White House/Obama email information collection — it’s getting weird

I received something peculiar in my email yesterday:

A few things to note:

1.  The email informs me that someone left a comment on “bookwormroom.wordpress.com,” a blog that has lain dormant for four years.

2.  The Author’s name is an obvious nom de cyber — Trimegistus.

3.  The Author leaves as his email address “flag@whitehouse.gov“.

That email address is the interesting part.  I am not for a single minute claiming that Trimegistus is a White House employee.  However, “flag@whitehouse.gov” is an email address with a history.  The Obama administration created that address shortly after moving in, way back in 2009.  The “flag” in the email address was not a patriotic reference.  Instead, the White House was asking supporters to “flag” information that was “fishy”:

The White House is under fire for a blog post asking supporters to send “fishy” information received through rumors, chain e-mails and casual conversations to a White House e-mail address, flag@whitehouse.gov.

The best spin one could put on this bizarre White House request was that, as it pushed for health care reform, the White House was trying to stay ahead of the rumor mill.  The worst spin was that the White House was trying to create an enemy’s list, a concept with an East German feel to it.

Given the suspicion surrounding the email address, you can understand that I’m a bit perplexed that someone left this specific email address in a message intended directly for me (intended for me because the email address does not show up in the comments; it only reveals itself to the blog proprietor).   Is someone hoping that, finding the comment confusing or the email address intriguing, I’ll fire off an email of my own asking about it?  Who knows?  It could just be a prank — a real one, not a Weiner one.

I wouldn’t have blogged about this at all, but for the coincidence of reading today that the Obama White House seems to have gotten confused about the purpose of the official White House website, and is using it to collect visitor’s email information.  You can read more about this blatant information collection tactic — which might also violate campaign laws — at Doug Ross’ site and at Publius’ Forum.

Keep in mind that the White House website is a publicly funded site, so you’re paying to assist the Obamas as they build a database.  Just be grateful, that (presumably) you’re not being put on the enemy’s list.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The Bookworm Turns : A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land, available in e-format for $4.99 at Amazon, Smashwords or through your iBook app.

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  1. says

    If it comes to it, there are many Americans, me included, that have more than an average understanding of tactics and strategy in warfare.

    Just give me the guns, the bombs, the nukes, and the men.

    If it comes to it.

  2. says

    I kind of remember Tri as being a commenter at neo-neocon who wrote that he was going to inundate the flag at white house account with erroneous reports.

    So he may have thought your post there was the current one and simply fills in the email because that’s what he usually does.

    This is only so if it is the same Tri, of course. It may not be.

  3. Gringo says

    Book, I recognize the blogger name of  Trimegistus. It is an unusual enough name that it registers. I did an Advanced Google Search on  Pajamas Media, and found several comments from Trimegistus.
    Here is the comment dialogue from the posting you referred to:
    Trimegistus, on April 4, 2007 at 8:30 pm said:
    It’s beginning. Liberal hate for mainstream America is boiling over into violence. A family in a minivan represents everything they despise, so they attacked. It’s not politics, it’s total hatred for America and Americans.
    Ugly_truth_Joe, on February 28, 2011 at 3:44 pm said:
    Wow, you are either an amazing troll or a flabbergastingly idiotic person. You are what Liberals despise in America, you self righteous psycho.
    Trimegistus, on June 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm said:
    Took you FOUR YEARS to come up with that?

    Trimigestus has somehow kept track of comments to his comments.  I doubt it has a thing to do with the White House, as from  T’s comments at PJ Media, he is more of a wingnut than a lib. I surmise he put down the e-mail address down as a joke.
    I once  made a comment about Dalton Trumbo at a blog I regularly read and less regularly comment on. In a comment thread six months later, the proprietor of the blog informed me that someone had just replied to my Dalton Trumbo  comment. There had just been a show on Dalton Trumbo at PBS’s American Experience, which explains how the commenter got there: Googling Dalton Trumbo.
    Like some people we know, the commenter  gave evidence of having read carelessly.

  4. says

    Thanks, Gringo.  Interestingly, I hadn’t made the connection because, when I checked the site itself, Trimegistus’ comment hadn’t shown up, so I didn’t think to read the preceding comment thread.

  5. says

    WordPress tracks all wordpress accounts, so if Tri signed up his wordpress to yours, and commented, then he’ll get an update if he bothers to check his dashboard.

    That’s probably how he noticed.

    The GREAT NEWS, Book, is that people are still reading your Critical Mass post. Just look at all the 2011 comments.

    Btw, reading Ymarsakar’s comments is weird. What is he, a super wing nut?

  6. says

    Btw, it’s well known that putting your email into these address columns brings spam to your account sooner or later. Because people want your emails because… they going to sell it to spam lists.

    WordPress may not be able to do, but bots crawling over their servers and hacking them will.

  7. says

    Btw, Gringo looked the name up, but I used pure memory. You might find that interesting, Book, given our previous talks ; )

    I sometimes have used cites and concrete research to back up my claims, such as Communist agents infiltrating the Catholic Church and causing/exacerbating the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal. Usually I don’t, for my memory is more than sufficient most of the time to back up my claims with reason and logic.


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