We've learned the identity of the sadsack American reporter who had his girlfriend stolen from under his nose by leaking lothario Julian Assange during a visit to Sweden last year: Vanity Fair contributor and Family of Secrets author Russ Baker.
Last month the Daily Mail published a revealing account of Assange's "promiscuous lifestyle," and it included the pitiful tale of an anonymous American journalist who met Assange for dinner in Stockholm last August only to have Assange steal his girlfriend right there:
From the beginning, the American journalist told The Mail on Sunday, Mr Assange was unusually rude, and when he offered him a copy of his recent, well-reviewed book, he said: ‘Don't bother. I'd only throw it away.' After that, he says Mr Assange ignored him, focusing intently on his girlfriend instead.
Later, when the woman said she was going outside to smoke, Mr Assange left the table to join her.
‘They were standing very close together a little way down the street, and Julian was whispering in her ear.'
[T]he group finally left when the restaurant closed for the night. The journalist turned round and saw that Mr Assange and his girlfriend were walking hand in hand, and when he asked him what was happening, ‘he dropped into a classic fighter's pose, with his fists up'.
The writer spent the night alone.
‘Assange seemed to take pleasure in humiliating me,' he said.
Ouch. The "well-reviewed book" that Assange spurned was Family of Secrets, and the American journalist that he humiliated was Baker, according to a knowledgeable source.
Baker is a consummate lefty muckraker—Family of Secrets is a conspiratorial "counterhistory" of the Bush family—and must have been thrilled to find himself at dinner in Stockholm with such an eminent information warrior. He's written for Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and the New York Times, and is the founder of WhoWhatWhy, a web site dedicated to "forensic journalism"—which sounds a lot like Assange's ideal of "scientific journalism," come to think of it. Baker also claims in his bio to have co-founded "the journalism soirees that evolved into the company, MediaBistro."
When we called Baker to ask him if he is, in fact, the American journalist whose girlfriend was stolen by Assange, he replied, "I gotta go." According to his Twitter account, in late August he returned to the States from "two months on the road in Europe," which certainly makes it plausible that he was in Stockholm on August 11, the day of the cuckolding.
Many good meetings! Here's Baker last month talking about Wikileaks on Russia TV. He keeps up such a brave face.