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May 15, 2006


I think excitement about both Leopold's article and his character are premature. If he's lying, his career is over. If he's been mislead, his credibility is at stake and he says he'll out his sources. If he's right, it's all good. I agree he shouldn't have called you a pussy, but you were coming on agressively at him. He apologized. Why can't we just wait to see what happens?

You miss the point, Ksh01. DHinMI could care less about namecalling.

However, posting as multiple people, or putting others up to do so, is grounds for banning on virtually every blog that takes comments. And the hit to your cred is huge. Leopold sells stories based on assumptions about credibility... of sources of facts, etc.

Think about it.

Um, what he did or didn't call me is largely irrelevant. The issue here is whether anyone should feel comfortable trusting the veracity of someone prone to such pathological deceptions.

Jason Leopold has become the Drudge of the TreasonGate story -- that ought to be worth a seven figure advance from Regnery publishing, or some other hacktacular right wing outfit that pays big bucks to anyone that will smear critics of the preznit and other upstanding . . .

oh, wait . . .

You're right that he's right up the alley for the right's favorite propoganda mill. Fortunately for us we don't have an equivalent.

Here's what I don't get about JL.

IF he's as unreliable as we are wont to believe (and I will say that his behavior leads one to wonder), then WHY do his editors continue to stick behind him?

And, FWIW, and I know most people probably put Laris Alexandrova in the same category as Leopold too, she says his sources are good on this particular story too.

And supposedly Larry Johnson's heard much the same from Joe Wilson.

So, we've got (supposedly) 3 independent confirmations of the KR about to be indicted story. A lot of people will have egg on their face if this is not true.

I honestly don't know who to believe. If it were just Leopold, I'd probably discount it.... but Joe Wilson too? Makes you wonder.

In any case, if the story bears out, I would not be surprised if it didn't shake down exactly as Leopold described on Friday. If he embellishes, I'm certain that it's mostly with the details, but maybe he gets the big picture right.

Did you run a WhoIs on the addresses?

One was in LA, the other I couldn't find anything out about.

I'm not sure why the blogs spend much time giving JL so much airplay. I understand the appetite for Treasongate. That's why folks like me frequent TNH. TalkLeft has dug into this "scoop" by actually speaking with some of the actors and all we have are denials. At this stage I would not give this "scoop" much credence. And further more I would take whatever JL dishes with a huge dollop of salt.

That was the weirdest night I've ever had in the 'sphere. It was an object lesson - what holds in regular 'analog' life also holds in the 'sphere: never argue with someone who's feeling crazy, because it's bound to make YOU crazy, too. I, too, have no ill will for the guy, but I'm not believing anything he says until it's confirmed elsewhere.

Progressive blogs and the community of readers and commenters associated with them have been falsely painted as being rude, untrustworthy, politically immature and a dire threat to reasonable dialog and the responsible distribution of information by pro pundits and others who are threatened by this countervailing balance to the monopoly on political analysis and commentary the corporate media has long enjoyed and abused. The truth is that blogs like TNH, DKos, FDL, and others have been most responsible and this post is a fine case in point. We need to keep a critical eye on the MSM and on those closer to home as well.
Maybe Leopold is on to something. But there is reason to be skeptical. Thanks DHinMI for putting this information on the table for us to consider.

I don't want to argue anyone's side of the case, but I clicked through to the thread where the argument went down and was very surprised to see Leopold say this:

So, after being advised that the NSA was spying on Americans after 9/11, Bush allowed the NSA to continue doing what it had been doing and he went a step further, according to MY sources, and told the NSA to keep the names handy.

The agency, by law, is supposed to black out the names of Americans but it didn't. It kept those names in the system and provided it to certain members of the administration. That was done before 9/11 and Russ Tice will agree to that.

Considering just today I saw this on the ABC's "Bush is Spying on the Press" site:


May 15, 2006 9:47 AM

NSA Whistleblower To Allege Unlawful Acts, Name Hayden
Vic Walter Reports:

NSA whistleblower Russ Tice says he will tell Congress Wednesday of probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts involving the agency's former director, Gen. Michael Hayden

Sounds like he had a pretty damn good source to me. It also sounds like maybe we'll find out for certain. Clearly, it has already been proven that this thing just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Maybe it was just getting too big to properly explain as it got leaked in bits and pieces.

Thanks for filling us in, DHinMI. I think it's good to have this on the record (although I think the term that will eclipse 'on the record' soon is 'googlable'.)

And to the commenter who said he wouldn't be surprised to see it play out just as Leopold said, he is already off his timeline. The "business hours" thing was just a desperate grasp for lifeline when his original 24 hours had played out. Notice that people were already asking questions soon after the story ran, but he didn't make his change until Sunday, after it was clear that his original meaning, 24 hours, had been proven false.

Just for the record, I'm less alarmed by people who post under more than one alias than by people who post under more than one alias in the same thread, pretending to back "each other" up and eliminate dissent. I had at some point posted things that might have alarmed my employer, and begin posting elsewhere under a different name, and now the two names are established, and I haven't seen much point in getting rid of them.

So for the record, and for anyone who wants a little amusement to cut the tension of the Leopold saga, here's a link to a piece by my sockpuppet, ne plus ultra.:


I think I just figured out the strategy behind Leopold's commitment to burn his sources on the Rove indictment if they're wrong.

He'll announce that his sources were former CIA agent Tom Marconi, Andy Gumbel of the Guardian, and Adam Yorkshire.

Remember, when Rove wanted to destroy the Bush cocaine story, he leaked to a very weak person, who could not stand up to an attack. It would make perfect sense to leak disinformation to Leopold, since he is apparently mentally unstable.

When you write that Larissa Alexandrova says Leopold's sources are good for this particular story, by "story," do you mean Plamegate generally, or his specific report on ROve's supposed indictment on Saturday? Because RawStory hasn't linked to Leopold's Saturday story. I know he no longer writes for RawStory, but they've been linking to his truthout stuff. Well, except for this last story, which I find suspicious.

