist organizations alleged to have infiltrated the federal government."

On August 8, 2012, Peter Baker reported for The New York Times Caucus blog, "Hosting an iftar dinner at the White House marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Mr. Obama singled out Huma Abedin, the deputy chief of staff to Mrs. Clinton who has come under fire from a handful of House Republicans who made unsubstantiated suggestions that she was among Muslim Americans with terrorist ties who have infiltrated the government."

On August 15, 2012, Ashley Southall - in an article about Chelsea Clinton - referred to Abedin as "Hillary Rodham Clinton's deputy chief of staff."

Last July, another State Department spokesman, Philippe Reines, released a statement to the media defending Abedin and Clinton, but not informing them that the former was no longer Deputy Chief of Staff: "These accusations are nothing but vicious and disgusting lies, and anyone who traffics in them should be ashamed of themselves. I would hope that hearing such a remarkable statement from someone of Senator McCain's stature gives [Bachmann] pause in doing so any further."

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Reines has been described as a "loyalist" and Hillary's right hand "hatchet man," and - like Abedin - he followed Clinton from her Senate job to the State Department, and is still working for her.

In his July 18, 2012 speech, McCain never referred to Abedin's actual job title, and neither did President Barack Obama when he defended her as an "American patriot" at the annual Iftar dinner on August 10, 2012. "And that includes a good friend, Huma Abedin, who has worked tirelessly -- (applause) -- worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly, at the State Department, where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear," Obama said, adding, "Senator Clinton has relied on her expertise, and so have I."

The White House listed her under Administration members as "Ms. Huma Abedin, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of State" when she attended the 2010 Iftar dinnar.

On August 13, 2012, Jeane Macintosh, Jennifer Gould Keil and Josh Margolin reported for The New York Post, "Some Weiner-watchers are stunned that the pol, who gave up his $174,000 salary when he resigned, and Huma, who makes around $155,000 annually, can afford the posh pad at 254 Park Ave. South at East 20th Street."

The New York Post story added, "Weiner hasn’t landed steady work since leaving office, according to sources. But some friends of the onetime rising star said he has consulting work and will have no problem exceeding his congressional salary."

Politico reported on May 18, 2013, "One source said that the $135,000 she identified on the couple’s joint tax return of just over $490,000 was the entirety of her payment from the State Department for the calendar year 2012.

"An associate of Ms. Abedin’s said on Thursday that the arrangement allowed her to work from her home in New York, rather than at the State Department’s headquarters in Washington, and to spend more time with her child and husband," Raymond Hernandez reported for The New York Times. "She earned approximately $135,000 from the department during 2012."

On her Twitter account, Politico's Maggie Haberman tweeted, "In NYT piece on his consulting, 'most of' Weiner's and his wife's combined $496k was described as from his work," then observed, "But $135k was hers from State, and she had other consulting retainers that comprised the $360k combined in income."

"If the most Abedin made over six months was, say, $100k, then Weiner made about $250k for year. They won't answer q's," Haberman tweeted, then added, "Won't answer questions on the breakdown of who made what, that is."

Last night, I tweeted to Haberman - who @AnthonyWeiner follows on Twitter, "In 2012, @NYPost reported Abedin earned 'around $155,000.' Huma then made $135,000 working from home?"

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Anthony Weiner company led by former board director for firm investors blasted as 'CROOKS'

Updates at bottom: Investors Hub board calls firm that current Weiner business associate formerly worked for as Compensation Committee chairman a "criminal enterprise"; Bill Clinton met with another Anthony Weiner client, posed for photos at March conference where he allegedly "highly admired" firm; NY Post apparently misreported Weiner went to Florida sex addiction clinic instead of work trip for client in July of 2011

"It did not take Mr. Weiner long to embark on a new career after he left Congress on June 16, 2011," Michael Barbaro reported for the New York Times on April 29, 2013. "On July 7, he quietly incorporated a new firm, Woolf Weiner Associates, named for his great-grandfather, an Austrian immigrant to the Lower East Side."

