On Friday, WikiLeaks published some 20,000 emails copied from the Democratic National Committee’s internal servers. Among them are a number of emails between DNC staffers and reporters. One of those reporters...is me.
The DNC’s communications director, Luis Miranda, wanted to persuade me that a post I had written, based on a story in Politico, was biased. The financial documents I was writing about did not say what I thought they said, he argued. I thanked him for his input but politely disagreed.
My email signature, like that of many people, includes my name, title, and cell phone number. (Talking on the phone gives me anxiety, but it is an important part of being a journalist and we all have to do things in life we do not necessarily enjoy.) Anyway, some trolls apparently have been trawling the emails looking for people to harass, and they found me.
I just got fuckin owned pic.twitter.com/1oqXQO4k6i— Brendan O'Connor (@_grendan) July 25, 2016
Not long after I posted that tweet—and this godforsaken blog wrote one of its patented “snarky” blog posts about it—I began receiving more and more text messages from Internet trolls. One even claimed to know the location of the hell ape, Harambe.
I asked the original texter, who identified himself as Anthony from Alabama, whether he’d contacted anyone else whose numbers he’d found in the leaks. “I’ve trolled some of the upper echelon of the party. Though I do branch out on occasion,” he wrote. “Sometimes they respond and sometimes they don’t. I use Google Voice to conceal my real number.”
He admonished one staffer at an advocacy group for sending the birthday and social security number of another person across an unsafe email system. She called him a “creep,” he said. He also pointed me towards a series of emails between low-level DNC staffers discussing the potential sexual conquest of a married woman they knew through work.
Anyway, thank you to this nice person for their kind words. And if you ever want to reach me...well, you know where to find my number, I guess.