Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Bad Office E-Mailer

Today's story about microbiologist and suspected domestic terrorist Bruce Ivins in the New York Times, "Troubled Life of an Anthrax Suspect" also paints a portrait of a bad netizen who sends unwelcome e-mail from multiple accounts, becomes obstreperous in Wikipedia edit wars, and assumes several harassing Internet identities. As the article makes clear, the documents that the Department of Justice has posted on its official website about what it calls the "Amerithrax" case involve unauthorodox online behavior that was revealed by FBI search warrants from companies like AOL and MSN who complied. For example, this dossier explains how Ivins was obsessed with the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and placed unsubstantiated accusations under the name "Jimmy Flathead" into the group's Wikipedia entry, including the claim that in 1997, "three DePauw Kappa actives were found to have hazed three pledges by burning them with cigarettes and forcing them to consume alcoholic beverages," according to the editing logs for the site. One female recipient of his creepy e-mails boasting of his work at one of the military's biodefenses lab noted cues in the attached photographs that made her suspicious of his conduct as a fellow scientist.

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