According to Barbaro's article, former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner - who I reported was mulling running for NYC mayor months before anyone else, based on FEC records a year ago - "counseled a biofuel firm about expansion into the emerging markets of Latin America and Africa."

The NY Times article continues,
"'Business is business,' said Harold Gubnitsky, formerly executive vice president at Parabel, a Weiner client that harvests an algae-like crop used for food and fuel."

....

"At Parabel, Mr. Weiner was credited with distilling the company’s complex business model into easy-to-understand sales pitches for potential investors and foreign officials, at times to the amazement of the businessmen in the room. Mr. Gubnitsky recalled how Mr. Weiner employed the concept of 'economic ecosystems' to highlight the positive impact of the firm’s technology on farmers and consumers.
"
"We have very exciting projects and in both Asia and Latin America," Gubnitsky was quoted in a July 5, 2011 interview with Algae News.

Weiner apparently snagged Parabel as a client within two weeks after incorporating his firm, since he appeared to be doing homework on the way back from his reported sex addiction clinic trip. However, the New York Post story - which many media organizations unquestionably reported - assuming Weiner visited Florida in July of 2011 for therapeutic reasons related to the scandal appears to be wrong.

"A Post reporter spotted Weiner on Wednesday night flying first-class from Orlando to La Guardia Airport on a Delta flight, carrying nothing but his iPad and several documents," Josh Margolin, Brigitte Stelzer and Dan Mangan reported for the New York Post on July 22, 2011. "Orlando is near the Winter Park, Fla., offices of the New Leaf Center, which on its Web site says it provides outpatient therapy for sexual addiction and sexual compulsivity issues, including for 'politicians.' Staff there asked a reporter to leave when he asked about Weiner yesterday."

The following picture credited to Brigitte Stelzer noted, "Former Rep. Anthony Weiner -- worried about regaining the trust of wife Huma Abedin, her mom, Saleha, and his wife's boss, Hillary Clinton, after his sex-addiction treatment -- shields his face aboard a mystery flight from Orlando to New York."


"Bizarrely, during his flight home from Orlando, Weiner was carrying a detailed analysis of energy issues in sub-Saharan African countries, as well as what appeared to be real-estate listings for two different grazing and farming properties in Kenya," the July 22, 2011, NY Post article added.

On June 16, 2011 - the same day Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress - PetroAlgae (which changed its name to Parabel in 2012) hired Anthony Tiarks to be CEO. A few weeks before, at Seeking Alpha, hedge fund manager Edward Schneider noted that PetroAlgae had "net debt of $57M, total assets of only $4M, and last 12 months' net loss of -$38M. Petroalgae has not generated any revenues since inception in 2006."

Considering the fact that Weiner's infamous tweet was only captured by one person on Twitter, @PatriotUSA aka Dan Wolfe - who I interviewed in late June of 2011 before he mysteriously vanished - it also seems kind of "bizarre" that the former Congressman would name his firm "Woolf Weiner Associates."

Reporting for the Sunlight Foundation on May 2, 2013, Lisa Rosenberg observed, "Shock and outrage (and some really amusing if not-ready-for-prime-time bits on the Daily Show) accompanied the former representative’s slimy use of social media. But there’s no shock or outrage accompanying his even slimier use of his former position for profit. Indeed, the New York Times seems to think Weiner’s secret lobbying on behalf of corporate clients somehow serves 'as a compelling campaign credential' as he considers a run for mayor."

"Rather than touting it as a career booster, Weiner’s stealth lobbying should be seen as still more evidence for the need to strengthen current lobbying disclosure laws," Rosenberg adds. "The only people in Washington who seem to support secret lobbying are the members of Congress who want to keep that lucrative career path open to themselves when they leave government service."

Also, kind of "bizarrely", the same reporter who wrote a soft article about Weiner's post-Congressional "stealth lobbyist" work, worked on, perhaps, the most devastating NY Times article on Weiner, before he resigned.

