The hacker activist group Anonymous just claimed that U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican from Huntersville and the former speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, is involved with the Ku Klux Klan.
Here is the full listing of political figures that Anonymous claims to be linked to the notorious hate group, which got on Anonymous’ bad side last year when a chapter threatened to use “lethal force” against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.
It’s unclear how the group developed its list, which includes a number of other prominent politicians across the country, although the hacker collective claimed last month to have hacked multiple KKK Twitter accounts. Anonymous said it would be unmasking Klan members around the anniversary of the Ferguson protests.
This list includes four U.S. senators and five mayors from across the country. Tillis is the only North Carolina politician named thus far.
According to the group’s data dump, Tillis is involved with the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. We won’t be linking to their site.
We expected a speedy denial. However, the INDY has reached out multiple times to the senator’s office. And while Tillis’ camp on Monday morning acknowledged that they knew of the allegations, they have yet to make any kind of statement.
Anonymous has said it will show its evidence on Nov. 5, the anniversary of a Ferguson protest and, not coincidentally, Guy Fawkes Day. Until then, we remain skeptical.
Tillis won election to the Senate last year, beating out Democrat Kay Hagan.
UPDATE Monday, Nov. 2 at 2:37 PM:
The International Business Times is reporting that the Anonymous group’s official Twitter account for its KKK-hacking, titled Operation KKK, is “distancing” itself from the leaked list that named Tillis and other politicians.
“We won’t release names without due diligence. We discourage the circulation of disinformation and will not promote an unverifiable list of politicians,” the Times is reporting. However, that tweet by Operation KKK has since been deleted.
In addition, another named politician, Mayor Jim Gray of Lexington, Kentucky, tweeted a pointed denial:
So did Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana:
Others named by Anonymous are also denying any link to the Klan. Per Raw Story:
All five mayors accused of being associated with the Ku Klux Klan by hacktivists affiliated with “Anonymous” have taken to social media to deny the charges.
“I am opposed to everything the KKK stands for. I have no idea where this information came from, but wherever it came from, it is wrong,” Lexington, Kentucky Mayor Jim Gray wrote on Twitter.
On Monday morning, Anonymous began to release the names of 1,000 people who the group accuses of being members of the KKK.
Other officials named in the document dump have begun to deny the charges including Mayor Paul Fraim, the Democratic mayor of Norfolk, Virginia.
“People have been spreading a report from the Internet that I am involved with the KKK. This report is a hoax and is absolutely false,” Fraim said on Facebook.
Mayor Madeline Rogero (D) of Knoxville, Tennessee also denied the allegations.
“I’m not even sure this is worth responding to, but for the record: There is a list circulating online purporting to “out” elected officials as members of the KKK. For reasons unfathomable to me or anyone who knows me, my name is on the list. Given my background, my interracial family, my public record and my personal beliefs, this would be hilarious except that it is probably being seen by a lot of people who have no idea who I am,” Rogero wrote on Facebook.
Ocala, Florida Mayor Kent Guinn (R) told WKMG-TV reporter Erik Sandoval he wasn’t a KKK member.
Fort Wayne, Indiana Mayor Tom Henry denied the accusations as well.
“Claims that I have ties to the KKK are totally false and irresponsible,” Henry wrote on Twitter. “Our City celebrates and appreciates diversity and acceptance. Racism has no place in our society and my life.”
Anonymous posted the names in a Pastebin account on Monday. Other politicians named by the group include Georgia Sen. Johnny Isaacson (R) and North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis, a Tea Party Republican.
Twitter user Amped Attacks, who began attacking racist websites last month, took credit for posting the list, claiming he created it after hacking KKK websites.
“I worked for nine days to gather and verify all the information that was gathered before its release,” Amped Attacks told TechCrunch. “I got the information from several KKK websites when I [hacked] them and was able to dump their database. I went through many emails that was signed up with these sites and a few of the emails that sparked my interest was the ones of the politicians in question there would be no reason for them to be signed up on any KKK website unless they supported it or was involved in it.”
*Amped Attacks and Anonymous have both said that Amped Attacks is not affiliated with the collective, though they respect each others’ work. See our update here.