FBI posted conspiracy theories to notorious internet message board…and got caught


Much of what the Federal Bureau of Investigation actually does is shrouded in secret, certainly, but now and again we get a small glimpse into the darker corners of their behavior.

Much like the CIA, the FBI is given a wide berth by both the American people and other governmental authorities.  The lack of scruples we see in other nations’ governments must be guarded against, of course; the United States just prefers to keep their defensive mechanisms a little more clandestine than most.

As such, we often find ourselves wondering what exactly these intelligence agencies are up to some days.

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As it turns out, some of these mystery maneuvers are aimed directly at the American public.

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The unsealing of an application for a search warrant by the federal government on 8chan’s servers has unintentionally revealed that a federal agent has been trolling the site and attempting to redirect the users’ conspiracy theories against the Russian government instead of the CIA or Mossad.

The legal case stems from the April 27th shooting at a California synagogue by white supremacist and 8chan user John Earnest. The day of the shooting, Earnest is believed to have posted to 8chan a link to an anti-Semitic Pastebin manifesto and a not-so-cryptic suggestion that he was about to commit a murderous act of violence to back up his beliefs. In the accompanying affidavit to the search warrant application, FBI Special Agent Michael J. Rod requests the “IP address and metadata information about Earnest’s original posting and the postings of all of the individuals who responded to the subject posting and/or commented about it. Additionally, agents seek information about any other posting coming from the IP address used by Earnest to post the subject posting.”

Here’s where it gets wild.

In Appendix 1, Rod attaches a serious of screen caps from an 8chan thread that took place the day of the synagogue attack (it is not ultimately clear that Earnest took part in this thread). What is notable is that next to the “Anonymous” user label on some of the posts is a “(You)” marking:

you

you2

you3

As it turns out, this text is to let the user know that they are looking at their own posts! This means that Special Agent Rod inadvertently exposed himself as 8chan user ID “8f4812” by including these screenshots as his supporting exhibit. As it turns out, a more complete version of this thread was saved on archive.is before it was deleted. By using Ctrl+F on the page and inputting “8f4812”, you can look at all the posts made by the FBI in this thread.

The FBI’s monitoring of 8chan is to be expected, as the site and its precursor 4chan are both notoriously dark corners of the internet where several domestic terrorists were known to be posting previous to their rampages.

But what the Bureau did here was much different, and included posting long, conspiracy-laden rants:

The longest reply can be found here:

Guys. Read my posts. I believe that thw ahooter did post on here but there is also more. Ive been here all day. There are at least two others that are posting in a bot, shilllike fashion to promote this. This theead never would have made the first page, where I found it this morning.
think there is outside involvement. Likely Russian.
In the posts not attributed the man himself, these two not only hyped this thread in an awkward way, they continued an odd pattern of posts to keep this thread alive. Look at the parallel language and style. pol does not talk like that.
Look at the memes chosen in these posts. Not even a fucking clown.
While I believe John may have been motivated by hia own beliefs and reasons, I believe that there are other forces at work here that may have provoked him.
The original link leads to a Tarrants Lads group In russian.
He may have been rightfully upset with the way the world is, but he may have been manipulated into this by something that is not.
I’d blame Mossad, the CIA and FBI too, but this time I am not so sure. We know all three of them can meme because we are shilled all day long by them.
He chose a crappy pistol. Anyone would have planned a litte more thoroughly. If BT is a hero to him as he describes, he would have learned from this mistakes, or at a minimun made an effort to emulate him and do the same. To walk in there completey unprepared with a single pistol sends off even more red flags,
This is very unusual. This is not the typical (((conspiracy))) and I am worried. I dont believe this is the end of this.
I hope some one else takes it upon themselves to investigate what I posted above as well.

This begs the question:  How far will the FBI go in their manipulation of the citizens they are sworn to protect?

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