Michael Barbaro co-wrote the June 9, 2011 article "In Reckless Fashion, Rapid Online Pursuits of Political Admirers" with Ashley R. Parker, who interviewed Weiner on the same day he sent Andrew Breitbart's future source his "full Monty" picture, as I reported in September of 2011. May 18 was the same exact day that fake teenager Starchild111 claimed she was unfollowed by Rep. Weiner after asking him to the prom, the same day one #BornFreeCrew member asked another, "Did that thing ever surface? I gotta go to work," and the same day that Meagan Broussard allegedly talked on the phone to Weiner and was sent two photos, including the one showing an erect penis; and the same day that a Republican contacted Drudge and Andrew Breitbart on Broussard's behalf.

The June 9, 2011 NY Times article was the first real interview with Gennette Cordova, who was the recipient - although she claims it was deleted before she actually saw it - of the May 27, 2011 underwear tweet that the mysterious Dan Wolfe saw and tweeted to Andrew Breitbart and Dana Loesch, who broke the story before anyone else.

"Ms. Cordova’s experience with Mr. Weiner appears to fit a pattern: in rapid and reckless fashion, he sought to transform informal online conversations about politics and partisanship into sexually charged exchanges, at times laced with racy language and explicit images," Barbaro and Parker wrote.

However, Cordova claimed she never sexted with Weiner and the underwear tweet wasn't extremely explicit. But the Times was unable to reach any of Weiner's actual sexters so they ran with the Cordova interview (I've interviewed two of them, as I will report at a future date). Also, "bizarrely", Cordova later hinted to me on Twitter that she shared screenshots of alleged Direct Messages with Weiner where he allegedly told her to get one of the fake teenage girls - I helped expose with New York Times reporter Jen Preston, who often RT's Barbaro's stories - to follow him, as I reported in April. Weiner allegedly asked Cordova to "lead her back to" him, and suggested that she ask @starchild111 "did you take my advice and follow anthony?"

Preston's story revealing the teens were fake wasn't published until the day after Weiner resigned from Congress. While my research only theorized they were fake, Preston reported that Mediaite's Tommy Christopher - who had written an article on the teens and nastily argued with bloggers who suspected they were fake - sent her a California driver’s license with the name of their alleged mother "Patricia Reid, at a Los Angeles address, as well as school identification for the girls.

NY Times reporter Preston reported all the documentation sent to Christopher was fake "according to California state officials and school district officials," but never posted screenshots or reported the potentially criminal deception to law enforcement, even though it's possible that the same fraudsters could have been involved in the Weinergate-related SWATtings of conservative bloggers. Preston and Christopher also "bizarrely" never reported on the fake 911 calls that sent police to conservatives' homes, even though they had exclusives on the first two a year before the news broke.

5/7/13 Update: No definitive proof Weiner went to clinic in Florida

Although part of the headline for the 7/22/11 exclusive New York Post was called "Weiner in Therapy," the tabloid never actually proved that Weiner's trip to Florida was to visit a sex addiction clinic. And there doesn't even seem to be any definitive proof Weiner spent all that much time in therapy, or even saw a doctor after leaving Congress and starting his firm just weeks later.

"It is unclear where Weiner is undergoing therapy -- and whether it's simply as an outpatient on a shrink's couch or involves more intensive therapy at a special clinic," the Post actually reported, about the 7/20/11 flight that photographer Brigitte Stelzer happened to catch Weiner on. The photograph oddly didn't show Weiner's face, as if he was embarrassed being captured on the trip, and it's strange that one showing his face wasn't used instead.

Brigitte Stelzer is the same photographer who happened to chance upon Weiner bizarrely packing a box into his car the day before Democratic candidate David Weprin lost to Republican Bob Turner in the special election held for Weiner's empty seat. Oddly, the caption under Stelzer's photo said Weiner "loads a chair," while the picture showed him carting a linen box, with a surprised look on his face. Perhaps Weiner was surprised to see the same NY Post photographer catch him outside a house he already had moved out of and who happened to be on the same Florida-to-New York trip two months before.


"Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner did his fellow Democrats no favors yesterday -- moving out of his district just as his panicking party struggled to hold on to his endangered congressional seat," Jennier Gould Keil reported for the New York Post on September 13, 2011. "Weiner took the last remaining items from his Queens co-op just in time to remind voters why they have to vote today -- because he resigned in a sexting scandal that made him a national laughingstock."

The Post reported that Weiner "came back for an office chair and a box," but didn't explain why they weren't picked up by the moving van that he assumingly hired that "virtually emptied" his apartment on Friday September 9. Weiner "declined to comment on his move," so it's unknown why he waited three days to pick up the last remaining box and a chair.

"The Weiner seat, in the state’s 9th Congressional District, is likely to be chewed up by redistricting, so whoever is elected today will represent his Queens-Brooklyn constituents for only the unexpired one year of Weiner’s term," the September NY Post article correctly predicted.

A long, but mostly non-informative ten-page April 14, 2013 story in The New York Times magazine - that read like a P.R. piece - claimed that "Weiner started seeing a therapist almost immediately after the scandal broke." Weiner presumably revealed to Jonathan Van Meter that the only doctor he visited was in New York, since he wouldn't have been able to sneak out-of-state during the height of Weinergate.

"Therapy wasn’t something that came naturally to me," Weiner told Van Meter. "I am this middle-class guy from Brooklyn, the men in our family don’t hug each other, we don’t talk about our feelings. It wasn’t a comfortable place to be. And now I start sentences with, 'My therapist says....'"

Strikingly, Van Meter begins the next paragraph with, "What does your therapist say? I asked the next time we met," but Weiner responds in the past tense: "It’s none of the easy stuff. She didn’t tell me: 'You have a sex addiction! You were abused as a child!' None of that stuff, which in a lot of ways, I’d kind of prefer.' He laughed. "It’s an easy explanation that people intuitively get."

Another sentence uses the present tense to report that Weiner was "in therapy," but there doesn't seem to be any definitive proof that the potential mayoral candidate even saw a doctor after leaving Congress.

The corporate offices for Parabel Inc. are located at 1901 S. Harbor City Blvd. in Melbourne, Florida, so Weiner might have actually been on an all-business trip when Stelzer happened to catch him on an Orlando-to-New York flight. That's only about a 60 mile distance or an hour's drive from the airport in Orlando.

Yesterday, a May 6th New York Post article credited to Sally Goldenberg and Carl Campanile claimed, "Sugar daddies bailed out Anthony Weiner when he was down and out — giving him work after stuffing his many political campaigns with donations."

"Hedge-fund brothers David and Eugene Grin helped Weiner with consulting work after he resigned from Congress following his sexting scandal, The Post has learned," the article continued. "The Grins also assisted his mayoral and congressional races, raising nearly $50,000 for Weiner, who is now considering a mayoral run. Through two hedge funds, the Grins control Parabel, a company that claims to harvest an algae-like crop."

Goldenberg and Campanile report, "What Weiner failed to mention was that on Jan. 13, Parabel transferred nearly all of its assets to a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands — on the same day a United Arab Emirates firm pumped $15 million into Parabel, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document."

Weiner's memory from only five months ago appears to be stinted since he told the paper, "I’m not even sure I was consulting for them during this period."

I found - through searching the NYC CFB website - $1,250 from Weiner's "sugar daddies" aka the brothers Grin in mayoral campaign contributions dating back to December of 2004 (link), about $10,000 in mayoral campaign contributions in May of 2008 (link), approximately $4700 from David Grin to Friends of Weiner in the fall of 2008 and 2009, and $2,000 from Eugene Grin in 2002 and 2003 and $2,400 in 2009 from Eugene Grin to Friends of Weiner (according to searches in FEC database). In 2008, David Grin collected $31,850, through intermediaries for the 2008 NYC mayoral campaign (as Gold pointed out to me on Twitter), which never happened but would apply to the current race if Weiner enters the field. For some reason, the Grins stopped contributing in 2009, but altogether the brothers - who appear to mostly donate to Republicans - gave and collected close to $53,000 in donations for Weiner campaigns dating back to 2002.