Also, the idea that Joe Wilson knows anything about what supposedly happened on Friday strains belief. Why would Joe Wilson be privvy to a particular Luskin-Rove-Fitz conversation? He wouldn't. Throwing his name into the mix doesn't bolster Leopold's report in the least.

Finally, I find DHinMI's post to be rather illuminating. While I was vaguely aware of Leopold's previous aliases, I didn't realize he had a Mary Rosh thing going (a la John Lott). Ouch. And of course there's his Tom White/Krugman disaster from a few years ago. Maybe he figures any publicity--even bad--is good now that he has a new book to push. I'm hoping Leopold's correct, but it looks like I'll have to find another reason to open my bottle cheap champagne.

Just to throw another monkey wrench into the mix, this from David Corn:

I've been trying not to be drawn into the rumor vortex. (A friend emailed to say that a lawyer involved in the leak case speculated that Rove would be indicted this coming Friday.)


Now, Corn didn't write an entire article about it, and even he admits this to being rumor. Nonetheless, which lawyer could this be? And certainly, nobody would trash Corn's veracity.

Jim E.

Good points, and I'd just add, if Joe Wilson, who famously said he'd like to see Rove "frogmarched", giving us the quote we so gleefully repeat ... if Joe Wilson heard what Leopold heard, and considered it credible -- the Joe Wilson of the Times piece and the Esquire profile -- you think he'd be confirming it by telling some former CIA agent "you can say I heard that too."

He'll be inviting the entire left blogosphere to his house for celebratory drinks. He'll be kissing emptywheel on the lips. He'll be lighting a bonfire in his backyard with scripts from NSA wiretaps, and setting off fireworks smuggled in for al-Qaeda but intercepted by enterprising amateurs because the Bush intelligence services were too busy settling political scores.

When Joe Wilson hears Rove has already been secretly indicted, we won't learn about it through some obscure source. Believe me.

Falcone ne plus ultra:
I think I implied the distincition your distinction, but thanks for making it overt. I have no big issue with more than one identity, my issue is what you spell out, the multiple identities playing off of each other on the same thread, or even not being on the same thread but presenting themselves as if they were more than one person and speaking of each other in the third person.


That makes me think of when Raw Story was breaking the story about the Popes death. Everyone knew he was on his deathbed, so at a certain point it was almost informed guesswork, and if you were wrong at that moment, just wait a few hours and he was going to die anyway.

i have followed and greatly enjoyed talk left's trail of tribulation trying to get to the bottom of leopold's "rove was indicted" story.

whether leopold's account is true or not,

talk left's experience running it to ground provides a great blow-by-blow account of how an "inquiring mind" goes about checking on who said what to whom and when.

talk left, probably from deep experience, was appropriately cautious about putting too much credence in leopold's story.

but it was a big story, if true, and talk left followed thru to see if there might be merit to it.

taken together, the set of two (or three) talk left posts is an educational read - and fun too.

as for leopold's story, i don't know if he is right or wrong.

from my personal point of view there is no,

repeat no,

news story that is not suspect until the info is "replicated" more than once by other news sources.

it is very helpful and, for me, very informative, for the next hurrah to describe its experiences with jason leopold.

it serves as useful background to evaluate his work.

recently i saw a set of similar comments on another much maligned source, capitol hill blue.

this site too is, apparently, not much trusted based on prior experience with its material.


no reader knows who is using whom at any one moment. nor who is in possession of truth, whether by brilliant analysis or lucky contrivance.

it's more a matter of letting a lot of things play out.

so let leopold and domenach write and publish.

with an enormous river of information constantly flowing to us,

and information exchange occurring at a rapid pace via weblogs,

in time we can sort out the accurate from the inaccurate.

the problem for this society is not with individuals like leopold or domenech, who may manufacture fact to meet personal need,

it is from the carefully planned deceptions like those behind (lying behind, maybe?)

the iraq invasion deception,

the net neutrality deception,

the attack on contraception deception,

the global not-warming deception,

that present information puzzles that are difficult and time consuming for posters, commmenters, and readers to solve.

Sharon, what Leopold misleading labels "sources," are emptywheel, viget, TM, Jeff, PollyUSA, PLuk, Jane Hamsher, ReddHedd, aka Christy, and many other fine Plameologists at tnh, FDL, DKos, and around the web. That"s why the broad edges of his stuff survive.
Please review again those threads DHinMI linked to. Jason isn"t simply commenting randomly as someone other than himself. He is pretending to be someone who is neutral, in support of himself. I could comment again here under a different name, praising my own, original comment to illustrate it what he does, but I won"t.
Leopold stated in a radio interview yesterday? that if his sources are not confirmed by tomorrow or Wednesday, that he will "out" them. Since he does not have any sources, other than the one"s he reads on the blogs, I suspect he will "out" people in Luskin"s office, for example, who have never met him, but who would have knowledge of this information, if it existed. IMO these people will then scream that Leopold is a damned liar, to which Jason, will respond, that they are making stuff up, because they are embarrassed.
Meanwhile, Leopold is drawing oxygen away from other stories that need to be told, credit away from those who deserve it, and helping promote the "fever swamp" label that the wingnuts want to hang on the really great progressive blogs, such as tnh.
emptywheel, I hope people in charge of the Kos panel have securtiy with his picture to insure that he does not have access to anything.
I applaud you for this fine post DHinMI. It helps imo if the liberal blogs can identify Jason"s pattern of manipulation. I thought your example on the pope"s death reporting was a perfect example.
OT, I like marky"s comment, the guy needs professional help.

sorry first sentence should be "misleadingly labels".

falcone/ne plus ultra -- The diary you posted on dKos last night (jason leopold, will pitt,and the dozen eyes) is hysterical -- even more so tonight than last night. I hope it gets lots of attention.

For those who need a chance to laugh until they cry, I recommend a little visit to http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/5/15/0449/77448

Sheesh, coloradobl, I read your comment, looked away, and then I couldn't remember who wrote it, and I wondered if Falcone was complimenting ne plus ultra.

This stuff is getting oh so confusing...

Sorry, I am new to this site, which I discovered over this incredible weekend. All the speculation!

