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Trump Energy appointee steps down after claiming bigoted social media posts were from ‘hackers’

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William Bradford, a political appointee at the Department of Energy, resigned Thursday after a senator questioned Bradford’s claims that bigoted, racist, and offensive comments posted from his account were made by hackers and were under federal investigation.

Reporters at CNN earlier this week tied Bradford’s online presence to a Disqus commenting account, where many of the same comments Bradhad also been posted. The user — allegedly Bradford — wrote, “Well, it is a fact: Obama is the son of a fourth-rate p&*n actress and w@!re.”

In an email Monday, Bradford told CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, “I cannot comment on an ongoing federal investigation into multiple cyber attacks and Internet crimes committed against me over the past several years, to include email intrusions, hacking, and impostors in social media.”

Bradford had previously come under fire for offensive tweets sent before he was appointed by President Donald Trump to head the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs.

CREDIT: Washington Post/Twitter

Bradford had also used social media and his right-wing column to question whether transgender and gender-nonconforming identity was “mental illness” to call for a second U.S. Civil War. He once referred to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as a “self-hating Jew” and wrote an entire column devoted to Hillary Clinton’s “special place in Hell,” where he said “the Second Circle awaits women who vote for, not against. Hillary” (sic).

But, according to CNN, Bradford’s more recent comments caught the attention of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who took the opportunity to reach out to federal officials to see if there was, actually, any ongoing federal investigation.

“Please confirm to my office in writing whether you or any other individual in the General Counsel’s office has been made aware of any cyberattacks against Mr. Bradford, and if so, what steps your office has taken to ensure that these activities have not compromised his ability to perform the duties demanded by his office,” Wyden wrote the DOE Deputy General Counsel Eric Fygi.

The senator also reached out to the FBI to see if that agency was conducting an investigation. If they were not, Wyden told FBI Director Christopher Wray, they should.

“We must ensure a swift resolution to repeated cyber intrusions and identity theft that may have targeted an agency director at the U.S. Department of Energy,” Wyden wrote.
According to CNN, the account in question had been “linked to Bradford through the Google cache, comments on articles Bradford wrote which suggested the commenter was also the author, a request that a fellow commenter get in touch with him using Bradford’s contact information, and references to joining the Trump administration.”
Following Wyden’s outreach to agencies, the Department of Energy confirmed that Bradford had resigned.
In response to the news, Wyden tweeted, “Good. There’s one iota less of hate in the Administration today.”

 

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