A Review of Dave Sweigert’s Report on the “Port of Charleston Dirty Bomb Hoax and Social Media Liability”

Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.  Deuteronomy 25:13

Every once in awhile I check in with the YouTube channel of Dave Acton, the pseudonym used by Dave Sweigert.  If you are unfamiliar with this channel, Dave will on occasion publish short visually irrelevant videos, where he speaks on whatever topic of the moment captures his attention, such as, Is Jason Goodman an FBI informant like Deep Uranium? These videos are usually removed by Dave Acton from his YouTube account after a few days.

In mid April I was viewing similar Dave Acton videos, so I became aware that he was putting together a report which one could purchase from Amazon.com for the purpose of encouraging a Congressional investigation into the legal liability of the persons responsible for the June 14, 2017 dirty bomb false report, which had resulted in shutting down the Port of Charleston for eight hours.

My own reasons for becoming interested in that incident had to do with the fact that  Alternative News Media video journalists and a hidden source were the means of conveying false information to the United States Coast Guard. The day after the incident, on June 15, 2017, a Time.com article by Abigail Abrams had headlined Port of Charleston Bomb Threat Conspiracy Theorist Shut Down Terminal.  The conspiracy theorist reported to be at the heart of this incident was George Webb, who I had first heard about when he was extolled as a great researcher by Rebekah Roth and Doug Hagmann of The Hagmann Report.

Abrams reported,  “The tip calls were prompted by a YouTube video, Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. James B. Zorn told the Times.  An account of one call appeared in a YouTube video on Wednesday, according to the newspaper.  In the video, George Webb, a frequent peddler of far-right conspiracy theories, described having a conversation with the Coast Guard.”

The Time article continues, “‘Well I just got off the phone with the Coast Guard in South Carolina, and they were very obviously, you know, hesitant to call out the dogs and call out all the radiation meters and all that without knowing who our source is’, Webb said in the video. The U. S. Coast Guard said on Twitter early Thursday that the person who reported the threat has been detained and was questioned by authorities, but did not name the suspect.  Webb has thousands of followers on Twitter under the name “Truth Leaks” and YouTube, where his channel describes himself as “Reporting on Political Corruption.””

Ten months later, around April 15, 2018, the Dave Acton YouTube channel began  promoting an online petition to have officials review the Port of Charleston dirty bomb incident for possible legal prosecution of those involved.  In addition, Dave Sweigert was telling his audience that he was writing a purchasable report, and he was encouraging his listeners to buy 2 copies, one as a souvenir and the other to mail to a Congressional representative.

It was also becoming apparent that the impetus for these actions had arisen from some sort of present friction between Dave Sweigert and Jason Goodman, which also involved Crowdsource The Truth’s frequent guest, Quinn Michaels.

In an April 25, 2018 Dave Acton video titled, 3Time Phone Hack US Congress to CrowdSource the USCG, Dave Sweigert states, “Hey look, Jason, you backed me into a corner; you’re lying about me every day, you’re telling stories about me. I ask you to stop in a nice way and you attack my family.  You attack the memory of my father, a warrior, you attack my military service.  How long am I supposed to be a nice guy about this? And then the funny thing part about it, why we need documents like this.  I’ll let you guys read this because well, let’s face it, Jason’s completely lied about his role in the actual dirty hoax bomb event….”.

Thus we find for sale on Amazon.com this $6.95 report written by Dave Sweigert which is titled, Port of Charleston Dirty Bomb Hoax and Social Media Liability-“Dirty Bomb…Please Investigate…Maersk Memphis”.  I purchased a copy, as I am in agreement that a Congressional investigation of this event is needed, and given Dave Sweigert’s impressive resume, I thought a professional level report would help to summarize the main areas of inquiry.

Dave Sweigert’s credentials can be located on various internet sites and include, but are not limited to, the following statements:  Air Force veteran, security engineering experience with military and defense contractors before earning two Master’s degrees (Project Management and Information Security).  Over 20 years experience in information assurance, risk management, governance frameworks and litigation support. His military experience in cryptology allowed him to successfully transition into the role of a security architect for “open systems” (see UNIX,  LINUX, etc.) for government and military systems. As a sought after speaker, Sweigert had served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Information Security Committee.

