Guys, if you were really clinging to hope that the recent news of “credible accusers” stepping forward to claim they’d been sexually harassed by special counsel Robert Mueller was going to be a thing, let it go.
Jacob Wohl is having a press conference today and the real woman that has credible accusations against Mueller was supposed to be there but she panicked and boarded a flight to another location so this real woman with the real allegations won't be there pic.twitter.com/GUUZw8z4Z1
— PeterNorway (@classiclib3ral) November 1, 2018
If you’re laughing now, I’m right there with you. If you’re crying into your MAGA cap – I’m laughing harder.
I covered this slapstick failure of a plot to discredit the Russia investigation, as well as the media several days ago, but given that the main players had insisted that there would be a news conference today that put Mueller directly in the crosshairs of the #MeToo movement, I’d say it’s worth a recap.
To begin, let’s keep in mind that as soon as the news emerged that there was a potential plot to hit Mueller with false allegations of sexual harassment, Mr. Mueller turned the information over to the FBI to begin an investigation.
No, Mueller isn’t the kind of guy you play around with, especially if you’re a wet-nosed, disgraced internet troll, scheming from the comfort of your mom’s basement, or a radio host with a history of pimping conspiracy theories that always seem to fall flat.
CNN Business did a great job of covering the story, which was first posted to alt-right garbage site, Gateway Pundit, then quickly taken down, once the scam fell apart.
The document was not just an allegation of sexual assault against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a favorite enemy of President Trump’s supporters — it was also an opportunity to troll liberals, supporters of the #MeToo movement, and the media.
The blog’s commenters were gleeful.
“We believe the victim…we believe the victim…we believe the victim…,” the top comment read. “Proof doesn’t matter. It’s the seriousness of the charge,” another commenter responded. A reply to that said, “Absolutely. Anyone who doesn’t believe her is supporting sexual assault and attacking alll women.” And then another: “Lol time to rub it in.”
I almost get the glee.
After how #MeToo was weaponized to go after Brett Kavanaugh, sure, it seemed the perfect opportunity to try and implement an ambitious scam, in order to discredit and take out all of Trump’s perceived enemies.
The problem was, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman are not really what you would consider to be intellectual giants.
Wohl, the 20 year old troll, has already been banned from financial trading by the National Futures Association over allegations of defrauding clients. All he has now is a red cap and his parents’ wifi password.
In his quest to gain MAGA cred, he didn’t cover his tracks very well. People with their own wifi and a polished cerebral cortex had no trouble connecting Wohl to an entity called Surefire Intelligence.
Great name, right? Like, ACME Bomb Company, or ACME Anvils.
Wohl and Burkman pushed the notion that there was a credible witness coming forward, even after the story fell apart, with Gateway Pundit more than happy to back them up.
The Gateway Pundit’s founder, Jim Hoft, removed the document from his website and published an editor’s note in its place. He said that there were “very serious allegations against Jacob Wohl” and that he was “looking into” them. Hoft did not respond to phone calls or an email from CNN seeking comment.
“Looking into them” can also read: Hoping this goes away.
The next question is, who is “Lorraine Parsons.” That’s the name given by a woman who contacted a number of reporters and media people, claiming that someone working for Jack Burkman had contacted her on a secure line and offered her $20,000 to make a false claim of sexual harassment against Robert Mueller, dating back to their days working together in a law firm.
“When we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the Special Counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Special Counsel’s office, said in a statement on Tuesday.In the email to reporters, Parsons claimed to have worked at a law firm with Mueller in the 1970s, though the law firm has said it had no records of her being employed there. Parsons said that the person who had contacted her about making a sexual assault allegation in exchange for money said he was working for Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman.
On Tuesday morning, Wohl tweeted that a “scandalous story about Mueller” would be “breaking tomorrow.”
Burkman announced shortly after that he would be holding a press conference on Thursday to “reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims.”
Right. And look how that has turned out.
This Parsons, whoever she may be, was just one piece to this bizarre game.
As the story gained media attention, Vermont Law School professor Jennifer Taub, who has previously written for CNN’s opinion section, said she too had received an email from an individual offering to compensate her “at whatever rate you see fit” for discussing “past encounters with Robert Mueller.”
Taub told CNN she had never met or spoken with Mueller, and that she had forwarded the email to the Department of Justice.
The individual who emailed Taub identified himself as Simon Frick, who claimed to be a researcher for Surefire Intelligence. Ed Krassenstein, a liberal Twitter personality who writes for HillReporter.com, said he had also been contacted by an individual claiming to work for Surefire Intelligence after he looked into claims from Parsons.
For those who missed this part earlier – when the numbers for Surefire Intelligence were called, they went to a voicemail service for Jacob Wohl’s mom.
Wait… It gets funnier.
Aric Toler, a researcher for Bellingcat, an organization that uses online and open source material to conduct investigations, also noted that a LinkedIn profile for Simon Frick used a picture of Christopher Waltz, an actor who has starred in movies including “Django Unchained,” “Muppets Most Wanted,” and the James Bond film “Spectre.”
And Jane Mayer, a writer for The New Yorker, noted that a LinkedIn photo of an individual claiming to be the head of Surefire Intelligence appeared to simply be a darkened photograph of Wohl. (The picture had been removed from the profile by the time CNN viewed it Tuesday afternoon.)
Yeah. I saw that image. It wasn’t even a solid effort to hide the fact that Wohl was attempting to masquerade as a person named “Matthew Cohen.”
Wohl told The Daily Beast in an interview that Burkman had hired Surefire Intelligence to help investigate those claims against Mueller.
Nice way to throw your partner under the bus, kid.
Burkman, when contacted, wouldn’t comment.
It’s ok, Jack. You’re as big of a failed scammer as Wohl. Maybe more so.
When reached for comment through Twitter’s direct message feature and asked about his ties to Surefire Intelligence, Wohl said, “Sounds like a kooky Russiagate conspiracy theory.”
When CNN dialed a number listed on Surefire Intelligence’s website, an unknown individual answered. That person told CNN that he didn’t know what Surefire Intelligence was — “it doesn’t ring a bell” — and, when asked to identify himself, said “don’t call” if “you aren’t sure” who the number belongs to.
Sounds like Wohl’s dad, who has been a cheerleader for his son’s dishonesty and scam tactics. I guess we know how Wohl turned out to be such a con. It’s a lack of good examples in the home.
As of now, the numbers listed on the website for Surefire Intelligence have been disconnected. Some of the ridiculously false profiles on LinkedIn have been taken down.
Meanwhile, Burkman, who previously pushed the Seth Rich murder conspiracy, and even pulled a stunt regarding a press conference that turned out to be nothing, is standing by this scam, as well.
At the very least, more people know who his is today than there was last week, right?
I retell this event for several reasons.
For one, it’s important for people to understand that the internet is full of scammers with agendas, and if it seems ludicrous, it most often is.
Secondly, because it’s hilarious.
Enjoy that FBI investigation into your activities, guys.