Surefire Intelligence, an organization that may or may not be staffed by Christoph Waltz and Bar Refaeli working out of Jacob Wohl’s proverbial basement, burst onto the scenes last week when they sent out at least one email that, on its face, attempted to solicit sexual misconduct accusations against Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for cash. Professor Jennifer Taub, upon seeing the email in her inbox, promptly passed it along to the Department of Justice because, you know, it appeared to represent a bevy of federal crimes.
That’s when the minds — I guess that’s the right word? — behind Surefire Intelligence held a wacky and barely attended press conference where they stumbled through half-baked allegations with their fly open. A picture of the “credible accuser” turned out to be Wohl’s old girlfriend. They couldn’t even spell the name of the woman they were hanging their reputations on.
When Professor Taub was asked about the whole affair, she mused that “one theory is they’re casting a very wide net, and they don’t even care if people know.” This is basically Surefire’s latest explanation of their rapidly unraveling scheme. Having watched everything else fail, they now want you to know they expected Professor Taub to turn over the emails to the feds because the plan was, apparently to implicate themselves in federal crimes to own the libs. Crackerjack reasoning.
In an email sent to me yesterday, Surefire Intelligence Managing Partner Donald Treehorn — who is almost certainly Jacob Wohl choosing an alias because he assumes no one else has ever watched The Big Lebowski — explained that they intended their email to Professor Taub to leak:
I want to clear up something. Ms. Taub was chosen with great care. We chose her precisely because we thought she might act the way she did, by running to the special council. We knew she would not miss this opportunity to get her 15 minutes of fame.
Please note that we did not send emails to any other people requesting information on Mueller, only Ms. Taub. We performed extensive research on her mindset, academic position and political activism. It was a bit of a long shot, as she was the only person we sent this email request to, but it worked. She did our bidding, and more so than we could have ever expected her to.
First of all, “counsel.” Second, you thought a law professor might understand the value of reporting a proposed criminal conspiracy? Good guess. On the other hand, aren’t there hundreds of other high profile women in the legal profession that would understand their obligations under the law — just to hedge your bets in case Professor Taub lost this email in a spam filter or something? If these are the gambles Wohl likes to take, perhaps it’s for the best that he’s banned from managing other people’s money.
Donald Treehorn’s Twitter account — with all six of its followers — sprung to life for the first time last week with a Jacob Wohl retweet:
Except… there was evidence. There were these emails. These emails that the FBI now has. How did this make the mainstream media scramble in any way other than to furiously Google to figure out who Jacob Wohl even is?
Our objective was to expose the media for the hacks that they are. They ran with our made-up story with reckless abandon, without doing any background or source checking. We sold the story up the chain of small blogs to news blogs then to media people. Essentially we played all of you, and it was so easy. We look forward to many more operations that will expose so-called journalists for what they truly are…fakers.
If the argument is, “the mainstream media should have investigated to learn that the documents were on their face intended as a troll” then that’s undermined by taking to holding a press conference underlining your commitment to the authenticity of the allegations. It seems as though the media did conduct a thorough investigation and reported… everything Surefire Intelligence said.
So now the argument is that it wasn’t false but a prank? And mainstream media is to blame for reporting public statements?
At one point, I wondered if this was Wohl’s attempt at commentary on the Kavanaugh hearings by offering cash to make false allegations against Mueller and then, I guess, assuming people might think that’s what happened to Kavanaugh? Maybe? If that was the purpose it only seems to have underscored the credibility of Kavanaugh’s accusers by providing a stark contrast between honest testimony and a sophomoric scam.
But they didn’t mean to really pay off any witnesses. Ah, mens rea, the last refuge of the scoundrel. Unfortunately for Surefire, the efficacy of the “ha, just kidding” defense under Title 18 is not particularly robust. The criminal law doesn’t let people claim backsies on obstruction of justice, witness tampering, or false statements because if they did, every consigliere in history would be testifying that “we expected Bobby ‘The Butcher’ Graziano to seek his 15 minutes of fame by telling the government we offered to pay for his silence — #fakenews.”
Where Wohl, Burkman, and Surefire miss the mark is in thinking the mainstream media flocked to this story because they were duped. They flocked to this story for the underlying tragic-comedy of watching a kid blunder his way into serious trouble in an Arlington Holiday Inn. Nothing about the past couple weeks exposed the media as anything but a profession deeply appreciative of schadenfreude.
But rather than dwell on that, it’s probably time to hire a real lawyer. At least before sending more on-the-record emails purporting to spell out your defense of a situation under federal investigation.
(Check out the entire message in uninterrupted form on the next page…)
We Went To Jacob Wohl’s Most Important Press Conference Ever And It Was Everything We’d Hoped It Would Be [Dealbreaker]
Earlier: Law School Professor Sinks Plot To Smear Mueller
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news.