Also, I have located a number of pro se Federal civil lawsuits filed by Sweigert over a number of years, and have noted a number of reports on his slideshare account which he has written.

By way of introduction to Sweigert’s recent report, the screenshot below displays the Amazon.com summary. 

Dave Sweigert’s education and employment background is extensive, so the question is, why am I highly disappointed with the Port of Charleston Dirty Bomb Hoax and Social Media Liability report? The following is a listing of some of my notes, which document the reasons why I would never use this report as the basis for asking for an official inquiry into the June 14, 2017 shutting down of the  Port of Charleston dirty bomb incident.

I.  Author is not named in the report. I cannot locate any place in this report where the author’s name is printed.  It is highly odd for the writer of a published “evidentiary report” not to acknowledge his authorship and his credentials.

II.  A Draft copy, not a finalized version, is being sold.The report for which I paid $6.95 has DRAFT imprinted diagonally in very large print on numerous pages. I thought I was purchasing a finished report with a content that Sweigert would take responsibility for, which would meet the professional standards necessary to persuade government officials to publicly investigate this particular incident.

III.  Report has not been proofread.There are a number of typographical mistakes, and failure to label images adequately. Also the Contents page is missing the titles for Parts I-IV.

IV.  Disclaimers  Provided as a Cover for Making Accusations Without Supporting Evidence.  The Executive Summary begins, “This evidentiary report…” which implies that supporting facts for conclusions will be presented, yet there are two warnings given which immediately bring into question the supportive evidence on which the thesis and conclusions of the author are based.

  •  The back cover states:  WARNING: No individuals described herein should be presumed to be guilty of any particular violation of law, policy or regulation.  All parties should be presumed innocent until a competent court deems otherwise.
  • Page 1 states: WARNING:   This document provides a threat assessment of a cyber-attack vector.  Individuals listed in this report should not be considered guilty of any crime or offense.   The focus of this document is to present evidence of the telecommunications aspects of the “dirty bomb” alert and warning received by the  U.S. Coast Guard on June 14th, 2017 in the context of federal law.  Any individual discussed should be presumed innocent of any crimes until adjudicated otherwise in an appropriate court of law.

V.  A Subtle Shifting of the Story Line, and a Preponderance of Loaded Words and Images To Override a Lack of Supporting Facts. 

In looking at a report, I first quickly scan through it, then read it from front to back to understand the flow of thought of the author, and finally I take time to examine the arguments in detail to see if the evidence supports the conclusions.

In the first scan through, what caught my eye is that the background of the story of the incident which caused the Port of Charleston to be shut down on June 14, 2017 was not presented as a factual overview of the entire event. It became immediately apparent that Dave Sweigert is attempting to take the focal point off of the first and secondary causes of this event, and to shift the emphasis onto a party who was involved farther down the line of actions.

Reading from front to back, Sweigert lines up his presentation in a manner that targets Jason Goodman as the primary actor which should be indicted under federal laws.

There are a number of things that can be noted about the technique Sweigert employs in his use of visual aids and “loaded” words to influence the reader to accept his conclusions outright,  in lieu of forming a conclusion from a progressive presentation of  facts and evidence.  In some instances this technique is subtle, and difficult to explain to someone who does not have the full report in front of them.  However, I will note a few examples.

The first part of the title on the cover is repeated on page 1, but leaves out “and social media liability”,  replacing it with another statement,  “Immediate Need for Deterrence Against Weaponized Deception”. This subtly moves the reader from a generality to a conclusion which should be acted on now.

Both the cover title and page 1 display the Jason Goodman message which he wanted his listeners to relay on Twitter, “Dirty Bomb…Please Investigate…Maersk Memphis“. This message of Goodman’s has been repeated 6 times in the report. In addition, an illustration is shown 4 times in the report in which 13 barrels are shown in a semicircle with arrows directed at one target barrel which represents the USCG 7th district. The author is attempting to visually imprint a message on the reader apart from what is supposed to be the actual facts of an “evidentiary report”. The conclusion which the author wants the reader to come to, is that Goodman had set up a DDoS attack on the Coast Guard via a Twitter Storm.

