Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mayor's Aide Admits to Dirty Tricks

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's chief spokesman Peter Ragone admitted Wednesday to posting comments on local news-oriented Web sites using the identity of other people.
Ragone had denied using fake names to defend Newsom in online discussions at SFist and other Web sites, insisting the comments were those of the named author, John Nelson, a close personal friend.

The admission came the same day Newsom was confronting a political crisis over revelations he had an affair with an aide who is married to his campaign manager. Suspicion began to center on the blog postings last week after SFist identified the Internet Protocol address for a home computer that Ragone had been using to make comments under his own name.

Editors at the Web site checked to ensure that somebody wasn't impersonating Ragone -- but soon discovered similar comments had been posted from the same home computer but under other names and sometimes early in the morning before 8 a.m.

Other pro-Newsom blog posts made from Ragone's computer were signed by his wife and someone using the name Byorn. Peter Ragone said he didn't recall using the name Byorn.

"If it's from my (computer) IP (address), it must be me."
Newsom's political opponents have equated Ragone's actions with Nixonian political dirty tricks and called for his dismissal.

Click here: Mayor's aide admits ID fake by Cecilia M. Vega, Chronical Staff Writer

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