Judge Crotty Should Let Joshua Schulte Test His Theory of Defense Forensically

At a hearing on July 25, accused Vault 7 leaker Joshua Schulte’s lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, argued that it’s possible if the government provides some forensic evidence that the CIA maintains is too classified to share, this case might avoid trial, either by identifying alternate culprits or leading her to advise her client to plead.

Mr. Kamaraju says that I would be forced anyway to then make a Section 5 motion to show relevance, etc. Well, maybe not. Maybe if I got the forensics, I would be able to say, hey, I think the government is completely wrong, Mr. Schulte is completely innocent, and you should go back and relook at your charging decisions because of X, Y, and Z in the forensics.

On the flip side, I could look at the forensics and say to my client, you know, maybe this isn’t the strongest case. Maybe we shouldn’t be going to trial. Not all discovery is asked for or relevant because it is only going to be used at trial. We asked for discovery because it is proper Rule 16 information that the defendant should have that would tell him about the charges and help him make proper decisions in the most serious or the most benign of cases.

At issue, per an order Judge Paul Crotty issued days before the hearing (but which got released publicly afterwards) is evidence that would exist if a narrative Schulte seeded before he left the CIA were true. In addition to all the email he wrote at CIA (the government is giving him what he wrote, but not the responses), he wants “a complete forensic copy of the Schulte Workstation and DevLAN, so that his expert can conduct a comprehensive forensic analysis.” Ultimately, Crotty did not grant Schulte’s request, noting that he “has been accused of leaking information he obtained from his employment at CIA both before he was arrested and from his cell at MCC after his arrest.” Instead, he directed the defense to “submit[] a more tailored request [that] provides good reason for further forensic discovery in a motion to compel. In this context, it would also be helpful, for example, if Schulte would communicate his thinking of how others are responsible for the theft.”

Yet that didn’t work, at least not immediately. In the aftermath of that order, Schulte’s team said the Wall Counsel hasn’t responded substantively to a previously written request. That seems to be a justifiable complaint about the difficulties of working with Classified Information Protect Act and Wall Counsel (to say nothing of really complex technical issues which none of the lawyers fully understand). It’s like a giant game of telephone and Schulte’s right to a fair trial is at stake.

Which is why the government should take this offer from Shroff more seriously than they appear to have done: giving Schulte’s expert direct access to the full set of data he seeks.

We have offered to limit the access to either counsel or go even further and limit the access to just the expert. We have even offered that the CIA need not give it to us. We would go to the CIA or the expert would go to the CIA to review the forensics.

Even while it could use CIPA to limit what they give Schulte’s team, it would serve the government to give his expert this access.

I say that, first of all, because of who Schulte’s expert is: Columbia University CompSci professor Steve Bellovin. He’s not just some forensics guy with clearance. He’s someone who has served in governmental positions (most notably as PCLOB’s tech expert for a year). That means he has already seen government spying in action, and what he’d see here would be a server that got replaced, probably before April, and some hacking tools and targets there were in no way exceptional.

Just as importantly, Bellovin is well-respected in the activist community, both on technical matters and judgment. If Bellovin were to test Schulte’s alternative explanation for the leak of the Vault 7 files and Schulte subsequently pled (suggesting that Shroff had counseled that he not take his theories to trial), it would suggest that Schulte’s story didn’t hold up to Bellovin’s scrutiny.

If that happened, it would be a key statement about not just what Schulte has claimed, but about what WikiLeaks did, in releasing the files in 2017.

As the government tells it, Schulte got in a fight with a colleague in December 2015, which led him to sour on the CIA as early as February 2016. When the agency didn’t respond in the way he wanted to Schulte’s claim that the colleague had threatened him, he started to retaliate in April 2016 by first copying the backup server holding all the CIA’s hacking tools, then sending it to WikiLeaks. In short, the government’s story is that Schulte simply burned the CIA’s hacking capabilities to the ground because he felt like they wronged him, a fairly breathtaking claim for one of the most damaging leaks to the government in history.

Schulte’s story is harder to suss out for a number of reasons: the defense has avoided putting this in writing, in part in an attempt to protect their theory of defense, some of what Schulte has argued is classified and still sealed, and other parts consist of rants he has published online or in dockets, not coherent arguments. Plus, some of Schulte’s claims are clearly lies, most demonstrably his claim that, “Federal Terrrorists [sic] had no evidence of plaintiff actually using cell phone” before they got a warrant relying on an affidavit that included pictures of him using the phone he had in MCC.

Schulte’s theory, as available, consists of three parts:

  • More people had access to the backup server from which the files were stolen than the government claims
  • The files were relatively easier to steal from an offsite backup server than the onsite one the government alleges Schulte stole them from
  • The likely culprits used security vulnerabilities he (claims to have) identified to CIA managers to steal the files

Evidence he’s making the first argument appears in his lawsuit against the Attorney General, where he claims the government has lied about the number of people who could access the server with the hacking tools.

AG lies about the number of people who had access to the classified information

Given a passage from the government’s response to his motion to suppress, Schulte must be referring to the claim that 200 people had access to the servers themselves, not the claim that 3-5 people had access to the backup server from which FBI claims the files were stolen. Schulte’s sealed filing appears to have argued that a second CIA group had access to the server.

Schulte does not dispute that the CIA Group was responsible for using and maintaining the LAN, that as of March 2016 fewer than 200 employees were assigned to the CIA Group, or that only these employees had access to the LAN. (See id. ,r 8(b)). Rather, Schulte argues that Agent Donaldson failed to note in the Covert Affidavit that a second CIA group (“CIA Group-2”), [redacted], allegedly also had access to the LAN.

For what it’s worth, the government disputes this claim outright. They introduce and conclude an otherwise redacted discussion by twice asserting this claim is false.

Schulte’s assertions about CIA Group-2’s access to the LAN are untrue [seven lines redacted] In short, Schulte is simply wrong.

Schulte’s claim that the files were more easily stolen from an offsite backup server may be more of a throwaway, based on what the government provided in discovery, reflecting what a contractor said almost a year into the investigation. (Remember that the government is not meaning to restate Schulte’s theories here, but instead to refute his claim that the initial affidavit against him included reckless errors.)

Schulte does not challenge that the Classified Information was taken from a back-up file, but instead argues that the back-up files were also stored at an offsite location (the “Offsite Server”), based on a network diagram of the LAN, and that, in one CIA Group contractor’s opinion, the “easiest” way to steal those back-up files was from the Offsite Server. None of this information, however, renders Agent Donaldson’s assessment misleading. Initially, while it is true that the back-up files were also stored in an Offsite Server, Agent Donaldson never suggested that the only place that the back-up files existed was the Back-up Server. Nor did Agent Donaldson opine in the abstract on the easiest method of exfiltrating the Classified Information from the LAN. Rather, he merely stated that it was “likely” that the Classified Information had come from the Back-Up Server, an eminently reasonable conclusion, given that the Back-Up Server contained the back-up files that mirrored the Classified Information, and Schulte–whom the FBI properly identified as a likely perpetrator of the theft–had access to it. Gates, 462 U.S. at 230-31 (courts do not isolate each factor of suspicion but look at the totality of the circumstances). The opinion of the contractor–who did not have access to all of the information and who had no relevant investigatory experience–in no way undermines that assessment, particularly when (i) that opinion is contradicted by [redacted], a LAN system administrator and a witness upon whom Schulte relies in his motion, who stated that “the easiest way to steal the data leaked by WikiLeaks” was for someone with administrative access to the LAN to “simply remov[e] the backup file from the network application” (i.e., the Back-Up Server) (Shroff C. Decl., Ex. I); and (ii) even if the contractor’s opinion was relevant, it was not conveyed to the FBI until February 2018, nearly a year after the date of the Covert Affidavit, see Garrison, 480 U.S. at 85.

Significantly, the government bases its claim that Schulte leaked classified information from jail in part on him sharing a “Network Structure Document” with someone (probably a reporter); given that some of the other information he is alleged to have leaked in violation of classification or protective orders was meant to sustain his claims of innocence, this probably does too. If so, that would suggest he was floating this theory about a year ago.

Finally, in his Presumption of Innocence blog, Schulte maintains that the CIA network was vulnerable in ways that he claims he raised with the CIA before he left.

I reported numerous security vulnerabilities that I discovered within our network and particularly issues with system administration, backup, and protection of some of our prominent tool sets. I was continually met with pushback and retaliatory responses that ultimately forced me to resign. My final acts were to file complaints with the OIG and the House Select Committee on Intelligence to hopefully prevent future retaliatory actions against others.

