“I Might Have Some Sensitive Files”

The government says Matt DeHart is an online child predator. He says that’s a ruse created because he discovered shocking CIA secrets and claims he was tortured by federal agents. The only thing that’s clear is that he’s in deep trouble.

On the evening of April 3, 2013, a battered blue pickup truck slowly crossed a bridge from International Falls, Minnesota, to the border station at Fort Frances, Ontario. The family inside — a clean-cut middle-aged couple and their dark-haired 28-year-old son — looked like any other vacationers heading north. The father handed over their IDs to the border guards. “We need the protection of the Canadian government under the U.N. convention against torture,” he said. “Because our son was tortured by the FBI.”

It sounded like something out of a Soviet-era spy thriller. Yet the family making the request couldn’t have been more all-American. Paul DeHart, a church pastor, was a retired Air Force intelligence analyst whose work was overseen by the National Security Agency. His wife, Leann, was a former Army voice interceptor. Paul explained that Matthew, their only child, had followed in their footsteps, poring over spy data gathered by drones in the Middle East for the Indiana Air National Guard. They had just driven through the night from their home in Indiana, Paul said, because they were fleeing the country they had once pledged to serve.

Matt, he explained, was a member of the hacktivist collective Anonymous and had created a repository on the Dark Web for leaked government files. After stumbling on a file that he believed detailed an FBI investigation into the CIA, Matt, the family was convinced, was subject to what Paul described as an elaborate and increasingly frightening ruse: raided and tortured by the FBI, hit with bogus child porn charges, shuttled between prisons for nearly two years...


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