The Man Behind the Right Wing's Favorite Conspiracy Theories - 2019-12-09
Booth is really into Russia.
Without a full-fledged government investigation, it's nearly impossible to figure out how an SVR bulletin wound up on What Does It Mean, said Clint Watts, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and (yes) a former FBI agent. Although he didn't know any specific background information about Booth or his site, Watts said the Kremlin does identify outlets willing to publish virtually anything and supplies them with material when they need to push a particular message. This battery of online "useful idiots," as Watts called them, may have one-on-one contact with Russian operatives or receive (dis)information passed through third parties. "The closer you get to Moscow, the more they are in coordination with the Kremlin," he said. "The further away you get the less so, unless they happen to have traveled back and forth to Russia and developed connections—or [if] they're really into Russia or Vladimir Putin."
Booth is really into Russia. In the early 1990s, while Booth was living in Nashua, New Hampshire, he and his then wife launched a charity drive called "To Russia, With Love" that collected 4,500 pounds of donated food, clothing, and medicine to help former Soviet citizens get through the winter. When that marriage fell apart, Booth entered into a series of relationships with Russian women, one of whom he sued for libel and accused of stealing nearly $30,000 worth of his household goods during a contentious divorce, according to court documents. He has visited Russia at least once. In 1995, a curious item appeared in The New York Times Magazine that identified David Booth as president of a Nashua-based company called "War Tours Ltd." that offered clients visits to war zones in places like the former Soviet Union. There was no record of War Tours Ltd. at the New Hampshire secretary of state's office, and I heard later that Booth told his son that the whole thing was a hoax to prove that the media would publish anything.