I am not a happy camper today. I have written lots about my feelings on privacy and have tried to enforce some rules here about not associating Internet pseudonyms with real people. I also believe that there is a difference between public information scattered across obscure locations and information collated by someone and broadcast.
I myself have been the victim of such collations, some true and some not, and it has a chilling effect. I’m also empathetic and I feel for someone else who is an innocent victim of Internet research. That is why I’m unhappy and why I’m writing this.
My most recent article has been updated with a new title, “Doug Vogt’s mystery forger, revealed!” A very private person, who as far as I know has no skin in the birther/anti-birther game, was identified by Douglas Vogt as a felon—a forger of Barack Obama’s birth certificate. Vogt only made this accusation in a “sealed” court filing, but he left clues, sufficient clues for it to be readily figured out.
I am not going to name the secret forger, but by the time you finish this article you will know who it is. The name has already been published elsewhere, and you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
The story starts with an unnamed birther, who knew someone born in Hawaii, and persuaded them to send their birth certificate to Jerome Corsi. Corsi published the redacted birth certificate at WorldNetDaily, including a back view where the name could be seen bleeding through. Corsi was sloppy (although he subsequently altered the image to make it unreadable, the genie was already out of the bottle). The deciphering of the reverse image was done primarily by birther debunker John Woodman. (Woodman’s result proved important in discrediting Zullo’s lies about race codes.)
Next we have Douglas Vogt. Vogt filed something with a federal court in Seattle, alleging wild conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth certificate being a forgery. Included in the documents was a sealed part identifying what he concluded was the name of the forger of Obama’s birth certificate. Vogt, overcome by an uncontrollable desire to show everybody how clever he was, dropped sufficient hints1 on Internet talk radio shows, to make it obvious the name of his putative forger, the same person Woodman identified. (Vogt wouldn’t have even known the name if it hadn’t been for the Obots.)
Vogt’s clues led Internet commenter AnitaMaria at The Fogbow to the name, and I have not the slightest doubt that she is correct. Her comment was made in Fogbow “HIDDEN” text, but hidden text at The Fogbow just means you have to have an account and be logged in to read it—you don’t have to be in a trusted group. There are lots of registered users at The Fogbow and nobody knows who they all are. I have no criticism of AnitaMaria—it was Vogt with his hints that let the genie out of the bottle.
In my investigative enthusiasm, I added strong confirmation to AnitaMaria’s identification in my own comment at The Fogbow.
I think that the only persons who actually did something wrong were Corsi and Vogt—Corsi for violating a trust, and Vogt for filing a false claim. Woodman, AnitaMaria, The Fogbow, and I acted ethically and violated no trusts. Still, actions have consequences, and in some way the Obots are complicit in what will shortly be all over the birther blogs and will embroil an innocent person in a messy conspiracy theory. Once freed, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle.
1Vogt wrote in his brief:
If this person’s identity is made public prior to an investigation by a grand jury and/or executing of search warrants to secure easily destroyed computer evidence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the forger’s complicity in perpetrating the worst fraud on the electorate of these United States, may well be lost. The other reason is that the main principles in this forgery case may have this person murdered as well as the spouse.
But he just couldn’t keep it to himself.