Former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne left a cloud of confusion when he resigned in 2019 from the internet retailer he founded after panicking investors with his bizarre claims he had romanticized an agent Russian at the request of “Men in Black” working. for the United States government.
Now he’s back, with what he has described as his own personal “army,” touting what he claims is proof Democrats stole the election from Donald Trump.
“I’ve funded a team of hackers and cybersleuths, other people with strange skills,” Byrne said in an interview Tuesday with One America News, where OAN personality Chanel Rion praised Byrne as as leader of an “elite shadow cybersecurity team.”
As Trump’s chances of securing a second term dwindle, Byrne has launched a media tour to promote his mysterious team of hackers, appearing from an “undisclosed location” on OAN, Newsmax and a series of highly-rated YouTube shows. marginals associated with the QAnon Conspiracy Theory Movement. On Friday, a guest host of the popular radio show Rush Limbaugh praised Byrne’s allegations of voter fraud and offered to invite Byrne to the show.
With Trump allies on his legal team and in the conservative media searching for evidence that Trump did not legitimately lose the presidential race, Byrne has become a hero to the MAGA crowd, despite his history of making allegations outside from the wall.
Byrne says he is funding teams of “hackers and crackers” who realized in August that the Dominion’s voting machines could be used to steal the election from Trump. Since the election, these voting machines have featured prominently in Trump supporters’ fraud allegations, despite repeated denials by the company and any real evidence that the number of votes has changed.
The actual details of Byrne’s supposed super-hacking team, however, are just as slim.
“I’m a free agent, and I’m self-funded, and I fund this army of various strange people,” Byrne said during a Nov. 23 appearance on a podcast with a promoter from QAnon who used the name InTheMatrixxx. “It’ll really make a good movie one day.”
When asked for more details on his hacker team, Byrne referred The Daily Beast to his “DeepCapture” blog. But the 40,000-word explanation on Byrne’s website focuses on his long-standing feud with Wall Street short sellers and Byrne’s conversations with a mysterious financial whistleblower called the ‘Easter Bunny’ , rather than on an election investigation team.
Byrne stopped responding to emails from The Daily Beast when asked if any members of his hacker team would be available for interviews.
“I’m a free agent, and I’m self-funded, and I fund this army of different strange people.“
– Patrick Byrne, former CEO of Overstock.com
Despite his vague claims, Byrne says he has been passing allegations about the White House election and former Trump attorney Sidney Powell for weeks now. Byrne’s claims are similar to those Powell has made publicly, including an allegation that late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez somehow meddled in the election seven years after his death.
“Sidney was the first to really understand, and to get what we’re saying is so big it takes a very open-minded sort of person to get it,” Byrne said on the InTheMatrixxx podcast.
In the aftermath of the election, Byrne became the last with extensive “tech” experience to reinvent himself as an expert on voting machines. Byrne is joined in this niche by former 8kun administrator Ron Watkins, who quit his job managing the site for his QAnon posts on Election Day and has since appeared on OAN as a so-called Election Investigator.
During his post-election media tour, Byrne made a series of other bizarre claims, including that he could be the reincarnation of a former Chinese monk.
“I love Chinese, I speak Chinese, I think I’m the reincarnation of a Shaolin monk, maybe,” Byrne said on the “InTheMatrixxx” podcast.
Byrne also encountered other bizarre allegations during his media tour. During an appearance on a QAnon YouTube show hosted by a woman named “Cirsten W,” Byrne listened as her host claimed that Bill Clinton and the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein had been cloned.
Byrne’s habit of making weird statements made headlines in 2019, while he was still CEO of Overstock. Using the company’s letterhead, Byrne released a statement claiming that federal government figures “Men in Black” urged him to have sex with Russian agent Maria Butina, who was attempting to lick him. era of infiltrating conservative circles as a gun rights activist. Overstock’s share price plunged and Byrne ultimately resigned after Overstock’s insurer refused to insure the company with Byrne at the helm.
A Senate Intelligence Committee report released in August presents a different take on Byrne’s interactions with Butina. In the report, Butina sees Byrne as a potential avenue to join Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), then a presidential candidate. In a July 2016 email published in the committee report, Butina’s boyfriend, Paul Erickson, wrote that Byrne was “stalking” Butina after meeting her at a libertarian conference and claimed that Byrne had given her a million dollar offer tied to the birth of her child.
“Byrne is single by choice and by the consequences of his intellectual gifts and limitations, but he is now preoccupied with his mortality and family heritage,” Erickson wrote. “Since meeting Maria, he’s found ever more creative ways to offer her a standing offer of $ 1 million to ‘have a baby with him.’ He is deeply in love with his imaginary genetic stock and believes that a baby would cement not only his family line but also the relationship between our two nations.
Byrne did not respond to The Daily Beast regarding the allegations made in Erickson’s email.
Byrne’s other claims haven’t always paid off, either. In 2018, he lost a landmark defamation lawsuit brought against him by a Canadian businessman who was described on Byrne’s blog as a terrorist financier and drug and arms dealer, with the plaintiff awarding 1, $ 2 million in damages.
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