So while the government claims that Schulte retaliated by leaking the CIA’s hacking tools because the CIA wasn’t treating him with the respect he thought he deserved, Schulte appears to be claiming that possibly members of CIA’s Group-2 or perhaps even outsiders stole the files via vulnerabilities he identified before he left.

While not exactly the same, WikiLeaks made related claims when they released the files, in part as rationale for publishing them.

Compare what we can make out of Schulte’s defense with what WikiLeaks published in its “press release” accompanying the first Vault 7 release. WikiLeaks describes CIA “losing control” of its hacking tools, not someone leaking them.

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

While it mentions former US government hackers (which could include Schulte), it also invokes contractors (the press release elsewhere mentions Hal Martin), and contractors were the presumed source for Vault 7 files at the time. While WikiLeaks acknowledges that the files came from “an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina [sic]” the description of the archive circulating in unauthorized fashion suggests that WikiLeaks is claiming the files were more broadly accessible.

The “press release” also suggests CIA’s hacking division had 5,000 users, implying all were involved in the production of hacking tools.

By the end of 2016, the CIA’s hacking division, which formally falls under the agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other “weaponized” malware.

While that may or may not be the CIA Group-2 Schulte claims had access to the servers, it certainly suggests a far larger universe of potential sources for the stolen files than the 200 the government claims, much less the around 5 SysAdmins who had privileges to the backup server.

The purported motive for releasing these tools — both that of the source and of Assange — is partly the insecurity of having such tools lying around.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA’s hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that “There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’.


Securing such ‘weapons’ is particularly difficult since the same people who develop and use them have the skills to exfiltrate copies without leaving traces — sometimes by using the very same ‘weapons’ against the organizations that contain them.


Once a single cyber ‘weapon’ is ‘loose’ it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by peer states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

In other words, WikiLeaks justified posting development notes for a significant portion of CIA’s hacking tools — and ultimately the source code for one — to prevent “teenage hackers” from obtaining such weapons and using them. (By this February, a security researcher had made his own hacking module based off what WikiLeaks had released.) A key part of that claim is the risk that CIA itself had not sufficiently secured its own tools, that they were “circulat[ing] … in an unauthorized manner.” That is, WikiLeaks purports to be the fulfillment of and remedy for precisely the risk Schulte claims — in his Presumption of Innocence blog — he warned the CIA about.

Except the government claims that’s not true.

It is true, as the affidavit in dispute in Schulte’s motion to suppress lays out, that Schulte wrote a “draft resignation letter” purporting to warn about these dangers and, on his last day, sent the CIA’s Inspector General a letter raising the same issues. The government reviews what he did at length in their response to his motion to suppress.

Agent Donaldson discussed the circumstances of Schulte’s resignation from the CIA in November 2016, including a letter and email he wrote complaining about his treatment. (Id. ,i,i 19-20). On October 12, 2016, Schulte sent an email to another CIA Group employee with the subject line “ROUGH DRAFT of Resignation Letter *EYES ONLY*,” which attached a three-page, single-spaced letter (the “Letter”). (Id. ,i 19(a)). In the Letter, Schulte stated that the CIA Group management had unfairly “veiled” CIA leadership from various of Schulte’s “concerns about the network security of the CIA Group’s LAN” and that “[t]hat ends now. From this moment forward you can no longer claim ignorance; you can no longer pretend that you were not involved.” (Id. ~ 19(a)(ii)). The Letter also stated that Schulte was resigning because management had “‘ignored'” issues he had raised about ‘”security concerns,”‘ including that the LAN was ‘”incredibly vulnerable’ to the theft of sensitive data.” (Id. ~ 19(a)(iii)). In particular, Schulte stated that the “inadequate CIA security measures had ‘left [the CIA Group’s LAN] open and easy for anyone to gain access and easily download [from the LAN] and upload [sensitive CIA Group computer code] in its entirety to the [public] internet.”‘ (Id.~ 19(a)(iv)).


