Dennis L. Montgomery
Dennis L. Montgomery
Dennis Lee Montgomery (born 1953) is an American software designer and former medical technician who sold federal officials computer programs he claimed would decode secret Al-Qaeda messages hidden in Al Jazeera broadcasts and identify terrorists based on Predator drone videos. A 2010 Playboy investigation called Montgomery "The man who conned the Pentagon", saying he won millions in federal contracts for his supposed terrorist-exposing intelligence software. The software was later reported to have been an elaborate hoax and Montgomery's former lawyer called him a "con artist" and "habitual liar engaged in fraud".
In 1998, Montgomery co-founded eTreppid Technologies with partner Warren Trepp to develop video compression and noise filtering software for the gaming and casino industries. Montgomery and Trepp evolved their offerings for military applications and in 2004 won a no-bid contract with the United States Department of Defense. Following a dispute over software ownership, Montgomery was separated from eTreppid in 2006 and formed a new venture with billionaire backers Edra and Tim Blixseth. Originally called OpSpring, the venture was later renamed Blxware, and Montgomery had the title of Chief Scientist. Blxware was dissolved in 2009 as part of the Blixseths' divorce and Edra Blixseth's bankruptcy.
eTreppid Technologies, LLC
Montgomery became a partner in 1998 to Warren G. Trepp, the former chief junk bond trader for Michael Milken at Drexel Burnham Lambert, and another investor, Wayne Prim, to develop and sell audio, video, and data compression software under the banner eTreppid Technologies. As Executive Vice President and Chief technology officer of eTreppid, Montgomery led the company's efforts to develop the company's software and promote it to government agencies associated with tracking terrorist activities. In 2004, eTreppid was awarded a $30 million no-bid contract with United States Special Operations Command and was ranked the 16th-largest defense contractor that year, according to Aerospace Daily.
After his separation from eTreppid, Montgomery joined with Edra and Tim Blixseth to bring his alleged terrorist tracking software to other U.S. and foreign government clients. With the Blixseths and former presidential candidate Jack Kemp he helped formed OpSpring LLC, later renamed Blxware. Via Blxware, Montgomery pursued selling his terror tracking software to the U.S. and Israel governments, leveraging political connections of the Blixseth partnership. Blxware's owners Edra and Tim Blixseth divorced in 2008 and Blxware became part of Edra Blixseth's sole property. She filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which resulted in a Chapter 7 liquidation of her assets, including Blxware and its associated software and intellectual property.
Terrorist software hoax
National Public Radio reported, "For several months starting in the fall of 2003, Montgomery's analysis led directly to national code orange security alerts and cancelled flights. The only problem: he was making it all up."
Montgomery's software claims were reportedly responsible for a false terror alert which grounded international flights and caused Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to raise the government's security level. In February 2006, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Air Force office of Special Investigations opened an economic espionage and theft of intellectual property investigation into Montgomery and Blxware.
In 2015, Montgomery, through his counsel Larry Klayman, sued James Risen, the author of Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, for defamation, alleging the book falsely described Montgomery as "the maestro behind what many current and former U.S. officials and others familiar with the case now believe was one of the most elaborate and dangerous hoaxes in American history." In 2016, a federal court dismissed Montgomery's lawsuit. In November 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the dismissal.
Nevada governor bribery scandal
During the run-up to the 2006 gubernatorial election, Dennis Montgomery accused gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons of accepting bribes while serving as a member of Congress to help Montgomery's company eTreppid Technologies secure military contracts for his terrorist software. In court papers associated with a lawsuit between Montgomery and former business partner Warren Trepp, Montgomery accused Gibbons of accepting casino chips and $100,000 in cash from Trepp during a Caribbean cruise. Montgomery provided copies of what he said were Trepp's personal e-mails that he accessed while working at eTreppid Technologies. Gibbons' lawyers claimed they had evidence Montgomery fabricated the emails and presented computer expert evidence in trial that challenged the authenticity of Montgomery's alleged evidence. In November of 2008, Gibbons' defense attorney said that an 18-month investigation by the FBI resulted in no charges and cleared Gibbons of any wrongdoing.
Confidential informant for Sheriff Joe Arpaio
In June 2014, reporter Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times wrote that Montgomery had been hired by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) as a confidential informant. Lemons, citing an anonymous source in the MCSO, said that Montgomery had claimed that, using data he had obtained while working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), he could prove there was a conspiracy against Arpaio between the U.S. Department of Justice and G. Murray Snow, the federal judge presiding over a racial-profiling lawsuit filed against Maricopa County. In April 2015, Arpaio confirmed the confidential informant relationship in testimony before Judge Snow. At Arpaio's request, two National Security Agency computer specialists examined Montgomery's material and concluded, contrary to Montgomery's representations, that it did not contain data from the CIA. Arpaio later characterized the result of Montgomery's investigation as "junk".
