FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
March 7, 2014
AP Photo/Nick Ut

Yesterday Newsweek's Leah McGrath Goodman fingered Dorian S. Nakamoto — a 64-year-old Californian physicist and model train enthusiast — as the man behind the digital currency Bitcoin.

Dorian S. Nakamoto, born Satoshi Nakamoto in Japan, may be the man behind Bitcoin. But Newsweek's article did not contain any hard proof, and was built on layer upon layer of circumstantial evidence, including his supposed involvement in classified work for the Federal Aviation Administration; his daughter saying "[h]e was very wary of the government, taxes, and people in charge"; and his brother saying "[h]e is very meticulous in what he does, but he is very afraid to take himself out into the media."

Considering that Newsweek both implied that Nakamoto possesses bitcoins worth $400 million, and published a picture of Nakamoto's home, questions are being asked about whether this might be inviting robbery and extortion attempts. Indeed, if Dorian S. Nakamoto is not the founder of Bitcoin, Newsweek might end up facing a big lawsuit.

In an interview with the Associated Press yesterday, Dorian S. Nakamoto denied being the founder of Bitcoin, claiming that he had only heard of Bitcoin three weeks ago when his son was contacted by Newsweek. Nakamoto also said that he was referring to his career in engineering, rather than Bitcoin, when he told Newsweek, "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it."

Now, the original Satoshi Nakamoto has emerged from two years of silence to claim that he is not Dorian S. Nakamoto, either. Replying to the original 2009 post introducing Bitcoin on the P2P Foundation website, the original Satoshi Nakamoto wrote simply: "I am not Dorian Nakamoto."

Of course, it's possible that the Satoshi Nakamoto account was hacked. And some are speculating that this is more proof that Newsweek has fingered the right man. After all, lots of people have been accused of being Satoshi Nakamoto before, and Satoshi Nakamoto has never denied it. On the other hand, none of those accused have ever had their photos, identifiable photos of their house, and details of their family published all over the internet, leading to the possibility of an elderly and reclusive physicist being subjected to extortion and robbery attempts.

Still, if Satoshi Nakamoto is not Dorian S. Nakamoto, he will have to do a lot more to prove it than simply denying it. Coming forward with his real identity may be the only way to dispel the swirling rumors. John Aziz

6:14 a.m. ET

Donald Trump is winning the support of many religious conservatives even though he has a spotty issue on opposing abortion, which conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer calls "the central issue of the conservative movement for the last 30 years, in terms of social issues." But before the early 1980s, Samantha Bee chronicled on Monday's Full Frontal, evangelical Christians and Southern Baptists didn't care much about abortion, considering it an issue for the Catholics to fret over. They had to be convinced to oppose abortion by religious-Republican leaders like Jerry Falwell and Paul Weyrich, Bee says, and Falwell and his peers got "an assist from a talented young sci-fi filmmaker," Frank Schaeffer.

Schaeffer sat down with Full Frontal and explained that "one of the things that I did, back in the day, when I was young, was help found, start, begin what became known as the pro-life movement." He made a series of creepy anti-abortion films, featuring his father, evangelical theologian Francis Schaeffer, and future surgeon general Dr. C. Everett Koop. Making those films is "the single greatest regret of my life," he said. Bee set up them up: "Two pals who shared a love of theology and novelty beards, plus a 20-something raised on Fellini films: What could go wrong?" Evangelical leaders didn't like the films, but thanks to Jack Kemp and congressional movie night, they came around. Watch below for the full story, and be warned, there is some NSFW language and disturbing imagery. Peter Weber

5:53 a.m. ET
Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, a senior Egyptian forensics official said that human remains salvaged from the wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804 suggest there was an explosion on board before the plane went down in the Mediterranean last week. So far, 80 remnants of the 66 people aboard the flight have been brought to the Cairo morgue, and "there isn't even a whole body part, like an arm or a head," the unidentified official told The Associated Press. "The logical explanation is that it was an explosion."

The plane's fuselage and black boxes have not yet been recovered. But the head of Egypt's National Air Navigation Services Co., Mohi El-Din Azmi, told Egyptian state TV on Sunday that, contrary to assertions by the Greek defense minster, the plane did not swerve before disappearing from radar about a minute after entering Egyptian air space. Peter Weber

4:28 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold the first of two scheduled hearings on a motion to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, but Koskinen said Monday he won't be there, citing the late invitation and other commitments that have left him no time to prepare "for what could be a wide-ranging and complex discussion regarding claims that may only become clear after the hearing's first panel." Instead, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the House Oversight Committee chairman who filed the impeachment motion, will testify under oath, along with Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.).

Chaffetz accuses Koskinen of lying under oath and defying a House subpoena to turn over emails from Lois Lerner, a former IRS official at the center of a scandal involving extra scrutiny of Tea Party groups and other organizations seeking tax-exempt status. Koskinen, who was appointed months after the scandal, denies lying and said the IRS has turned over the relevant Lerner emails but lost other ones due to "the inadvertent destruction of very old tapes." The Justice Department found mismanagement but no criminal wrongdoing in its investigation of the IRS, but Chaffetz said the House has no choice to but impeach Koskinen. "You can't be under a duly issued subpoena and mislead Congress, and when you provide false testimony there has to be a consequence," he said.