The Executive Summary summarizes the points which the author will be presenting in his report.  In this section, Jason Goodman is made the centerpiece of this report, as if  the other parties involved bear less legal liability.   This report is prejudicial and biased from the beginning.  A beginning example is this first sentence, “This evidentiary report places certain actions of a You Tube celebrity, who initiated a radiological event response during the hoax reality news show, within the context of federal law.” So who is this “singular” You Tube celebrity?  According to mainstream news articles which were published at the time of this incident, the celebrity was George Webb, who we also know as George Webb Sweigert, the brother of the author of this report,  Dave Sweigert aka Dave Acton. Whereas mainstream media named Webb as the YouTube celebrity involved, the Executive Summary of Dave Sweigert’s report focuses its attention on Jason Goodman, thus moving George Webb to a more obscure position, while also failing to note the personal family relationship of the author of this report to George Webb.

Part I in the Contents gives three subdivisions:  Background, Weaponized Deception, and Weak Legal Deterrence Provides Immunity to Hoax Channels. When the reader turns to this section, a title is added that is not shown on the Contents page; Hoax Threat Actors Attack U.S.C.G. 7th District.  “Hoax Threat Actorsis a loaded phrase and represents a “conclusion” made by the author which is shown to the reader before any evidence is presented which might or might not support that conclusion.

Remember that this report was published in order to be presented to Congressional representatives of the U. S. government; therefore, it is not unreasonable to expect that professional standards of presenting evidence would be observed. On page 7, a photo showing Jason Goodman and George Webb Sweigert is introduced; however, just below that is the 13 barrel illustration which highlights the actions of Jason Goodman, indicating that he had confirmed the dirty bomb threat received by the Coast Guard and then proceeded to direct a DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service Attack) on the 7th District. This same illustration with this DDoS allegation is repeated on page 9.

Page 8 begins the section entitled Background, and it must be noted again that the author fails to give the reader the factual overview of the events which lead up to the closing of the Port of Charleston on June 14, 2017 due to a phone call which relied on the insider source of George Webb. If this threat had been based on solid information, it was the responsibility of this hidden source to contact the USCG privately.  Again, Dave Sweigert fails to clearly identify his brother’s responsibility for coming on the CSTT show to discuss the insider’s warning and involving Jason Goodman in this false reporting incident.

The author has claimed to have identified who the hidden source of George Webb is.  As that man is the First Cause of this entire incident, this information belongs under the Background section.  However, Sweigert places that person’s identity on pages 14 and 15 under Part II b. The Curious Deep Uranium, aka Rock Hudson of The Hudson Report.  In addition on page 11, the author introduces a title to Part II, which is not shown under the Contents page, Wilful Blindness of CSTT. This is a reference to case-law which the author argues applies to Jason Goodman’s actions in this matter.

Dave Sweigert says on page 14, “The identity of the curious “Deep Uranium” appears to be that of a former FBI informant living in West Virginia.”  However, in the 3rd paragraph on this page he says, “The source of this dirty bomb “intelligence’ (“Deep Uranium”) is a former FBI informant”.  So which is it? Appears to be and Is are two different statements. Dave Sweigert asserts in this report that “Deep Uranium” is Okey Marshall Richards, Jr. who had operated undercover back in 1997 to convict a militia group of plotting to blow up the FBI’s fingerprint laboratory. An August 8, 1997 news article has been reprinted in part for this report, but the source is not identified by Sweigert.  Also, the author has not proven the connection between this FBI informant and the mysterious Deep Uranium, the insider source of George Webb.

In the time sequencing of this event on June 14, 2017, we could label George Webb, as the secondary cause of this incident.  Later the name of Joe Napoli is brought up as one of the possible two callers to the Coast Guard. We could label Napoli as the third cause. Jason Goodman ought to be held responsible for his actions, but he is maybe the fifth cause in this entire mess.  We have no idea what the true relationships of all of these people were, prior to this incident.  Thus a thorough investigation might reveal that the culpability for this incident should be distributed among these persons in a different way than what we know of the June 14, 2017 timeline of communications.

Dave Sweigert uses several loaded phrases, which are not precisely applied to the facts, which serve to imprint a conclusion in the reader’s mind.  For example, under Weaponized Deception on pages 9-10, Sweigert uses acronyms such as Live Action Role Plays (LARP), which he says include injection of periodic “intelligence reports” from “inside sources” to create an Augmented Reality Game (ARG). He is attempting to force his narrative into a mold, rather than simply showing the reader the sequence of events as they were.

The author likens Crowdsource the Truth (CSTT) to the Orson Wells broadcast of “War of the Worlds” in 1938, and in an earlier paragraph mentions CSTT hoaxes, as if he has proven that the Port of Charleston incident as it relates to Jason Goodman’s participation, was in fact a Hoax, a word which implies a planned event. Another possibility is that Jason Goodman’s actions are the outcome of his impulsive personality. I have viewed a number of CSTT videos and Jason Goodman often displays an impulsive personality which repeatedly displays poor judgment. Goodman should be held accountable for his actions in this incident; the question is, whether he was merely reckless, or whether he played a key part in the planning of this series of actions.

Sweigert is also trying to build a scenario to include the CSTT guest, Quinn Michaels, as a part of his thesis that “a lack of criminal prosecution of these threat actors” is creating a situation where further and more dangerous hoaxes will imperil the critical infrastructure of our nation. While this scenario is of definite concern regarding the ways in which social media can be misused, this report is supposed to be about  the incident which happened on June 14, 2017 at the Port of Charleston. It does not appear that Quinn Michaels had any participation in that event whatsoever, and he should not be drawn into this particular investigation request at this point.

In several places, Jason Goodman’s act wherein he suggested to his 2,117 member audience, that they send a Twitter message to the higher command of the USCG-7th district stating, “Dirty Bomb-Please Investigate-Maersk Memphis” is notedAs deplorable as that action was on Goodman’s part in attempting to create a Twitter Storm, is it reasonable that this action should be treated as a DDoS attack on the 7th District USCG?

It appears that Twitter Storms are a normal occurrence in the Twitter World, and are defined as “a sudden spike in activity surrounding the Twitter social media sites”.  Whereas a DDoS (“Distributed Denial of Service Attack“), is defined by Wikipedia as a Denial of Service attack “where the perpetrator uses more than one unique IP address, often thousands of them…flooding the victim” and thus disrupting the normal, legitimate traffic of the target.

While Goodman may have flooded the USCG Twitter account, the fact is that the Port of Charleston was shut down on the basis of a couple of phone calls to the USCG, and not by an attack on their computer systems.  Goodman directed a flood of twitter messages to a social media site, which is separate and apart, from the computer systems used in the daily operations of the USCG and the Port of Charleston management. The stressing of the use of a DDoS in labeling Goodman’s actions would seem to serve the purpose of placing these actions under more severe penalties of the law.

On page 8, under Background, second paragraph says, “The maritime terminal closure was based on a ‘dirty bomb” tip provided by individuals that supposedly had knowledge of the shipment of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) on the Maersk Memphis container ship (arriving in the Port of Charleston).  By definition, a dirty bomb, while radiological, cannot be labeled a Weapon of Mass Destruction, which is a “nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological or other weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans or cause great damage to human-made structures, natural structures or the biosphere”. (Wikipedia)  Compare the definition of a WMD with the dirty bomb definition below, as defined by the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Committee:

definition found on page 2 of “Prevention of And Response to the Arrival of a Dirty Bomb at a U. S. Port (114-30) Hearing before the Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation on October 27, 2015

While there are points of agreement I have with Dave Sweigert in this report, these factors are overridden by the numerous statements which appear to be tainted  by  Dave Sweigert’s personal differences with Jason Goodman, and also by his under playing the culpability of his brother, George Webb. This has distorted the laying out of the bare facts of this incident by which an independent official investigation should be encouraged to impartially weigh the actions of all the persons involved.

Despite impressive credentials, Dave Sweigert has not done the public a service by publishing a biased report.