Followers of the account are reading that the former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigator and close aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican, is backing political candidates, knocking Anthony Fauci and providing an insider’s government history of COVID-19.
He is not.
To Mr. Patel, the fake account is more evidence of Twitter’s bias against conservatives, who allege the Silicon Valley platform censors their tweets and removes thousands of their followers.
“Friends are regularly asking me why I posted things that were actually posted by this guy,” Mr. Patel told The Washington Times. “Twitter is transparently violating its own rules about parody accounts in order to allow this account to remain active. Twitter carefully protects Democrats from this kind of abuse, but when it comes to conservatives, it’s open season.”
In 2017-18, Mr. Patel gained the hostility of liberals and plaudits of conservatives by pressing the FBI and Democratic Party operatives to come clean on the Kremlin-sourced dossier compiled by one-time British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Its 35 pages wrongfully accused President Trump and allies of a dozen election felonies.
As a then-low key House investigator, Mr. Patel cracked the code: Democrats had paid Mr. Steele for his discredited narrative and the FBI used it to convince judges to approve a year’s worth of wiretaps on a Trump volunteer. The dossier also played a role the overall FBI “Crossfire Hurricane” probe by falsely claiming there was an “extensive” Trump-Kremlin conspiracy.
After his committee service, Mr. Patel joined the Trump administration in senior posts at the Pentagon, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and White House National Security Council.
A few weeks after Mr. Trump lost reelection, @KASHPatel_ popped up on Twitter. For Twitter-philes, the account looks authentic
A photo of Mr. Kash appears to have been uploaded from a T-shirt on a merchandise website for the documentary, “The Plot Against the President.” Mr. Patel appeared as a key figure along with other Washington conservatives. (Twitter removed the account for the pro-Trump film as it debuted, then reinstated it after protests from director Amanda Milius and conservatives.)
The Patel likeness is adorned with the American flag and bald eagle. In the background is a depiction of the U.S. Capitol with the tag “DEEP STATE.” The profile doesn’t recite Mr. Patel‘s official resume or disclose it is not the real Mr. Patel.
The Patel persona has attracted over 15,000 followers, including Trump supporters and journalists who read some decidedly right-wing provocations.
A May 26 “Patel” tweet endorsed the discredited theory that U.S. presidential votes ended up in computer servers in Spain and Germany. A May 25 tweet attacks journalist Jake Sherman, founder of Punchbowlnews.com.
Mr. Sherman tweeted a response to Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican. She likened a vaccination “logo” requirement to “just like the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.”
Mr. Sherman responded: “I’m torn here. Don’t want to give this idiotic act any oxygen, but as a Jew I feel compelled to point out how disgusting this is.”
The fake Mr. Patel replied to Mr. Sherman: “Not torn at all, sold your soul to the devil, how many pieces of silver did you receive?”
This is a biblical reference to Judas Iscariot receiving 30 pieces of silver to betray Christ.
Alarmed at what the tweets may be doing to his reputation, Mr. Patel has asked Twitter three times to enforce its own rules on impersonation and deactivate @KASHPatel_, according to a Washington Times review of the conversations.
First, he quoted Twitter’s requirement that the account must show the impersonated person “in a misleading and deceptive manner.”
Mr. Patel argued @KASHPatel_ does just that.
“This account uses a real photo of myself and President Trump, and then goes on to actively deceive others by pretending it is me, who has an established name in national security. He‘s trading off my work, and he‘s not me — what could be more deceiving?”
He continued: “Here’s a direct example from this Twitter page. He promotes political candidates by falsely using my name to support them, … supporting and promoting books I don’t. … And mostly, by discussing origins of COVID, which as a former government employee with high level access to classified intel, I would not specifically comment on ever, thus his tweet from 22 hours ago pushing theories I do not support, and falsely possibly implicating me in leaks of classified information is totally unacceptable. I would hope this satisfies Twitter’s policy and shut down this account asap. Thanks for your time.”
Mr. Patel‘s argument did not impress Twitter. Twitter support staff responded May 14 with what appears to be a boilerplate denial.
Twitter said: “Hello, Thanks for sending us your report. In order for an account to be in violation of the impersonation policy, it must portray another person or business in a misleading or deceptive manner. … We’ve investigated the account you reported, and have determined that it is not in violation. We understand this might be a frustrating outcome, but we appreciate your report, and hope you’ll let us know about other potential violations in the future.”
An infuriated Mr. Patel wrote back May 18, noting that @KASHPatel_ gives no indication it is a phony or a parody account.
“You are not abiding by your own policy, this is clearly political,” he wrote. “Twitter parody account policy says both bio and account name should indicate user is not affiliated with the subject of the account. This guy doesn’t do either.
He added, “I have had news media and so many others report as if this account is me. It’s NOT. This is ridiculous. Do the right thing, not what you subjectively find politically convenient. He‘s literally violating both prongs of your own policy, and you still come up with the below. I’ve never been on twitter. Why you would allow this person who is clearly, and falsely trading off my name is inexplicable. Unless it feeds a political narrative you support. Outrageous.”
The next day, a form message arrived denying Mr. Patel‘s request.
Mr. Patel has no idea who is behind @KASHPatel_.
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at email@example.com.
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