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Request[AMA Request] The girl from Maury that was deathly afraid of pickles

Jun 4th 2017 by funkyfresh2 • 31 Questions • 2159 Points

My short bio: I was a freelance writer for outlets like Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Skeptic, and Huffington Post when I was invited to assist a faction of Anonymous that was assisting with the Tunisian revolution. Shortly afterwards Anonymous hackers stole 70,000 e-mails from an "intelligence contracting" firm that had put us under surveillance, thus exposing the Team Themis conspiracy whereby Palantir, HBGary Federal, and other firms with "black propaganda" capabilities had proposed hacking, disinformation, and intimidation of activist groups like Code Pink as well as Wikileaks and even its supporters, including Glenn Greenwald. Although one CEO had to resign, a Congressional investigation was quickly derailed and no one suffered any consequences (despite having planned DOS attacks, the exact thing for which Anonymous participants had been pursued for via heavily armed FBI raids after they took down MasterCard and Paypal websites for a few seconds in protest of their refusal to process donations to Wikileaks).

Thereafter I repurposed my online "think-tank," Project PM, to continue researching these firms and others like them, compiling our research on a wiki called Echelon2.org (since moved). The FBI eventually raided my home and my mom's house, with the search warrant listing our website and group as subjects of interest. Thereafter they threatened to indict my mother if I failed to cooperate; instead, I threatened to "ruin" the life of the lead agent, using the same tactics that HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr had planned to use against activists with the DOJ's blessing. Separately, I vowed to defend myself against any further raids. The two statements were conflated by the DOJ and used to indict me for threatening a federal agent, which actually requires one to make a violent, non-conditional threat, whereas I'd made one non-violent threat and one conditional threat.

Later, I was charged with 11 counts of aggravated identity theft for having copied and pasted a link from one chat room to another that I believed contained more e-mails, but which in fact included credit cards. I faced 22 years for that link alone, in addition to other charges. The DOJ later had to drop those and other charges, and I plead guilty to one count of internet threats, one of interference with a search warrant, and one of accessory after the fact (I called Stratfor, a company that had been hacked, and offered to help redact any e-mails that could put someone in danger). I was also ordered to pay over $800,000 in restitution to Stratfor.

There are several documentaries covering much of this, including Hacker Wars, We Are Legion, and Alex Winter's 18-minute film Relatively Free, as well as some pretty good articles at WhoWhatWhy and The Nation describing the other plots we uncovered and documented.

While imprisoned, I continued writing, doing a column called The Barrett Brown Review of Arts & Letters & Prison that was later picked up by The Intercept, and for which I won the National Magazine Award for commentary/columns in 2016.

I was released November of last year, and am now preparing a new project, called the Pursuance System, by which to build up a cohesive yet agile network of opposition to criminalize institutions while also helping activists and non-profits to cooperate more efficiently. You can read more about it here.

My Proof: Picture from last week sent to mods here. Here's a live video from my Facebook. Can resubmit that picture as well if needed.

EDIT 5:34 CST I'm going to run down to the store, but will be back in fifteen or twenty minutes to answer more questions.

EDIT Am back, and will continue to answer questions sporadically through the evening.

EDIT 9:00 PM EST I'm going to play some Team Fortress 2 for a bit and relax and whatnot but I'll be back to answer more questions later tonight, and will get to more tomorrow as well.

EDIT 1:53 am EST Well, my Facebook account has suddenly been disabled without explanation, in case anyone's wondering why the link above no longer works.

Q:

Have you ever feared for your life while on the job because of weather?

A:

Huge fan of your writing, Barrett. Your book 'Keep Rootin' for Putin' was ahead of the curve in calling out the bullshit of mainstream pundits. One of the points you make is that internet can be used as a force for good in order to fact-check all the nonsense they spout; all of their contradictory bullshit is now a matter of permant, public record.

How do you think the media landscape has changed since that book came out? with the rise of Breitbart and the like, and the sometimes-justified concerns over "fake news", it doesn't really seem like the media have gotten any more reliable over the past years.

Anyway, what the US government has done to you is a travesty and I wish you the best.

Also, go on Chapo


Q:

When out in the weather, chasing or doing live shots I'm always worried about lightning. There is no warning, it just strikes. And usually I'm wired up to mic and earpiece so I feel like I'm a natural lightning conductor!

