Matt DeHart

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Matt Paul DeHart
Image of Matt DeHart
Matt DeHart in Canada c. 2014
Born (1984-06-11) June 11, 1984 (age 39)
Nationality (legal)American
OccupationFormer intelligence analyst
Years active2008-2009
Criminal charge(s)Receiving child pornography.
2 Counts of Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Images (Victim U18).
Failing to appear as ordered in court
Criminal penalty72 months for the porn charges plus 18 months for fleeing the country.

Matt Paul DeHart (born June 11, 1984) is an American citizen and former U.S. Air National Guard intelligence analyst and a registered sex offender.[1] He has made several unconfirmed claims, including that he received classified documents alleging the CIA was involved in the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States and that the government used child pornography charges to frame him for possession of state secrets.[2]

In 2010, he was indicted for possession of child pornography[2] and spent 21 months in prison while awaiting trial.[3][4] After being released on bail in 2012, he unsuccessfully sought asylum in Canada, claiming he had been tortured by the FBI with regards to the classified documents. In November 2015 he struck a plea bargain to serve a 7+12-year sentence.[5] He was released from prison in October 2019.

Early life and education

From an early age, DeHart was a tech geek. He started a group called KAOS (Kaos Anti-Security Operations Syndicate) in 2000. He graduated from high school in 2002.[6] He took classes through Corning Community College;[7] BOCES, Horseheads New York;[8] and IVY Tech Indianapolis, Indiana.[9] In 2004, he spent time on 4chan, a message board which gave birth to Anonymous. Besides socializing and gaming online, DeHart developed interests in encryption, internet freedom and privacy. In 2008, he took part in Project Chanology, Anonymous' anti-Scientology campaign.[10]

Career

In 2008, DeHart enlisted in the U.S. Air National Guard, becoming an intelligence analyst.[11] In June 2009, he was discharged from the National Guard, with an honorable discharge, as a consequence of a diagnosis of depression. DeHart says after his superiors had learned about his activism he had been offered a lump sum if he resigned but he had refused to do so.[7][12][13]

Timeline of events

Receipt of documents

DeHart was involved in online activities with a small group 'Anonymous Anti-Security' using the anonymity network Tor.[3] As a part of these activities, DeHart ran a dead drop server named 'The Shell', on a computer in his bedroom.[3] In September 2009, while monitoring the server, DeHart claims to have found an unencrypted folder containing hundreds of documents, including one detailing what looked like an FBI investigation into some particularly shady deeds by the CIA.[3] He deleted the unencrypted folder from the server, but claims to have kept screenshots.[3] Shortly afterwards he claims to have found an encrypted version of the same file placed on another hidden server he believes was meant for WikiLeaks.[14]

DeHart claimed the "document dropped onto his Tor server included details of FBI's investigation into CIA's possible role in the anthrax attack". DeHart said the CIA staged the attacks to draw the US into a war with Iraq.[2]

On January 22, 2010, DeHart claims to have received a 'pretty detailed tip' from an associate who claims they were asked about the server by the FBI related to the file from a few months previously. At this point, he shut down his server entirely and claims to have destroyed its hard drives.[3]

Initial charges and indictment

On August 9, 2010, DeHart was brought before U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk and charged with coercing two teenage boys in Tennessee into sending him nude photos and videos they made of themselves at his request, and that he impersonated a teenage girl in order to acquire sexual images from other underage boys.[15][16] On August 18, 2010, DeHart signed consent forms (such as the permission for any FBI agent and "any Canadian law enforcement", to record his phone calls with his old military colleagues) and authorized agents to assume his online identity, giving the FBI his aliases, and passwords to his e-mail accounts. Among the accounts was a Hushmail account in the name of "Fawkes".[3]

DeHart was then transferred to Tennessee, where he spent 21 months in jail because of the child pornography charges against him.[17]

After an unsuccessful attempt to seek asylum in Canada, he was deported to the US on March 1, 2015, and handed over to FBI agents at the Peace Bridge border crossing.[18]

Plea and sentence

DeHart was described by one prosecutor as a "classic child sex predator".[2]

In March 2015, he was granted assistance by the Courage Foundation, an international organization that defends whistleblowers.[2]