In May 2015, Montgomery attempted to intervene in the contempt proceedings against Joe Arpaio that had stemmed from the racial-profiling lawsuit. Montgomery, through his counsel Larry Klayman, asked Judge Snow to recuse himself; Montgomery also asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to replace the judge, but the court declined to do so.
In the wake of the Trump Tower wiretapping allegations, Klayman on Montgomery's behalf claimed that Montgomery had evidence that security agencies have been involved in "systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans", including Donald Trump. Jerome Corsi and Mike Zullo, a former member of the MSCO's cold-case posse, similarly echoed the claims about Montgomery's data; Zullo, however, had previously doubted the authenticity of the data.
In June 2017, Montgomery and Klayman jointly sued James Comey and other federal government officials, alleging a coverup of evidence that, according to Montgomery, shows the existence of widespread illegal surveillance by the federal government. In March 2018, the federal district court dismissed their lawsuit.
- Lichtblau, Eric; Risen, James (February 19, 2012). "Hiding Details of Dubious Deal, U.S. Invokes National Security". The New York Times.
- The Man Who Conned the Pentagon, (alternative link) by Aram Roston, Playboy, January 2010. (subscription required)
- Williams, Christopher (December 24, 2009). "Software fraudster fooled CIA into terror alert". The Register (UK). Retrieved 21 February 2017.
- Effinger, Anthony (August 29, 2008). "Yellowstone Club Divorcee Entangled in Terrorist Software Suits". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
- Kihara, David (June 7, 2009). "True Believers: Nevada company's troubles entangle Gibbons, federal government". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Yellowstone Club Chronicles: The Edra Blixeth Bankruptcy, by Jonathan Weber, New West, June 11, 2009.
- Who is Warren Trepp, Nevada Today, February 2008.
- The man who conned the Pentagon, by Guy Raz, All Things Considered, NPR, December 19, 2009.
- Programmer conned CIA, Pentagon into buying bogus anti-terror code, Wired, December 28, 2009.
- Nevada company's troubles, Las Vegas Review Journal, June 7, 2009
- Nelson, Steven (February 25, 2015). "Journalist James Risen Sued for Reporting Post-9/11 Contractor Was Con Man". U.S. News & World Report.
- Klasfeld, Adam (July 18, 2016). "Risen Cleared on Labeling CIA Contractor a 'Con Artist'". Courthouse News Service. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016.
- FBI probes Nevada governor for corruption, by Lisa Myers & Jim Popkin, NBC News, May 11, 2007.
- on YouTube, NBC News, May 11, 2007.
- Nevada governor cleared in corruption probe, may sue, by AP, USA Today, November 3, 2008.
- Apuzzo, Matt; Press, Associated (2008-11-02). "Attorney: Gibbons cleared in FBI probe". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
- Lemons, Stephen (June 4, 2014). "Joe Arpaio's Investigating Federal Judge G. Murray Snow, DOJ, Sources say, and using a Seattle scammer to do it". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- Joffe-Block, Jude (May 8, 2015). "Man Sheriff Joe Arpaio Hired to Investigate Federal Agencies Tries to Intervene in Contempt Case". KJZZ. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- Joffe-Block, Jude (May 20, 2016). "10 Key Findings From The Civil Contempt Ruling Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio". KJZZ.
- Santos, Fernanda (June 15, 2015). "Twists Outnumber Judges (So Far) in Case Against Arizona Sheriff". The New York Times.
- Joffe-Block, Jude (May 8, 2015). "Man Sheriff Joe Arpaio Hired To Investigate Federal Agencies Tries To Intervene In Contempt Case". KJZZ.
- Joffe-Block, Jude (May 14, 2015). "Judge Expected To Address Informant's Motion To Intervene In Sheriff Arpaio's Contempt Case". KJZZ.
- Ruelas, Richard (April 4, 2017). "Conspiracy theory tries to connect Joe Arpaio, the Obama birth certificate and Trump's wiretap claims". The Arizona Republic.
- Solomon, John; Carter, Sara (June 7, 2017). "Did the FBI have evidence of a breach larger than Snowden? A lawsuit says yes". Circa News.
- Tashman, Brian (March 27, 2017). "Rick Wiles: Obama Is 'Hiding From Arrest' In French Polynesia For Stealing Elections And Surveilling Trump". Right Wing Watch.