A:

Unfortunately, the mainstream press didn't really have the gravity or the integrity of action to prevent other, even worse outlets from popping up. Had the New York Times not continued to employ Thomas Friedman even after it became clear that he was less than worthless in terms of explaining world politics, they would have more room to make their own case. Same thing with the Washington Post and Charles Krauthammer, who, as I showed in an old Vanity Fair online piece, was wrong about every U.S. military engagement since Kosovo. Those aren't the only problems with these respectable national outlets, of course, but they're very telling regarding the cowardice of editors and publishers who continued to promote incompetent commentators simply because they've made some vague name for themselves.

And of course WaPo's failed attempt to identify some website that could sort out "fake news" is indicative of the chief fact of our press culture - that much of how it operates is haphazard at best, and that falsehoods can creep in to any outlets, regardless of pedigree, if its operators lose track of basic principles such as hiring competent people and firing incompetent ones. Personal relationships, inertia, ambition, and that sort of things are the chief problems facing our political press, rather than corporate interference or anything else of that sort.

EDIT:

Here's an incomplete case against Friedman; a more comprehensive argument as to why he represents a crisis of ethics within the legacy press may be seen in my free book, Keep Rootin' for Putin (the title of which is taken from an actual Friedman column from 2000). column


Q:

You might get super power tho.

A:

firing competent ones.

Should be firing incompetent ones I suspect


Q:

I think I'll pass on that chance, but super power would be awesome!

A:

Oops, my mistake. Fixed.


Q:

What would your lighting related superpower be?

A:

In one of your recent D Magazine articles you noted "But most of all, I realized that journalism will not be enough to save this country." - can you elaborate on that Barrett? and also what does this mean about the future of your journalism? Thanks!


Q:

I think I would like to be able to warp time. Basically slow it down while still moving normally. Kind of like a guy version of Sway....lol

A:

Journalism is still necessary, but in a nation like the U.S. where the bulk of the citizenry is either fascist or unwilling to do their part to oversee the vast machinery of state that we support through our taxes and which inflicts vast harm at home and abroad, we're going to need a class of people who make up for the failures of the rest of the country. You can get a sense of what I mean by this by looking through the pursuance presentation; this is a framework that is intended to expand into a new and viable force by which to challenge systems from without.

Something along those lines, drawing upon the new ability of humans to collaborate in ways never before possible, is going to happen at some point anyway. We think this is the time to try it.


Q:

If you learn to do that, can you play RB for the Dolphins? Would really appreciate it.

A:

Hey Barrett, mod of /r/WikiLeaks here.

Any thoughts on the work WikiLeaks has done, past or present?

How do you see leaks, whistleblowing, and hacks shaping the future of governments and companies?

Do you still plan on leaving the US in the near future?

Thanks for doing this AMA.


Q:

Haha, that WOULD be awesome!

A:

I was an early supporter of Wikileaks, and continue to support the leaking of files from any state or other institution that engages in criminal activity on a large scale.

I have no doubt that leaking, as well as hacking by various ideologically-motivated groups, will become more common in the coming years.

Yes, I will not remain in the United States after my term of probation is up. Most likely I will move to Berlin or Iceland, at which point I'll revoke my citizenship.


Q:

I suggest keeping old slip on shoes in the drawer next to each bed. you cant move fast in bare feet in the dark with broken stuff all over the floor. Get lots of babywipes as they are awesome for keeping fresh when the water isnt working. And put photocopies of your IDs in your food emergency kit. Always keep your car petrol above half a tank.

A:

Welcome back! 1. Where is my pizza recipe? 2. How is the bobcat?


Q:

Good suggestions!

A:

The FBI took it. Sorry.


Q:

Does La Niña play any role?

A:

What are your thoughts on the Bilderberg Meetings?


Q:

Yes, La Niña creates favorable conditions in the Atlantic for hurricanes by reducing wind shear that typically disrupts hurricanes. In fact, Florida sees about 40% more hurricane threats during La Niña years than El Niño years.

A:

It's very indicative that they don't receive adequate coverage. The problem is that many journalists and editors have only heard of Bilderberg in the context of what they assume to be wacky conspiracy theories. Although some of the theories about the extent of Bilderberg's importance are clearly wrong, that doesn't change the fact that this is a meeting of influential figures from around the world which is closed to the public, and is thus of legitimate interest. But, again, many journalists are fools and/or cowards.


