Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dan Wolfe on Weinergate and his beef with Breitbart reporter Lee Stranahan

On June 29, 2011, a month after - oddly - being the only Twitterer in the world who happened to see former New York Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner's infamous underwear tweet to a young Seattle co-ed, Dan Wolfe aka @patriotusa76 aka @dwp6776 began following me.

Dan Wolfe mysteriously vanished from Twitter after speaking to me for about a week. LA County Deputy District Attorney Pat Frey @Patterico claims to have exchanged DMs with him afterwards, but - if he did - it didn't sound like the same person I interviewed. Multiple users might have controlled the @dwp6776 account, but the one I spoke to had a consistent voice.

"I saw you requested to follow me," @dwp6776 told me in his first Direct Messages. "I just want to say, I know you won't believe me but I'll try anyway, I did not ask Artist or Razor to defend me. That was their decision. I did not pull strings as you suggest. You seem like a fair person who got a raw deal. I just wanted to try and let you know that. I'm sorry for any misunderstanding. I never asked anyone to harass you. I've been trying to lay low."

Wolfe was referring to two of his most ardent defenders at the time: @Artist_R and @Razor419. I exchanged many - mostly friendly - Direct Messages with @Artist_R aka @Clay_Arts in the days before @dwp6776 followed me, but after an argument about whether or not she could also be Dan Wolfe, she claimed she was going to file a complaint with the FBI against me. LA County Deputy District Attorney Pat Frey @Patterico claims that she sent him "proof" that she did file such a complaint, but he's never shared that alleged "proof" with me.

"I have not been tweeting," @dwp6776 continued. "I don't know why so many people have so much wrath for me. I'm sorry for any misunderstandings. I meant no harm. I have no interest in games people are playing. I just want to be left alone. I thought I had friends but many who I thought turned out not to be friends. I am not a sock puppet or a puppet master. I am not even tweeting anymore and have not been for a while."

Things had changed dramatically for Dan Wolfe since he RT'd @RepWeiner's 5/27/11 underwear tweet. He had two of his friends in the #BornFreeCrew send information they had gathered on Weiner to Andrew Breitbart, but while he was initially lionized by most of the right as a hero, Andrew Breitbart and one of his reporters Lee Stranahan - who used to be a liberal blogger but has changed his ideology a few times back-and-forth throughout his career - began to question him. Stranahan theorized that Dan Wolfe was actually a woman - a jilted ex-girlfriend (or sexter) of Weiner's - and Breitbart was disturbed that he refused to call him on the telephone.

Then Mike Stack aka RedGoat aka @Goatsred aka @CryingWolfeBlog, Wolfe's longest and closest friend on Twitter since he joined in January of 2011, sent some of their private emails to The Smoking Gun. Stack claims that he was "blackmailed" by The Smoking Gun's owner William Bastone into giving up intel, but then double-crossed when TSG later published intel they had on Stack on June 6. Stack blamed Wolfe for the June 6 article, and turned against him, as well.

"You seem like a very reasonable person and I hope you can understand I mean what I'm saying," @dwp6776 added. "I won't bother you after these messages. I just wanted to let you know that since I saw your request to follow me. That's all. Thank you for your time."

Another Breitbart reporter, Mandy Nagy aka @Liberty_Chick, agreed with Stack's theory that the person who sent his intel to The Smoking Gun was a mysterious porn (and sometimes anti-porn) blogger named Darrah Ford. Ford and Stack had been battling for years at the porn forum he used to moderate and at her blog. Stack didn't think that the private emails he shared with Breitbart and Bastone should be considered betrayal, but became consumed with the notion that The Smoking Gun's outing of him as a porn moderator who Ford - and a few porn stars - accused of harassment and his arrest record and mug shot were acts of sheer villainy.

"I believe you...I think you've been threatened by people that are pushing conspiracies on the web...please remain in contact with me," I replied after Wolfe's initial messages.

Wolfe continued, "Ron, I never sold info or gave info to Smoking Gun. I really wish some reporter would clear this up behind the scenes for me. Stranahan keeps pushing this lie. There must be a way to confirm with Smoking Gun that it was not me that did that."

"In fact," Wolfe argued, "Smoking Gun themselves posted an email from Smoking Gun to ME in which I said 'How did you get this email? Private' and Smoking Gun went on to say that I would not cooperate and did not return their email requests. I wish someone would prove Stranahan a liar. He lies so much. He lies and lies and lies."