However, on November 10, 2016, Schulte’s last day at the CIA, Schulte sent an internal email to the CIA’s Office of Inspector General (“OIG”), which Schulte marked “Unclassified,” advising that he had been in contact with the U.S. House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding his complaints about the CIA (the “OIG Email”). (Id ~ 19(c)). The OIG Email raised many of the same complaints in the Letter, including “the CIA’s treatment of him and its failure to address the ‘security concerns’ he had repeatedly raised in the past.” (Id ~ 19(c)(i)). Although Schulte had labeled the OIG Email “Unclassified,” the CIA determined that the OIG Email did in fact contain classified information. (Id.~ 19(c)(iii)). Schulte nevertheless printed and removed the email from the CIA when he left that day. (Id ~ 19( c )(ii)).

As the government response notes, the affidavit describes that Schulte never actually sent the resignation letter.

Agent Donaldson noted that Schulte did not appear to send the Letter. (Id. ~ 19(b)).

A later discussion of the resignation letter as part of a summary of the probable cause against Schulte goes still further, claiming that there is no record that Schulte raised security concerns with CIA management (which is presumably one reason he asked for all his emails).

(iv) drafted a purported “resignation email,” in which he claimed essentially that he had warned CIA management about security concerns with the LAN7 that were so significant that the LAN’s contents could be posted online–precisely what happened four months later (see id. ,r 19);

7 There is no record of Schulte reporting any such security concerns to CIA management.

The government makes Schulte’s allegedly false claim to have raised concerns about the security of the CIA tools a key part of its short summary of the probable cause against Schulte, insinuating that Schulte wrote both the resignation letter and the letter to the IG (which he wrote five and six months, respectively, after the government alleges he stole the files) as a way to create a cover story for the leaked documents.

Thus, even if the Covert Affidavit was rewritten to Schulte’s (incorrect) specifications, it would still establish probable cause by showing that Schulte was a CIA employee with a grudge against the CIA and a track record of improperly accessing and taking classified information, who left the CIA claiming that classified information from the LAN would one day be sprayed across the Internet and who worried about the investigation when his “prophecy” came to pass.

Of course, the government — especially intelligence agencies like the NSA and CIA — always dismiss the claims to be whistleblowers of leakers. The CIA claimed Jeffrey Sterling only leaked details of the Merlin operation because he was disgruntled about an EEOC complaint they had denied. NSA denied that Edward Snowden had raised concerns — first at CIA about its security, then at NSA about the boundaries of EO 12333 and Section 702. In the former case, however, the government knows of at least three other people who thought Sterling’s concerns had merit, and the actual details around Merlin’s own activities were a clusterfuck. In the latter, even a really problematic HPSCI report acknowledges that both incidents occurred, and NSA ultimately released enough of the backup to show that the NSA undersold the latter instance (though Snowden’s claims were not as substantive as he claimed).

Thus far, Schulte has presented no such counterevidence (indeed, the docket does not show his team submitted a reply to the government’s response before their August 16 deadline, though a reply could be held up in classification review). [Update: This letter asking to sever the MCC charges from the WikiLeaks charges says they’re still working on their replies.]

There may be a very good reason why Schulte’s defense didn’t go there: because one of the lies the government claims he told to FBI Agents on March 20 and 21, 2017 involves making CIA systems more vulnerable to the theft of data.

On or about March 20 and 21, 2017, Schulte … denied ever making CIA systems vulnerable to the theft of data.

Aside from this mention, this allegation doesn’t otherwise appear in public documents I’m aware of. But the implication is that before Schulte wrote two documents that — the government claims — served to establish a cover story claiming he leaked the documents because CIA’s server was vulnerable to theft, he tampered with the CIA’s server to make it more vulnerable to theft.

There actually is evidence that the server was vulnerable to theft. In Crotty’s opinion, he overruled the government’s effort to withhold some internal reports on the leak under CIPA. He explained,

These documents [redacted] might help Schulte advance a theory that DevLAN’s vulnerabilities could have allowed someone else to have taken the leaked data. They also support the defense’s theory that Schulte’s behavior while an employee of the CIA was consistent with someone who was trying to help the agency address security flaws, rather than someone who was a disgruntled employee.

That’s why it’d be worthwhile for Bellovin to have access to the server directly: to test not just how vulnerable the servers really were (I bet he’d be willing to help improve their security along the way!), but also to test himself whether there’s any evidence that someone besides Schulte exploited those vulnerabilities.

The government’s reliance on CIPA in this case is an attempt to try Schulte for an unbelievably sensitive leak without (as Crotty laid out) giving him opportunity to leak some more.

