Hear remarks from Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, of Texas, at the end of his first full day in Iowa since declaring, March 14, 2019.
Joseph Cress, Iowa City Press-Citizen
FAIRFIELD, Ia. — Beto O’Rourke acknowledged he was a part of a hacking group while he was campaigning in Iowa Friday, but did not say whether he regrets his involvement.
“It was something that I was a part of when I was a teenager in El Paso a long, long time ago,” O’Rourke said.
The Texas Democrat was a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow, called the CDC, one of the oldest groups of hackers in the United States, according to a Reuters investigation. The group is known for coining the phrase “hacktivism,” and releasing tools that allow less tech-savvy users to hack Windows computers.
O’Rourke, 46, was a member of the group in the 1980s. He’s been involved in tech since: He co-founded the Stanton Street Technology Group, a web design company in El Paso.
“I haven’t seen the piece,” he said, declining to say whether he regrets his involvement in the group.
Later in the day, in after a stop in Washington, O’Rourke said he was not proud of his membership today.
“You know, stuff I was part of as, as a teenager. It’s not anything I’m proud of today, and I mean, that’s — that’s the long and short of it,” he said. “All I can do is my best, which is what I’m trying to do. I can’t control anything I’ve done in the past. I can only control what I do going forward and what I plan to do is give this my best.”
The Reuters piece detailed some of O’Rourke’s posts on the CDC bulletin boards under the name ‘Psychedellic Warlord’, which included a fictional story he wrote at 15 of children being run over by a car.
The article also describes how his involvement in the group lead to political engagement later in life: He helped get women involved in the hacking group and argued with neo-Nazis on the group’s bulletin board.
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Reuters reported: “There is no indication that O’Rourke ever engaged in the edgiest sorts of hacking activity, such as breaking into computers or writing code that enabled others to do so.”
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