On November 13, 2015, in Tennessee, DeHart pleaded guilty to "two charges of receiving child pornography and a charge of failing to appear as ordered in court".[5] On February 22, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Arthur Trauger of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee sentenced DeHart to 72 months for the porn charges and an additional 18 months for fleeing the country.[19] According to DeHart, he was originally scheduled to be released September 11, 2018, taking into account the 14 months he had spent under house arrest in Canada; this part of his plea deal was not honored, and he was eventually released from prison in October 2019.[20]

DeHart has claimed wrongful prosecution, accusing the U.S. government of using child pornography as a ruse to probe his activist activities.[3] A victim-impact statement was delivered which accused DeHart of orchestrating a hoax in the media and in court to avoid taking responsibility for damaging lives.[21][22]

In 2017, his mother stated that he would "be on a sex offender's registry for 10 years".[23] Although his conviction is in Tennessee, because his last known address was in Concord, New Hampshire, he was also required to register there as a sex offender, with a mugshot dated June 14, 2021.[1]

See also

  • Canadian immigration and refugee law
  • Sonia Kennebeck (director) (2020). Enemies of the State. Retrieved January 14, 2023. – a documentary film about the Matt DeHart case

References

  1. ^ a b "Detail Criminal Offenders, Division of State Police, New Hampshire Department of Safety". business.nh.gov. Retrieved January 27, 2022. Mugshot dated June 14, 2021
  2. ^ a b c d e Kushner, David (March 20, 2015). "I Might Have Some Sensitive Files". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on September 1, 2017. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Humphreys, Adrian (May 2014). "Hacker, Creeper, Soldier, Spy". Toronto: National Post. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  4. ^ Stuart, Hunter (September 23, 2013). "Matthew Paul DeHart, Self-Described Anonymous Member, Says Child Porn Charges Are Government Ruse". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Humphreys, Adrian (November 13, 2015). "'Extremely rational' Anonymous hacktivist Matt DeHart avoids 70-year prison term with child porn plea deal". Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  6. ^ https://archive.org/stream/pdfy-QkgbBZ6svikno57g/227044191-FBI-Document_djvu.txt [bare URL plain text file]
  7. ^ a b "FBI Document | PDF | Identity Document | Espionage". Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "BOCES, Horseheads New York". Archived from the original on March 30, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  9. ^ "IVY Tech Indianapolis". Archived from the original on March 24, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  10. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (2014). "Hacker, creeper, soldier, spy". Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Will Matt DeHart be the next victim of the war on leaks?", Janus Kopfstein, February 25, 2015 Archived March 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Al Jazeera America
  12. ^ ""Hacker, creeper, soldier, spy", Adrian Humphreys, National Post, April 2014". Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  13. ^ US-Dissident DeHart: Vom Elitekämpfer zum Staatsfeind, Holger Stark Archived 2015-08-12 at the Wayback Machine, Spiegel Online, February 25, 2015
  14. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (March 1, 2015). "Hacker, creeper, soldier, spy: The bizarre story of Matt DeHart". National Post. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  15. ^ Harrison, Judy (August 9, 2010). "Maine detains Indiana man in child-porn case". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  16. ^ "Where Is Alleged Wikileaks Courier Matt DeHart Of 'Enemies Of The State' Now?". Oxygen Official Site. July 30, 2021. Archived from the original on November 16, 2021. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  17. ^ Burnham, Emily (July 11, 2021). "He collapsed in a Bangor courtroom and claimed he was a political prisoner. A new documentary probes his story". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 22, 2022.
  18. ^ Humphreys, Adrian (March 1, 2015). "Matt DeHart, the alleged Anonymous hacker, deported to U.S. after Canada refused to grant him asylum". National Post. Archived from the original on November 17, 2021. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  19. ^ "Matt DeHart, U.S. vet linked to Anonymous and WikiLeaks, sentenced for child porn". Washington Times. Archived from the original on February 26, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  20. ^ Enemies of the State 2020.
  21. ^ "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA VS MATTHEW PAUL DEHART (No. 3:10-cr-00250)" (PDF).
  22. ^ Lucas, Douglas (February 23, 2016). "Anonymous Activist Matt DeHart Sentenced to 7.5 Years". Revolution News. Archived from the original on June 29, 2021. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  23. ^ "Courage Under Fire : Matt DeHart. #IntelGroup Interviews Leann DeHart - by #IntelGroup". Medium. March 31, 2017. Retrieved January 27, 2022.

Further reading

External links