Some past Leopold stuff has been accurate. His game playing on this site is very interesting, but if I was writing fake stories on the Plame story, would I go to this site of dedicated Plameologists for validation? Maybe he he is looking for Peer Review. Maybe he is trying to bounce ideas. And he claims to be accessable. So I will give him a pass, for now.


That makes me think of when Raw Story was breaking the story about the Popes death. Everyone knew he was on his deathbed, so at a certain point it was almost informed guesswork, and if you were wrong at that moment, just wait a few hours and he was going to die anyway.

I'm not sure which of my posts you're responding to, but nobody has yet to comment on Tice being one of Leopold's sources in the previously mentioned questionable reporting about the NSA.

That's what I was interested in reading about. However, since I didn't read every single comment about that particular piece, maybe I missed something.

Believe me, I've been around the message board, now blog board, block. I've seen all manner of play in the last ten years including single posters posing as multiple personalities. That ain't nuttin' compared to what I've seen.

I am not coming down on any side either, but this one has me really sort of irked.

Rove is a known 100% dyed in the wool liar. I have no doubt that anyone in his employ wouldn't do the same. In fact, this would be their MO. Defame the accuser.

I will treat Leopold's story with the huge grain of salt I always have, but I'm just not ready to condemn him yet. Sensationalist headlines seem to have taken hold of some left blogs/journals. Huffington Post is equally guilty of that.

So please, someone just clarify the Tice thing, okay? Did Leopold claim Tice as a source or not and if so, considering what Tice is saying now, doesn't that lend Leopold some credence?

Marky has a point. And when Rove wanted to kill the national Guard story, he had some plausible but maybe not quite documents slipped to a weak source who couldn't stand up to the Right blogosphere.

At this point I would guess only Fitz and maybe the GJ know when/if Rove will be indicted. But this story and immigration have successfully diverted the blogs and the conventional media from following stories like the ABC spying and Cheney Plamegate involvement, to say nothing of the continuing stream of lies and incompetence emanating from this most pervasively corrupt of all administrations.


I find the whole business of bloggers investigating the commenters creepy enough, but then you suggest that anyone in the world should “Scroll over the names on the thread at TNH, and you might be able to make more connections using the emails.”

And, then when you find information that you consider suspicious, you print the suspicion before you even confirm or speak to the person, like Larry Johnson or the Guardian reporter? (As an aside, I find this curious given that many are attacking Jason Leopold for inaccurate reporting or the failure to confirm his report with the appropriate number of sources. And, TalkLeft was able to reach Johnson, by email I think, to obtain a similar type of confirmation.)

It is one thing for Orwellian Bush to probably be reading my overseas emails, and perhaps domestic as well, and track our phone records to compile a database with personal information, etc. but liberal bloggers?

I am not a tech and don’t know what personal information is obtained by either the ISP address or email, but what ever happened to privacy? At the very least, it seems that you can determine where the commenter is geographically located. What ever happened to that pledge circulating the blogs to practice ethics by not invading our privacy? And please don’t tell me that if you are “innocent” that you have nothing to worry about - that is what Bush says each time he violates our constitutional and civil rights - privacy is just private, that simple. I realize that when one comments on a blog, while there is the feeling of a private chat, it is online for all to see. But, does that mean we have to feel uncomfortable knowing that we may be investigated? There are times since 9/11 that I and others have held back what we would like to say in one circumstance or another because there is such a “big brother” feel in America now. But, I also assumed it would be Bush, not liberals, invading my privacy.

"but if I was writing fake stories on the Plame story, would I go to this site of dedicated Plameologists for validation?"
Jim, imo, he's not writing "fake stories." He's stealing theories from the Plameologists and sourcing his posts to anonymous sources that in reality don't exist. His "sources" aren't anonymous, they are the Plameologists, but he won't admit that.

Give me a break. Run your cursor over my name on this comment, and you'll get a sense of how serious I belive your claims about me bing big brother really are.

And if you think the true ethics breach is me exposing Jason Leopold's fraud and not his fraud itself, you live in upsidedownworld.

At this point I would guess only Fitz and maybe the GJ know when/if Rove will be indicted. But this story and immigration have successfully diverted the blogs and the conventional media from following stories like the ABC spying and Cheney Plamegate involvement, to say nothing of the continuing stream of lies and incompetence emanating from this most pervasively corrupt of all administrations.

Actually, I think the stupid immigration speech alone has successfully diverted the mainstream press.

Christ, even ABC didn't have the balls to put up their own report on spying on the press on World News Tonight. They most certainly didn't say anything at all about the Plame case.

And as far as I can tell, a minor diversion on the blogs hasn't at all hurt coverage of other issues.

I sense, like in all areas of life, we all are subject to being sucked into whatever the latest controversy is. No harm in it playing out, really. Better to air everyone's laundry in the hopes that we eventually get a little cleaner than MSM these days.

Despite the history, I hope Leopold got the scoop.

John Casper, i think you mischaracterize Leopold's sources. Will Pitt has confirmed that he has spoken to all the sources.

independent of whether the story is accurate or not, it's not like leopold will be able to point to random strangers in a crowd and scream "they told me! they told me!"

Silly? You conducted an investigation of your commenters. In order to determine that certain comments came from the same ISP address, I assume that you checked out each commenter to find their ISP address so that you could compare for matches. The point is that you investigated us!

Assuming arguendo that Jason committed a fraud and that you somehow exposed it, the ends don’t justify the means: You don’t expose any such fraud by invading your commenters’ privacy. Exposing Jason (if you did) does not make it somehow correct that you invaded your commenters’ privacy. How can liberals attack Bush whenever he takes action under the rubric that the ends justify the means, if we do the same? It is a matter of degree in that Bush is extremist and you are not, but it is the same principle.

I also am not saying that investigating your commenters is anywhere near the level of Bush’s big brother conduct. But it is the same principle, just that your investigation lies at the low end of the continuum, let’s say a 2 and Bush’s conduct lies at the other end of the continuum, let’s say a trillion. But, it is the same principle of secret probes that invade privacy. Bush is taking our phone calling records and tracking back to obtain more personal information. You took our names or emails to trackback to find our ISP information. It’s a big difference in degree, but not of principle.

