I really haven’t covered the silly notion that Obots work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), you know the guys who helped Al Gore invent the Internet. So where did this notion come from?
It appears to have originated with a Mike Zullo appearance on the Carl Gallups Freedom Friday radio show on February 7, 2014.
Gallups: Obots, we know that there are operatives out there—Obama-loving operatives. That’s OK to love Obama; that’s fine, but these people have interjected themselves all throughout this investigation in various ways, some to the point of actually, I think, interfering with the investigation, but they’ve interjected themselves on radio and the Internet, Blogtalk Radio, my radio program and all over the blogs and web sites, but isn’t it correct, my understanding that you know who some or most of these guys are, the most important ones, I mean have you done some digging? You know who those guys are?
Zullo: We have a pretty good idea of who some of the ones who are anonymous are. One we know works in the field of artificial intelligence in projects that are funded by DARPA. That tells you a lot right there. We have traced IP addresses going directly back to the Administration.
Despite that exchange, and opening the show with a lengthy segment on Obots, Gallups repeats over and over that the Obots are “irrelevant.” Then remarkably, Zullo and Gallups credit the Obots for the Xerox 7655 story, which they said pointed the investigation towards some “deep, deep, deep stuff.”
The show then got a little silly:
Gallups: You’re guys are confirming that you are very, very sure, very sure you know who several of these people are. …
Zullo: Yada, Yada, Yada. … This is going to be their play: deny, deny, deny.
Gallups: Right, but, but, they’re lying, lying, lying because you’ve got the goods, right?
Zullo: I’ve got the proof, proof, proof.
Gallups: OK, good. And the whole world is gonna see it, see it, see it, real soon.
Of course, the world didn’t see anything, and Zullo just kept pushing the date out for his universe-shattering revelations. Zullo never named his DARPA Obot, or even said the Obot actually works for DARPA. The story got inflated from there to make the DARPA OBOT one of the “big three” (meaning myself, Bill Bryan and Reality Check, the latter being the only anonymous one). In the retelling of the story, the IP address was traced to DARPA, not what Zullo said. It’s hardly strange that someone in the Administration visited a birther blog (the government is pretty big). Maybe it was Obama himself! According to the book Double Down: Game Change 2012:
On his iPad, to which [Obama] was so attached it seemed like an appendage, he monitored the hard-right realms of the online echo chamber, surprising friends with his familiarity with the work of ultra-con tyro Michelle Malkin.
Halperin, Mark; Heilemann, John (2013-11-05). Double Down: Game Change 2012 (Kindle Locations 328-329). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
Lots of organizations have DARPA artificial intelligence contracts, like SRI International, Lockheed Martin, BBN Technologies, Cortera Neurotechnologies, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco.
Trying to look behind the curtain, it looks like somebody from one or more birther web sites sent Zullo a list of IP addresses from its visitors, one or more possibly coming from a .GOV domain. I’ve gotten some of those. As for DARPA, there’s no hint where that came from. All I know is that if there is a DARPA Obot, it’s not anybody I know about, and Zullo is one of the last guys I’d trust to tell the truth about it.
That said, I think that there is a much more sinister explanation for the DARPA announcement from Zullo. It is a known fact that Zullo is gullible and accepts faked evidence, like the fake race code table from a birther blog, and pseudo-forensic-science reports on Obama’s birth certificate. Let’s face it—Zullo and Arpaio both are birthers!
Remember the context. Arpaio, Zullo says, had launched a new criminal investigation related to Obama within the department. It is described as deep and dark. The information is “universe shattering.” What possible means could Arpaio, a county sheriff from Arizona, have to uncover deep and sinister machinations within the Obama administration? What whistleblower with that quality of information would approach the clown sheriff? Arpaio would, however, seem ripe for the pickings of a con artist, and we don’t have to look farther than the daily newspaper for the name of one, Dennis Montgomery, who made millions selling bogus software to the government, purportedly able to find secret terrorist messages. A man who conned the Pentagon should have no difficulty showing the technophobe Arpaio and the credulous Zullo, and indeed Arpaio paid Montgomery at least $100,000 for something.
I think what Montgomery sold Arpaio was a collection of fantastic stories telling Arpaio and Zullo exactly what they wanted to hear, including buzz words like “DARPA” and “artificial intelligence.” The fact that Carl Gallups said “see it, see it, see it real soon” and the fact that 10 months later nothing came of it points to the whole thing being a scam. Montgomery’s background hadn’t been published in the newspapers when Gallups spoke so confidently. They know now.
I doubt that there is a DARPA Obot.
Update 2 (2016)
We now know where Zullo got the DARPA idea; it was indeed from the reputed con man Dennis Montgomery. The information came to light in exhibits in the Melendres v. Arpaio lawsuit. It’s bogus.