Matt DeHart Denied Asylum in Canada

“It was an FBI investigation into the [Central Intelligence Agency’s] practices.”

Matt DeHart claims that all his troubles stem from a file uploaded, twice, to a Tor server he ran out of a closet in his parent’s home. An FBI investigation into something the CIA might have done.

After having seen that file in 2009, according to an important National Post series published last year (one, two, three, four, five) the government started coming after him. But not for his ties to Anonymous, Tor, and (DeHart thinks) WikiLeaks. But for kiddy porn. When the FBI came to search his parents house on a kiddy porn warrant, they seized every computer storage device they could find, but they didn’t find the two USB drives DeHart had hidden in his father’s locked gun case.

“But the only thing of value that would be interesting to the government, other than the server, were two IronKey [USB] thumb drives,” Matt said. Whenever he left his home he would take them with him, stuffed in his wallet; whenever he was at home he would tuck them behind the padding of his dad’s gun case that was kept locked and bolted to a wall. Apparently not knowing that, an officer asked the agent if they should force the gun case open. The agent said that wasn’t necessary and everyone left.

DeHart got buggy after this search, in ways that raise questions about his subsequent claims. Fearing the government would come after him, he went to the Russian and Venezuelan embassy and attempted to defect to both, with no luck. Instead, he went to Canada to go to school, to try to put his online activism behind him. But when he came back to the US to get a student visa on August 6, 2010 (not long after Chelsea Manning was detained), he was detained and denied his request to call his attorney. DeHart claims he was forcibly drugged and then asked questions that had nothing to do with kiddie porn, and everything to do with espionage. During this, the FBI presented him with a complaint accusing him of soliciting kiddie porn.

That evening, an agent showed him a criminal complaint — drafted only that afternoon — accusing him of soliciting the production of child pornography in 2008, according to both Matt and FBI records.

“I looked the guy in the eye and said, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and he said, ‘I know,’ ” Matt claimed.

In response, according to government documents, DeHart confessed to being part of a spy ring dating back to his service (before he was honorably discharged for depression) as a drone pilot. But DeHart said he did so because of the treatment used against him.

The FBI document recounts Matt’s new story, that when he was in the Air National Guard he met airmen interested in selling military secrets. One had remote access to a U.S. Department of Defense portal and another had a relative working with Air Force Special Operations, and Matt agreed to be their salesman.

That was what sparked his embassy visit, the document says, and Evgeny, the Russian, had told Matt he would have to contact the Russians from outside the United States if he wanted to close a deal.

“That is the reason DeHart moved to Canada,” the FBI’s summary says. Evgeny supposedly set up a Russian contact for Matt in Canada. “He was told he would be paid approximately $100,000 per month if the intelligence he gave was good” and was directed to send a secure data archive to a Russian contact in Canada. “He was supposed to meet his new contact in the Russian embassy in Ottawa on Saturday, Aug. 21, and they would give him a list of what they needed.”

By the end of that day’s questioning, Matt offered to co-operate with the FBI in a sting operation against the Russians and the airmen, the summary says.

Matt says the FBI account of his interrogation is “laughably inaccurate.” He has never been to Ottawa, is not a spy nor even a would-be spy, he said.

“I would have told them anything” because of the torture, he said. “Information that is derived from torture, to use it against somebody, is ridiculous. It’s garbage. I already said it’s not true.”

As this was happening, the FBI got DeHart to sign over access to all his online accounts associated with Anonymous, which they used to infiltrate the group.

One other thing happened while Matt was in custody, something both Matt and the FBI agree on: He relinquished control of his online accounts to the FBI.

After DeHart’s delayed presentment, the judge found the charges against him — kiddie porn, not espionage — were odd.

The court docket listed his arrest as taking place two days after it really had. After struggling to confirm the proper date — Aug. 6 — the judge wondered why Matt had not been brought to court before now. She also asked why the government had pulled out such seemingly stale pornography allegations — two years old — but was now arguing Matt posed a serious danger to the community. She even noted Matt’s computers had not even been analyzed for evidence of porn seven months after they had been seized.

Then DeHart was sent back to TN to stand accused on the kiddy porn charges. There was a lot screwy with the government claims on that charge (see this installment for details). Significantly, the judge in the case (after having read sealed documents on the national security investigation) agreed with DeHart that this was primarily about the espionage investigation and the kiddy porn charge was weak.

“The other investigation, the national security investigation, the court has learned much more about,” Judge Trauger said in her ruling.

“I can easily understand why this defendant was much more focused on that [national security] investigation, much more afraid of that investigation, which was propelling his actions at that time. He thought that the search for child pornography was really a ruse to try to get the proof about his extracurricular national security issues. I found him very credible on that issue.”

Judge Trauger also questioned the strength of the government’s porn evidence.

“Obviously, child pornography charges are serious offences,” she said. “I have learned several aspects of this case which, in the court’s mind, indicate the weight of the evidence is not as firm as I thought it was.”

That’s when, on April 3, 2013, the entire DeHart family fled to Canada and filed for asylum. For much of the time since, DeHart has been held in strict prison conditions, punctuated by bouts of mental health problems.

The entire story is bizarre. But one thing is clear: two US judges have been very skeptical this is all about kiddie porn.

To which a Canadian panel of immigration judges has now joined. They found there was “no credible or trustworthy evidence” DeHart solicited child pornography. Nevertheless, they rejected his asylum bid, meaning he will probably be shipped back here for — who knows what.

