By Douglas J. Hagmann

(The primary origin of publication, specific wording used, and timing of the Daily Mail article that Obama is the political “king” of the fake Twitter followers, with more than 19.5 million that do not exist caught my attention and serves as the basis for the following true account.)

A case of kidnapping turned murder held the interest of my entire hometown one year. The case was extremely personal to me, as the kidnapping victim and her husband were good friends with my wife and me. We knew them well, and vacationed together, traveling to New York City and a small resort in southwestern Pennsylvania in the year before her kidnapping for ransom went awry.

My friend was the branch manager for a bank while his wife was a full-time mother. They had recently purchased a new home and their future was promising until one summer day in 1988, when everything was turned upside down with a ransom call to the bank where my friend worked. As I indicated, the story ended very, very badly.

The suspects were caught, prosecuted and imprisoned. The suspects were a husband-wife kidnapping team who lived near my friends. The husband was arrested first, but as the investigation developed, his wife was eventually charged as an accomplice. In an ironic twist that tested every emotion I had, it was during the time when the wife was still walking free that she appeared in my office, seeking the services of a private investigative firm at the advice of her attorney, to work as part of their defense team. That meeting did not last long.

There’s more to this story, however. It was my first personal encounter with the deadly combination of a form of evil and intellect I’d never seen before, of plots and plans hiding in plain sight.  Thinking back to this unforgettable series of events, I cannot help but wonder if we’re not seeing something similar take place, although on a much larger scale, right under our noses.

While the husband of this evil duo was incarcerated and the FBI was putting pressure on his wife and watching everything she was doing and saying, they were plotting the murder of my friend, a witness, and even one of the investigators. Because surveillance of the wife was so intense and the conversations with her husband were being monitored by the jail, they resorted to an effective system of communication they created in the event they were caught.

The wife placed a series of ads in the paid classified section of the newspaper using her maiden name, ostensibly for legitimate purposes, that contained encoded messages to her husband and at least one potential co-conspirator. To all but a few, the messages appeared perfectly legitimate. Words and numbers as one would expect in such ads.

Incredibly, the coded communications were not limited to the classifieds. While still free, the wife accepted every on-camera opportunity offered to her by local television stations to tell “her side” of the story.

A subsequent analysis of television footage showed that she positioned her hands in a certain way while on camera, with each position conveying a specific message to her husband and the potential accomplice. If you did not know what to look for, you would think nothing of the positioning and movements of her hands. It was only when an agent from the FBI, alerted at first by a newspaper clerk who took the ads and realized who was actually placing them, did that agent (who also specialized in cryptography) figure out that the suspects were communicating with each other. The wife was using the media, newspapers, and television, to send messages – in plain sight.

When all of the news footage and newspaper ads were assembled and analyzed, it was discovered that the wife was covertly communicating with her husband and another accomplice in front of the world, yet only those “in on” the plan knew what was going on and what to look for.  A quarter of a century later, I still remember the feeling I had when I was shown things I had seen before, but in a different context. It was my “aha” moment. Messages so subtle, but so “in your face” as well.

I recount the above experience to ask whether we might be seeing something very similar taking place, except on a much grander scale. One can hardly deny that we are seeing things happen today that are quite unusual, even for the most hardened skeptic. Is it possible that the media is being used, at times, by people in positions of power and authority to convey their plans much like the husband and wife kidnapping duo? Messages that we see as normal news stories to us, for example, but perhaps seem a bit odd, perhaps in the timing or even the content of their release?

Given the times in which we live and the lies we are told daily by the government through a willing media, is it that unreasonable to think outside of the box?  Might we be limiting ourselves by “seeing through a glass darkly” instead of looking at the bigger picture?

Had I not seen it in action on a very personal level, it would seem to strain credulity that such things could actually be taking place. I am merely asking the question, and asking for your consideration and assessment. Have we seen anything, either historically or more recently,  that could fit this model of covert communication for some larger purpose? Or is everything merely as it appears to be?

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