My Profile of Jesse Eisinger of the Wall Street Journal
The following was emailed to Jesse a few minutes ago. I will post any responses I receive. It mirrors a format we used in our interactions, and contains data that can be inferred by the reader to be accurate. I agreed to keep Jesse's emails confidential, and will, up until now, but I think that this has gotten large enough to merit further visibility on any subsequent communications.
Your list of questions to me yesterday, and the information contained therein, got me thinking about what a fascinating story profiling a reporter for the WSJ might be. I should alert you that this list of questions will be going up on the blog, as I am hopeful that others can further refine my stumbling attempts at gaining clarity into how the investigative reporting process works. You will note many are eerily similar to your list of questions. I apologize in advance – there are no new ideas. I do hope that you won’t mind being the topic of a profile. I can assure you that only the most positive intent is at heart, and apologize if some of the questions are tough ethical/legal ones.
1) Where did you first get the idea of profiling Bob O’Brien? From whom, specifically?
2) Do you know, or have you ever met, David Rocker, of Rocker Partners? If so, when was the last time the two of you interacted? Was Bob O’Brien, NFI, NCANS, or your investigative report of me ever discussed?
3) Do you know, or have you ever met, Marc Cohodes, of Rocker Partners? If so, when was the last time the two of you interacted? Was Bob O’Brien, NFI, NCANS, or your investigative report of me ever discussed?
4) Do you know, or have you ever met, Herb Greenberg of CBSMarketwatch? If so, when was the last time the two of you interacted? Was Bob O’Brien, NFI, NCANS, or your investigative report of me ever discussed?
5) Do you know, or have you ever met, Mark Cuban? If so, when was the last time the two of you interacted? Was Bob O’Brien, NFI, NCANS, or your investigative report of me ever discussed?
6) Do you know, or have you ever met, Tyler Burke? If so, when was the last time the two of you interacted? Was Bob O’Brien, NFI, NCANS, or your investigative report of me ever discussed?
7) Would it be acceptable for me to obtain attorney/client privileged information about you and your connections? I am doing a profile, so the journalistic protections afforded you should be in effect. If not, why would that be unacceptable? Would you consider LexisNexis and your credit report to be OK to get without your permission, or to be passed them by third parties? If not, why not? Did that not happen in your investigation of Bob O’Brien?
8) Would it be acceptable for me to obtain your banking records, as well as the banking records of the other subjects of my profile, including hedge funds I suspect you may be linked to – someone might just pass them to me, and I can’t reveal my sources – you know how that goes? I know they are federally protected, but I am doing a profile. If not, why would that be unacceptable? Did that happen in your investigation of Bob O’Brien? Please explain, for the record, how you obtained the account information of NCANS, to the level of detail that includes dates of donations, accounts money came from, the names of the donators, etc. Please further explain how that is not a violation of the donors’ privacy, Federal law, and the attorney client privilege, given that it is an attorney’s trust account?
9) Would it be acceptable for me to obtain your telephone records, as well as the telephone records of those I suspect you may be affiliated with, in order to contact every person you have called over the last 90 days, and ask questions pertaining to my profiling of collusive connections between hedge funds and reporters, specifically you? I know those are federally protected, but I am doing a profile. If that would not be acceptable, why not? Did you, or someone passing information to you, not do exactly that in your profile of Bob O’Brien? Given that some numbers called were limited to one or two people, we can pretty much link that – so would it be OK to do so in your case? If unacceptable, why?
10) Would it be acceptable for “Bob “O’Brien” to physically visit your aged relatives, and their neighbors, in order to get some depth on you? Let them know that I am doing a profile on you and the connection to hedge funds, and further send the message that I am willing to travel to drive my point home? Would that be an invasion of your privacy, do you think, or acceptable? If unacceptable, why, exactly, given that you did so in Bob O’Brien’s case? Would trespassing on private property be acceptable to gain access to these folks – you know, going into a guard gated community where they live, in violation of the laws against doing so. Would that be OK? If not, why not?
11) Can you offer an explanation as to how Mr. Cuban had access to your information, or at least your speculation of Bob’s real name, within a few days of your beginning your profile? He came out and used it in an email exchange, so it was known. How did that happen, do you think?
12) Can you speculate as to what lengths hedge funds with hundreds of millions in the balance will go to in order to silence their critics? Do you think they would break Federal banking laws? Federal communications laws? Federal privacy laws? If they would do so, are there any reasons for you to believe that they wouldn’t break other Federal laws?
13) Given that we are talking about Federal lawbreakers here, can you help me understand how having what you presume to be my real identity in the hands of these fellows, which would appear to be highly likely given some of the email exchanges, would not pose a clear and present danger to me, if correct? You have been advised of the danger, and have first hand experience with the lengths they will go to, and yet have shown no interest in my safety or the safety of those around me. Would you please help me understand why I should feel any compunctions about any privacy or safety concerns you might have as objections?
14) Given that colleagues of yours at Barron's like Alpert were outraged at Mr. Cohodes' publicly available address being posted on the message boards, do you think his sense of outrage will be far greater over the types of invasions I have described, or do you believe that outrage will be selectively reserved for friends and cronies? Could you help me understand the difference in response we can expect?
Sorry the list is so long, and I probably will have more questions as this develops – but yours was longer, so I figure you can return the favor. I appreciate your answering these, to help with my profile, and to give the folks at home better visibility as to what passes for journalistic ethics and acceptable boundaries for members of the media.