5/9 Update: Firm Weiner consulted for brags former President Bill Clinton "highly admired" its role in making healthcare more affordable and transparent

Anthony Weiner "signed up a New York firm called CureMD, an electronic medical records provider," the NY Times reported on April 20, 2013. The very first line of Michael Barbaro's article breathlessly reported, "Anthony D. Weiner has demystified the details of the 906-page Affordable Care Act for an electronic medical records company." The EMR provider tweeted a link to the NY Times story on Weiner.


According to its website, "At CureMD, healthcare technology is our core focus. This single vision has enabled us to continuously innovate products and services that facilitate care providers, while providing steady growth and profitability." Its FAQ page adds, "CureMD is the leading provider of innovative health information systems and services that transform the administrative and clinical operations of healthcare organizations. Our award winning solutions simplify decision making, streamline operations, and ensure compliance with industry standards and best practices; ultimately saving time and effort to maximize value and returns."

Just before election day, CureMD_EMR interestingly tweeted a link to a MedCity News article called "The impending disaster of the Obamacare health insurance exchanges." Sally Pipes argued, "Like so much of the president’s gargantuan healthcare entitlement, the exchanges are burdened by a spider’s web of confusing regulations, poor design, and a top-down, command-and-control structure."

"Like Obamacare itself, the exchange system is plagued by incompetent management, burdensome regulations, and inept political calculations," Pipes added. "Even if the president manages to eke out a victory on election day, November could still prove his undoing."


Another tweet by the firm on March 6 said, "HIMSS News Feed - Ex-President Clinton admires CureMD innovation and its role in making healthcare more affordable and transparent..." At its website, CureMD wrote, "CureMD unveiled innovative EMR technology at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Annual Meeting (HIMSS) in New Orleans, March 3-7. Former President, Bill Clinton was also present at the event and admired CureMD’s role in making healthcare more affordable and transparent. At the event, the rapidly growing New York based company also announced the completion of their third acquisition since January, 2013."

The firm's Facebook page modified its own press release claim to "Former President Clinton highly admired CureMD innovation and its role in making healthcare more affordable and transparent at the Annual HIMSS Conference in New Orleans," and includes four pictures of Bill Clinton posing with CureMD executives CEO Kamal Hashmat and CIO Bill Hashmat (pictured below, left and right).


CureMD CEO Kamal Hashmat contributed $2,500 to Weiner's 2008 NYC mayoral campaign fund, according to the New York State Board of Elections Contributions website.

"Bill Clinton Stumps For Health IT At HIMSS," a headline for a Information Week story by Neil Versel noted, after the former president's March 6 Keynote speech. "Clinton said that the ultimate outcome of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act depends on how the 2010 law is implemented, and on decisions that people make outside the framework of the law itself."

Versel added, "The former president's William J. Clinton Foundation last fall started the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, in partnership with General Electric, Tenet Healthcare and Verizon Communications, to work toward closing health disparities between different socioeconomic groups in U.S. communities." Clips of Clinton's speech can be viewed at these YouTube links: "President Clinton Introductory Remarks at HIMSS 2013" where he expresses "gratitude to GE and Verizon, who have partnered with the Health Matters Initiative," and "President Clinton at HIMSS on Reducing Obesity." Karl Rove, former President George W. Bush's Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff, also attended the HIMSS conference, where he had a debate with political consultant James Carville, who "helped Bill Clinton win the Presidency" in 1992, as a HIMSS press release notes.

I was unable to find a transcript of Clinton's speech and didn't hear the former president specifically mention CureMD in any YouTube video clips, but the following may be related to Weiner's client, CureMD: "One of the things that I like in the technology area is this new federal initiative Blue Button which makes data directly available to people who can use it for a number of applications," Clinton told the "standing room only" New Orleans crowd, Healthcare IT Connect noted. "Organizations that serve more than 80 million Americans have now pledged to make healthcare information available digitally."

