A Silk Road Bitcoin wallet with $75 million protected by a passphrase known only to Ross Ulbricht and one other man. A corrupt FBI agent who runs a million-dollar-per-month darknet criminal operation. A roving team of mercenary bounty hunters. Singaporean safehouses, Interpol red notices, kidnapping and torture.
Those are the players and props for a story told by former Ulbricht mentor and fellow Silk Road mastermind Thomas Clark, aka “Plural of Mongoose” and “Variety Jones”, in a recent forum post at MyPlanetGanja.com.
Clark claims that the FBI agent – code name “Diamond” – is intent on killing him and torturing Ulbricht’s mother and sister in order to procure the passphrase and collect the secret Silk Road booty.
In a dramatic tale part flight-manifest travelog, part cyber-spy novel, Clark claims “Diamond” is legitimate because the rogue G-Man provided him with foreknowledge of the prosecution of corrupt federal agents Carl Force and Shaun Bridges and the shuttering of the Evolution and Agora darknet markets.
But Clark provides no evidence to back up any of his outlandish claims, no copies of alleged wanted posters or TorChat logs and nothing to prove that he actually possessed any of this secret foreknowledge ahead of its public revelation.
The darknet is a mysterious playground fenced by razors and full of rumor, idle threats and scams. Clark is no stranger to that. According to Silk Road researcher “La Moustache,” a 2006 High Times article describes Clark as a “puppet master” who could not be trusted.
“PoM [“Plural of Mongoose”/Clark] was like a puppet master, and it was eerily intriguing watching him pull the strings on the forums that made people dance in the real world: Business transactions fell apart, people retired nicknames and dropped from view, court dates came and went – but when the chance arose to interview PoM, I decided to pass. By that time, I had it from a reliable source that PoM deposited things on people’s PCs via e-mail that gave him access to their personal desktops and files. Frankly, PoM scared me, and I didn’t consider him a reliable source of information anyway. So why feed his fire?”
The Bottom Line
Here’s the bottom line:
- Clark’s story puts the Ulbricht family in danger by propagating the notion that a Silk Road Bitcoin wallet worth $75 million exists and that Ross Ulbricht could be intimidated into opening that wallet.
- Even if we take Clark’s story at face value, “Diamond” could well be a legitimate FBI agent engaging in a sanctioned operation to trick Clark into surrendering.
If Clark’s story bears any resemblance to the truth, and it is an FBI ruse, then it might be working. Clark claims that he wants to turn himself in. He just wants to avoid capture by “second tier nations authorities” [sic] because “Diamond” might find it easy to assassinate him there.
And this is where the contradictions in Clark’s story strain credulity to the breaking point.
Clark claims he legally resides in Interpol member state Thailand on a retirement visa and that the Thai government knows where he lives. If that’s true, then that “second tier nation” can pick him up anytime. Clark would be safer flying straight to LA or London – if he believes his own story.
But the inconsistencies are too much to bear. Clark’s tale could be an attempt to hurt Ross Ulbricht or, more likely, a fairy tale cooked up by a bored Pattaya beach bum eager to relive his glory days, if only for an Internet moment. In neither case should it be taken seriously.