Over the past 24 hours, the right-wing internet detectives who gave us such hits as “globalist pedophiles chose to headquarter their child sex ring in the middle of a crowded pizza parlor” and “George Soros paid Nazis to march in Charlottesville” have been giddy over a new item supposedly bolstering their cause.
According to fringe sites, countless right-wing Twitter personalities, newfound Trump family friends Diamond and Silk, and r/TheDonald, someone just leaked all of former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner’s contacts with the promise of more to come. The most popular theory is that the leak was perpetrated by a rogue FBI agent.
You can see the appeal of such a narrative to the modern conspiracist mindset: some lone G-man, defying the Trotskyist takeover of the bureau and owning the libs by revealing some phone numbers.
Unfortunately for them, it’s bullshit. The contacts that were released are actually from the original Guccifer hack of longtime Clinton family confidant Sidney Blumenthal in 2013. This specific list has been online since at least August 2016.
The list features phone numbers and email addresses for names like George Soros, John Podesta and Hillary Clinton, some of our right-wing keyboard warriors’ favorite recurring characters. The tweet below appears to be the first claim that these contacts originated with Weiner:
People quickly jumped on it as a sign of ... something. The website Squawker.com seemed particularly confident that this list came from Weiner, though it gave no indication of why, writing:
It’s important to note that we are not trying to “witch hunt” anyone, and this information is not meant for you to do the same. We are not interested in doxxing these individuals, rather we are interested in reporting on the doxxing list that was released, potentially by a rogue FBI agent. This laptop is under FBI surveillance and the reason we know this is because they found emails sent between him and Hillary Clinton back when the email scandal was all anyone ever talked about. Who else but someone in the FBI would have released this? We aren’t saying that it’s definitely a member of the FBI, but who else could possibly be responsible?
Twitter, of course, ran with it.
Reddit, too, was gleeful over this supposed triumph.
Some of the users pointed to the fact that the contact list had already been discussed on 4chan. While 4chan did revel in the supposed Weiner leak Tuesday night, the site was equally delighted in 2016, when the exact same contact list popped up in a thread.
That discussion was archived in full by automated 4chan crawler Holla Forums, but we’ve included a few choice bits below.
(For those blissfully unaware, the users in the middle are expressing their delight with the leak.)
Not everyone was immediately swayed. In both the Reddit and 4chan discussions, people point to the fact that the list seems identical to the one released by Guccifer in 2016. But those few glimmers of reason are vastly outnumbered by the celebrations of yet another supposed triumph over the left.
The original file, which was posted on the site Cryptome, and the one currently being passed around are, to repeat, identical. So unless Weiner and Blumenthal knew all the same people (likely) and absolutely no one else (nearly impossible), it appears that, somehow, right-wing internet conspiracy theorists got this one wrong. Reader, we’re as shocked as you.