The IRB ruled that the United States “has a fair and independent judicial process” available to him where he can continue to fight his criminal charges and press his civil rights complaint.


“The panel acknowledges that this particular claim is by no means a simple one,” wrote IRB adjudicator Patrick Roche.

“The principal claimant is alleging that he is being persecuted by the government of the United States, or agents of that government, for his perceived political beliefs as a hacker and whistleblower involved in leaking sensitive government information,” wrote Mr. Roche. “He alleges that he has been falsely accused of crimes in order to keep him incarcerated and he alleges that he had been drugged and subjected to interrogations without his constitutional rights.”

I admit there are crazy aspects of this story — particularly Matt DeHart’s attempt to defect to Russia out of what he claims is fear.

But as this drama moves back to the US, remember that, at least according to him, it comes down to the file that he presumably kept on those two USB drives, records of an FBI investigation into CIA acts.


8 replies
  1. Bill Owen says:

    Russian Embassy here in Ottawa has a CSE listening post directly across the street. Cameras constantly pointed at it. No way on Earth the Russians would set up a meet there. Totally incredible.

  2. chrisk says:

    The crazy part I am of course familiar with. Between possibility of NLWs that per Navy and Army both indicate can cause all sorts of problems and CIA’s MKULTRA goal per 1977 Senate hearing report, draft memo 5-5-55, regarding substances that can cause impulsive behavior and irrational thoughts, it becomes clearer.

    There was something similar with Chelsea, IMO. Early on the analyst failing to revoke classified access and then when at Quantico the brainwashing straight out of CIA’s doc on the subject was just weird.

    Ironically, though the more recent issues of my own I believe related to NSA/CIA spying on my corporate clients and tenants in the building where I worked for 20 years are the main thrust–being protection of “sources”–it was “methods” in 1989 and 1990 that I witnessed that made things doubly an issue. Basically, I saw people having this stuff field tested on them, probably for training of field agents purposes, but had no idea what I was seeing at the time. Three actresses, one each year 88-90, seemed to go crazy. That’s basic MKULTRA. That the purposes are more domestic than foreign in purpose reminds me more of COINTELPRO.

    Now imagine being in the position of having been drugged with something, perhaps an alkaloid, and trying to prove it. We lay people have such a poor understanding of neuroscience and tend to think in terms of: “Is this person crazy or credible?” It’s the perfect character assassination tool and it business as usual for the United States Government.

    Gives me no pleasure to be the bearer of bad news, but when they can fix pretty much anything surreptitiously and get away with it, well what’s that about power and corruption?

    Navy list of biological effects of microwaves from the 70s:

    Army document from 90s, FOIA in 2006, regarding NLWs having remote effects similar to drugs, etc.

    1955 MKULTRA draft memo regarding goals of overall program

    Disturbing turn of events by DoD in 2012 regarding, CALL, nonlethal weapons and the the OIG:

    And line up of Manning treatment at Quantico and the brainwashing doc. Why brainwash someone they already thought was guilty?

    I know that’s a lot of info, but it’s a big subject and there is so far no single silver bullet.

    Thanks for writing about Matt. As you can see there is ample history and FOIA to suggest some people may have behavior problems due to covert action.

    Chris “Can Sometimes Tell a Hawk from a Handsaw” Knall

    • wallace says:

      quote”Chris “Can Sometimes Tell a Hawk from a Handsaw” Knall”unquote

      ummm, only sometimes? Gives me no pleasure to be the bearer of bad news, but if you can’t tell the difference EVERY time..I’d suggest never try woodworking.


  3. wallace says:

    quote”But as this drama moves back to the US, remember that, at least according to him, it comes down to the file that he presumably kept on those two USB drives, records of an FBI investigation into CIA acts.”unquote

    Admittingly, I only came across this weird story a few weeks ago here:

    , but what about those drives? I haven’t found any info whether the government found them or what? Are they still hidden? Your post is the only follow up I’ve seen and without reading all 5 parts of the story on that link, I don’t remember what happened to them. Any info?

  4. greengiant says:

    “FBI investigation”,, an oxymoron. That would be the same FBI with the revolving door with Russian mafia per Patrick Bryne, and the same FBI with the footprints all over the Balkans and central Asia per Sibel Edmonds. With very short spaces between the dots of the Boston bombers and the Gulen’s buddy Edmond Fuller, the Rand Corp, and Mr. Knall’s need of tin foil. But then it is the DOJ and others as well who persecuted Aaron Swartz into “suicide”. And what amazing repeating coinkydinks of ethernet devolution when anyone comments at this site.

    • wallace says:

      quote” And what amazing repeating coinkydinks of ethernet devolution when anyone comments at this site.”unquote

      Any cryptologists out there care to take a crack? I have trouble with a Rubic’s cube.

  5. greengiant says:

    Maybe the thumb drives are the FBI’s investigation into Gitmo and Black sites per ew and
    and James Risen’s book “Pay any Price”

    Canada still had the thumb drives as far as Dehart knows per national post story.

  6. greengiant says:

    Any mystery as to why wikipedia has Dehart making an interstate teen age porn meet run and at the same time the Canadian judge is saying “Say what?”, except that they have to attack him in the media and media comment sections as much as they attack him in detention and in the US courts?

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