Short answer: a provincial, spiteful libertarian who does not have enough real-life validation to sustain her/him and has to attack others, and who has a case of mistaken identity or hysteria when it comes to believing the worst about people.
I started taking notes for this blog about a month ago but didn't bother to finish it because it's time-consuming and I thought all this was merely annoying and would go away. But then it got more persistent and sinister and didn't go away.
So I'm going to have to keep documenting and publishing this harassment because it is a cluster of attacks aimed at me following the announcement that I was writing a book, and then the publication on January 27. That seems to be what it's really all about.
I should note that I've been communicating with this anonymous person called "LibertyLynx" for about a year or so -- ever since the Boston bombing I think, possibly earlier. As far as I know this person followed me and began to talk to me first, not visa versa, as did Craig Pirrong -- who is either the same person as LibertyLynx and using this account as an alt or sock puppet, or is very, very close to LibertyLynx.
He claims that he is not LL, but knows who it is and she is some kind of close associate. He doesn't say where or how.
I've always found myself not on the same page as both Pirrong and Lynx because they are strident, and even at times vicious libertarians. They are very rigidly ideological on a number of issues -- gun rights, minimum wage, BitCoin, encryption, etc. -- and even if I am on the same side as they are on Snowden or Putin, there are occasionally important differences -- differences they have little or no tolerance for.
Both of these individuals first both "friended" me and re-tweeted me a lot and even defended me, then both of them began to turn against me merely because I didn't fall into line with them. I have seen little cluster-cult grouplets like this form on the Internet since time immemorial, and I just don't get sucked into them. These tribal posses are always convinced they are absolutely right, that they are the smart ones surrounded by idiots, and that no one else gets it. It's a horrid intellectual atmosphere to be in. Even if I have my own strong views and think I'm naturally right about this or that, I like diversity, and I expect people not to be rounded up or collectivized into one Better World View of what is Correct on this or that subject.
I had my first major difference with these two over the Newtown massacre and gun rights -- they were for guns, obviously. On the issue of the "stand your ground" law, which I oppose, we also differed in the Trayvon case, I was against it and thought Zimmerman was in the wrong even if there were things you could say about Trayvon being in the wrong. Nothing he did or was suspected of doing deserved a shooting death by a wannabee cop who was a vigilante in fact.
I remember Craig getting so hysterical on the gun thing that he made an alt account which was obviously him to come post on my blog with "instructive" materials about the position I should take on Newtown and related issues.
I also recall LibertyLynx then beginning to surprise me by taking up the side of two people who had really creepily harassed me in another setting -- Joshua Foust and Sarah Kendzior -- merely because I criticized their blogs on Registan. I don't know what her connection is to those two at all, but it seems counterintuitive; both of them have been soft on human rights in Russia; both of them have been soft on the regimes of Central Asia in convoluted ways I've documented carefully -- so you would think someone as anti-Putin as LL is would "get it" about Registan. She didn't, or else, she, too, is a former defense contractor and Realist in IR theory -- or merely in the establishment academics' corner on this, who knows. It has never been explained. But it is very creepy.
LL would always airily announce that she defended me and that I did "good work," even though she didn't like some of my views or thought I was the wrong (for example on this ridiculous, unfounded claim that I was "racist" in my discussion of what went wrong with Romney's apps and GOTV software). I found that really odd, for someone who should have realized the tactics that vandals of Wikipedia pages use and hackers use to try to discredit people.
I began to develop real problems with LibertyLynx in the fall as I saw her getting more and more belligerent against the hackers -- hackers that I criticized, too, and severely, but whom I didn't think we should heckle and harass just the way they do us.
LibertyLynx is either an actual persona operation by some agency or a wannabee trained in these psy-war methods who is doing it free-lance, but she actually thinks that she's doing the Lord's work by night after night, bullying, F-bombing, confronting, and loyalty-testing this or that hacker or softee on Putin. I find it disgusting, because trying to put loyalty tests to these people in particular is fruitless. Denouncing them because they didn't condemn Putin's human rights violations or adopt the support of the Magnitsky list is just as pointless as their own demand that everyone obsess about Palestinians or Turks in demonstrations. Some people are tweeting about Ukraine and Sochi and Syria. Other people are tweeting about Palestine, and Turkey and Central Africa Republic. People pick what fits their ideology, and demanding an artificial "balance" doesn't help human rights. You can point out people's hypocrisy or ask them politely to join a cause, but this incessant, belligerent barrage of loyalty demands from LiberyLynx is stupid and counterproductive.
