The Silk Road Investigation: A 'Pattern of Bad Behavior and Double Agents' – Bitcoin News

Gunnar Larson g at
Fri Apr 14 07:13:06 PDT 2023

Whete is Kathryn Haun when you need her on NYCCoin?


by Jamie Redman

Oct 22, 2019
The Silk Road Investigation: A 'Pattern of Bad Behavior and Double Agents'
The Silk Road Investigation: A 'Pattern of Bad Behavior and Double Agents'

Kathryn Haun, a general partner at U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen
Horowitz, has revealed in recent interviews how she helped take down the
Silk Road when she was working for the Attorney General’s office. According
to her accounts, the U.S. government agency also asked her to help “start
shutting down technology before it’s built.” Haun’s story also highlights
how the U.S. government’s evidence against the Silk Road transpired because
of double agents.

Also read: FBI Agent Admits to Stealing Silk Road Bitcoins Seized by U.S.

Kathryn Haun Was Asked to Disrupt Bitcoin in 2012
During the last few years, governments worldwide have been cracking down on
digital assets like on and off-ramps that are tied to fiat. Regulations are
far stricter than they were in the early days, when governments first heard
about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Andreessen Horowitz general partner
Kathryn Haun has a lot of experience working with government agencies when
it comes to the cryptocurrency economy. She witnessed the takedown of the
Silk Road darknet marketplace and before she started she was even asked to
help dismantle the Bitcoin network. During an interview with CNBC, Haun
revealed how a colleague mentioned the up and coming technology to her in

“‘We have this perfect assignment for you – there’s this thing called
Bitcoin and we need to investigate it,'” Haun told the news outlet on
October 6. “That was the first time I’d ever heard of bitcoin,” she added.

The Silk Road Investigation: A 'Pattern of Bad Behavior and Double Agents'
Former Silk Road investigator Kathryn Haun.
Attempts to shut down Bitcoin by agencies such as the U.S. Department of
Justice were fruitless ventures, Haun detailed. “It would have been akin to
saying ‘let’s go prosecute cash,'” the former prosecutor said. “What we
heard with Libra were the same criticisms [about Bitcoin],” Haun remarked.
While discussing the similarities between her early days with Bitcoin in
contrast to Libra, she continued:

They got more attention because of the high-profile nature of the project
and the fact that Facebook was involved. I think it would be a really
dangerous thing, and frankly a dangerous precedent to start shutting down
technology before it’s built.

Uncovering the Silk Road and Parallel Investigations
During another recently published interview with Haun, the Andreesen
Horowitz partner spoke with Hayman Capital founder Kyle Bass about her role
during the prosecution of the Silk Road marketplace. “The Silk Road was
making millions of dollars a month and they were generating a lot of
revenue,” Haun stressed. She doesn’t remember exactly how the Silk Road
case got opened in New York, but she recalls Senator Chuck Schumer read a
Wired article that prompted him to wonder why the marketplace was allowed
to exist. “So the Southern District of New York, which is another Attorney
General’s office – I was in the U.S. Attorney General’s office in San
Francisco – SDNY opened the case and was trying to figure out who was
behind the Silk Road. At this same time, a D.C. office was also trying to
figure out who was running the Silk Road — And there were parallel
investigations going.”

The Silk Road Investigation: A 'Pattern of Bad Behavior and Double Agents'
Haun discusses the Silk Road investigation with Hayman Capital founder Kyle
Haun explained that the government had task forces comprised of many
alphabet soup agencies: “We’re talking the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, DEA,
ATF, and the U.S. Marshals,” she underlined. “One task force, the one out
of Washington D.C., they had an undercover agent. That undercover agent was
able to befriend the person running the Silk Road. All the government knew
at the time was that the person running the Silk Road went by the nickname
‘DPR’ for ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’ from the movie ‘The Princess Bride.’ So
they didn’t know who DPR was, but the undercover agent actually set up an
attempt to buy the Silk Road.”

The Foundation of Evidence from the Silk Road Case Stemmed from Double
According to the former prosecutor, the undercover agent struck many online
conversations with DPR and proceeded for the next two years to engage and
message with the moniker. “A lot of things went wrong on both sides — From
the Silk Road side, 2013 was a really bad year for the Silk Road because
what you had was a person who had an online persona called ‘Death from
Above,’” Haun said. “Death from Above starting extorting DPR and saying ‘if
you don’t pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin I’m going to
reveal your identity to law enforcement.’ Meanwhile, there was another
online persona who went by the moniker ‘French Maid.’ French Maid was
selling DPR information about the government’s investigation. French Maid
told DPR the Feds are closing in and the end is near and you are about to
be had.” Haun added:

The government didn’t know any of this then and it all came out after the
fact. In the midst of this, something else really bad happened in 2013 —
About 21,000 bitcoins, which is today in excess of roughly $150 million
dollars, went missing overnight from the Silk Road. From Silk Road vendor
accounts and from what you might consider the petty cash account — Although
there’s nothing petty about 21,000 bitcoins.

The Silk Road Investigation: A 'Pattern of Bad Behavior and Double Agents'
Haun’s story begs the question: How much evidence would the government have
without the use of double agents and rogue officers manipulating the
During the remainder of the interview, Haun discussed Curtis Green’s role
with the Silk Road and said Green showed the Feds “how the Silk Road
worked, how to log into it, how to reset vendor PINs and passwords, and of
course [Green] had that access because he was the key administrator.” Haun
also said Green even gave his laptop to the Feds to keep as evidence. The
discussion with Kyle Bass shows how government agents claim to have
dismantled the Silk Road from the words of a former Federal prosecutor.
However, Haun wasn’t involved with the DPR takedown first hand, but she was
very much involved with investigating rogue agents. At first, when she
heard about the first rogue agent she took it with “a grain of salt” and
actually said it was a shame the tipster was smearing a Federal agent’s
good name. But the tipster was insistent and she decided to look into it.

“We saw that this agent who we got the tip for was liquidating hundreds of
thousands of dollars, if not millions a month, in cryptocurrency. So I
thought it’s probably another undercover operation and there’s probably a
legitimate explanation,” Haun explained.

The Silk Road Investigation: A 'Pattern of Bad Behavior and Double Agents'
>From left to right — Carl Mark Force, Shaun Bridges, and Curtis Green all
played a ‘double agent’ role in the Silk Road investigation. Curtis Green
was a Silk Road moderator who was told by the U.S. government to fake his
own death.
Haun concluded that the rogue agent was caught telling exchanges to destroy
transaction histories. Because undercover agents who are running undercover
operations shouldn’t be asking for evidence to be destroyed, it raised a
red flag Haun said. Her team found a “pattern of really bad behavior to put
it mildly” and in the end, it turned out the rogue agent was both online
personas: French Maid and Death from Above. Essentially, the interview with
Haun shows that Curtis Green, Shaun Bridges, and Carl Mark Force were
acting as double agents during the entire investigation. The discussion
with Haun further highlights how the Silk Road case was quite messy and
many constitutional laws were broken by rogue agents in order to disrupt
the site. Still, the U.S. government, with no thought toward constitutional
law and a complete disregard for true justice, based all their Silk Road
evidence on the shameful ethics of Curtis Green and two rogue cops — Carl
Mark Force and Shaun Bridges.

It goes to show that the many unanswered questions surrounding the case,
like how government agents found the Silk Road’s IP address, which wasn’t
due to a faulty ‘captcha’ screen as claimed, were likely due to perfidious
agents gone rogue.
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