The other aspect is that when emptywheel did her story in the aforementioned thread that is the subject of your post, she stated and cited and quoted facts and then she did a thorough analysis to reach a conclusion. She did not have to establish or confirm the facts because the facts were from documents or Jason’s article. But, you did not do the same. Here, you assume facts, as you did not confirm the information with Larry Johnson. The troubling aspect is that whether you like Jason or not, whether you find him credible or not, he is writing for his bread and butter while many bloggers are blogging as hobby. So, it seems that we need to be careful before handing out speculation because perceptions can harm reputations which harm careers. I also am not casting judgment as to whether your conduct or Jason’s conduct is better or worse. That is not the point of my comments, whose focus is investigating, not the substantive issues you raise.

Thanks lukery. I hope you are right and Leopold is right and I am wrong.
I am not familiar with Will Pitt.
Why would these "sources" go only to Leopold?
Why would they confirm to Pitt, but not go to Murray Waas or the WaPo or the NYT's?
I am not asking you to answer these questions, but given Jason's conduct at tnh, I will continue to be very very skeptical, even if he is 100% vindicated on these latest scoops.

Leopold freely admits a lifelong history of mental illness (presumably a bipolar condition), that he has attempted suicide several times, that he has battled cocaine addiction. He concedes that in his journalistic career he freely engaged in "lying, cheating and backstabbing," and that was fired by at least one mainstream media outlet (The Los Angeles Times) for "threatening to rip another employee's head off." This doesn't include his journalistic faux pas, including the notorious Salon story retracted in 2002 (Leopold's smoking gun e-mail from Enron executive Thomas White could not be verified as true). Although Leopold quit Dow Jones, by his own admission the organization was about to fire him because "I got all of the facts wrong." Oh, and did I mention that Leopold spent time in jail, and has a conviction for grand larceny?

Leopold deserves our sympathy -- and our skepticism. Like many of us, I have wanted to believe Leopold's reporting on the CIA leak scandal. But let's face it, Leopold's stories just don't stack up, and they increasingly seem more an illustration of his state of mind than anything else. Difficult as it is, DHinMI has done us a service with this diary, laying out some of Leopold's known sockpuppet habits. I see no invasion of privacy in showing how multiple messages on a TNH thread, purportedly from different (real) individuals who were all shilling for Leopold, came from a computer from which Leopold's own messages originated. What's the violation, given that his IP address itself was not published?

I view Leopold's latest reporting as a cry for help. Let's hope he gets it.

patriot daily,

he didn't investigate any of the posters. The ISP address just gives a machine number for the server initiating the address. First of all, anyone who hosts a website gets this info. Second, it doesn't tell you anything. Virtually all AOL service originates from servers in No. Virginia, for instance. I used to run a site that was extremely local to Chicago, yet our top city for the requesting server for hits on our page was in Fairfax Co, VA.

So really, about the only thing you can tell from the ISP info is the kind of stuff DHinMI already revealed. If Leopold e-mails, you can tell an arbitrary number assigned to the server where the request came from, and you can watch as that server originates new requests, but you can't tell who it is or where they are since your service provider usually routes your page requests through server in a bank of servers in some central location.

However, your provider will usually maintain a single connection between you and your server for the course of a single session. Thus, if you post as Jason Leopold, and later as Noah Webster, and later as Noam Chomsky, they will all seem to originate from the same server. It's always possible that Jason and Noam both sent requests that DID route through the same server.

Then, if you log off, or if there is some momentary glitch in the ISP connection, and you come back to Thenexthurrah and post again as Jason, and then as Richard Prior, you may now have a different ISP, but again, that ISP will be held constant for the duration of your new user session.

The other thing about what DHinMI did is that he was investigating comments he considered suspicious. I have no trouble with that. And it turned out that he was right.

Patriot Daily -- IP addresses are recorded by a majority of comment software to allow abuse to be handled through ISP's complaint process. It is the network equivalent of caller ID on telephones, which most of us take for granted unless we purchase ID blocking. The poster in question used the same or related "phone numbers", more or less, to leave their commments. That's not spying, it's an observation of material that is publicly available.

However, I must say I remain skeptical about the entire situation. Leopold may have been compromised, but there's so little information that we can't tell for certain -- not unlike Rather-gate. The commenter with multiple avatars/identities may/may not have been Leopold; what I've read so far only tells me that one or two networks were used, and that they may or may not be linked back directly to the user.

That said, I am just as skeptical about Byron York's piece that denied a Rove indictment; it takes little to pick apart what is little more than careful parsing. Was there a sealed indictment filed in the past? Was there a target letter? Just two questions that York did not address in his piece. For all we know, York (or Rove, or any other operative) could have used an ISP based in LA to post comments in an effort discredit Leopold, to augment York's own rather too late denial story.

Per the taglines of one of my favorite television shows:
Trust no one. The truth is out there.

DHinMI and DemfromCT: Naw, I got your points, it's just that it seems like there are better ways to spend time while we testily wait for news than walking toward conflict with JL. Sounds like he's an insecure ass, but if the information you published here doesn't do anything to disprove or prove what he wrote, you've only shown he's an insecure ass.

Two points:

One, I'm going to wait a few days and reserve judgment. I feel like a damn fool however for saying to someone I work with, that "Good News was coming soon". I sent that note to my boss on Saturday and didn't know of Jason's past. Had I known, well I would have taken the report with a grain of salt.

Two, if multiple individuals are on a common network behind a Firewall, wouldn't they show the same IP address? For example, that person could be using a 10.X.X.X IP internally--but it won't display as such on the outside. I'm actually doing that now and the INTERNAL IP is Go ahead and try to ping me, you would be wasting your time! The reason I don't care is my post goes through a firewall and if DHinMI or anyone else does a check of my IP--they will get the public version which does not start with "10". What if Jason, William Rivers Pitt and Marc Ash were all commenting from behind Truthout's firewall? Wouldn't they show up as being from the same ip address?

I'm not justifying the use of multiple id's, but I can see how this would appear to be the case when it.....