But the case goes beyond Schulte’s actions, to implicate WikiLeaks’ actions (court filings make it clear that WikiLeak’s claims around this leak were false in another manner, one which I’m not describing at the government’s request). And while details of CIA’s unexceptional hacking program are useful for researchers to have, it would matter if the stated rationale for releasing them was bullshit manufactured after the fact. That’s all the more true if WikiLeaks — which used to boast its perfect record on verification — knew the claim to be false, particularly given how and when it released these files, with an attempt to extort the US government and in the wake of the Russian hacks, at a time CIA would have needed these tools to prevent follow-ups.

Three months after Schulte’s trial (if this does go to trial), the government will be embroiled in attempting to extradite Julian Assange under charges that are rightly being attacked as an assault on the press. The government is never going to reveal all it knows about Assange (including, pertinent to this case, whether there’s any evidence Assange used some of the CIA’s own tools for his own benefit). Bellovin, if he were permitted to review the CIA server, would never be in a position to reveal what he learned; but his role in this case provides a rare opportunity for a trusted outsider to weigh in on a controversial case.

Effectively, a guy who authored CIA’s obfuscation tool and purportedly planned an information war from jail — complete with fake FBI and CIA personas — may have created the vulnerability he claimed to be exposing by leaking the files. If Bellovin were able to test that possibility, it would go a long way to shift an understanding about WikiLeaks recent intentions with the US government.

35 replies
  1. Eureka says:

    This case gets more complicated with each successive post. And as to the implications re WikiLeaks’ possible grander intentions, I can’t help but think about the “tantalizing” theoreticals/ hypotheticals given by the gov as you outlined in a recent Roger Stone post (though I don’t think you are pointing here to that specifically– or rather to that limited of a scope. Though as I think about the dates of e.g. Schulte’s August 2016 searches, 2016 election-related events may not be irrelevant…).

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “(court filings make it clear that WikiLeak’s claims around this leak were false in another manner, one which I’m not describing at the government’s request)”

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Anyone else think that those parallel line graphics for the G7 background – the ones Donald Trump stood beside – looked like height markers for a mug shot?

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This example of neoliberalism’s destructive biases is over thirty years old. But it reflects its priorities and origins in the same that way Nixon and Gingrich, Atwater and Rove, reflect earlier versions of today’s anarachist GOP.

    In 1985, the Thatcher government published the Jarratt Report, which stressed that “universities are first and foremost corporate enterprises”. The problem, the report argued, was [that]…[s]cholars should not run universities – business leaders must.


    • P J Evans says:

      IMO, many business leaders can barely run their businesses. Most of them seem to have no qualifications or experience beyond an MBA.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        One good thing the many analyses of Trump’s pathologies has brought out is that, like Trump, a surprising number of CEOs are domineering sociopaths.

        Unlike Trump, though, most of them have more skills and are better at hiding their pathology than Trump. That would seem reason enough not to put them in charge of young people.

        Another aspect is that many CEOs no longer run their businesses as a going concern. Their purpose is to extract assets and turn them into cash, a much easier proposition, except that doing it requires pretending not to be doing it.

        • P J Evans says:

          The ones I worked at had physical products to deliver, so they were a bit better-run. And one of them was run by someone who had gotten there through promotion from within, not from finance/accounting; she knew the business.

  5. Savage Librarian says:

    I wonder what the real back story is on the squeeze to push out Susie Wiles in Florida. Could it have anything to do with her and/or Lanny Wiles’ connections to Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin? Or Susie’s and Lanny’s connections to Roger Stone? Or, is this just how politics works?

    “Former VA official ‘hand-picked’ by Trump to lead Florida GOP”

    TALLAHASSEE — “In a surprise move, Peter O’Rourke, a former top official at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and an ally of President Donald Trump, will take over leadership of the Republican Party of Florida, the latest development in a party power struggle going into the 2020 presidential election.”
    “Prominent state Republicans led by Strum and first lady Casey DeSantis have sought to replace party staff allied with Susie Wiles, a political strategist who helped guide DeSantis’ campaign to victory and led his transition. Wiles and Gruters co-chaired Trump’s 2016 Florida campaign.”

    “O’Rourke’s hire is “the continuation of putting some of [DeSantis’] people versus ‘Susie‘ people,” said one party official.”

    “Locetta, the outgoing executive director, was considered a Wiles ally.”


