Rob Ford’s office may have hired a hacker to destroy the crack video
The revelations into Rob Ford’s secret life have been coming fast and furious, culminating in the mayor’s shocking admission this morning that he smoked crack. This afternoon brought a second can-this-actually-be-happening story courtesy of Vice, which decided to publish an article it has been working on since July. It involves an anonymous source who approached the magazine over the summer claiming that a member of Ford’s staff hired him to hack into a website. The goal: to delete what the Ford Camp believed to be the last copy of the crack-smoking video.
The story has some evidence to back it up; namely, a unverified log of emails between the hacker and Ford’s communications director Amin Massoudi spanning two weeks in May, just after Gawker revealed the video’s existence. In the emails, Massoudi asks the hacker to break into an online storage account registered as goonies.bugs3.com (“goonies” may refer to the Dixon St. Goonies, a gang targeted in the summer’s Project Traveller raids). From May 18:
Got something I want you to look into. Think you probably know what’s been reported. What’s the best way we can talk… T said you might be able to help us again.
Later emails get more specific about what the job entails:
Anyhow, as of now I can’t confirm if the video is real or not we’d heard there was something floating around..
the big guy said someone was trying to blackmail him about a month ago but just told us it was about weed.
I know he’s got some habits, but this would surprise me if it’s really true.
Talked to him again this morning and he mentioned a site or something and a vid on it.. he wanted to know if we know any lowkey computer people who could help us find it.
We need absolute secrecy, but he’s willing to hook them up nicely.
The alleged fee? Gawker’s $200,000 goal, plus an extra 10 per cent to ensure the hacker didn’t go to Gawker instead. Unfortunately for the would-be hacker, he never got his $220,000 payday. He told Vice that he and a friend did manage to break into the site, where they found two heavily encrypted video files. However, they were unable to delete them, so he couldn’t collect. [Vice]