NYT Smears Hero Who Foiled Far-Left Terrorist Plot at 2008 GOP Convention

It appears the progressive New York Times is running an ugly campaign of character assassination against a real-life American hero who saved lives and helped to safeguard the nation’s sacred democratic process. The man with the bull’s eye on his back is Brandon Darby, formerly a far-left community organizer. The Old Gray Lady has accused Darby of encouraging a plot to firebomb Republicans at the 2008 nominating convention, when in fact he was instrumental in thwarting the conspiracy and saving the lives of Republican delegates and police officers.

Darby stands accused by the New York Times and by angry radical groups of acting as an agent provocateur. In the article Anarchist Ties Seen in ’08 Bombing of Texas Governor’s Mansion published February 23, 2011, the paper said Darby urged two radicals to firebomb the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to NYT reporter James C. McKinley Jr.:

Yet federal agents accused two men from these circles of plotting to make firebombs and hurl them at police cars during the convention. An F.B.I informant from Austin, Brandon Darby, was traveling with the group and told the authorities of the plot, which he had encouraged. [emphasis added]

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota this is absolutely, demonstrably untrue.

That office stated the following in a May 21, 2009 press release titled Texas Man Sentenced on Firearms Charges Connected to the Republican National Convention:

A 23-year-old man from Austin, Texas, who was connected to a group that planned to disrupt the Republican National Convention in September 2008, was sentenced today in federal court on three firearms charges.

On May 21 in Minneapolis, United States District Court Chief Judge Michael Davis sentenced David Guy McKay to 48 months in prison and three years of supervised release on one count of possession of an unregistered firearm, one count of illegal manufacture of a firearm and one count of possession of a firearm with no serial number. McKay pleaded guilty on March 17.

Today’s sentence included a finding by Judge Davis that McKay obstructed justice at his January trial by falsely accusing a government informant, Brandon Darby, of inducing him to manufacture the Molotov cocktails.

The New York Times has yet to retract the false claim it made and correct the record. But even a retraction won’t come close to making Darby whole at this point. This is not some tiny little molehill of a mistake. It is an unconscionable attack on a great American who deserves the nation’s gratitude. It is also a wrenchingly painful smear that will stick around on the Internet for the rest of Darby’s life whether the paper ever prints a correction or not.

The implication the newspaper made was that these young men aren’t really to blame for what they did because Darby manipulated them into doing it.

Unhinged anarchists across the country would love to get their hands on Darby. All over the Internet his name has been dragged through the mud by the Daily Kos and Crooks and Liars crowd. They accuse him of selling out and pushing the wrongdoers hard enough that he essentially became a co-conspirator. Search for his name with the words traitor, rat, or fink and you’ll see what I mean.

Darby got to this point after years of leading in-your-face protests, using confrontational tactics, and working with America-haters. But he experienced an epiphany and rejected the radical Left and its culture of political violence. He came to realize that America, for all its faults, wasn’t such a bad place after all. “I felt I had a duty to atone after badmouthing my country for so many years,” he said. “I love my country.”

When Darby learned two anarchists wanted to attack the 2008 Republican National Convention, he offered his assistance to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and, at the FBI’s request, infiltrated a left-wing group that hoped to disrupt the event that gave the nod to the presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The FBI sent Darby to meet with the plotters. “It was a group of people whose explicit purpose was to organize a group of ‘black bloc’ anarchists to shut the Republican convention down by any means necessary,” he explained. “They showed videos of people throwing Molotov cocktails, and they were giving people ideas.” (The plot and its aftermath is described in greater detail in my upcoming book on ACORN and its infiltration of the Obama administration which will be published in mid-2011. It was also referenced in Townhall.)

The 20-something plotters on whom Darby informed, David Guy McKay and Bradley Neil Crowder, made riot shields and were ready to use them in St. Paul to help demonstrators block streets near the convention site. They also manufactured instruments of death calculated to inflict maximum pain and bodily harm on people whose political views they disagreed with.

Thanks to the information Darby provided to authorities, police raided a residence and found gas masks, slingshots, helmets, knee pads and eight Molotov cocktails consisting of bottles filled with gasoline with attached wicks made from tampons. “They mixed gasoline with oil so it would stick to clothing and skin and burn longer,” Darby said.

Darby’s patriotic efforts helped to put the would-be bomb throwers behind bars. McKay pleaded “guilty” and was sentenced in May 2009 to 48 months in prison plus three years of supervised release for possession of an unregistered “firearm,” illegal manufacture of a firearm and possession of a firearm with no serial number. A week before, Crowder cut a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to 24 months in prison for possession of an unregistered firearm.

McKay received the stiffer sentence largely because he told a tall tale about Darby’s involvement in the plot. As the U.S. Department of Justice reported in a press release available on the Internet, during sentencing the trial judge went out of his way to make a specific legal finding that McKay obstructed justice by falsely accusing Darby of inducing him to manufacture the incendiary devices. McKay also confirmed that finding, the Star Tribune reported. “I embellished – I guess actually lied – that Brandon Darby came up with the idea to make Molotov cocktails.”

Yet somehow these publicly available facts could not be located by the New York Times, America’s Google-averse newspaper of record.

This isn’t the first time the newspaper cast Darby in a bad light. It provided hostile coverage when he was outed as an informant too. Ignoring his heroism, a January 5, 2009, NYT article focused not on Darby’s lifesaving intervention but on the feelings of “betrayal” his former allies in left-wing anarchist circles were experiencing.

You really have to wonder how such a prestigious, award-winning, agenda-setting media outlet could keep making these mistakes, if that’s what they are. It is also important to remember that there used to be a time when spelling a source’s name wrong could get a reporter fired or at least given a humiliating dressing-down. And when the reporter’s story blackened someone’s name, it had to be right – or else.

The nation is waiting for an explanation from the New York Times. It’s disgraceful that this damage was done to an innocent man who put his life on the line to help protect America’s hard-won freedoms.

(This is a modified version of a post from Big Journalism.)

Crime New York Times Journalistic Issues James C. McKinley Jr. David Guy McKay Bradley Neil Crowder Brandon Darby
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