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Reuters reporter agreed to hold story of Beto teenage hacking group until after 2018 election

Reuters reporter agreed to hold story of Beto teenage hacking group until after 2018 election

“In an interview in late 2017, O’Rourke acknowledged that he was a member of the group, on the understanding that the information would not be made public until after his Senate race against Ted Cruz in November 2018.”

Apparently, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke was a member of a teenage hacking group called Cult of the Dead Cow.

An intrepid Reuters reporter, who was researching a book at the time, tracked down and confirmed this story prior to the 2018 midterms, but agreed to hold it until after Texas voters headed to the polls to vote for their choice for Senate.  In that race, O’Rourke lost to incumbent Senator Ted Cruz (R).

The Washington Examiner reports:

Reuters held on to a report about former congressman Beto O’Rourke and his participation in a hacking group as a teenager until after his failed 2018 Senate race in Texas.

O’Rourke, now 46, announced Thursday he’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. A day later, Reuters reported he was a member of a computer hacking group called the Cult of the Dead Cow and authored a series of writings under the name “Psychedelic Warlord” [. . . .], including disturbing fiction he wrote when he was about 15 that detailed the murder of children.

“I’m mortified to read it now, incredibly embarrassed, but I have to take ownership of my words,” O’Rourke said in an apology. “Whatever my intention was as a teenager doesn’t matter, I have to look long and hard at my actions, at the language I have used, and I have to constantly try to do better.”

“It’s not anything I’m proud of today, and I mean, that’s the long and short of it,” he told reporters earlier on Friday. “All I can do is my best, which is what I’m trying to do. I can’t control anything I’ve done in the past. I can only control what I do going forward and what I plan to do is give this my best.”

O’Rourke also apologized for joking about “sometimes” helping his wife raise their three children.

Reuters recounts how their reporter agreed not to reveal the name of the politician seeking election in 2018 if a member of the hacking group shared this information.  He did so, and later, O’Rourke himself reportedly acknowledged that he had been a member of the group.  He acknowledged this, reportedly, on the understanding that it would not be revealed until after the election.

Reuters reports:

Reuters reporter Joseph Menn exclusively revealed on Friday that Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke belonged to one of the best-known groups of computer hackers as a teenager.

. . . . Members of the group, which calls itself Cult of the Dead Cow, protected O’Rourke’s secret for decades, reluctant to compromise the former Texas Congressman’s political career.

After more than a year of reporting, Menn persuaded O’Rourke to talk on the record. In an interview in late 2017, O’Rourke acknowledged that he was a member of the group, on the understanding that the information would not be made public until after his Senate race against Ted Cruz in November 2018.

This was uncovered while Joseph Menn was researching a book about the Cult of the Dead Cow hacking group.  Menn explains that he was focused on his book:  “I wanted the full story for my book, which spans decades, rather than 1 scoop ahead of a state vote. I offered O’Rourke the same terms. He accepted, and we spoke.”

Reuters continues:

In an interview with Reuters senior producer Jane Lee, Menn explains how he broke the story and got O’Rourke to open up about his hacking days.

“I decided to write a book about the Cult of the Dead Cow because they were the most interesting and influential hacking group in history. They illustrated a lot of the things that I think are fascinating about hacking and security work.

“While I was looking into the Cult of the Dead Cow, I found out that they had a member who was sitting in Congress. I didn’t know which one. But I knew that they had a member of Congress.

“And then I figured out which one it was. And the members of the group wouldn’t talk to me about who it was. They wouldn’t confirm that it was this person unless I promised that I wouldn’t write about it until after the November election. That’s because the member of Congress had decided to run for Senate. Beto O’Rourke is who it was.



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He failed to get a dead cow bounce.

TheOldZombie | March 17, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Would this reporter make this deal if Beto was a Republican? Of course not. This is another reason to never trust the media. When Trump calls the media fake he’s right. When he calls them the enemy of the people he’s right. The media, almost all of it, is part of the Democrat party. It’s no different than the media sitting on the picture of Obama and Farakhan.

theduchessofkitty | March 17, 2019 at 6:28 pm

Yet another reason never to regret my vote for Ted in ’18.

Colonel Travis | March 17, 2019 at 7:26 pm

The media makes me sick. I cannot stand these suck-ups. It is disgusting, it is damaging to our country.

stevewhitemd | March 17, 2019 at 7:33 pm

How bad is this? It’s so bad that a Reuters shareholder could sue.

Reuters is in the news business. They make money (the grubby capitalists that they are) by putting news out over the wire. That’s what they do. So when they hit on a juicy story, such as the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate belonging to a hacker group in his youth, they’re supposed to do all the necessary things to report the story: gather the news, confirm it, cover all the angles, write it up, vet it, vet it a 2nd and 3rd time, edit it, and PUT IT ON THE WIRE.

Because you see, that’s how they make money. If they don’t publish they have no income. And a story like this is going to make money for them. So by having this reporter (who of course has remained unnamed and undisciplined) spike what is a juicy story, they lost money.

So if I’m a shareholder, I’m unhappy. Or at least, I should be.

All of that cheating and he still couldn’t win.

BeeToe is more of an empty suit than Obama, if that is even possible.

The entire main stream media is like this. All of it.

The ONLY reason this is coming out now is that the media does not want a white male to be the Democrat nominee in 2020. They prefer Hillary!, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, or Michelle Obama to be the nominee so they can label ALL opposition to the Democrat as misogynist/racist.

You left out a key quote from the Reuters article:
“I met Beto O’Rourke. I said ‘I’m writing a book about Cult of the Dead Cow, I think it’s really interesting. I know you were in this group. This book is going to publish after November and your Senate race is over. And he said, ‘OK.’

“And he told me about his time in the Cult of the Dead Cow.”

So O’Rourke had the understanding that the book would not publish until after November, but he didn’t extract an agreement.

This may be Beto-friendly. It makes him look really smart. That may not have played well in somewhat folksy Texas, but it will go over well in some circles in blue states on the coasts.

The excuse about working on a big book that wouldn’t be leaked before the Texas senate vote is just convenient, ignore that excuse.

It helps Beto with the people who weren’t bothered by Hillary’s spookiness. And Beto wasn’t going to win otherwise.

As for Reuters, if they had any credibility before …

Geez, sure sounds like Reuters ‘Colluded’ with Team Beta to influence the outcome of an election, huh?

To appropriate the current narrative.

They’re getting the news out there now to clear it out for his presidential run. The media hopes that everyone will have forgotten about it by next year, and when anyone brings it up, they’ll say “oh, that’s old”.

    bear in reply to rdmdawg. | March 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Not this time, Mr. Dawg. The media actually dislikes Robert O’Rourke. The claws are out among the (it’s time to eat our own dems).

      DaveGinOly in reply to bear. | March 18, 2019 at 11:42 pm

      Beto will get the same treatment as DJT because he’s not “establishment.” He’s a young upstart and the party has seen the damage such people can cause to their brand.

Liberals probably think he is cooler for being in this “hacking” group. Anywhere other than Texas, he probably would have made this part of his campaign platform.