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      There is a clique at Mar-a-Lago, close to Trump, that for some reason has a keen interest in veterans’ affairs and, it seems, Florida politics.

      Ridding the Florida party of the people who helped Trump and DeSantis win the state fits the nonsensical character of their ideas. They seem to share a constipated notion of loyalty, so “party power struggle” seems as good a fit.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-founder of San Francisco’s, City Lights – apart from Shakespeare & Co., in Paris, perhaps the world’s most famous bookstore – turned 100 in March. https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2019/08/lawrence-ferlinghetti-man-who-gave-1950s-san-francisco-its-beat

    City Lights wasn’t a place to buy books so much as a place to be with them: “I never got bored being there… I could people-watch and enjoy the different shapes and colours of book covers. It may have been there that I discovered the physical pleasure of books outside our house, and that a bookstore is a sacred location.”

    Ferlinghetti is still writing. The poet, pacifist, naval officer, businessman, activist, publisher, notably of Allen Ginsberg’s, Howl and Other Poems, published a memoir to celebrate his 100th birthday. Unlike his bookstore, Little Boy is a little gem. But like City Lights and, I think, like Emptywheel,

    “The public were being invited…to participate in that ‘great conversation’ between authors of all ages, ancient and modern.” And Ferlinghetti didn’t just initiate those conversations; he provided the venue where those conversations could continue.

    Please remember that little box in the upper right hand corner of your screen: It says, “Support.”

    • bmaz says:

      Been up since 5:30 am here. Long nite, not enough sleep. But had to take one of our cars in for service. Show was excellent.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Thought you might have been up all night. Glad the show was good, especially after the long wait.

      I was back stage at one decades ago at a college stadium, and got a peek inside the curtain. The show didn’t start until the bagmen left with their share of the proceeds. Music was pretty good then, too.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    What a kerfluffle Brett Stephens is causing. A poster on twitter referred to him as a “metaphorical ‘bedbug.'” He called it language used by “totalitarian regimes,” and claims to have left twitter because of it. I gather he gets out less than Ross Douthat.

    He also complained to the poster’s boss – not meaning, he says, to get the writer in trouble – an act both nasty and passive-aggressive.

    Mr. Stephens occupies the most exalted real estate in the media – an opinion column in the New York Bloody Times. He earns a seven-figure income telling us what opinions we should have, but doesn’t like listening to others’.

    When he resigns from the NYT, I might begin to take him seriously. Until then, he can melt in the sunshine like the other snowflakes. https://twitter.com/atrupar

    • Democritus says:

      Can someone call him a twat who is the perfect cuntacular assbiscuit.

      I just want to see Brett 🤯 and point and laugh and laugh.

      Earl, if you were on twitter, oh the tweets throwing bretts own words back in his face is oh so lovely. Getting ready for a nap, but let me grab one of the good ones.

      “One of the things I take away from the Weisman/Stephens episodes is that these guys would be completely unable to function in society if they got like 1/10 of the online jeering that the average female and/or POC journalist gets”


      Also truth?

      “If a person of color in media did this they would be fired (not calling for that just stating Truth) NY Times Brett Stephens emails professor: “come to my home, meet my wife and kids, talk to us for a few minutes, and then call me a ‘bedbug’ to my face.”


      Ohhhhhh This has a link to an old vox interview! 🤣 such an ass Brett is: read this it’s worth it. If anyone with a good twitter filling sees this retweet this vox article, please? Give a sore disabled crip a smile today? Half /s


      And different topic but I feel weird if I do too man6 posts so I like to consolidate. Good lawfare article on Taliban peace talks. It addressed some of my concerns, namely maintaining some presence to help clamp down on a resurgence of terrorism groups in such a hard territory to fight in. Africom needs to be a bigger focus.


        • Democritus says:

          If this was a Republican… with the payments and the marriage? If this is true as stated here and that a huge if given it is Ilhan, but I gotta say Ilhan’s personal life seems a mite bit messy. I defend here against the bad faith bs, because there is so much of it and allowing it to stand would silence more than just her, but girl has a messy romantic life. The detail with giving the son a birthday gift while mom was out of town? (Granted in my 20’s mine was too, but in my twenties not when I’m a known target fighting for the rights of many. She should have announced this, on her own rather than the NY Post.).