A commenter at a Healthcare technology blog owned by Brian Ahier, a Health IT Evangelist at Mid-Columbia Medical Center - who posted some of the Clinton clips on YouTube - asked, "Do you know why he didn't mention the HIMSS involvement that was announced the same morning"? Ahier responded, "Andy, if you mean the HIMSS involvement with Clinton Global Initiative and the Healthcare Transformation Project he absolutely did mention it. Watch the first video above - right about 2:30 he talks about the $2.5 million commitment of HIMSS to the project."

"HIMSS, itself a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) since September, announced this week that it would commit $2.5 million over the next five years to its HIMSS Healthcare Transformation Project as part of its pledge to take action furthering the goals of CGI," Neil Versel reported in his Information Week article. "The HIMSS Healthcare Transformation Project is a collaborative forum of senior healthcare executives, while the CGI looks to address a variety of problems around the world, including inequities in the provision of public services."

A HIMSS press release stated, "The Healthcare Transformation brings senior healthcare provider leaders together, with year-round events, research and networking, as they decide and act upon their own commitments to action. HIMSS also announces its participation with CGI on March 6, the same day former President Clinton speaks to the conference attendees during HIMSS13 in New Orleans. More than 35,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibiting companies have come to the Big Easy for the conference."

According to its website, "HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare." The About page adds, "HIMSS Board members are leaders in the field of healthcare information technology—top executives in both vendor companies and healthcare provider systems--who serve a three-year term to help grow and lead the industry." CureMD was touted as one of the Corporate Members of the Week in an HIMSS newsletter that was released shortly before the annual conference in March.

Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, began working for Hillary Clinton sixteen years ago. She "began working for Clinton as a White House intern in 1996, eventually becoming the former first lady's traveling chief of staff -- or 'body man' -- during her campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination," CNN reported on June 8, 2011, "joined Clinton's State Department staff in 2009, serving as a senior aide," and "Former President Bill Clinton officiated at their July 2010 wedding."

Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton have also famously played the "good wives," and stood by their men. Bill Clinton weathered and survived his sex scandal and his wife's political career may have even been boosted by her unwavering support for her still extremely popular husband. The Weiners are - no doubt - hoping for similar results, which is probably why Anthony mentions Huma frequently in his post-Weinergate interviews with the media.

5/15 Update: Investors Hub board calls firm Weiner associate worked for a "criminal enterprise"


Harold Gubnitsky figured prominently in Michael Barbaro's April 29, 2013 NY Times article which revealed that "good capitalist" Anthony Weiner has a two-year old consulting firm. Along with the quotes up top, the former executive vice president at Parabel also "recalled how Mr. Weiner employed the concept of 'economic ecosystems' to highlight the positive impact of the firm’s technology on farmers and consumers."

Barbaro also reported "Weiner was credited with distilling the company’s complex business model into easy-to-understand sales pitches for potential investors and foreign officials, at times to the amazement of the businessmen in the room," but doesn't mention if his only source for that was Gubnitsky, since the article doesn't quote anyone else who worked or currently worked for Parabel, which used to be called PetroAlgae. As noted above, PetroAlgae hadn't "generated any revenues since inception in 2006," according to a profile written shortly before Weiner landed it as a client after leaving Congress.

Weiner, Barbaro reported, even created a new company - which isn't named, but is "a consulting firm led by Mr. Gubnitsky" which "will focus on renewable energy in Latin America." I searched through Florida and New York corporation databases but was unable to find any information on this "new company," created by possible NYC mayoral candidate Weiner.

"Biophan Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB: BIPH), a developer of next-generation biomedical technology, today announced that the Company has named Harold Gubnitsky to the board of directors," a press release issued on February 7, 2008 states. Biophan's PR also noted Gubnitsky "is a seasoned executive who has worked with and within several large, medium, and small corporations with a wide range of responsibilities spanning executive management and operations."

The moderator and many participants at a message board for Investors Hub Daily, which claims that it's "[o]ne of the most active financial forums in the world," believe that Biophan is a "criminal enterprise." The "About Us" page claims, "Investors Hub has been online for over 13 years and currently has 398,699 Members who have posted 87,953,548 Messages on 21,927 Boards. Our Members currently write on average 40,000 new Messages each trading day."

