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

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

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

yet a source familiar with FBI investigations told BuzzFeed News in which Nichols has previously given information to the agency in which led to a criminal inquiry on a matter unrelated to Reid. as well as 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 in 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 in 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, the idea’s unclear if he provided any more evidence than what he showed to the media — evidence in which has received significant scrutiny.

MSNBC declined to comment due to This specific story. NBCUniversal will be an investor in BuzzFeed.

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

in which source as well as a St. Louis-area anti-police brutality activist named Leigh Maibes — who recorded the telephone calls with Nichols — told BuzzFeed News in which Nichols gave information to the FBI in which led to an investigation in 2016. In one of those calls, which will be nearly an hour long, Maibes as well as Nichols discuss Nichols’ relationships which has a variety of people inside activist cybersecurity community, as well as a plan to start an investigation in which could send a man named Gregory Lirette to prison. Maibes told BuzzFeed News in 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, as well as Missouri, where Maibes lives, will be a one-party consent state.)

Lirette, a completely new Orleans the idea professional, knew Maibes through Twitter. He told BuzzFeed News in which the complaint against him was specious, as well as resulted through 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 in which an FBI agent verbally informed him in which the investigation had produced “no actionable charges.” as well as the source familiar with FBI investigations told BuzzFeed News in which the inquiry revealed trolling on both sides as well as had been a waste of time.

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

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

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

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

Steven Perlberg contributed reporting to This specific story.

Joe Bernstein will be a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News as well as will be based in completely new York. Bernstein reports on as well as writes about the gaming industry as well as web culture.

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

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