In May, Florida data technician Rebekah Jones was fired for what state records reportedly showed was a pattern of making unauthorized public remarks about the Florida coronavirus dashboard she helped manage.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) communications director Helen Aguirre Ferre said in a statement to the media at the time that Jones “exhibited a repeated course of insubordination during her time with the Department,” including allegedly making “unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors.”

Jones’ version of events was much different. She appeared in numerous interviews in the aftermath, claiming she was fired because she refused to manipulate Florida’s data to make DeSantis look better and in a way that would better justify the state’s reopening plans.

Seeing as Democrats and the mainstream media treated DeSantis as an irresponsible governor because he chose to manage the crisis much differently than NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), they immediately latched on to Jones’ story as the gospel truth, treating her as a “martyr” and “whistleblower” despite the information that ran totally contrary to her’s and the media’s established narratives about DeSantis and the state’s data.

Some of those inconvenient facts included the fact that Jones was not the “architect” of Florida’s COVID dashboard, as some media outlets claimed, nor was she a coronavirus “scientist” as other media outlets like NPR and The Guardian claimed.

Most importantly, she was not asked to “manipulate” data to portray DeSantis and Florida in a more flattering light, as Tallahassee Reports documented extensively here.

A few weeks after her firing and subsequent media tour, Jones started her own Florida coronavirus dashboard and has maintained it since. She also continues to do interviews with the media to tout her website and claim she was a victim of what she says has been Florida’s attempt to mask the data.

Fast forward a few months to Monday, Jones posted a video to her Twitter account about how the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement (FDLE) raided her home and, according to her, seized all her tech equipment, including her phones and computers. She also alleged agents pointed guns at her children:

Jones claimed in later tweets that this was all on DeSantis and that it was retaliation for her “speaking truth to power”:

Jones’ name trended on Twitter all day yesterday and into today as Democrats rushed to her defense, automatically believing her version of events without bothering to find out the details as to why the raid happened in the first place:

The Miami Herald had more information on the FDLE’s actions in a report they filed Monday:

The FDLE said in its statement that the search warrant was issued for Jones’ Tallahassee home and it began an investigation “after receiving a complaint from the Department of Health regarding unauthorized access to a Department of Health messaging system which is part of an emergency alert system, to be used for emergencies only. Agents believe someone at the residence on Centerville Court illegally accessed the system.”

[…]

In an affidavit signed by FDLE investigator Noel Pratt on Dec. 3, he concluded the email message was sent to approximately 1,750 accounts before it was discovered. Pratt said in the affidavit that he tracked down the IP address of the computer associated with the email and it directed him to Jones’ home address, which he said was probable cause to conduct a search of her property and seize her computers.

[…]

The FDLE said that when agents arrived at Jones’ home, “they knocked on the door and called Ms. Jones in an attempt to minimize disruption to the family.

“Ms. Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung up on agent,’’ the statement said. “After several attempts and verbal notifications that law enforcement officers were there to serve a legal search warrant, Ms. Jones eventually came to the door and allowed agents to enter.”

ABC7 news anchor Jeff Butera analyzed the affidavit for the search warrant and posted his findings to his Twitter feed:

Jones denied the hacking allegation and the FDLE’s claim that she initially refused to answer her door when they arrived. Chris Cuomo interviewed her on his program last night, of course, to try and lend credence to her claims. She told him that DeSantis’ alleged targeting of her wouldn’t stop her from continuing to run an alternative dashboard for Florida’s coronavirus cases:

Just my personal opinion, but this woman has “drama queen” written all over her. It may be that we find out more information later that corroborates her claims, but I’m not betting any money on it. She was thoroughly discredited back in May, and if the hacking allegations are true, she’s going to be in a lot of trouble, and justifiably so.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —

 

 
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