Q:

El Niño and La Niña are like two sides to the same coin. Together they are known as ENSO. When one is strong, the other is weak.

A:

How does your Pursuance system check for and detect agent provocateurs or hostile parties intent on spying or corrupting a work group? Are there any plans to include vetting or granting status within a group – which would imply hierarchies, which might work against the equal collaboration roles.

What security (E2E encryption, TLS, PFS, etc) is planned, or is the system designed more for openness, broadcasting and social aspects?

Not casting shade: balancing security, authenticity and collaboration is a difficult task. :)


Q:

Mostly correct. Both can be strong but they are basically opposites. They have a profound effect on the Atlantic hurricane season.

A:

Each pursuance has a variety of security options by which to minimize the problem of hostile parties, aside from the conventional encryption tools; chief of all, one can set their pursuance to be opaque to those who aren't members. The structure itself of the average pursuance, which grows on the margins, is far more difficult to effectively infiltrate than the IRC chat rooms that Anon used, which anyone can just drop into for the most part (and did).

Granting status is actually a big part of the system. Everyone is equal when they join the system in the sense that they all have equal rights to create pursuances and apply to join others; at the same time, everyone who creates a pursuance has the right to define how it functions, which will often includes divisions of labor and even hierarchies. Anyone who dislikes that sort of thing can create a pursuance, give full rights to other participants, and attract others who prefer that method. And pursuances of very different organizing principles can still collaborate with each other to the extent that each one agrees to do so.

More info on the exact technical aspects, including what security is involved, will be put out before the minimum viable product is released.


Q:

How does El Niño work?

A:

Do you think after all is said and done that you are essentially out of the "legal forest?" Do you think the law will always be after you as long as you continue in altruistic journalism? Sidebar, I appreciate everything you have done for free speech and the ongoing efforts to not have the press silenced by politicians and corrupt government.


Q:

It's a pretty complex process involving ocean forcing and wind surges and it's not completely understood or forecast well. Basically it is abnormally warm water in the east Pacific near the equator. It has profound influences on the weather patterns around the world and is the second highest weather signal (maker) over than the tilt of the earth/change of seasons.

A:

I think that I'll be the continued subject of illegal and/or dishonest tactics by the intelligence contracting community and other institutions so long as they believe I constitute a threat to their profitability, but it's hard to say how much of this I'll be facing in the future and whether it will make much difference. There's still a bunch of stuff that happened to me years ago that I'll be making available later on.


Q:

Do you see Sharknado scenario happening any time soon?

A:

Thank you very much for your response! My day has been made! As for a follow up question, what is your favorite junk food (if you enjoy such "delicacies")?


Q:

Hmmm, Sharknado season is almost over so I think we are done for now.

A:

Cigarettes.


Q:

That's what they thought before Sharknado 3

A:

Hi Barrett. Two questions for you:

  1. I've noticed that your "Pursuance Project" attacks the decentralized analysis problem from the angle of formalizing collaborative relationships and roles, rather than organizing and enhancing the complex work to be done. I find this an interesting choice. What are your motivations behind choosing this direction for your project?
  2. There are other questions I have—some like this, some a bit more controversial. Would you be open to further discussion via your recently published email address?

Q:

That's a good point but there are always outliers. Can't forecast those....

A:
  1. Actually, if you look at what the presentation says, we're also going to be creating actual pursuances that we'll be designing, and so I'll be carrying on the same kind of work that I used to do, but better organized. It's just that in addition to that, we're also giving other people the tools to easily manage other projects and collaborate on various things in whatever way they choose.

  2. If you have questions, post them here.


Q:

How will budget cuts to NOAA hinder your job and public safety when predicting/tracking hurricanes?

A:
  1. That's good to know, but I didn't ask whether you were planning to lead investigations. I asked why you were focusing your tool-building on tools for organizing humans into roles, rather than tools for better intelligence analysis or fact finding.
  2. What tools do you intend to provide in the pursuance kit, aside from pre-existing comms tools bundled for fast deployment?
  3. The roles-based organization of pursuances sounds like something that could benefit from smart contracts. Are you implementing anything like smart contracts to enforce roles and task completion? If not, why?
  4. How do you expect to prevent a slow degradation of competence and quality as the network extends outward from yourself, without specific task and analysis oriented tools, or are there some in development that you've neglected to mention at this time?