Congress hasn't tried to impeach a U.S. official other than the president since 1876, when the House went after War Secretary William W. Belknap, and no official below cabinet level has ever faced impeachment. "This is unprecedented in many respects," University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt tells The New York Times. But "lying to Congress is a very serious charge, and if somebody were actually guilty of that, that is a perfectly legitimate basis for their removal."

Koskinen says he plans to attend the next hearing, in June, but barring some bombshell revelation, his job is probably safe. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has said that the Senate won't convict the IRS commissioner even if the House approves impeachment, noting the two-thirds vote needed and the lack of appetite for going after Koskinen, a businessman known for managing organizations in crisis. Still, The Washington Post observes, "by holding hearings, House leaders are allowing IRS opponents to keep their constituents' frustration with an unpopular agency in the foreground — and a good political target in their crosshairs." Peter Weber

3:16 a.m. ET

On Monday's Full Frontal, Samantha Bee shook her head at "the Democratic Party's growing, festering tensions pimple," which finally "came to a head" and popped "when angry [Bernie] Sanders supporters turned Nevada's Democratic convention into a... a something." (She settled on "donnybrook", which is "apparently what you call civil unrest when it involves white people.") You're surely familiar with that, um, donnybrook by now, but if you need a refresher, Bee has one — including the vile calls and text messages sent to Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman Roberta Lange.

The Nevada Democratic delegate selection rules are arcane and stupid, Bee said, but Clinton won the most democratic part, the caucus; Sanders won the county conventions; and then came the state convention, and "that's when Lady Luck said 'I'm with her.'" Bee said that "if there were actual misconduct by party officials, I'd be furious, too. But ask yourself, what makes more sense? That party chair Lange changed the rules to disqualify Sanders delegates, 50 of whom Hillary Clinton had drugged and tied up in a basement with the skeleton of Vince Foster, or that first-time delegates backing a guy who became a Democrat just before breakfast couldn't get their shit together?" You can guess Bee's answer.

"Should the Democratic Party make its primary process more democratic? God, yes," Bee said. "But the fact is, nobody stole the Nevada election. Sanders just got beat ... You know, I love the passion of Sanders supporters, but why is it curdling into rage at their own party? Who's giving them the idea that any outcome they don't like is illegitimate and rigged?" You can probably guess where she's going here, too, but watch to the end for Bee's coup de grâce on the fraud and election-rigging allegations from Sanders and his supporters. (Yes, there is NSFW language.) Peter Weber

2:07 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's views on guns have evolved — in 2000, Trump criticized Republicans who "walk the NRA line" and "refuse even limited restrictions," and now that he's the presumptive GOP nominee, Seth Meyers said, he's "walking that line like a drunk driver taking a sobriety test."

On Late Show Monday, Meyers took a closer look at what Trump's recent endorsement from the NRA means, especially considering the fact that Trump is unable to make proper gun noises (it's not "beek" or "shing," Meyers helpfully explained, it's "bang"). Meyers showed several clips from Trump speeches over the past few months, with Trump declaring he's "Second Amendment, 100 percent," and then brought up the fact that while Trump says he wants to abolish gun-free zones, guests at many of his properties — including Mar-a-Lago, Trump International Las Vegas, and Trump International Golf Club — are not allowed to carry guns. If his views are so inconsistent, why does the NRA like him so much? Meyers said it's not so much Trump's stance on guns that's behind this warm embrace, but rather a hatred for someone else. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

1:17 a.m. ET

Did Jennifer Lawrence accidentally pop an Ambien before filming a scene for The Hunger Games? Did John Oliver make Queen Elizabeth a feta omelette as a teenage chef? And did Jimmy Fallon really write a song called "Am I Doing It Wrong?" and offer it to Sir Paul McCartney free of charge? Those are the confessions the trio divulged on Monday during a game of "True Confessions" on The Tonight Show, but not everyone was telling the truth. Not surprisingly, Oliver is a master interrogator, while Fallon and Lawrence take a more casual approach to their questioning (when they aren't straight up accusing Oliver of being a dirty liar). Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

12:38 a.m. ET

On Monday in Los Angeles, Bernie Sanders sat down with The Associated Press and talked about the ongoing tensions in the Democratic primary fight and the future of the Democratic Party. "It goes without saying that I condemn all forms of violence, but I hope the media does its job and not exaggerate what happened in Nevada and elsewhere," he said, alluding to raucous fights between Sanders supporters and Democratic officials.

Sanders repeated his assertion that the leadership of the Democratic Party has a choice to make about welcoming in his supporters or just going "to fancy fundraisers, at, you know, $50,000 a plate" and shutting the door on dedicated Sanders fans. "I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs — it's going to be messy," Sanders said. "Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle. But that is where the Democratic Party should go."

The interviewer asked, "You think the convention could be messy?" And Sanders replied: "So what? Democracy is messy. Every day of my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, things to just proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about." Sanders then asked what would happen if he won "a major victory in California? Will people say, 'Oh, we're really enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton despite the fact that Bernie Sanders has now won whatever it may be, 25 states, half the states?'" If he won big in California, the Democratic insiders who make up the superdelegates "may rethink that," Sanders said. "That is why you want the process to play out."

California and the five other final states are voting on June 7. So far, Clinton has won 24 states to Sanders' 20. She is leading Sanders by 271 pledged delegates — if you include superdelegates, Clinton needs just 90 more to clinch the nomination — and, according to The Washington Post's calculations, Clinton has won about 2.9 million votes (including caucus states). Watch Sanders talk about the Democratic Party's big decision below. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads