Speed Reads

read this

This is the dizzying story of 'David Jewberg,' a fake Pentagon official stirring up anti-Kremlin sentiment abroad

A group of individuals linked to financier Dan K. Rapoport has apparently been operating under the persona of a character named "David Jewberg," an "American soldier, analyst, military history specialist, officer of the U.S. Army, political consultant of the U.S. State Department, Department of Defense, and National Security analyst," citizen journalist investigative website Bellingcat has found.

Although "Jewberg" has often been quoted as being a Pentagon insider by Ukrainian and Russian media, he is evidently a fake composite character and "the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department have disavowed [his existence], stating that they have never employed a person by this name," Bellingcat writes. Nevertheless, painstaking efforts have been made to convince Ukrainian and Russian opposition figures of Jewberg's existence, including fake biographical details such as that he was born in Ohio to parents "Tammy" and "Joe."

"Jewberg" is best known for running a popular Facebook page used to post anti-Kremlin, anti-Trump sentiments in the Russian language. Jewberg also posted photos and identification cards in an attempt to attest that he was real, although all such evidence actually featured the photograph of a Texan man named Steve Farro — a college friend of Rapoport's.

Rapoport, who was born in the Soviet Union before moving with his parents to Texas in 1978, also apparently tried to verify Jewberg's existence, posting old photos of himself with Farro and claiming the man was actually Jewberg. Rapoport eventually moved to Kiev, Ukraine, from Washington, D.C., in late 2016, and now works abroad as the head of the venture capital firm Rapoport Capital LLC. His vacated D.C. mansion is now occupied by Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner.

"What is not clear is why [Jewberg's] persona was invented with a ridiculous last name, using the face of a man in Texas," concludes Bellingcat. Read the full investigation here.