Q:

Well, this year there are no cuts so that's a good thing and we also have a new, super tech satellite (GOES-16) up there to use this year. My concern with budget cuts would be in the areas of hurricane research more than forecasting. The brilliant men and women that do research help advance the science of hurricane forecasting each year. It isn't sexy work but it is needed and well worth it. So any budget cuts, IMHO have a long term detrimental impact to us.

A:
  1. We're also incorporating tools for analysis, including Transparency Toolkit, but that's not our chief focus, which is getting people to use these tools in the first place in a coordinated way.

  2. We don't have a final list yet, which will be available when we're closer to launching.

  3. We are indeed.

  4. The structure itself minimizes the problem of less competent people joining over time, as each pursuance is something of a "filter." This is explained a bit more in some of the other documentation that will be up this month.


Q:

Hi Craig! We miss you in Colorado Springs. Do you find it more challenging forecasting in Florida or Colorado?

A:

are you going to revive project PM?


Q:

Awww, I miss you guys too. That was one of the best places I have ever lived. At least if I was going to move, I was able to trade the mountains for the ocean. Both places have unique forecast challenges but I miss having a forecast for snow and tornadoes all on the same day. Don't get that in Florida.

A:

Not as such, but we'll be running a "pursuance," as entities under the pursuance system are known, that will continue much of the same work of documenting the intelligence sector, private and public.


Q:

Favorite kind of beer to drink on a hot summer day?

A:

excellent, and will you build "top down" (or at least, like before, bring in many individuals who might be interested to...pursue it) or will you build it organically?


Q:

Hmmmm, depends where I am. In the Bahamas Kalik! In the US I am more of a Hefeweizen snob.

A:

I haven't decided on the exact form it will take or who will be in charge of day-to-day operations. I'll be involved to consult and give some direction where needed, but I don't plan on overseeing it myself at this point.


Q:

I'd like to suggest Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen Ale from Lonerider Brewing Company.

A:

Hello Barrett,

I'm not American, but when hearing about the charges against you (sadly well after the fact), I was infuriated by what seemed to be clear malice and intimidation by the state. I wondered how you managed to keep your spirits up in those circumstances (besides writing those excellent columns)? Wanted to wish you the best of luck with your new project and to say well done for making it through what must have been a very difficult period.


Q:

Thanks, I'll try it!

A:

I had a lot of support that most people who fall prey to this system don't have, and even when I was facing decades in prison, I had my personal interests - reading history, writing humor and agitprop - to keep me busy. Happiness and security are highly relative.


Q:

What is the craziest thing you have seen on the job?

A:

Thank you immensely for your work, your courage, and your humor. I am genuinely grateful for the tireless, dogged journalism you've conducted over the years.

What do you think will be the fate of Trump? Your colleague at the Intercept, Jeremy Scahill, often asks if it'll be "Impeachment? Resignation? Or a Heart-attack?"

What do you think will happen to this newest alleged whistleblower, Reality Leigh Winner? Do you think Trump will try to make an example of her?

In the past, you've been labeled an anarchist--as cited in the criminal case against you. Do you label yourself similarly? Does this effect your work?

Again, thank you for all you do. '

EDIT: Spelling.


Q:

Ha! In TV or in the weather field? In TV some crazy stuff happens behind the scenes. The craziest was when I first started and I was supposed to have maps behind me, instead I was in a farm field. Also once on a live shot the lawn sprinklers came on and I was soaked within seconds.....ON LIVE TV! With weather I used to chase tornadoes and I've seen some crazy weather stuff.

A:

It's increasingly likely that Trump will fail to finish his term, but that will depend on lots of factors that we can't really get a sense of.

I do think that Winner will be prosecuted rather severely, unless there's something else to this story.

I've been an anarchist since about the age of 13, when I read the work of Alexander Berkman and then Emma Goldman, though I've had varying degrees of sympathy for other political inclinations over the years.


Q:

Way to just tease the awesome part at the end. There aren't ad breaks! No cliffhangers!

A:

What books about COIN and political repression (past and present) and about useful countermeasures and "security culture" would you recommend, if any ?


A:

The Burglary and The Devil's Chessboard. Most of all, read anything by Peter Dale Scott, the former diplomat and Berkley professor who carefully documented a great deal of the amorphous security culture from the early '60s to recent years, mostly in regards to JFK and Southeast Asian drug running by CIA affiliates.


