Online Sleuths

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

I’ve had a few responses to last night’s post about the identity of the maurauding pro-Israel demonstrators/thugs who attacked the Gaza encampment on Tuesday night. There are clearly a lot of rumors circulating about it. The most interesting article I’ve seen so far is one that came out yesterday afternoon from the Los Angeles Times. It doesn’t include identities but reports on the team of online sleuths trying to identify them. Think of it as broadly similar to the “Sedition Hunters” group which has identified probably hundreds of people involved in the January 6th insurrection. The article doesn’t include any identities though it does seem like the sleuths have already identified or contingently identified some people.

I’m seeing some instances of what purport to be positive identifications from various Twitter accounts. I’m not linking to them because I don’t have enough information to validate them. But it does seem like some individuals have already been identified. If the J6 model is any guide, the usual chain of events is crowdsourcing on social media, police get those IDs and try to independently verify the found evidence and then make arrests. In this case, arrests might be further complicated because even though these identifications appear to place them with the group that assaulted the encampment on Tuesday night police would still need specific evidence that they individually committed a crime. The J6 case faced similar challenges. But just being in the Capitol complex was itself a crime. So that made things at least slightly easier.

One thing to keep in mind is that there were large daylight confrontations between Gaza protestors and pro-Israel counter-demonstrators in the days before Tuesday night. Reports that I saw suggest that the pro-Israel groups in some of those confrontations were more verbally aggressive, had fewer “de-escalators” among their numbers, etc. But this is a case of two big, protesting groups facing off under very tense conditions. A few scuffles broke out. But as best I can tell this was categorically different from what happened Tuesday night. So at least for me it’s Tuesday night that is really the focus.

Latest Editors' Blog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: