At first, it just looked like Fox News personality Sean Hannity was just losing it. His account disappeared from Twitter on Saturday morning. By Sunday morning, Hannity was back on his official @SeanHannity account.
The interim seemed baffling. Hannity’s last tweet on his official account was “Form Submission 164.” It is unknown if Hannity himself tweeted this, or if it was the work of the person that compromised his account. Either way, @SeanHannity went offline for approximately 24 hours.
A new Twitter account popped up right after @SeanHannity went down, purporting itself as the new Hannity account. The first tweet on this new account, @SeanHannity__ (note the two underscores at the end), sounded exactly like other Hannity tweets from the past. Aping his vaguely conspiratorial and slightly unhinged tone, the new account launched with this:
To compare, here are a few of the outlandish tweets that Actual Sean Hannity has sent, using @SeanHannity:
This new account began to spread a conspiracy story that Twitter had suspended @SeanHannity in order to suppress his views.
Despite the similar writing style and message, this new account was not created by Hannity, but by a bored technical writer with the flu. Dell Gilliam, from Austin, Texas, did not expect the faux Hannity account to take of like it did.
As of today, Gilliam’s fake @SeanHannity__ account has amassed over 23,000 followers. During the 24 hours that Hannity’s actual account was down, his followers moved over to the fake account en masse. They tweeted in support of Hannity:
There needs to be another social media platform.
Facebook and Twitter are clearly liberal brainwashing tools.
Creative destruction would naturally evolve into other options.
AOL, MySpace, Facebook & Twitter have run their course.
— je m'appelle (@haveAcIue) January 27, 2018
Don't let the Twitter twits ruin your sleep….we are all behind you….and we listen.
— Bunny Wheeler (@bunny_wheeler) January 27, 2018
Let's all show Twitter We Support Sean Hannity❤#IStandWithHannity ❤??#IStandWithHannity❤??#IStandWithHannity❤??#IStandWithHannity❤??#IStandWithHannity❤??#IStandWithHannity❤??#IStandWithHannity❤??#IStandWithHannity❤??#IStandWithHannity❤?? pic.twitter.com/6CK5gA4G2q
— Vera Swensen (@Proud_Italian_1) January 27, 2018
Amazing that Twitter could do that. Maybe they think you are a Russian bot thanks to the letters Feinstein and Schiff sent them! This is obviously an attack to keep you from telling what you know. #ReleasetheMemo might derail them. Freedom of speech is a right we must protect!
— ???Lana ??? (@ToberLana) January 27, 2018
— Robert O. Brown Jr. (@bbrowndfd) January 27, 2018
Gilliam’s impersonation captured Hannity’s essence so well that notable political figures were also taken in. She was absolutely stunned when her direct message to Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, was taken seriously.
Her message to Assange, according to the New York Daily News, was quite forward:
“I’d like to set up a time for us to talk. When may be good for you?”
Shockingly, Assange responded:
“Back! Good to see. Most of today is good. Try other channels. Have some news about Warner.”
It’s important to remember the role that Julian Assange and Wikileaks played in the 2016 election. United States intelligence agencies have thoroughly investigated the associations between Assange, the Russian government, Wikileaks, and the Trump campaign.
For some perspective on the legitimacy of the findings of these investigations, let’s remember that the current Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo was appointed by Donald Trump. He’s been accused of using his position to aid Trump:
‘But there is a common thread running through just about every example: Pompeo doing and saying questionable things involving Russia — and those questionable things tend to lean in a pro-Trump direction.’
The man responsible for obtaining some of the world’s most important information wasted his time hearing a theory that the intelligence community had already debunked. Pompeo, a skilled politician, would have almost certainly known the meeting would cause him grief with the agency’s rank and file — but he did it anyway.’
One might expect that Pompeo’s seeming eagerness to please Trump would cause him to completely fall into line with Trump’s statements. But even Mike Pompeo cannot support the claim that Wikileaks was just a whistle-blowing organization that accidentally helped Trump by releasing the DNC hack information right before the 2016 election:
‘”WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” he said in prepared remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.’
He goes on to link Wikileaks to Russian operations:
Russian military intelligence used WikiLeaks to release information obtained through cyber operations against the Democratic National Committee. He also described the Russian state-owned television network, RT, as that country’s “primary propaganda outlet” and said it actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
To recap, even Trump’s loyal appointee has publicly stated that Wikileaks is actively collaborating with the Russian government.
This means that the founder of Wikileaks, who is definitively an agent of the Russian government, has been in regular contact with personalities at Fox News.
What other information might have passed from Assange to Hannity? Let’s look at Hannity’s coverage of Wikileaks since the DNC hack in 2016:
He mentions Wikileaks four times in 2010, without any particular bias. But in October of 2016, it’s a very different story:
There is not one single critical statement. Each and every one of Hannity’s statements on Wikileaks are supportive. Were Hannity motivated by truth, he would have come to the same conclusion as Trump’s loyal appointee in the CIA. This is not likely, as he seems to have chosen not to cover the CIA’s assessment of Wikileaks’ connections to Russia. Add to that the fact that Hannity and Assange seem to have several established channels of communication.
Alternatively, Hannity could be willfully spreading misinformation that stems from the Russian government.
Coincidentally, President Trump is a huge fan of Sean Hannity. He’s mentioned or retweeted him on Twitter 182 times. Trump has insulted roughly 426 people, places, and things on Twitter. Sean Hannity has somehow completely escaped the ire of the president. Hannity has also been present during official White House press briefings.
What are the implications of this?
As Sean Hannity would say, “You decide.”
Featured image: Nicholas Kamm/Getty