At the top of the Biophan Technologies Message Board on Investors Hub, the moderator's welcome message states, "As Biophan is now officially dark, having elected to go "Pink" and non-reporting, please note that none of the information below can be considered to be current, and quite possibly is inaccurate."

"And as the 'management' of Biophan transferred between $10 million and $17 million of shareholders' funds to private individuals just prior to going dark, some people (your Mod is one) think the company is essentially a criminal enterprise. Others don't, hence the content of the remainder of this iBox," the welcome message adds.

The last press release at Biophan's website, which was released on July 22, 2009 - 17 months after Gubnitsky became a board director - said that it "filed a Form 15 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, voluntarily terminating the registration of its securities and its obligation to continue filing reports under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934."

"The Biophan board of directors unanimously resolved to take this action to conserve its cash resources," the press release also noted. "Other actions taken by the board in this regard include management and staff reductions."

Apparently in response to this news, someone at the Investors Hub message board, wrote, "What a bunch of CROOKS that are involved with this POS!!" In response, a fellow complainer, said that he was "glad" he was out, and added, that he had spent "to[o] many years believing in good technology run by con men."

The forum's moderator "sunspotter" alleged that the Chief Executive Officer and President John Lanzafame had committed "an actionable breach of both fiduciary duty but also of securities legislation," and "must think Biophan shareholders are an extraordinarily naive and gullible group (!)." He alleged, "A more obvious and egregious breach of fiduciary duty was Mr. Lanzafame's extraordinary move to sell the Myotech CSS technology at a knock down price to his own shell company set up by him with his pal Frank Terrizzi." A week later, "sunspotter" argued, "The chaps (phew! close one there - I nearly wrote "crooks"!) running this show have decided that they've pretty well wrung you shareholders out, and now it's time for a new game...Frankly, anyone who doesn't acknowledge that the game is up, and that the ordinary shareholder has been fleeced, is either extraordinarily optimistic to the extent that they are in denial of the facts, or is not being entirely straigh[t]forward in their posts."

Still angry years later, on February 20, 2013, "sunspotter" wrote at the forum he moderates, that he "can only imagine that long-running scam BIPH is being lined up for a mega-pump, and that a $30-$50 day crew is being lined up for a promo blitz. Par for the course for the crooks behind the whole Technology Innovations/Biophan scam, Michael Weiner, Jim Wemett and John Lanzafame. As a buy-and-hold investment, empty shell BIPH will continue to stink, of course."

"And with a long line of previous marks lining up to exit this sorry criminal conspiracy, any strength in the pps will be unlikely to last long," the Investors Hub moderator added.

[Editor's Note: Michael Weiner left Biophan before Gubnitsky was hired, and doesn't appear to be related to Anthony Weiner, as far as I can tell.]

Although his name no longer appears on the Biophan website, an archive link reveals that Gubnitsky was still listed as one of four board members as late as September of 2009.

In September of 2008, Gubnitsky replaced fellow Board Director Stan Yakatan on the Compensation Committee, according to a press release. A May of 2009 filing lists Gubnitsky as "Director and Chairman of the Compensation Committee," and said that he received $14,000, so far, for chairing the committee, that year.

"The Compensation Committee is currently composed of Mr. Gubnitsky," the filing continued. "Ms. Labosky also served on this committee until her resignation from the Board on November 11, 2008. The responsibilities of the Compensation Committee is more fully set forth in the Compensation Committee Charter adopted in June 2005 and posted on our website at www.biophan.com, include reviewing our compensation policies, establishing executive officer compensation, and administering our stock option plans. The Compensation Committee met informally several times during our fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. Each member of the Compensation Committee attended all of the meetings during their respective period of service. None of the members of our Compensation Committee has ever been our employee."

[Editor's Note: On 5/16/13 I changed headline from "Stealth lobbyist Anthony Weiner worked during alleged sex addiction clinic trip" to "Anthony Weiner company led by former board director for firm investors blasted as 'CROOKS'" since the New York Post story that inspired the former appears to be wrong.]