LibertyLynx spends a lot of time tracking down and then heckling people that she thinks are in the Snowden conspiracy or supporting Putin in general. And her methods are truly despicable. For example, last fall, she began denouncing Xeni Jardin on Twitter, accusing Xeni of manipulating people with her breast cancer survivor story. That was appalling -- you should never use people's health circumstances in some sort of war with them. It doesn't matter if Xeni has a reputation of deleting text or manipulating people -- her health situation should be off limits. Yet LL -- while she didn't wish her death - came close to it and insinuated nasty things. As it happens, this thread is deleted now, after I personally IM'd Xeni and said that her characterization of LibertyLynx making death wishes to her was actually inaccurate, but her remarks were bad enough and I personally denounced them.
In any event -- that's LibertyLynx. Anyone who has tuned into her thread for five minutes gets what I'm talking about. Obsessive, nasty, vulgar to anyone out of line with her ideology --- and then fiercely loyal and friendly to those she thinks are her like-minded cohort. At least for that night.
When I objected to LibertyLynx's vulgar and belligerent behaviour -- and then further, made sure no one thought I was her, because a number of people thought I was! -- she hit back fiercely, and got her posse to denounce me. Soon Craig and others were belittling me, nastily accusing me of "projection" and "lady doth protest so much" -- the usual juvenile, provincial forums behaviour so loathsome to us all. "Get psychiatric help" is the next step -- and sure enough, that came too.
I finally just blocked LibertyLynx because she was so nasty and it was annoying to see in my feed. I just hate having the steady stream of people like that. But I did occasionally search her threads to see if she had any interesting news or links, as she is obsessively on Twitter. She does occasionally have something useful to say. I don't have to believe what others do or subscribe to their sect to find them useful -- I look at all kinds of things from the Nation to Breitbart.
Meanwhile, I didn't block Craig Pirrong (@streetwiseprof) because while occasionally nasty, he didn't seem to be spreading falsehoods about me, as LL began to. Later, he did.
So in mid-January, this situation made a turn for the worse.
There was a stir caused by the appearance of alleged public PGP keys from Snowden , then my further investigation, and then wild attacks on me over this story -- it wsa damn weird.
It all orginated with this tweet and discussion --a retweet of an October 2013 comment by someone I never heard of before, @DrWhax.
My answer was: then they should blog about it themselves.
I generally don't blog things just raw from the Internet that people are pushing me to publish which I didn't find or investigate myself. Sometimes there are worthwhile exceptions, this didn't seem credible. I wonder sometimes if such people are serving as radicalization agents -- trying to whip up people into being discredited by getting them to print falsehoods.
To get the context for what happens next, it's important to understand that right when @MsZenni was tweeting this, @streetwiseprof was banging on me in DMs with these messages:
@libertylynx tweeted something to you re Prins but you can't see it bc you blocked her. If you unblock she can tweet stuff to you ++
You don't have to follow her, but she is trying to send you info you might find useful re Prins-Russia link.
So this can't be anything pre-Snowden hack. And it could be just a ruse/prank.
I don't wish to deal with LibertyLynx. She should start a blog and post these things publicly. If there is a Russian Prins links she should make it public and then it can be scrutinized
yes, it's likely a prank. Except I tried both addresses. email@example.com doesn't bounce. However, I think it's part of a kid's page
Also cryptoron isn't two days ago but earlier on one of the reports
@Streetwiseprof then replied:
Then you should link to the earlier report. And who says anything that goes to
@nsa.gov will bounce?
@libertylynx She's trying to help you ffs. Get over your issues w/her and focus on the big issue: potential tie between Prins & Russia
Except that the issue isn't that Ron made this post two days previously; the issue is that it relates to keys Snowden posted back in March. The same e-mail addresses are listed, except two have the keys revoked (obviously from Booz, Hamilton Allen).
That's what I meant by saying "cryptoron isn't two days ago" -- it isn't that @cryptoron is showing chatting with Ed; it's that Ed himself with those emails is chatting in March (supposedly).
