Computer hackers with the group “Lulz Security” have unearthed a Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) intelligence assessment of Barry Cooper, the former Texas narcotics officer who turned against the drug war and began setting up hidden camera stunts looking to catch corrupt police in the act.
The document, composed in Feb. 2009 by the FBI field office in El Paso, Texas, came just one month before officers in Williamson County, Texas staged a SWAT raid on his home over a Class B misdemeanor, filed after a series of stunts seeking to catch police stealing money from official evidence.
The FBI’s “Situational Intelligence Report” on Cooper is marked “unclassified,” and recipients were specifically instructed to take “precautions” to prevent it from falling into the media’s hands. It came to light after hackers stole a trove of documents from police in Arizona and published them online in an operation they called “Chinga La Migra” (or “Fuck the Border Patrol”).
It describes Cooper’s first stunt in Odessa, Texas, where he and a local benefactor set up a fake marijuana grow house and delivered an anonymous tip to a local pastor, in an effort to bait police into an improper raid. Cooper hoped to use the stunt as a springboard to launch a reality show he called “KopBusters.” His benefactor, Odessa resident Raymond Madden, sought to embarrass the local police to help prove his daughter Yolanda was wrongfully accused of dealing drugs by the same officers. She has since been released from prison after accepting a plea bargain.
“Barry Cooper and his associates at Kobusters.com have shown the technical ability to stage this type of action,” the FBI’s assessment reads, “and the knowledge to hire ‘actors’ to execute this type of ruse in order to further substantiate their false claims.”
“Based on available data and media coverage of this ruse, FBI El Paso currently assesses the actions of Barry Cooper and his associates at Kobbusters.com as low,” the assessment concludes. “The success of the assessment/disruption is dependent upon local law enforcement participating in the coordination to disrupt and dispute any claims filed on Barry Cooper and his associates at Kobbusters.com.”
Charges stemming from the bizarre incident in Odessa were eventually dropped after a local prosecutor decided that Cooper and associates had not actually violated the law — but that didn’t stop the elite Texas Rangers from arresting Cooper’s wife outside their home in Austin, causing Barry to turn himself in days later, setting up a dramatic press conference at the state’s capitol.
Cooper is still awaiting trial in Williamson County on the charge of Making a False Report to a Peace Officer: a Class B misdemeanor. He faces up to six months in jail. That trial is set to begin in August.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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