People who follow conservatives on Facebook or Twitter may have seen a photograph of the alleged whistleblower. The problem is that the photo being shared is not of the person who complained about Trump’s Ukraine call with Volodmyr Zelensky.
The individual is the group shot is actually R. David Edelman, who once worked as a staffer in the Obama White House. Edelman has been trying in vain to get the message out to those sharing the photo that he left the government once Trump took over in January of 2017.
The former Obama staffer is intimately familiar with the problem of internet hoaxes. He worked at the White House as a cyber security expert.
Since he has been “outed” as the whistleblower, Edelman has been receiving death threats. He told the Daily Beast, “Yes, there were lots of people saying mean and threatening things. Yes, it is the internet.”
The photo began to really catch viral fire once it was shared by former actor and now Conservative commentator Dean Cain. Cain has yet to remove the mis-credited photo.
Oh, snap! https://t.co/VMI3uebYPM
— Dean Cain (@RealDeanCain) November 6, 2019
Edelman said of the actor, “Dean Cain’s circulation of it was one of the distribution tipping points.”
The cyber-security expert attempted to correct the record by tweeting, “FAKE NEWS: the ‘NERD’ circled below is the whistleblower. TRUE (just not news): the ‘NERD’ circled below is…this nerd. Me. Left government in 2017. Sorry to disappoint, y’all.”
FAKE NEWS: the 'NERD' circled below is the whistleblower.
TRUE (just not news): the 'NERD' circled below is…this nerd. Me.
Left government in 2017. Sorry to disappoint, y'all. pic.twitter.com/LEGSpgrBGJ
— R. David Edelman (@R_D) November 7, 2019
So far, though, the reach of those who initially shared the photo has outpaced the reach of Edelman.