John Casper - Will Pitt is the editor of TruthOut. he said:
"For those who have been waiting for this, here it is. For those who still doubt, well, I guess this is the big throwdown. We are reporting this has happened, we have checked and re-checked our sources. Truthout is breaking this first."

re "why not go to NYT?" - Raw's John Byrne said (FWIW):
"Why do we get the sources? I’ll tell you. Because a lot of people are afraid of the New York Times and the Washington Post. They’ve seen people get burned badly. We don’t expose our sources, we don’t play games with people, we don’t have a hidden corporate agenda — we believe in what we’re writing about, we believe reporting can affect positive change."

(FTR, i'm not defending any position here)

Quicksilver, falconel204, rayne, Ron Russell:

So, if I understand correctly the only thing that DHinMI did was look at our emails, determine our ISP address number and from that comparison determine that several people named in his post posted messages that were sent from the same computer. But, he did not take it further to determine our names, locations, etc. because I was informed that you could take some of that information and find additional information about the users. So, that makes me feel much, much better because we posted in that thread. Thank you all for your very helpful explanations. Although, if I understand correctly, it does seem that some of you are saying that checking out the ISP does not produce a definitive, categorical conclusion that 2 or more messages came from the same computer, so it seems some additional checking would have been appropriate before concluding that Jason used all these fake names. Anyhow, thank you very much.

patriot daily,

I don't believe it's possible to track a user from the information found in the user reports I'm talking about.

It's certainly not something that anyone here could do. That's why DHinMI gave the caveat that perhaps all these people were "together." It's theoretically possible that the former CIA agent, the reporter for the British newspaper and Jason Leopold just happened to post via the same server, and just happened to be fierce defenders of Leopold's position. DHinMI is certainly not able to be any more specific than that. He doesn't even know where they were posting from, merely that their requests were routed through a server in LA and another server elsewhere. But as I mentioned, AOL requests all used to route through northern VA, regardless of where the person typing in the web address and hitting GO was sitting, so the location of the server isn't particularly telling.

Even the NSA would have to subpoena an ISP to get the identity of a web user based on the time-stamp of the request and the server number given as the origin. Well, maybe as of yesterday they no longer bother with subpoenas, but you get the sense of how difficult it would be. No, DHinMI didn't figure out anyone's identity through his research.

One thing that is fascinating is that both Leopold and Luskin made statements of fact that could in theory be easily refuted (example: Fitzgerald's physical location on Friday).

Thanks lukery.

I found DHinMI's post and his comments on the Dailykos diary to be informative. In evaluating any news story as potentially explosive as a Rove indictment, it is important to be able to ascertain the credibility of the news reporter. A reporter's credibility is based on the totality of his work. DHinMI provided very important information in assessing Leopold's credibility in his ongoing reporting of the "looming" indictment of Rove.

I put little stock in his reporting as of now. And I would also point out that there were several inconsistencies in his reporting of the Rove indictment story. I hope that I'm wrong in my assessment and it's a case of being burned by his sources but then he must also accept responsibility for trusting in those same sources.

I'd first like to thank tnh for the amazing work you guys do - particularly emptywheel - and the gang of commenters. I have missed very few posts (and all the comments) by her over the last 2 years (God has it been that long!). Brilliant work.

After reading the dialogue you refered us to, and some of your posts above, I must say that your writing style definitely puts one on the defensive. Its very combative.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate you providing any information that will give us insight, but i'm not sure its fair of you to attack Leopold's credibility or integrity in the manner in which you did. What i'm trying to saying is, it's one thing to offer it for us readers to gain better understanding, its another to trash him in the mean-spirited way in which you did.

The way I read Leopold, I see an immature individual working his tail off to uncover the truth. And in doing so, makes mistakes, doesn't report clearly, maybe exaggerates detail, obviously does not handle criticism well, and maybe plays childish sign-on games. All of which, should not be condoned, but unfortunately seems consistent with his past.

That being said, to me, he clearly shows a passion and skill at going the extra mile in seeking the truth. That should be applauded. If the guy is wrong, lied, whatever, the truth will come.

But what purpose do you serve in critizing him? What is your reason for calling him a sockpuppet? You said, "he's struggled with some substance abuse and mental illness issues. He has my sympathy for this." How mean and disinginuous of you!

If you are skeptical, just say so. If your attempt was to provide us all pertinent info, great and honestly, thank you! But you're talking about a human being here. Tearing him down doesn't help anyone.

Fireback: I may have some sympathy for Jason Leopold the person. But Jason Leopold the journalist and public figure is a fraud, and he gets no sympathy from me. If you can't trust a journalist, what good are they? As Quicksilver lays out above, Leopold has a career of fraud, lies and deceit. Then, he came to a blog I set up, and with Trapper John and Meteor Blades I recruited all the contributors, and he brought his lying, decieving ways and tainted our blog. Screw him.

Do you have the same concern about Karl Rove? Rush Limbaugh? Judith Miller? If not, why not?

I have little tolerance for deceit, and I'm baffled by people more concerned with my tone than with Jason Leopold's bizzarroworld behavior and lack of professional and intellectual integrity. I have a hard time understanding why people wouldn't be pissed off if Jason Leopold is decieving them.

Leopold is a nutter. His story was facially implausible from the get-go. There were several telling "details" of the story that simply made no sense at all. What prosecutor on earth would tell a subject of an investigation on FRIDAY that he has 24 hours "to get his affairs in order"? Nobody. And what of this "getting affairs in order" crap? Straight out of a B-movie. Rove would not have to "get his affiars in order" because he would not be incarcerated pending trial. Then of course after the 24 hours elapsed, he backpedaled like a doomsday cultist whose prediction that the world would end on Sunday didn't quite pan out. Then he says that "24 hours" meant 24 *business* hours. Right. (Cue John Lovitz voice.) That's the ticket. Who talks like that? Think about it. "You have 24 business hours to leave town, pardner."
Of course this is the same person who writes in one place that Fitzgerald met with rove and his attorney for more than half of the day and in another place that the meeting lasted an astonishing 15 hours. OK, when he talks about the length of a meeting, he's using the regular old 24-hour clock, not the (presumably) 8-hour "business hours" clock. What a complete crock.
And this all leaves aside the inherent improbability that Fitz would have -- prior to the putative Friday meeting, but after Rove's fifth tript to the GJ -- already presented the whole case against Rove to the GJ, asked the GJ to vote on the charges, secured a true bill, and then headed over to Patton Boggs without anyone else having noticed all the activity.
Jeralyn gamely set out a scenario that could have played out in the real world that all of us live in -- viz., that Fitz offered rove a deal with a deadline, after which he would take the case to the GJ -- but that scenario diverges markedly from the key, explosive assertions in the article, most notably the assertion that the GJ already indicted Rove at some unspecified point in the past.
All this and more could be teased out just from the face of the article, without looking at al into his past -- which is decidedly dodgy -- and things like his incoherent account of the whole Salon fiasco (available at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0210/S00063.htm). You pile it all up together and you have a steaming heap of manure that, as a commenter above aptly noted, is proving to be a really irritating distraction. The guy needs help, not the attention he is so desperately craving.

