Recently, a journalist for the Daily Mail posted an article about Cpt. Michael Gorhum’s suicide. Though I’m new to this profession, I would say that the article is the worst piece of journalism that I’ve ever read. Apparently the author, Shekhar Bhatia, doesn’t need facts to write a story, but merely his own misguided opinion. Shekhar Bhatia claimed in the article that Cpt. Michale Gorhum’s email address was not included in the list of emails released during the Ashley Madison hack.
His article begins with the following,
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Ashley Madison’ suicide cop killed himself after police-hating website CLAIMED his email address was among members even though it WASN’T actually on leaked list
I can only assume the title was meant to catch the readers attention and not to convey facts. Cpt. Michale Gorhum’s email address is implicated in the Ashley Madison hack. Below is a screenshot of the ‘nonexistent’ email address for Cpt. Gorhum. The client ID associated with that account is 1581636.
The dump file that hackers uploaded to the internet, which presumably is the one that this ‘author’ used, clearly contains the email address. I find it quite ironic that the author stated, “Cop Block’s list was stuffed with obviously wrong emails and the ‘keyboard warrior‘ who runs it did nothing to verify information.” Personally, I would think that finding the email address within the database is due diligence.
UPDATE: After further examining the dump files, I discovered another entry:
The IP address traces to La Vernia, TX – which according to Cpt. Gorhum’s obituary, was the city in which he resided. Also, the password associated with the account is ‘hornet31’. According to his obituary, Cpt. Gorhum played for the ‘Hornet Football Team’.
Shekhar Bhatia continues denying the presence of Cpt. Gorhum’s email address throughout the article: “However, Daily Mail Online can disclose that his email address is not in the leaked database of Ashley Madison, which helps arrange extra marital affairs.”
The inflammatory article in the Daily Mail suggests that CopBlock.org (a website) is responsible for his suicide, and that an “investigation is underway to establish how the internet ‘shaming’ may have contributed to his death.” However, he also quotes an article from the San Antonio Express where Cpt. Gorhum’s widow states that
Well before his death, Michael Gorhum was experiencing stress entirely related to issues at work that had no connection to the data leak.
To be honest, I do not think that Shekhar Bhatia has ever seen the data contained in the dump or even read my articles. At one point in his article, he said that “CopBlock” – which is merely the idea that “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights” – published “the purported Ashley Madison list in full.” That’s simply not true. Only a partial list of the emails were listed in the story – and only emails associated with government/public email accounts.
As far as ‘putting the blame’ solely on CopBlock.org, I would point to the fact that numerous news agencies reported that the email was included in the hack, including the Daily Mail. In their article it stated, “San Antonio Police Captain Michael Gorhum took his own life last week after his official email address was linked to an Ashley Madison account” and that the International Business Times confirmed it was included in the hack.
The IB Times stated “IBTimes UK has confirmed that the officer’s email address was listed among the millions.”
Additionally, I would like to point out a couple of websites that allow users to see if their information was compromised in the hack. One website, https://ashley.cynic.al/, shows this when Cpt. Gorhum’s email address is entered:
There is also a positive result on http://www.trustify.info/check
Lastly, the following sites have stated the email was leaked in the hack: Inside Edition, PINAC, Boston News Time, Mirror Online, Leo Affairs, Entertainment Tonight (ET), The Independent, Megyn Kelly, San Antonio Express, and hundreds more.
Since these are facts – mental distress; list in the hack and so forth – it’s unclear to me why Shekhar Bhatia would even write this article. I’ve reached out to him for comment for this piece but………. lastly, as I stated in this post, the loss of any life is tragic. To those who might be experiencing hardship from this leak I hope you simply own up to your actions, we’re all human, or simply move on. Again, my disclaimer at the start of the post clearly stated that because your email is in the hack doesn’t mean you’re a cheater, or that you even used the site. In fact, it’s highly possible that one of the many people who dislike cops (like to ASA’s post about social media survey stating such ) used your email in hope of repaying you for the enforcement you so happily provided them at one time.