          This is normal everyday messiness though, and not like leaving your wife with cancer to be fair.


  8. Democritus says:

    If Brett Stephens little snowflake routine gets him a gig talking at GW there damn well better be protests. Such a whiny fucking little bitch. I started changing the channel the second I see him a while ago, even if on Deadline Whitehouse. He is SUCH a little whiny fuckface.


    Funny how he or Weiss haven’t said much about Sonmez though they tweeted Yoffe’s bs. To be fair, I do think fuckface Stephens at least replied to Sonmez, he didn’t take responsibility of course, but he at least replied. Weiss hasn’t said shit like a fucking coward.

  9. Eureka says:

    Significant updates today and late last night re Rayne’s now-closed post:

    Xeni Jardin: “This isn’t surprising but it is disgusting. “wesupportjoi.org.” I’ll remember your names. I support accountability and truth. It’s interesting that so many of the signatories rely on Joi for their livelihoods, and in some cases, a whole lot more. (link)”
    “Glad people are finally sticking up for the real victim in this Jeffrey Epstein business: Joi Ito.”

    Posted ^ this version for sport, as it includes an apologist in the comments.

    @xeni has lots of rt’s on this topic today. See also Jonathan Eisen (https://twitter.com/phylogenomics) threads, besides accounts Rayne had recommended.

    Second: it’s nice to have this gathered in one place, though it’s barely the tip of needed journalism:

    Scientists Took Jeffrey Epstein’s Money After He Was Jailed For Sex Crimes. Here’s What They Have To Say About It Now.

    Cheers, XX, you disgusting pedo-fucker* pig.

    * a la starfucker, but plus/minus some science ratfucker elements

    • Eureka says:

      Also to Rayne’s post, an FYI below. I have not had the time to (re-)read this and entertain it through the lens that soychicka proposes– it could just be a commodification coincidence– but will add as to Rayne’s post that Swartz’ JSTOR downloads had always been salient to me (I hadn’t really recalled the nature of the legal docs/private info therein), and this seems at least relevant to Rayne’s speculations as to punitive motive, possibly, via Epstein(-Maxwell) links to MIT, though I don’t know who owns these interests-rights now:

      random facts girl: “Not only did Ghislaine Maxwell’s family fortune come from stealing from pension plans… it came from stealing knowledge paid for by public funding of scientific research. Robert Maxwell created the paywalled research publications like Springer. (Guardian link below)”

      Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

      See also Robert Maxwell’s wiki.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh jesus fucking christ. Sure, let us claw serious money back from science researchers like they were Mitch McConnell, Devin Nunes or Trump on the dole.

      • Eureka says:

        Granted it’s late and I’ve been reading a lot, but I don’t recall anyone talking about taking spent money back. (Maybe that’s in some of the Media Lab discussions, though, or of the Program in Evolutionary Dynamics (PED) at Harvard– allegedly major recipients, though no one to date has a true accounting.)

        I’m pretty sure the main issues people have are folks taking Epstein’s money in the first place, along with the bargains that that entailed, which included: kissing Epstein’s ass in public; laundering his reputation; the overt, knowing exclusions of women (from the Edge/ billionaire dinners*, island science trips, and actual work, etcetera); promulgations of ‘particular’ points of view (e.g. SEED**); more etcetera– it’s late to start a conversation like this.

        On a related note as to funding and bias, one could also make an analogy to FedSoc funding of legal projects (or “projects:” Ed Whelan’s Kavanaugh-era twitter maps come to mind): the people who take that money are of a certain theoretical and perhaps ethical bent. As far as I know, multiple of the Epstein-funded/associated men have themselves made public statements such that no one would want their selves or daughters around them, or have credible accusations of sexual misconduct (however, that may be no different than the base rate). Some who took his money knew specifically about the girls, because they defended it, excused it, or otherwise spoke on his prior case. Much, but not all, of that is summarized in the BF link.

        I can tell you this: while there are “many fine people, all the best people” in this mix, there’s quite the coterie of men who were regarded “independently” of this Epstein discussion as scientific misogynists or racists. And to address that will take more than a blog comment.

        I was not joking when I said to Rayne that her post had vast implications, only some of which are known and most of which, to date, have not been cohesively expressed. I wrote about some of these issues years ago– fully naïve to/ avante de Epstein, btw– and never did anything with it and now sorely wish I had done so.

