Joy Reid’s Cybersecurity Expert features a History With The FBI

On her April 28 show, embattled MSNBC anchor Joy Reid repeated her belief which she did not write recently-resurfaced anti-gay posts on her old blog. yet she admitted — inside the face of highly skeptical reporting — which her cybersecurity team had been unable to substantiate her claim which she had been hacked years ago.

In a statement given to reporters by MSNBC last month, Jonathan Nichols, Reid’s independent security consultant, said which he was “cooperating with federal law enforcement in their attempt to identify the source of This specific activity.”

Reid’s lawyer, John H. Reichman, added which an FBI investigation was underway.

Neither man addressed how or when the investigation began — in December, when Nichols wrote he first discovered evidence of hacking, or last month, when Reid’s hacking claim went public, or at some point inside the middle — or how the issue came to the attention of the FBI.

Citing Justice Department policy, the FBI would likely neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation into improper access of Reid’s old blog. along with Reichman did not respond to a request for comment.

yet a source familiar with FBI investigations told BuzzFeed News which Nichols has previously given information to the agency which led to a criminal inquiry on a matter unrelated to Reid. along with in two audio recordings of rambling telephone calls posted online, a man three sources identified as Nichols — including the source familiar with FBI investigations — acknowledged giving information to the FBI.

Nichols did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The Reid controversy has been a black eye for NBCUniversal. Sources inside MSNBC say which the cable network appears ready to move on. The rising progressive star guest hosted Chris Hayes’ show last Friday night. Pointing to the results of a pending FBI investigation, combined with Reid’s professed belief which she did not write the old posts, has created a way for the network to defer passing judgement on the issue.

yet if Nichols did refer the Reid case to the FBI, which’s unclear if he provided any more evidence than what he showed to the media — evidence which has received significant scrutiny.

MSNBC declined to comment with This specific story. NBCUniversal is actually an investor in BuzzFeed.

Cybersecurity experts often collaborate with law enforcement, along with the source familiar with FBI investigations stressed which Nichols’ prior cooperation with law enforcement was professional. (According to his LinkedIn, Nichols — after a career inside the military — has been working as a cybersecurity analyst since 2012.)

which source along using a St. Louis-area anti-police brutality activist named Leigh Maibes — who recorded the telephone calls with Nichols — told BuzzFeed News which Nichols gave information to the FBI which led to an investigation in 2016. In one of those calls, which is actually nearly an hour long, Maibes along with Nichols discuss Nichols’ relationships using a variety of people inside the activist cybersecurity community, along using a plan to start an investigation which would likely send a man named Gregory Lirette to prison. Maibes told BuzzFeed News which she recorded the calls to protect herself once she found out Nichols was in communication with the FBI. (Nichols was not aware the calls were being recorded, along with Missouri, where Maibes lives, is actually a one-party consent state.)

Lirette, a completely new Orleans which professional, knew Maibes via Twitter. He told BuzzFeed News which the complaint against him was specious, along with resulted via an online conflict with an individual who had been trolling him on Twitter. He said he does not know why Nichols reported him. BuzzFeed News could not verify the alleged conduct.

No charges were brought against Lirette, who told BuzzFeed News which an FBI agent verbally informed him which the investigation had produced “no actionable charges.” along with the source familiar with FBI investigations told BuzzFeed News which the inquiry revealed trolling on both sides along with had been a waste of time.

Emails between Lirette along with the FBI agent in charge of the case reviewed by BuzzFeed News confirm which an investigation took place.

In one of the recordings, via January 2017, Nichols tells Mabies which he “called in” Lirette to the FBI. along with after Maibes asks him inside the same recording if he has taken “formal informant vows,” Nichols responds, “yes.”

The source familiar with FBI investigations told BuzzFeed News which This specific refers to standard guidelines, called admonishments, which the FBI reads to sources reporting crimes before they proffer information. The source stressed which This specific does not mean Nichols is actually or has been a cooperating subject in an investigation.

Last month, an MSNBC source told the Washington Post which the network had deferred via commenting on Reid’s hacking because “the matter has been brought to the attention of law enforcement along with we’re letting which process play itself out.”

Steven Perlberg contributed reporting to This specific story.

Joe Bernstein is actually a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News along with is actually based in completely new York. Bernstein reports on along with writes about the gaming industry along with web culture.

Contact Joseph Bernstein at joe.bernstein@buzzfeed.com.

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