The issue of the mistake in nsa.org (a spoof domain you can buy for $159 a year to use) versus nsa.gov is obvious and not worth making so much of such as to contend my post is "filled with" errors. Both of these addresses do not bounce. And derp, I get it that NSA.gov may be a roach motel that emails never come back from. Herp. And yes, I'll use faux hacker teenage slang to make these points because the point isn't that I'm ridiculous using them, but that these two are ridiculous for raising obvious points that they think I don't get as if this undermines the whole point, or making so much of them -- especially given that, um *cough* concern for the "bigger picture".
Prof. Pirrong, who is now under a huge stressful attack started by the New York Times which I don't understand (and find suspicious and politicized), then grows outraged at the HORROR of someone publicizing his DMs. This is a crime against the People or the Movement or Something that is just Beyond the Pale.
I disagree -- and that's why I publish these completely innocuous DMs here *again* in full. I wouldn't expose a DM tweet that actually had something secret or sensitive in it, I certainly ask permission from interview subjects or even casual friends if we are tweeting, but if all he is saying is what they are *already* tweeting publicly which I don't see because I've blocked them, then what's the big deal?! This *especially* becomes the point when I realize what a reservoir of hate, condescention and spleen I'm dealing with here -- that eternal need to "set someone straight."
The sheer vulgar vicious assholery of these people is really astounding. Why? Um, because somebody criticized your blog?! What's wrong with you?!
That lecturing tone Pirrong took -- like I should unblock @LibertyLynx so that I could see the news, i.e. this was cutting off my nose to spite my face -- is also obviously annoying and unfounded. Um, I don't think so, given the hysteria and smears blasting from this person then and now.
Note, BTW, that Pirrong clearly speaks of "the Russian connection"; that's exactly what @LibertyLynx implies, and that's what she late furiously walked back as if I were putting words in her mouth.
When people behave this badly, I think you have to document it. It's your only protection and your only deterrent against their outrageous behaviour. They will forever brand you as a traitor and Twitter turncoat but too bad -- they are doing that anyway by their outrageous, ridiculous claim that I'm "Mr. X" etc.
I don't know this person Ms. Zannie at all, but later she apologized for seeming to start this -- but it's not really about her:
@catfitz I apologize if anything I did contributed 2 the brouhaha. I'm fascinated by story & interjected on things I know nothing about. :(— Zanne (@MsZanni) January 9, 2014
LibertyLynx's own pointed implications about Kaspersky indicated that she chimed in, although she hastily backed away later that she didn't imply any FSB stuff.
Yeah, there's no literal search strings saying "FSB" but it doesn't mater.
There is only one cure for these kinds of things in the blogosphere/Twittersphere and that is to try to practice journalism, you know, ask questions, get answers.
The ability to practice it on Twitter is limited, however, and for some that might even constitute malpractice. Well, go to the Netherlands, do the shoe-leather work, let us know. It's beyond my pay grade as a volunteer blogger. We have our role to play, too.
Here's the thing. It's more than fine to suspect people of working for the FSB. That's allowed, and that's encouraged, given all the mass hysteria that this problem doesn't exist. It's also allowed to hint and allege and be coy and not spell out that you think that, or use "Russia" as your synecdoche for "FSB". It's merely informal social media chat by an anonymous avatar and we get that it is not the lead story in the New York Times.
But hey, when you do that, own your words and don't weasel out of them, clutching your pearls, and pretending you never meant that.
Obviously this person who invoked the FSB made a more emphatic link. MsZinni retweeting it and including LL in it (and I had no way of knowing if this was part of an ongoing conversation or not, especially given that at that exact same time, @streetwiseprof was banging on me in DMs demanding that I unblock LL so I can see important news).
My only point was then -- hey, let's ask. Let's find out. Let's walk this through. Job one is to find if it is even that same guy on Twitter, attached to a well-known cybersecurity expert, if he is the same guy on the key-mining page. He said it was. Job two is to find out what his point was -- did he talk to Edward? Or was it a spoof? After all, two keys were revoked due to the obvious cancellation of his emails when he was fired for stealing state secrets (duh).
He said it was a spoof.
You can decide to believe him or not. For me, the issue is not closed, merely because of the ingrained anti-Americanism and NSA hate I see in that timeline, given that he is a cybersecurity expert who should really grasp that the biggest destructive problem Europeans have comes from Russia and China, not the US. They need to morally equate them for their own insane internal political reasons, but hopefully professionals don't lose sight of the truth here -- they really are more in danger of loosing their trade secrets and their very freedoms from Russians and Chinese than they are from losing their privacy -- supposedly -- from Americans. It really has to be put in these very terms because they don't get it.
