Sunday, August 5, 2007

Moles and the News

There are a couple of odd developments this week involving moles spilling the beans on reporters.

One is from the continuing debate over at The New Republic and the other involves NBC News.

As previously mentioned
, The New Republic published a story by a soldier using a pseudonym describing some events that occurred on his tour in the Iraq theater, such as mocking a disfigured woman and using a Bradley to run over a stray dog, that set rightwing bloggers into a frenzy.

Now identified by his full name, Scott Thomas Beauchamp, the writer-soldier and The New Republic have come under extreme attack by rightwingers determined to prove that the publication is inept or lying and that the soldier is a liar or idealogue. He's also been trashed as a lousy writer, anti-American or a demoted soldier with a grudge. TNR, which re-reported the story, as publications sometimes do when stories are seriously challenged, found one error--the location of the mocking of the disfigured woman--but stood by everything else, including that the mocking occurred. What seems to have stirred up the rightwing the most, though, is that his fiancee or wife--their exact status is unclear--works as a researcher for the magazine. As James Wolcott and Max Blumenthal report, that information came directly from a mole working as temp at TNR who used a TNR computer to tip the rightwingers about her identity, which then led them to draw comparisons to Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame. The military has removed Beauchamp's email and cellphone privileges.

At NBC, another leak--producer Michelle Madigan, going undercover to report on the Defcon security conference, was identified publicly and ran from the conference after people shouting "Burn the witch."

Much hilarity ensued, according to Infoworld.

Defcon organizers identified Madigan after being tipped off by her associates, who (show official) "Priest" declined to name. After the incident, Priest showed reporters a complete dossier on Madigan, which included a photograph, phone number, job title and social security number. He would not say how he obtained it.

ZDNet says this:

DEFCON organizers caught wind of this from undisclosed sources and casually contacted Madigan to see if she wanted official press credentials and a press badge to cover DEFCON. Reporters in the pressroom were then fully briefed on the situation before the “spot the undercover reporter game” so that they could cover the event.

So apparently her fellow reporters were in on the plan to unmask HER plan to go undercover at the hacker convention and expose a hacker or two or possibly federal agents.

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