Thanks Sebastian. Am I correct in assuming that Jason's "clarified" twenty-four hour deadline, expired Tuesday at 12:01AM?

If so when is Jason going to reveal his sources?

When I went to bed last night, I had no idea this thread could actually devolve into attacks on DHinMI, simply for stating that this guy pushing a story we'd all love to be true has a zero track record of credibility. It's very important we not let this story get usurped by fallacious rumor-mongers; I was very glad to know Leopold's history, and discount my expectations accordingly.

My vote's with DHinMI, who's never lied to me.

Without credibility blogs are like so much high school gossip. Emptywheel often speculates here but she caveats her work appropriately. Leopold did nothing of the sort. If Leopold is playing some kind of game trying to guess right on the Rove indictment (like the FDL contest) and passing it off as reporting he needs to be shown as a fradulent reporter. Horoscopes are sometimes right but they are not reporting.

As for the ISP and multiple names, Jason Leopold publishes under his own name. If he's using pseudonyms to create false debate online that fact is relevant when assessing his credibility. It's hardly Big Brother to use a feature built into TypePad to check your incoming traffic.

I'm glad DHinMI posted this entry. Many good people have invested hundreds of hours sorting out the details of this case in good faith. A high profile mistake would do a disservice to everyone who's been meticulous and patient over the past years reporting public details and piecing together a puzzle. Blogs rail about anonymous sources in the MSM. It's just as bad on blogs - especially if these same anonymous sources turn out to be so much Page 6 garbage. If Jason Leopold wants to be Matt Drudge, more power to him. If he acts like Matt Drudge and claims to be Murray Waas, that's a huge problem.

From Jeralyn at TalkLeft:
"Luskin Denies Truth of Leopold Article on Karl Rove Indictment" Monday :: May 15, 2006
"Robert Luskin, Karl Rove's attorney, has officially denied the allegations in Jason Leopold's article reporting Rove has been indicted and that there was a Fitzgerald-Luskin meeting on Friday. I received the denial directly from Robert Luskin this afternoon.
1. Luskin stands by his April 26 statement in its entirety.
2. Karl Rove's status has not changed. They remain confident Fitzgerald will decline to bring any charges.
3. There is "no truth whatsoever" to any of Jason Leopold's recent stories about Karl Rove's resignation, the alleged meeting in his office or the Indictment. The denial he gave me Saturday night was and was intended to be "all purpose."
4. As far as he knows, Patrick Fitzgerald was in Chicago on Friday.
5. People should not interpret their "unwillingness to comment on every wild and malicious rumor as a change in position."

Okay, so this is a parsing alert.

Reading Sebastian's post helped me create a wildly improbable, but nonetheless, plausible, scenario that might help repair some of the discrepancies.

I'll say from the get-go that I believe Leopold has good sources, these sources are accurate, but I don't believe that Leopold necessarily lays it out for us as his sources did for him. That is, I think he likes to embellish a lot of the details while leaving the big picture intact.

In any case, perhaps it is possible that the previous GJ had a sealed indictment for Rove, which has yet to be revealed (and presumably includes false statements and perjury charges). When Luskin pulled his last-minute "give Fitzgerald pause" stunt by revealing info about VNovak and/or Woody, Fitz agreed not to announce any indictments of Rover at that time, until he investigated these new leads.

That's since been done. And I think Fitzgerald found more holes in the story, maybe enough now that he's considering tacking on at least one obstruction of justice charge. And he's now got enough to possibly get an indictment on that too.

So perhaps what happened this past week (maybe on Friday) is that Fitzgerald strongly hinted at the possibility of a sealed indictment already out there, and laid out a plea agreement with some of the charges in that indictment, while agreeing to drop any further prosecution along the lines of an obstruction charge. He gave Rove and Luskin a deadline to consider his offer, after which he will take his new indictment with the obstruction charge(s) to the GJ, probably tomorrow (Wed.).

Assuming Rover doesn't cop a plea then, I guess the GJ will consider the indictment tomorrow and/or Friday, and we'll probably have a presser on Friday afternoon to announce the charges.

So I guess what I'm saying, is that maybe the "already indicted" story might be true, in that Rove was indicted a long time ago, but Luskin just learned about it this past week. And maybe he and Fitzgerald didn't actually meet in person on Friday, but conferenced about the plea deal. Then Rove and Luskin met in person Friday for quite a while (hence the "15 hours" bit). I agree that the "24 hours to get your affairs in order" does sound like something out of a B movie.

In any case, I doubt we'll ever know one way or the other.

Damn it Leopold!, you got me up til 3am and now my days all screwed up

My only point was that I'm not sure where your belief that he's a fraud requires you to personalize it. That's all.

Frankly, as I said, I am very thankful you provided this insight and I'll thank you again for your work on this blog. Regardless of whether Leopold is right on this story, it doesn't change my opinion that we should be much more skeptical of his reports than others. He clearly lacks the "credibility, integrity, and care with sources" as you put it, to give too much trust towards.

The way I read your posts though, it sounded like your motive was much more personal than it needed to be.

On your questions about Rove, Rush and Miller, they are just corrupt and evil, Leopold probably just needs some therapy.

