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October 05, 2006

On That Fake Blog

For those of you who haven't followed the links before, you may wonder how StopSexPredators fits into all of this. A good review, from a liberal, is here; he too comes to the conclusion the blog is "fake" and basically deceptive.

Pretending to be a general site about child sex predators, this site, which no one -- no one -- ever heard of apparently, somehow, got discovered by a congressional page with access to the dirty emails and IP's, who then sent them on to SSP, giving SSP a "scoop."

As the liberal site cited above describes, it's a pretty transparent hoax. The site didn't post much, what little it did post was "uninteresting" and cribbed from Wikipedia entries, and didn't even provably exist for many days before it broke the Mark Foley story.

Furthermore, someone calling himself "WHIntern" on the Daily Kos wrote a single diary entry, spreading the word of what he had found on this site about Mark Foley. "WHIntern" claims that he discovered StopSexPredators by Googling. One problem-- this liberal blogger finds that Google hadn't even discovered SSP at this point.

So that's not true.

Further, when Google's millions of web-crawling bots can't find you, that means you don't, for any practical purposes, exist on the Internet.

So how did this Tipster all loaded up with these incriminating IM's "find" SSP?

Well, he didn't. More than likely, he writes SSP himself.

The liberal blogger shares the conclusion that this is a fake blog, created deceptively to suggest a "web presence" which would provide cover to the story about a "page discovering the site and sending in the emails and IM's." He disagrees with the "wingers'" theory, though, that this is a put-up job by the left.

He suggests instead -- not implausibly -- that this could just be a page who wanted vengeance against Foley, for, maybe, either hitting on him or on his friends. He doesn't suggest why all the deception was needed, but obvious answers occur to one (the page didn't want to be known as a tattletale, and harm his possible future career, or be the subject of a media frenzy, etc.)

Possible. I can't say that's unreasonable.

However, we do know, per Dick Morris, "a prominent member" of the Democratic leadership has known about these emails for months. We also know the person in question used the Daily Kos to get the word out. And, of course, one of the biggest pushers of the story is CREW, headed, coincedentally, by a former Conyers staffer, and SSP originates, also coincidentally, in or on the border of Conyers' district.

And-- isn't this a little sophisticated for a teenager with a grudge? Hardly dispositive, but the whole deal suggests to me someone pretty blog-savvy about how to push a story into the media without any fingerprints on it.

"A teenager with a grudge" could have gone straight to ABCNews, after all. They would have withheld his identity. (Well, they would have tried -- as we know, ABCNews was sloppy about hiding the identity of the 18-year-old "prankster.")

Or: Why not just go the more direct route of publishing these emails and IM's on the Daily Kos itself?

Why this level of subterfuge?

To me this suggests that the person behind SSP wanted to push other people's stories into the media, without their approval, and wanted to do without being called on "outing" teenaged victims of Foley. And to me, that suggests the Democratic Party, or lefty bloggers, who really want this story out there, but don't want it linked to them.

Still, the simpler explanation -- that this site was just created by, say, a former page (and a Democrat) who heard about Foley, got hold of the emails, and sought to out him without outing himself is not implausible.

Someone here knew about Foley's behavior with the pages, actually had possession of emails and IM's, and then later outed them. Somewhere at the beginning of this, I think, is a fellow page, one who served with one or more of the pages harrassed by Foley. He then took the emails and IM's to a Democratic operative or liberal blogger, and that latter person created the StopSexualPredators site.

For the ten thousandth time, of course, this doesn't mitigate what Foley did, or make him anything but a dirty old chickenhawk perv who trolls for cybersex with boys/young men, but it does suggest that, for all their posturting, prominent Democrats knew about this long before prominent Republicans did, and chose to do nothing--

-- until, of course, it was useful to do so politically. Mark Foley would be free to prey on young men for a year or more, perhaps, so long as it contributed to the greater moral good of a Democratic congressional victory.

Thanks for the tip to the Alabama Liberation Front.

Update: People with the same names as John Conyer's Detroit office staffers just happen to have addresses in neighboring upscale suburb Royal Oak, Michigan.

May mean something. May mean nothing.

I'd post the list, but I don't know, seems sort of an invasion of privacy given this is all just a hunch of a fishing expedition at this point.

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posted by Ace at 09:09 PM

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