If City Council candidate Zareh Sinanyan chooses to deny the allegations that he made dozens of obscene Youtube comments in front of the City Council on Tuesday night (PDF) rather than apologizing and moving forward with his campaign, I'm guessing he will claim some variation on "I was hacked!"
There are two possible scenarios that explain the events we’ve seen. One in which Sinanyan is responsible for the comments, and one in which a supposed “hacker” is responsible.
A commenter named D. Johnson on the Glendale News-Press article makes a concise case against a supposed “hack” quite nicely, that I've expanded on:
Five years ago, someone named "Zareh Sinanyan" posted a comment on YouTube that said, among other things, "your entire family is composed of whores and ****suckers." In that same 5-year-old comment thread on YouTube, that same "Zareh Sinanyan" also said "I'm a business litigator"
Now, there are only a few possibilities here:
1. The comment was posted 5 years ago by the same Zareh Sinanyan now running for Glendale City Council
2. The comment was posted 5 years ago by some other Zareh Sinanyan, not the person currently running for Glendale City Council, but also a business litigator
3. The comment was posted 5 years ago by some nasty person using the name "Zareh Sinanyan", knowing that Zareh Sinanyan would be a political candidate sometime in the future, and that the comment could then be used to smear him
4. The comment was posted anonymously 5 years ago under a pseudonym that due to Google+ and YouTube interaction later became linked to the real name of Zareh Sinanyan
The simple fact is that makes #4 by far the most likely option is that the comment was posted to YouTube 5 years ago - unless you believe that YouTube, which is owned by Google, the world's largest and most secure website, is in on the "conspiracy."
Additional evidence against the possibility of a nasty person impersonating Mr. Sinanyan is that somehow, that person would need to:
- fluidly write hundreds of comments in a mix Russian, Armenian and English, the exact languages Mr. Sinanyan speaks
- in addition to the vulgar and racist posts; have the literary imagination to write dozens of comments about Armenian and Russian history, completely banal posts (“Wow, ribeye steak in Yerevan!”), and otherwise maintain a lively online life with lots of back and forth comments on dozens of threads over a half a decade period
- somehow get into Mr. Sinanyan’s Google account to merge it with the Youtube account WITHOUT Mr. Sinanyan knowing or realizing the two had been merged, since Mr. Sinanyan apparently continued to use the Google account normally after the two were merged
- break into Mr. Sinanyan’s absolutely 100% verified Facebook account in September to leave a comment referring to “Mongol Tatars,” a favorite enemy of the Youtube persona
- change the username of the Youtube account from “Zareh Sinanyan” to “Thomas Paine” and then “Lightbulb”
- Change the name used on the Google account linked to the Youtube account to "Thomas Paine," and send an official campaign related e-mail via Sinanyan’s personal e-mail address to the Glendale Association of Realtors that linked Sinanyan’s e-mail address to the renamed “Thomas Paine” account
More things that don't make sense if an impostor was involved:
Why would any impersonator conduct a thorough cover-up of the damaging posts right after the e-mail with the tip had been circulated but before most of the public was aware of the allegations?
Would an impostor really go to the trouble of creating FIVE YEARS worth of fake posts, then not leave them up online for the world to see? Wouldn’t they leave them up instead of hoping local media could put the pieces together using incomplete cached versions of the comments? I’ve found dozens of very nasty posts in the cached versions of the comments, but those who viewed the original e-mail and looked through the full set of comments made by the Youtube account before the cover-up saw many, many more incriminating posts that were deleted and not cached.
Which explanation is most likely to be true?
As with any event that one does not personally witness, you can only verify information to a degree of probability based on the evidence available. And every single piece of publicly available evidence in this matter thus far points to a high probability that Mr. Sinanyan was responsible for the content of the posts and attempted to hide his connection to the Youtube and Google account when knowledge of the obscene comments became public.
- Zareh Sinanyan's Infamous Alleged Youtube Comments
- Adam Schiff Withdraws Sinanyan Glendale City Council Endorsement in Light of Allegations
- Sinanyan Scandal Updates & Detailed Responses to His Defenders