Q:

You...chase storms and tornadoes for a living...and the craziest thing that's happened is getting soaked by a sprinkler?

A:

Despite the general dearth of public discourse, your recent appearances are stirring some useful debate. Will you continue to interact in accessible ways?


Q:

That's the craziest thing that has happened LIVE on TV. I have seen baseball sized hail, a flash flood of hail and rain washing cars off the road, lightning that struck near the road and created a steam geyser.

A:

Absolutely. I almost always agree to interviews if a large enough audience can be reached.


Q:

With a Hefeweizer.

A:

Why do you still wear Oxford button down shirts and those silly assed Roper cowboy boots? Aren't you concerned that folks will mistake you for a deranged Texas oilman?


Q:

Hahaha

A:

That's my disguise.


Q:

What are some of the major improvements you have seen in the last 20 or so years that have helped improve Tornado forecasting? Is it primarily radar based or software modeling improvements etc?

A:

Do you think they'll ever catch AVunit?


Q:

There are several fronts in tornado forecasting but surprisingly, tornado warning skill has decreased a little bit since there has been an effort not to make too many false alarms. So that means some storms are "underwarned". I think Dual Pole Doppler radar is really state of the art and now we are waiting for models and model ensembles to keep catching up.

A:

They'll never catch the midnight rider.


Q:

Did you ever study weather near Bermuda Triangle ?

A:

What was your favorite book you read while in Prison? Favorite book of all time?


Q:

I have been in the triangle, a lot of weird natural things going on there so it seems like it's not a good place to be lost (or stuck on a boat).

A:

It's hard to really narrow them down to a particular favorite, but I very much enjoyed the series of George Orwell's notes, articles, and letters, which someone sent me a volume of and which I eventually obtained in full.


Q:

Cool, Thanks for replying. I have one more question for you if you don't mind can i know what was the most difficult thing that you ever face in your job ?

A:

Hey there Barrett, I wish you the best. Are you allowed to use a computer now? Or have you always been? I remember reading something on Frontburner that said you are not allowed to.


Q:

Seriously, losing my voice. I don't have a strong TV (deep anchorman) voice anyway so when it goes I feel like my thoughts are trapped....lol It may sound strange but when your job is to communicate, if you can't, it's frustrating.

A:

The BOP had claimed that I couldn't use computers during my home confinement period, but now I'm on probation under DOJ, which allows me to use a computer so long as it's monitored, which it's going to be anyway.


Q:

deep anchorman voice you mean like all state commercial dude "Are you in good hand?" deep?

A:

Have you ever admitted publicly that #OpCartel was a huge scam built atop a foundation of lies?

Glad you're out of prison.


Q:

EXACTLY!!!!

A:

No, because that's not true. OpCartel came out of the Anon Veracruz faction, and although there was a great deal of confusion about it in the press - such as the idea that I had started it, or that I had the documents, or that I was in direct negotiations with the Zetas, when in fact these other guys were in charge of it at all times - I have no reason to believe that their basic claims were untrue. I supported the original operation and thereafter tried to use the momentum to match Mexican journalists with U.S. press who could publish info on cartel infiltration with relative safety. Very little came of that.


Q:

Well once again thanks for answering.

A:

What do you think of the DNC Leaks?


Q:

Welcome!

A:

I'm in favor of any leaks that reveal corruption within institutions.


Q:

What is the very best cheese?

A:

How do you feel about the "weaponization" (using the internet to stir outrage and witch hunts) of the internet, whereby it seems like everyone is looking for a "Gotcha!" moment to share with the mob for profit and to stir outrage? Do you feel that would be a force for good or more just a modern techno-lynching?


Q:

I prefer Vermont Cheddar.

A:

As with all mobs, e-mobs have both positive and negative consequences.


Q:

What actually happens at hurricane workshops? Also if you don't live in the area but happen to be stuck in a new place where there's a hurricane, what should you do?

A:

Six years ago, you told me I was not allowed to join Anonymous.

"You're not Anonymous, sweetheart."

You then asked /u/kiltrout why I "prank called" you, when you were the one who gave him your cellphone number, asking me to call you.

After you went to prison, and I was free to join Anonymous, I carried your torch - inspired by your instrumental role in Arab Spring (you deserve all the credit, afterall) - and I used the Anonymous brand to promote similar Brazilian and Venezuelan Springs in your name. I also assumed control of Project PM.