I too have had a history of mental illness and......uhhhhh, ooops, wait a minute...that was for a different blog :)

The real loser here will be Truthout. Leopold's reputation proceeds him, apparently. But a site trying to make a reputation for itself should never go too far out on a limb.

Most people forget that in the middle of the Watergate scandal, while Woodward and Bernstein were writing their stories, the rest of the paper went about its business including running columns critical of the coverage, as well as news stories that sometime contradicted WoodStein's stories. That's the way things should work.

Online, sites are like one big organism. When Leopold writes a story like this the site circles the wagons and digs in for the long haul -- even if it means the site is destroyed by the story. It doesn't have to be that way.

Leave it to you to spin out a fascinating and really not too implausible scenario. There can be no doubt that Luskin's 4/26 statement was a mightily lawyered piece of prose; one can't help but treat the "in connection with this appearance" locution as anything other than carefully advertent. (And it should go without saying that as a matter of wishes, I would be really quite pleased to discover that the truthout story is right and that I'm being a silly "concern troll"; I also wish that Santy Cluas exists and that he will pay all of my student loans for me this year.)
It is entirely possible that some or another smidgen of the truthout story will prove to have a kernel of truth behind it -- whether by sheer fortuity or by dint of there beinr parts of the story that actually are derived from actual sources whom one could be forgiven for giving credence to. It is also possible that the story did more-or-less accurately relate what sources (falsely, recklessly, negligently, whatever) told Leopold, and thus that the maybe-Leopold-and-Pitt-were-played version of the advance apologetics is accurate. And it is possible that the story is the product of rather garbled understandings of what's happening being relayed by several sources and sources-of-sources times with inaccuracies proliferating geometrically with each telling -- a la the "telephone game" -- with all of it getting further garbled in the end in the grand incoherent bouillaibaise that Leopold and/or his editors served up in the story. As one might tell from the snark, I have doubts that even these (relatively) innocuous scenarios (in comparison to the the-whole-thing-was-woven-out-of-speculation-and-whole-cloth-in-the-hopes-that-an-indictment-will-happen-this-week-thus-giving-truthout-an-excuse-to-claim-the-story-was-"essentially-accurate" scenario) are realistic possibilities. But none of them exonerates the writer or the publisher. In fact, each scenario is quite damning. The more innocuous scenarios in fact indicate a culpable level of incuriousity or skepticisim toward dubious information.

These two intries from Wayne Madsen add some fuel to the speculation of a plausable alternative narritive.

"May 13, 2006 -- Yesterday afternoon, WMR was staked out at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington awaiting any developments in the CIA leak case. A little after noon, a large motorcade consisting of black and one green SUV, several police cars and police motorcycles sped into the street behind the courthouse. Two SUVs split from the motorcade and quickly dashed into the underground parking garage. Several personal security officers were spotted on guard in the annex of the courthouse where the CIA leak case grand jury was meeting. Although there is no final confirmation that the motorcade was that of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, there is every indication that he spent approximately a little under 30 minutes in the courthouse."

and this entry from October 2005

"October 19, 2005 -- As of 3:45 pm, there was still no word on indictments coming out of the Grand Jury on Leakgate. But WMR can report the following: At approximately 4:45 pm, a motorcade consisting of a limousine, an SUV with well-armed security personnel, and a Washington, DC police car pulled into the annex of the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on the 3rd Streetside of the courthouse complex on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC. The occupants of the motorcade spent approximately 40 minutes inside the courthouse. There is speculation that the motorcade was that of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Sources familiar with the operations of special prosecutors are of the opinion that given the makeup of the motorcade, the time spent by the party in the courthouse, and the moving of the Grand Jury today to new quarters, the Grand Jury and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald have concluded their deliberations and, as both a formality and a courtesy, Gonzales was invited to the courtroom to hear the indictments, have an opportunity to question the jurors, and be the first to convey the outcome of the secret proceedings to the White House."


Yeah, I guess, never having been a plagiarizer myself, I find it difficult how people can invent stories out of whole cloth and still sleep at night. And furthermore, how they can hoodwink their editors, who I presume in such extraordinary cases also independently verify the legitimacy of these sources.

Maybe I'm just naive. For all I know, the truthout editors and Leopold are in cahoots just to direct more site traffic their way. Right or wrong, this has done wonders to their hit count, I'm sure.

In any case, I am witholding judgement until 5 pm EDT Friday. If no indictment then, well I'll never believe anything that Leopold ever reports again.

BTW, the reason I come up with such crazy narratives, is a function of what I do in real life. I'm an MD/PhD student: in the clinics, we're always taught to look for "unifying" diagnoses that can account for seemingly disparate and random signs and symptoms of disease, and find a relatively uncommon syndrome that fits the bill, and in the lab, we take pieces of data that make no sense and stare at them crosswise until we finally can draw up a new model that explains all the discrepancies. We then test that new model to see if it fits.

Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of "testing" my models in Plameology, so I'll never know if they're right. One of the downsides to social sciences, I'm afraid.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't caveat that with the fact that Mr. Ockham's razor applies 9 times out of 10, and such contorted leaps of logic and reasoning are usually not necessary. As the old clinical maxim goes, "When you hear hoofbeats, think 'horse', not 'zebra'." Oddly enough though, as a med student, the teaching always seems to focus on the zebras, since they're much more interesting (and are potentially targets of NIH grants), so you can see why such "out of the box" thinking is actually applauded around here.

They then cure you of your obsession of all things "zebra" when you do your residency, whereby you are promptly indoctrinated back into the equine fold by the relentless onslaught of the ubiquitous MI (heart attack), exacerbation of heart failure, COPD (emphysema), or diabetic foot ulcer. Those of us who are incurable are sentenced to the hell that is academic medicine (no offense to emptypockets :) ).

Leopold's March 29th comment was candid:

"My last four stories (prior to the one published yesterday) were based entirely on the transcript of Feb. 24. I purchased that transcript from the court reporter. I was his only customer. Not a single news outlet bothered to obtain it. And there was a lot of revelatory information in there aside from the 250 pages of emails that I first reported. That's what is truly unbelievable to me. No one in the mainstream cares. So if you want to know what's happening on this story you'll be hard-pressed to find anything in the papers or on cable. There are really only a few of us that have been working this 'beat.' I am one of them. And I am grateful that I have been able to report the news. Some have called it scoops. I just think it's news."