Even so, as I spelled out before, I don't think we have a smoking FSB or Russian collaborationist gun here. And if we had any hope of ever finding one, it is gone forever. That's because first Dr. Whax and then LibertyLynx spelled out their suspicions -- indeed as if in a form of counterintelligence activity or crude politicking. Now the guy -- if he were FSB -- will obviously cover his tracks better. Great job, girls!
And then strings of threats against me and slurs:
This is why I find the entire LibertyLynx act so crude and stupid. Heckling and badgering and swearing at these people isn't working to flush out more information from them, and certainly not working to persuade them to see the other side of the issue or even convert them. The purpose merely seems to be to paint them with more purple dye because inevitably they refuse to conform to the loyalty test imposed on them ("raise Magnitsky, or else!) and they spout even more damning statements showing their Putin-symp status. Great! Then what?
And if I made a mistake and didn't realize at first that the nsa.org address was a kind of novelty spoof address, so what? I printed a correction. Next? I went way further than any of these keyboard warriors do when they spout and snipe and went to the guy directly and asked him questions and then published them consistently in a blog. LL does not keep a blog as that would then leave her longer passages and claims in Google search or cache when she deletes them and create a trial she doesn't want to be accountable about.
What is this act all about? The aggressiveness of it; the crudeness of it; the persistence of it; the harassment of anyone who disgrees; the circling of the Winnebagos with other Tweeps for reinforcement -- it could all be an elaborate counterintelligence persona, possibly run by bots or multiple people. That means counterintelligence as in "CIA," trying to bully these anti-American enemies. It could also be on the other side, a Russian false flag operation from counterintelligence that is mean to do only on thing: discredit anyone who criticizes the Kremlin as being extremist and McCarthyist in their views, and therefore not to be believed.
In that sense, the operation is working beautifully and accomplishing just that mission.
I actually don't think that's what this crude act is, however, precisely because it is a combination of more sophisticated some days, crude on other days -- uneven. I think this is just some American man with family in Russia (I think the aggressiveness and interest in sports illustrates it's a man, and he says he has family in Russia when someone probes him for his interest) who says he was threatened by the FSB and therefore probably doesn't go back to Russia. "Family" can mean distant relatives or relatives by marriage. It doesn't matter. @LibertyLynx's real identity and issues aren't of interest and don't "need" to be doxed.
The only thing is to figure out why this person behaves like such an asshole online and what their motivation is. And I suspect he is simply emotionally disturbed and possibly one of those "drink and drive" Internet gabbers who drinks or takes pain pills while tweeting which explains why it gets crude and ugly. Not for the first time on social media!
This person is both angry that people don't appreciate their credentials (we can't, because they are anonymous, duh) and furious that they don't have more clout, but yet also clinging to the anonymous persona because that gives him power over people and enables him to manipulate people to his enormous emotional satisfaction. Sad.
I think this person enjoys playing spy, but isn't one -- real spies don't have to go on Twitter or vicariously play spy by getting involved in cross-currents of weirdness, which I know exist because of some of LL's sources.
When I say people are unhinged or loony, I never say "get help" or claim that psychiatric evaluations can be done online. That's insane. It's also malpractice. And I refuse to climb on that band wagon.
So what I pronounce as a "diagnosis" here isn't about mental health but rather about the whole shtick: it's more of a social commentary. It's a sad act by somehow who doesn't have as much power and appreciation as they'd like in real life in the Russian or political science or financial or WHATEVER field and is using this Twitter account to get more power and more validation anonymously. I'm very familiar with this phenomenon from Second Life.
I will have more to say about the falsehoods this creature is publishing about me and about Craig Pirrong's craziness in other posts.
Update: LibertyLynx is claiming that she never discussed Trayvon or "stand your ground" with me. I didn't claim she discussed *with me* -- but as far as I know, that was her position, consistent with her gun rights position.
If she *does* oppose "stand your ground," why she can say so, post a tweet (she fears coming on blogs) and I'll post the comment.
BTW, one difficult with Lynx is that she deletes tweets. She's been caught at this by multiple people on multiple subjects. It doesn't matter, but it gives her additional scope for psy-warring and pretending.