My question is: What future libertine activities do you have planned to promulgate the corporate American agenda abroad, and do you plan to continue using Anonymous, for which you are the official spokesman, as your vehicle?


Q:

The workshops usually go over the latest research advances, new forecasting techniques, all kinds of things on communication. There is a lot of emphasis on messaging because even if the forecast is perfect, if no one gets the correct message, it doesn't matter.
In a new place it's important to listen to the messages from the local emergency managers, probably those on TV. I always try to live by "local knowledge is the best when you're new to an area"

A:

As you yourself have quoted, I did not tell you that you weren't allowed to join Anonymous. I told you that you're not Anonymous. I said that because you were not involved in Anonymous, and even opposed Anonymous, as you've yourself confirmed here, and as was clear then, as well as from the posts on your Twitter. Like your friend Kilgoar, who's run fake articles under my name at his site, you enjoy engaging in falsehoods against people who have done nothing to deserve it, which is certainly your right.

EDIT

And now you and Kilgoar have admitted to making up much of this:


Q:

How do you feel about the US potentially backing out of the climate change agreement?

A:

Do you think Anonymous still has any political/social relevance in 2017, and if not what would it take (if anything) for it to become relevant again?

EDIT: I see someone asked a similar question, I'll clarify a bit: I sit firmly on the "no it does not" side of the first part, more curious what you, as someone who was around that scene in its brightest hours, think could bring it back to its former glory.


Q:

Hmmm, that's a good AMA question but I'm not sure I have an answer here in this hurricane forum. (Yes, I'm ducking the question). And I would answer but it would likely take me several paragraphs.....don't have the time right now.

A:

I don't, frankly. That could change, but as I told someone else, what's needed now is something that can expand and serve as a serious counter against the powerful without burning out in a flash of chaos and disagreement. The pursuance system will be a mechanism for conducting civic affairs in such a way that everyone has the same clearly-defined rights to operate, to invent, to rise according to their talents and dedication; although Anonymous was allegedly something along those lines, the reality is that some people controlled the mediums, such as IRC servers, where much of the important work was conducted. That's just one of several fatal flaws Anonymous had - the conflict between its stated nature and its actual nature, and a lack of a mechanism for settling disagreements.


Q:

In recent years (it seems), more storm are moving further to the North and hitting the Mid-Atlantic and New England. Is this a trend or is it just an aberration?

A:

Did you trip the soap? Trip report?


Q:

No, this is a good observation. Look at this map! https://cmgpbpeyeonthestorm.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/capture20.jpg Landfalls occur over periods, they come and go and those periods may last for decades. Right now they are mostly missing South Florida.

A:

You mean, did I drop the soap?


Q:

And thank God for that! Charlie was a nightmare for the west coast. I'm so grateful to be having a reprieve but always, always pay attention to what my meteorologist advises! Thanks for keeping us safe!!!

A:

Hey Barrett, 2 questions.

1) I always thought it was ballsy of you to plead guilty while staring down the possibility of 100+ years in prison. Were you aware at the time that your sentence was likely going to be much shorter?

2) Is Leiderman as awesome as his "chicken-shit assholes" rant belies?


Q:

You bet!!!!

A:
  1. What actually happened was, I faced over 100 years worth of charges but refused to agree to the original plea bargain they proposed, which would have me plead guilty to one count of identity theft and whatnot and maybe do three or four years. I would not plea to anything involving fraud or deception, and I would not help them set a precedent whereby people could be prosecuted for linking to public information.

    Then my lawyers filed a motion to dismiss those charges, noting that they were misusing the statutes, that I clearly had no intent of committing fraud, etc, and they had to drop their own charges or else face possibility of being sued under a little-known provision whereby defendants of obviously fallacious charges can seek compensation, etc. That being done, I was willing to plea to whatever other nonsense they needed to save face, as the alternative was to go to trial in a system where the FBI can and does lie without consequences, and with a Dallas jury.

  2. Yep.


Q:

Hey, Craig. I was a friend of yours back in Tampa, with the sailing.

So, do you think there is any relation between atmospheric CO2 and hurricanes?

A:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2177843/

I saw you recently in We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists from 2012 and it was hilarious, informative, entertaining, and really eye opening.

21 minutes in and I'm keeping over laughing about your line about furry infiltrators 😂🤣👌🐸

Any plans for more documentaries?