One lie that Stranahan later admitted making was that he had hired private detectives to track Wolfe down. Stranahan often presented his theories as facts, and used terms like 99 or 100 percent certain when making his arguments on Twitter, at his blog and during his podcasts.

I told Wolfe,"Ive been threatened and my family as you can see from my twitter friend...I'm in same boat as you and others." I also told him that @Artist_R might not really be his friend and "may be connected to clowns threatening people including you." I told him I was unsure about her, but that she acted overemotional during our DMs and she could just be his "helpful friend."

Behind the scenes, I spent weeks working with New York Times reporter Jennifer Preston on Weinergate related stories. The only one published - "Fake Identities Were Used on Twitter in Effort to Get Information on Weiner" - was criticized by @Patterico and others on Twitter, and some of the trolls attacking Preston were quite nasty, so she asked me to publicly defend her. After I did, everyone pretty much began leaving her alone - oddly - and focused on me. Preston used Stranahan as a source, and he hooked her up with a woman who claimed she lived in Boston and had gotten death threats because she shared the same name - Jennifer George - as a journalist in California. I had matched the name Jennifer (or Jenay) George to the Twitter account of someone who apparently pretended to be a teenage girl who asked @RepWeiner to take her to the prom. Although Stranahan initially claimed that the Boston Jennifer George accused him of making the death threats, the woman - who later contacted me - said that she had only reported to the police that it might have been one of his followers on Twitter.

Another source of Preston's, Neal Rauhauser, is a former Democratic operative who claimed to have worked on at least 44 campaigns, and had been posting weird diaries at Daily Kos making bizarre accusations against Patterico, Breitbart and Stack. After I began publicly sparring with the trolls and conservatives who had hounded Preston, Rauhauser began following me and sent me his phone number via Direct Message. He didn't respond when I initially called him, but I received weird texts that I believe were attempts to hack my phone. Rauhauser ducked me for a few days but when we finally spoke on the phone, he said he worked on 29 campaigns in secret. I angrily cut him off and told him that was a FEC violation and that he could email me but I didn't want to hear about possible crimes during a phone call, so I hung up on him. Then Rauhauser began sending me weird quasi-threats about my friends and family, and I later learned he had contacted my last employer and smeared me to them. Rauhauser later claimed that RAW STORY publisher Roxanne Cooper - who I only worked with for about two weeks - badmouthed me and spread lies within earshot of others at Yearly Kos.

Wolfe continued, "I am so sorry about your threats, Ron. I can empathize. That's why I don't tweet. I am stuck here because if I leave twitter people say 'Oh Dan has something to hid[e] he deleted his account' but if I stay on twitter I keep getting tortured by these maniacs. I don't know how to get off twitter. I honestly now wish I never saw that Weiner tweet. I'm serious. I wish I never saw it. I wish I never RT it. It ruined my life. I didn't realize what I unleashed when I did that. And I'm sorry for all the hurt and harm I've caused and the collateral damage."

I told Wolfe that "troublemakers" were "attacking both sides...and causing mischief," but that he might be able to help find out why so that the harassment against me, and my multiple sources at the time, would cease.

He then mentioned Gennette Cordova, the Seattle co-ed Weiner had tweeted, who referred to Wolfe in her May 29,2011 statement that was published by the New York Daily News.

"Friday evening I logged onto Twitter to find that I had about a dozen new mentions in less than an hour, which is a rare occurrence. When I checked one of the posts that I had been tagged in I saw that it was a picture that had supposedly been tweeted to me by Congressman Anthony Weiner.

The account that these tweets were sent from was familiar to me; this person had harassed me many times after the Congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago. Since I had dealt with this person and his cohorts before I assumed that the tweet and the picture were their latest attempts at defaming the Congressman and harassing his supporters.

An accompanying article, written by Alison Gendar and Seattle stringer Sara Kiesler added, "Cordova said she has been harassed for weeks online after she started following Weiner on Twitter and the congressman added her to the list of about 200 people he follows. Her harrasser 'started posting about me, saying, 'Oh, the congressman is following school girls,' tweeting it over and over. It was very annoying,' Cordova told the Daily News. When the crotch shot appeared online, she said the same Twitter user was the first to comment on it."

However, on May 30, Cordova publicly tweeted to Wolfe, "I'm sorry for saying your twitter name to nydn. You are a very annoying human being but I dont think you're behind this" and "Can I just clarify that, although @patriotusa76 has been a nuisance, I never said or implied that he was behind the tweet."

