Federal authorities served search warrants to social network and white supremacist haven Gab as well as Twitter in an investigation into a neo-Nazi arrested for child pornography in Boulder, Colorado.
The Daily Beast first reported on the warrants in connection to 29-year-old Wesley Gilreath, who was arrested in August, drew the attention of federal authorities in January 2019 after he allegedly posted a “Montana Hunting Guide” naming Jews, Muslims, a refugee center, and federal and state facilities as potential targets. Gilreath, who used the name “NatSat” or “National Satanist” (an obvious reference to Nazism), was interviewed by the FBI but later released. He tried to buy a firearm in May but was denied during a background check; Gilreath allegedly left a phone that displayed child pornography when unlocked on a bus that month.
The search warrants for Twitter and Gab are intended to find out whether Gilreath shared child porn on the sites. The warrant served to Gab (embedded below), however, asks for much more information associated with Gilreath’s account there, such as logs of his activity, all of his communications with other users via the site, financial data, and anything pertaining to possible co-conspirators. Prior reporting by Fox 31 indicated that the feds are using the child pornography charges as the basis to keep Gilreath in custody while they investigate “concerns over potential terrorism.”
The charges don’t mention Gilreath sharing child porn on Twitter or Gab, the Daily Beast noted, but other Twitter users reported a now-suspended account run by Gilreath for pedophilia in May. The Daily Beast reported that archives of Gilreath’s deleted Twitter accounts show a highly active and “virulently anti-Semitic web presence, where he shared content from the leader of a now-defunct white supremacist terror ring.”
Gab, run by Andrew Torba, has earned a reputation as a major hub for white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and other bigots due to its racist-friendly “free speech” policies (though in the past it’s floated conspiracy theories that the racists on there are actually left-wing infiltrators paid to make them look bad—a theory that makes even less sense when you consider its primary function is to be a place for users who’ve been kicked off of other platforms).
After one of its users, vitriolic anti-Semite Robert Bowers, killed 11 people at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue in October 2018, Gab’s accounts on payment processors PayPal and Stripe, cloud host Joyent, and domain registrar GoDaddy were terminated. The month before, Microsoft had terminated its Azure cloud hosting contract over rampant threats of anti-Semitic violence on the site.
Gab later managed to find a payment processor called “Second Amendment Processing”, whose CEO is reportedly a convicted felon. Gab also found a new web host in a company called Epik, which was booted from internet services company Voxility in August for hosting 8chan, the website where a white supremacist gunman posted a manifesto before killing 22 people and wounding 24 others in El Paso.
“This account was banned as soon as it was brought to our attention,” Gab told The Daily Beast. “Gab has zero tolerance for illegal conduct of any kind. We communicated and fully cooperated directly with federal law enforcement, as required by law, to identify this individual and bring them to justice. As this is an ongoing investigation we have no further comment.”