Following a meeting with Fox News Executive Vice-President of Legal and Business Affairs, Dianne Brandi, the "Fox Mole" submitted a post to Gawker on Wednesday night identifying himself as Joe Muto, an associate producer with the O'Reilly Factor. The post is titled, "Hi Roger. It's Me, Joe: The Fox Mole." But Roger Ailes already knew that; Ailes and Co. have been hunting this mole since he first began leaking fairly inconsequential information about Fox News and its employees about 30 hours ago.
Muto wrote that began working for Fox in 2004 as a production assistant and bounced around, joining the O'Reilly Factor in 2007 where he has remained since.
From Gawker's offices, Muto, who has been suspended with pay, wrote:
In the end, it was the digital trail that gave me away. They knew that someone, using my computer login, had accessed the sources for two videos that ended up on Gawker over the past few weeks. They couldn't prove it entirely, but I was pretty much the only suspect.
I denied it, which is why they didn't fire me outright. But two nice gentlemen from security escorted me to my desk to pack up my stuff, and it was pretty obvious at that point that I would not be setting foot back into 1211 Avenue of the Americas again.
By way of background, this is how the chase began:
"So why not just leave Fox News?" you might ask. Good question! I've asked myself that same thing many times. And I am leaving. Sooner rather than later, I'm guessing.
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work," Muto's Twitter profile says. "I want to achieve it through not dying."
This whole episode raises some questions that may not be determined as quickly as Muto's identify. Was he paid by Gawker? What, if any, legal ramifications might Muto face as a result of disseminating materials obtained through his employment with Fox (the Romney video)?
The motivation is quite apparent. But the endgame? Fifteen minutes? A job with Gawker? Muto answered that in his identifying post, actually. He wrote:
I am a weasel, a traitor, a sell-out and every bad word you can throw at me ... but as of today, I am free, and I am ready to tell my story, which I wasn't able to fully do for the previous 36 hours.
A book deal. He's after a book deal.
We saw this recently. It's almost a trend.