Leopold is correct in pointing out that none of our traditional media -- not the Times or the Post, not even one of our regional newspapers -- takes an interest in court transcipts. Why does no major media outlet reproduce them online? Jason Leopold passed the latest (May 5th) on to Jeralyn just last week. That's a scandal in itself, that the Washington's journalistic establishment is so incurious. It's created the void in which a Leopold can thrive.

Though MSM was all over the May 5 transcript. I'd guess at least 7 outlets reported from the hearing. The earlier transcript was a different issue; we were trying to get a copy here but weren't able to do so. And, IIRC, at least one or two outlets reported on that hearing. (Remember the conflicting reporting about the Colin Powell September comment, and the speculations on Armitage.)

Quicksilver: that's a GREAT point. It's like Jason Leopold is an unreliable and most likely unstable version of I.F. Stone.


My bad, I misremembered, the MSM did fuss about it; I was out of the country on May 5th and played Plameology catch-up.

What a travesty that the MSM isn't making more of the notes which show Cheney as architect of the Plame leak. It's the biggest bombshell in the case.


I.F. Stone reading emptywheel, with his fingers crossed

I agree. WaPo's Tom Edsall is sympathetic, but from the WaPo's online political chat on Monday, it's evident that his editor's are not:
"Milwaukee, Wis.: Tom, thanks for all your fine work. The scoop about Vice-President Cheney annotating Joe Wilson's op-ed came out of Court filings in the Libby case. The blogs are tearing into those filings, because there is more there. I hope The Post does too.
Tom Edsall: Dick Cheney's role in this and other controversies deserves much more attention."

If she must publish, it's just that it's under the auspices of the Wall Street Journal Editoral Page, whose track record on the CIA leak scandal has been so abysmal. Who can forget what they wrote on July 13th, 2005, praising Karl Rove as a "whistleblower," in the wake of the revelation that Karl Rove had leaked to Matt Cooper (and after the White House had been lying about Rove's role for nearly two years)? "He told the truth about Wilson." Just not to the FBI and grand jury.

Loyal as ever to Cheney, Bush, Rove, and the cabal, it's little wonder the WSJ Editorial Board is now plotting Judy's rehabilitation.

oops -- meant to put that comment on emptywheel's Judy thread. Will repost. My apologies.

I've been an agnostic on the subject of Leopold's credibility, but after reading the Salon article linked at


you can put me down in the gnostic camp.
No, this isn't about the 2002 article---it's about his current reporting.
At BEST, he's a mentally unstable huckster.
His responses to the questions in this interview are totally unprofessional.

The reason that MSM doesn't often publish court transcripts of hearings is that it's a no-no in the legal world. Court reporters rely on the income. They get $1.50 or so a page everytime it's ordered. Commercial companies like Exemplaris.com sell court transcripts as well, I've assumed they make a deal with the court reporter so s/he doesn't get bogged down with the requests. The MSM may be buying them from the commercial companies.

The court docket sheets will reflect when a transcript has been made, but the click-through advises that the transcript is available for inspection in the clerk's office. (Or, they should add, for purchase from the court reporter or commercial service.)

In Moussaoui, this was particularly a problem. Cryptome.org bought the first weeks of transcripts in the case and published them online but ran out of funds. I felt like my lifeline was cut off when they stopped, but it was thousands of dollars for them to continue and they just couldn't do it.

Jason let me know weeks before the May 5 hearing that he would be buying a copy of the transcript and would share it with me. He did, and was glad I agreed to host it online. Had I been the one to purchase it, I doubt I would have posted it online, since it would have been a no-no of my agreement to purchase it.

While many reporters attended the hearing and reported on it, I don't know how many read the transcript. I do know that Tom Maguire made arrangements to purchase it the same day I posted it, because I told him not to bother, I would have it up within hours.

By contrast, the pleadings are available from the court website (thru Pacer) to those with accounts at 8 cents a page. I check Libby's case almost every night and buy the pleadings and then post them. It comes to around $45 a month, which is not a big deal. As soon as I get them, I send them out to Firedoglake and Maguire--before I've even written about them. (I'll be glad to add Empty Wheel if she wants them.)

The best way to get the real scoop in a case is by reading the pleadings and transcripts. It's unfortunate that the cost of transcripts is so prohibitive. But I think Jason is to be commended for offering to share it with the blogosphere.

One other point. I have no idea if Jason's report about Rove's indictment will prove correct -- but the number of comments above slamming him as a crazy and a huckster don't sound like the Jason I know. I have never met him in person, but have emailed with him for months and spoken to him on the phone several times in the past few weeks, and he seems normal to me. He's not hyper, he's articulate, and he doesn't seem to be off in his own private world.

I believe Jason is reporting what his multiple sources have told him. My problems are with the information his sources are providing, not with Jason.

But how does your impression of Jason square with the fact that he has admitted to psychological problems and even suicidal intentions?
Frankly, I'm concerned for his well-being at this stage. No matter what the facts of this story are, the pressure could certainly be getting to him. It would be affecting anyone. With his history, I would hope that those who know him are staying in close contact with him.

For the record, on January 14th, when challenged on another story, Leopold claimed that his sources would soon go on the record, and later wrote that they had agreed to speak out. Part of a pattern? Surely Leopold's past is relevant to what's happening now. In trying to figure out the Leopold puzzle, are we wrong not to examine every clue?

Hi everyone -- my name is Adam Yorkshire. Yes, The Adam Yorkshire. To the greatest extent of my knowledge, I am the only Adam Yorkshire in the world, and the only one that uses the e-mail address the original comments were linked to. I have never posted anything related to Jason Leopold, positive or negative. Thanks, AY

You might want to compare the URLs against those that have been used to disrupt the Jason Leopold page on wikipedia, like and

can we take this down now? i'm tired of my name being used.

Get rid of this page already

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