        *Epstein’s go-to quote at these science talks/dinners (per many sources, including his dear friend, in an interview Rayne tweeted IIRC/harpie linked previously): “What’s that got to do with pussy?”

        Best rejoinder (including the GIF):

        Xeni Jardin: ““Science and pussy,” the man said he was solely interested in, and some of you went right along with him, as long as he paid. Now, Science Pussy is interested in you. (GIF: black cat filing nails)”

        **Steve Silberman: “Well, whaddya know. A lot of my science writer friends thought something was off about SEED at the time, too, but it was even more off than we thought.… ”
        Xeni Jardin: “SEED MEDIA GROUP.(screen shots)”

        Additional @xeni re SEED

        NOTE: I happen to have frequently linked @xeni here; while she is taking the lead, with others, on some of these topics, one can read, as I have, much elsewhere. However give credit where it’s due, and AFAIK she started the SEED topic with a tip, to which I (to myself) and plenty of others (on the twitters) went, Oh, jeez– that– yep! Ugh. (It was a short-lived pop-sci mag during some critical years of the saga.)

        • Eureka says:

          Jeffrey Epstein, My Very, Very Sick Pal:
          A very weird interview with Stuart Pivar about Epstein, his science parties, his “pathology,” and the industrial scale of it all.


          [Pivar: …] While everybody was watching, we began to realize he didn’t know what he was talking about. Then after a couple of minutes—Jeffrey had no attention span whatsoever—he would interrupt the conversation and change it and say things like, “What does that got to do with pussy?!”


          [Pivar:] That was his favorite expression. It was a subject changer. And it revealed what was really in his mind. Of course, that was the only thing that was going on in his mind. The poor guy had—it’s hard to, you can’t describe Jeffrey. And because he had dough, he was able to realize the weirdest situations, which he would convoke by bringing brilliant people together and proposing silly ideas at dinner, and everyone would listen because he was handing out dough. And it was an indescribable situation—trying to create some kind of a mini university of thought while he himself knew zero.

        • bmaz says:

          It is the natural outgrowth from naming and shaming scientists that utilized Epstein’s charitable and otherwise funding. And I have seen such calls in other fora.

        • P J Evans says:

          Thank Ghu, that isn’t the area my niece worked in. She was with a different lot, with better people.

        • Rayne says:

          I can’t help see Epstein’s financial contributions into science as part of a massive influence and kompromat operation intended to reach all across STEM; I don’t think this was a vanity issue alone when he really wasn’t engaged in the science as much as mingling male STEM figures with human trafficking.

          Whose program was this if the Maxwells were involved and not just at MIT Media Lab?

          • Vicks says:

            Epstein DID teach math and physics (without a degree) and reports show he attended NYU’s Courant Institute.
            Perhaps he considered himself a bit of a scientist?

            • P J Evans says:

              Without seeing his actual qualifications, I’d say that it’s not uncommon for people to be teaching classes in areas where they aren’t really qualified, though those aren’t usually math and science classes.

          • Eureka says:

            Right. That’s evidenced at least in part by the regular boundary-testing / grooming statements* as bars for entry or part of continuance in the Epstein circle.

            * e.g. Morozov TNR quotes of Brockman emails re the girls; “What’s that got to do with pussy?”; the keeping of secrets behind the ‘open secrets’ (see all over STEM twitter); public statements by fundees defending or excusing pedophilia (e.g. Rebecca Watson (@skepchick) and Reuters each with original reporting in 2015); contents at links above in thread; etc. And that’s not even getting into the half of it.

            Limited-scope sidenote as to Maxwells Q (e.g Guardian article): interesting that it would be a money-in/money-out operation, if that empire was part of the ‘money in’ side.

            • Eureka says:

              Though I must add that (re)making and popularizing science in his own image and interests– in their own images and interests– would be an immortality project continuous with and perhaps partially dependent on any compromising social interactions. And I can see (‘a little dirty, like me’) authority-justified approval as part and parcel of the thrill.

              In other words, the twain of kompromat and vanity would weave to one. Especially for a man who’d decorate his entryway with prosthetic eyeballs.

              The synergy of bad apples at scale is just…

              We’re gonna need a bigger boat for all of the ethical implications.

              Add: * “for,” not “in,” as to proper name of PED in 2nd comment above

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