Q:

Hard to say. The research seems to keep changing from more hurricanes to fewer but stronger hurricanes. Doesn't seem settled yet. Hopefully soon

A:

There's at least one more documentary coming out this year that will involve me and my work, but I can't give out details at this point.


Q:

Do you still have those aviator goggles?

A:

Why was there a stuffed leopard on your wall in We Are Legion?


Q:

Yes, and a hard hat!

A:

My dad is a prolific hunter and I've had it since I was a kid.


Q:

What movie about anchormen/women do you think is most accurate? Also what's the craziest hurricane preparedness situation that you've seen? Like bunkers?

A:

What's the reason behind the timing of this ama? There doesn't seem to be anything topical in your life to inspire this ama. The only topical events that tie into your ama are 1) The intercept (whom you're promoting) is being accused of revealing a source. 2) James Comey, former director of the FBI (which you're decrying) is about to testify.

The questions in this ama seem staged and this whole thing stinks.


Q:

I'm not sure what is most accurate. There seems to be a little truth in all of them and a lot of embellishment.
I think tape on windows is the craziest because it literally does nothing to protect a home.

A:

For one thing, I just got allowed back on the internet for the first time in nearly five years last week, when my BOP supervision period ended, and I'm quite plainly promoting the upcoming pursuance system, which was recently announced and which I've talked about in a dozen comments, in addition to my original text above. I know the fact that I do actually have two important factors on the timing of this won't convince you that I don't, because I remember the internet quite well.


Q:

What are your thoughts on storm chasers who are more thrill seekers less meteorologist?

A:

I worry more people will be hurt because of the crowds on roads from people distracted by bad weather. Since the movie Twister, the genie is out of the bottle and I don't know how you can put it back in. It's certainly exciting to see a tornado but I'm worried more people will be hurt or killed doing so.


Q:

How does storm chasing in Miami differ from storm chas8ng in Oklahoma?

For thise who dont know, Oklahoma has an almost cult like mentality.

Some people go out with little or no training. Some people with lots of training and degrees have died storm chasing. We even have tour business that load people up in vans and take them out to look at tornados up close.

A:

Yes, crazy in Oklahoma. When I was at the U of Ok there were only a dozen chasers, now it is insane. In south Florida the road network is bad so chasing, when it's possible, is almost impossible.... unless you have an airboat??? ;-)


Q:

While out chasing storms, have you ever seen a hurricane victim in a near-death situation?

A:

I was on one tornado in northeast Missouri and came upon a house that looked like a bomb hit it. I stopped to make sure no one needed help. I have not been in many situations involving near-death....thankfully.


Q:

My mother just moved to Spring Hill, FL, which is right by the Gulf. I'm just curious, which section of FL is most and least likely to be hit by a hurricane? I don't really know a lot about hurricanes, though, so maybe they just sweep right through the entire state. I'm just a little worried about her living there; FL seems to get hit often by hurricanes.

A:

This map gives a good layout of the most likely parts of the state that could receive destructive winds. http://www.floridabuilding.org/fbc/Wind_2010/figurea_colors8.png


Q:

Are the blue/black dotted areas the second worst? The markings aren't labeled. Also, thanks for the map!

A:

The worst areas extend from south Florida in. The building codes are supposed to take into consideration how strong the winds could be in those areas.


Q:

Does your prediction for hurricane season fall in line with the NWS? Or do you see other variables being more influential than what they've used to create their forecast? Also, how do you foresee climate change affecting hurricane season in the coming decade or two?

A:

So, to be honest, most of my meteorology experience is in operational or short term and nowcast forecasting. There are some brilliant people who can tell you about long wave patterns and global teleconnections in the atmosphere. I spend most of my time trying to improve the tools and messaging about hurricanes and threats to people from them. I do lots of work with the NWS and NHC in the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Project working to make sure people understand risk and uncertainly and how to respond. So, I operate in the area of seeing the storm form, and planning for how it may affect us.


Q:

What are your concerns about the record high temperatures we are having and the prediction of numerous hurricanes this season? Also go Canes!!

A:

Well, the heat was pretty bad recently. Fortunately local heat waves are not strong predictors of hurricane seasons. Go Canes!


