The cyber-security expert hired by MSNBC host Joy Reid apparently had his own history with the FBI.
Jonathan Nichols was tapped by Reid to investigate her claim that her blog had been hacked, which she addressed on her show last month. Nichols gave the FBI information leading them to investigate New Orleans IT professional Gregory Lirette in 2016, BuzzFeed News reported Tuesday.
Nichols reportedly spoke with anti-police brutality activist Leigh Maibes about launching a probe that could eventually lead to Lirette going to prison. But the inquiry did not lead anywhere and was basically a waste of time for the federal agency.
According to Buzzfeed:
Maibes told BuzzFeed News that she recorded the calls to protect herself once she found out Nichols was in communication with the FBI. (Nichols was not aware the calls were being recorded, and Missouri, where Maibes lives, is a one-party consent state.)
Lirette, a New Orleans IT professional, knew Maibes from Twitter. He told BuzzFeed News that the complaint against him was specious, and resulted from an online conflict with an individual who had been trolling him on Twitter. He said he does not know why Nichols reported him. BuzzFeed News could not verify the alleged conduct.
The investigation had yielded “no actionable charges,” an FBI agent verbally informed Lirette while a source familiar with the probe told BuzzFeed that the investigation “revealed trolling on both sides and had been a waste of time.”
Nichols was tapped by Reid as her independent security consultant to investigate alleged hacking of her old blog after she claimed controversial posts were not made by her. The homophobic content was “part of an effort to taint my character with false information,” the liberal host “AM Joy” told Mediaite last month.
She also revealed that she was working with Nichols, “who first identified the unauthorized activity, and we notified federal law enforcement officials of the breach.”
Nichols told MSNBC he was “cooperating with federal law enforcement in their attempt to identify the source of this activity,” but has so far not produced any evidence. Reid offered a form of apology on the air that only seemed to make things worse.
A report last month by the Daily Beast, where Reid is a columnist, decimated her claims as Nichols even admitted that she no longer believed she was hacked.
And while NBC and the left seem to want the controversy to go away, Reid could be facing legal troubles for filing false claims with the FBI.
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