Cordova later sent Stack screenshots of Direct Messages she allegedly exchanged with Weiner, in which they referred to Wolfe and his #BornFreeCrew, the fake teen, and a real teen and porn model the former congressman - who is mulling a NYC mayoral bid two years after shamefully resigning mostly for lying during Weingergate - did DM.

On May 12, 2011, Weiner allegedly DM'd Cordova about @starchild111 aka Nikki Reid aka Betty (an alias Mediaite's Tommy Christopher bestowed upon her in order to "protect" a teen girl who turned out to be a fraudster), "yeah, a bit. this is a troll who has been bragging elsewhere that he has dirt on me. the profile is a fake."

"Obviously it's fake. They only follow celebrities and girls you've followed."

Weiner allegedly replied, "also these insanely obvious girlcrush follows. part of me wants you to engage 'her.'"

"Wouldn't that be sort of obvious? What would you say? Oh, you want ME to engage her. I read that wrong."

Later that same day, Cordova allegedly DM'd Weiner, "So what do you think about this whole thing?" Even though she suspected Nikki Reid was fake, she never publicly stated that until after Weiner resigned and the Preston article revealing the hoax was published.

Preston reported for The New York Times,

"In an interview, Ms. Cordova said she was contacted on Twitter by “Nikki Reid,” who said she admired one of her posts and then began exchanging private messages with her almost every day for three or four weeks starting May 5. “There was something weird about it,” Ms. Cordova said. At the beginning of their exchanges, Ms. Cordova said, there was no mention of Mr. Weiner. Then the user began to ask her for advice saying, “I’m a fan girl too,” and “How did you get him to follow you?”

When Ms. Cordova saw that Mr. Weiner was following “Nikki Reid,” she said, she expressed her suspicions about the girl’s identity to him in a private message and he stopped following the account.


Ms. Cordova said that as she looked back on their exchanges, she saw other signs of a fraud. For example, “Nikki Reid” did not have a Facebook account, like most girls her age. And she made references to “The O.C.,” the television show (featuring the young Hollywood actress Nikki Reed) that was popular among teenagers but ended in 2007.

“There is no way this girl is in high school,” Ms. Cordova said. “No way.”

Weiner allegedly responded, "still think its a troll thing. remember the attacks on henning, gingerlee and you all started at the same time."

"I know. I just don't get her interactions with me."

Strangely, Weiner allegedly asked Cordova to "lead her back to" him, and suggested that she ask @starchild111 "did you take my advice and follow anthony?"

"I never contact her first that'll be weird. She'll message me in the afternoon probably."

Weiner allegedly responded, "you are too concerned about" but the screenshot cut off the rest of the DM.

Cordova also didn't mention in public that "Nikki Reid" sent her an email on May 29, 2011 which claimed, "Andrew Breitbart and those same crazy nutjobs all set this up...They wanted us to make up lies and say rep weiner and one of his top DEM donors were asking/paying us to go on dates with these dems as underage girls." Cordova claims she informed a few reporters about this email, but attacked Stack for publishing it - and the screenshots - at his blog.

The fake teen - who Cordova suspected may have been Dan Wolfe - allegedly emailed Cordova, "I know that was a hack. They actively hacked him and I am working to prove that now too." When I asked the liberal Cordova multiple times why she didn't contact the police or even tweet about the claim that a Democratic Congressman was "actively hacked" by conservatives tied to Andrew Breitbart, she never really provided a convincing or responsive answer.

Wolfe told me on June 29, 2011, "I feel so sorry for all the innocent people being harmed like those two JG's and Gennette. They are all innocent. Stranahan needs to stop. I never was about harassing women despite that lie that has been perpetuated about me. That is what I am against. I feel strongly against harassing anyone, especially women. Somehow I've become the devil. I just want the harassment of these 3 women to stop."

Direct Messages with Wolfe shared by Stack appear to show he was a bit disingenuous to me, and that he had privately prodded others in the #BornFreeCrew to act more aggressive towards some of Weiner's female followers.

Wolfe continued, "If it would take me making a statement to take the heat of those 3 women I would be happy to do it. I can take it. I'm a big boy. I just don't want innocent women harassed anymore. This has got to stop. Those three women did nothing. The 2 JG's and Gennette dont deserve this. Any ideas on how I can help with that? I really want to help."

Of course, Wolfe could have called a reporter or spoken to at least one person on the phone, to take the heat off of the "three women" but he refused to and no one ever heard his voice.

I told Wolfe that "two of those three women follow me" on Twitter. Soon after, the third woman - Jennifer George from Boston - contacted me, complaining about how Stranahan and Preston treated her, as well. I suspect that since both @dwp6776 and the Boston Jennifer George "disappeared" about a week or so later, that they were most probably connected to one another.

"Yes, I saw you defending all three and that's why I followed you and accepted your request. I admire that about you most of all. You are the ONLY member of the media defending these 3 women! It is outrageous! Whether you believe it or not I really do have a daughter that has been victimized and this is a personal issue for me. Very personal. I hate seeing women, children victimized. So anything I can do to help, just name it. I'd be happy to do or say anything to help those 3."

I asked Dan Wolfe if he was @johnreid9, which was the account "Nikki Reid" used to contact Cordova after she shut down her @starchild111 account, and that lied to Mediaite's Tommy Christopher, sending him fake driver's licenses. This same account also was the source of real and - what appear to be - hacked Direct Messages between Weiner, Cordova and his "fake" daughter, Nikki, which Patterico oddly posted at his blog in the summer of 2011. On July 2, 2011, Stranahan who guest blogged at Frey's Patterico blog, had his account "disabled," in part, because of a feud they had over Reid. Patterico was upset that Stranahan "ridiculously accused [him] of providing JohnReid9 with an uncritical platform to spout lies." At his blog on June 30 - hours before Patterico was SWATted during a phone call with me - Stranahan was mad that John Reid claimed "Nikki never pushed any story about Breitbart or Dana" Loesch. "Publishing this sort of lie – totally unchallenged — from a person confirmed to be a fake seems very questionable on Patterico’s part."

"No I am not johnreid9 and I don't operate all these accounts that Stranahan accused me of. I honestly just wanted to be a member of bornfreecrew and I was enjoying that life. I never had intentions of bringing rep weiner down despite what people think. It was not a plan."

Wolfe's Twitter timeline was consumed with attacks on Weiner, so he was obviously not being honest about his intentions for closely monitoring the former Democratic congressman.

He continued, "We were just a group of friends. Now that is all destroyed. I have no friends now. People think I'm the devil. Stranahan lies about me. But honestly, Ron, I don't care about STranahan lying about me. What I truly care about are those 3 women. This truly upsets me. I want that to stop That must stop I would like to work with you to stop the harassment of those women. It upsets me very much I can't tell you how much."

I told Wolfe that I believed - in regards to threats received by Jennifer George, Patterico, Stack and another conservative blogger Ace of SpadesHQ - that Stranahan was "either in on it, a fool or being used." I later told him that I considered Neal Rauhauser the other leading suspect, since Preston had sent me a strange Direct Message warning me that he was "very dangerous." I then told Wolfe that I had read nearly all his tweets from January to June of 2011, so I knew that he didn't only focus on Weiner. I didn't mention that his monitoring of Weiner was obviously a near-obsession, though.

"I appreciate that you said that," Wolfe told me. "I saw you said that. You are the ONLY member of media who noticed that about my tweets. I don't understand why other members of media just focused on Weiner tweets. And they take tweets out of context like the tweet I said about how we have "fun planned" -- that was not what people think it is. This is an inside joke of bornfreecrew and any of them could tell you that. We would mention "any fun planned today" -- quite frequently. What the inside joke referred to was Tammy - tamale would frequently get attacked by left wing people and she would fight back. So I and the reset of the crew would say to her "any fun planned Tammy."

Stack later confirmed what Wolfe claimed about the "fun planned" tweet.

Wolfe added, "That tweet of mine was not the only time we mentioned "fun planned" but it has been taken completely out of context and twisted by STranahan. I have no respect for that guy. Early on in this he DM me and lied multiple times. Then he lied about getting PI's after me. He is not nice."

I asked Wolfe about his dealings with Dana Loesch, who told him publicly on Twitter after the underwear tweet, "I have screenshots of all of it. Just ... so ... weird." While many assumed that this meant Loesch saw the Weiner tweet live, she later revealed that Breitbart called her and she was sent screenshots, which blogger Dan Riehl recently took credit for.

"That's another thing that has been mis reported," Wolfe told me. "Dana DM me first. I did not DM her. Then she asked if Andrew could see the screen caps I took. I said sure. I emailed them. They decided not to use them. That was the end of my association with Andrew, Dana and everyone else at biggovernment. I did that on purpose I did not want to be dragged into this by the media so that people would say 'well Dan Wolfe is teaming up with Breitbart to take down Weiner.' No. I didn't want that."

But Wolfe was lying to me, or he accidentally revealed that he was @tamale102280 or Stack, since Wolfe didn't email anything directly to Breitbart or his staff. Tamale later bragged on Twitter that she "saw RepWeiner’s tweet before Andrew Breitbart. So did DLoesch" and that she had "a copy of the tweet sent by RepWeiner." She also told merreee1 and redrivergrl (the other two female #bornfreecrew members) that she was "not surprised, we knew it was going to happen sooner or later." Stack wasn't awake when the underwear tweet was sent, and he didn't catch up until the next morning.

Wolfe continued, "So I showed them my caps - they decided not to use them and that was it. I did not agree to even talk to them. They tried to talk to me but I never agreed to talk to them. Then I heard thru the grapvine that Stranhan thought I was out to get Breitbart - which is absurd. That is another thing Stranahan made up. I have no opinion on Breitbart. I never talked to him and was never out to get him. So many lies."

Again, Wolfe claimed he was mostly concerned about the harassment of the "three women": "Sure I will be happy to help you. Listen Ron, I mean this. I will take all the heat if it means 3 innocent women can be spared pain." At the time, Neal Rauhauser and trolls were making a lot of noise about how the "three women" were being smeared by conservatives, however the liberal woman who actually sexted with Weiner was menaced by mostly liberals, as I reported in 2011.

"I am not kidding about that," Wolfe continued. "Victimization has been a personal cause for me since my daughter. I am passionate about that. It is my life. I don't want women, children harmed. I don't want anyone harmed. But these 3 women are being tortured now. I want to help so badly. People have made fun of me and my story about my daughter that I shared. They mock that. Which is sick. But it is not a joke to me."

I asked if I could publicly tweet one of Wolfe's DMs ("I feel so sorry for all the innocent people being harmed like those two JG's and Gennette. They are all innocent. Stranahan needs to stop.") and he said, "Yes you can retweet that about the 3 women - you have my permission. You are the ONLY person that asked permission. That's classy. People have shared private convos without permission for their own selfish motives. It's sad. I've been hurt over and over again."

"You know, I honestly never believed there would be a sex scandel," Wolfe continued. "People focus in on my tweet about that where I mentioned Weiner but they fail to mention I also included Rep Frank, Rep Rangel as well. They conveniently leave that out. I was joking. Blind items come out all the time. I never took that blind item seriously. It was just another way for me to joke/tweak Weiner. That's all. When I saw that tweet I was truly shocked. I never thought there would be a scandal at all. And now as I said I wish I never saw that tweet."

Anyone who read the triumphant and manically obsessive tweets Wolfe sent after the underwear picture knows that the following claim isn't honest, at all: "I dont take pleasure in watching other people's lives get destroyed. Sure I disagreed with Weiner's politics and cant stand the guy. But that doesn't mean I wanted his life destroyed and I certainly did not celebrate when his life came crashing down. People wont believe me when I say that. But it's the truth believe it or not. I don't get gleeful at people's misery. Rhetoric is one thing Enjoying others pain is taking it to a whole other level. I do not enjoy others pain. That is not me and it never will be me I'm not perfect but I know that much."

I told Wolfe that I needed to take a break for food, but that hopefully we'll get to the bottom of why Stranahan was smearing me, even though I was working with him and Patterico to find out who had sent threats. This was the day before Patterico's SWATting, and I didn't learn about the 6/23/11 SWATting of Stack until Mike told me months later. Hours before Patterico was SWATted, Preston sent me a strange email that said, "Innocent people, like Mike Stack is getting screwed." I've theorized that some of the DMs and emails I received actually were sent by Neal Rauhauser or others, but I've never been able to confirm that.

I also complained to Wolfe about how Preston had oddly turned against me. She refused to talk to me on the phone again, even though she claimed she wanted to on public tweets. She was livid that I leaked the Direct Message from her that called Rauhauser "dangerous" and she would tell me on June 30 that this somehow "caused a lot of damage."

Dan replied, "I didn't see those tweets yet I can't keep up with all the insanity around this case. I'm sorry you are being treated like this. You seem like a very fair person. You didn't even know me and you made some very fair statements about me. I appreciate that. That was classy."

To be continued...

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