Q:

Let's talk about the % chance of rain. Let's use 50% chance of rain as the focal point. If it was REALLY a 50% chance of rain every time they say it is a 50% chance of rain, then it should rain close to 1 out of 2 times that forecast is made. HOWEVER, I find that it only rains maybe 1 out of 10+ times with that forecast. Actually, if it is 50% or less chance, it is a pretty solid bet that it isn't going to rain. Really, I can only count on a chance of rain if the forecast says >= 80%. So what is the deal with this situation?

A:

True, and honestly I think saying 50% give the impression you either aren't sure or you could flip a coin. Technically the POP (prob of precip) is the forecasters confidence times the area of rain coverage. That's one reason I don't use POPs on TV. I don't think they are useful when you have 20% chance and it's raining only on you.


Q:

Can any local Miami meteorologist live down the legend of Bryan Norcross?

A:

Bryan hired me in 2000 because I believe he saw some of the same qualities that he has. Hopefully I won't have to live down his legend but maybe I could live up to it. At least it's a worthy goal.


Q:

Do you think Louisiana is fully prepared for another category three hurricane to make landfall?

I've heard that Florida has a far stricter building code, requiring that new houses in low lying areas be built up on stilts. That's why all the new beach houses are so tall. Should other gulf states have a similar requirement?

A:

I don't know about Louisiana but many cities are doing the smart thing and forcing new construction in storm surge areas to build on stilts. I've seen this in the Keys, Pinellas (Tampa Bay) and other areas. That is to protect from surge. The South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach) building codes is to minimize failure of structures from wind. There are codes from securing roofs to having shutters that can withstand missiles and vibration/flexing. While it is more expensive, the goal is to only leave your home in a hurricane if you are in a storm surge evacuation zone.


Q:

Orange you glad you don't live/work in orange county?

A:

LOL


Q:

What think people waiting for last hour before landfall you think people don't take get ready as tell us doing your tv speical?

A:

I don't know. I think people keep hoping it will change course or we will be wrong about it. There comes a time in every storm when there is no more time for hope, you must act.


Q:

I know that NOAA puts out a prediction every year, but how active do you see this season being? Named storms? Landfall?

A:

Well, I don't do enough long term forecasting to really be able to answer, but based on what others are saying, a weak El Niño, warmer than normal temps in the tropical Atlantic and a few other things suggest the season will likely be at least normal with about 12 to 14 named storms. But forecasting landfall chances months away from a storm threat is something I don't think we have any skill with right now.


Q:

Mr. Setzer, Yesterday I heard thunder and saw dark clouds yet lawn maintenance people were still working until it started raining, why does it seem people are not fearful of lightning strikes?

A:

That's a good question. I see it all the time and then hear every now and then about lawn or construction workers hit. I guess some people just have a higher tolerance to risk. Not me.... I hate close lightning.


Q:

Do you mount your toilet paper so that the sheets tear from under, or over the roll?

A:

Over. Doesn't everyone?


Q:

Why do some old Floridians pronounce it "hurra-kin"?

A:

I don't know. I've heard it from some in the Keys and also in the Panhandle.


Q:

What is the most bizarre thing you've seen during hurricane season?

A:

I've got to say, it was pretty bizarre to see Matthew's forecast track last year looping back on itself looking like it would hit us twice. But what I thought was more bizarre is that everyone was freaking out about that loop back before they had even been hit once. Sometimes people pay more attention to the odd things far off in time than those right at your door.


Q:

Who is your favorite meteorologist? Like your inspiration/most respected/etc?

Also, do you know who Dr. Neil Frank is? He was the big hurricane guy when I lived in Houston a while back, he retired some years ago from regular weather broadcasts but they still bring him in when a hurricane is imminent...

A:

Yes, I know Neil Frank and respect him very much. He had a great way of explaining hurricanes and their threats. I believe he was Director at NHC when Allen barrelled toward south Texas. His interviews on the evening news were impressive. Another favorite of mine is Tom Skilling in Chicago. He showed more complex maps in three minutes than I've ever seen. Didn't seem to care that most of his graphics were so complex they needed a few minutes to explain but he would fly through them in seconds.


Q:

What is the biggest problem you have in your work?

A:

Actually, I don't have many problems at work. I'm very fortunate that my boss supports me completely. I've spoken to other Chief Meteorologists and many have to deal with consultants and news directors that are always telling them what to do and what not to do. My boss lets me run my weather department the way I want to and supports what we do and say during a hurricane threat.