Amin Massoudi, Rob Ford's communications director, walking with the mayor. Photo via Sun News.
Last week, VICE broke a story based on an email transcript sent to us by an anonymous source, who claims that he was hired by Rob Ford’s office to do some hacking on their behalf. The transcript appears to implicate Rob Ford’s director of communications, Amin Massoudi, who allegedly hired said hacker in May to destroy the crack tape from a private file directory. VICE reached out to Amin Massoudi for several days before publication in an attempt to get his side of the story, and to interview him about the allegations our source has put forward. Instead of responding, he released a blanket denial statement to VICE, Macleans, and Global News roughly four hours after we published the piece.
While we have updated our original story to reflect Amin’s denial, we still have several questions for him about the details of our story and why he claims the email transcript was fabricated. Those questions were sent to Amin yesterday morning, but VICE received a generic “out of office” response without any indication as to when he would be returning. Obviously, yesterday was a busy day for Rob Ford’s staffers as the mayor spent more than four hours signing Rob Ford bobbleheads—that bear little to no resemblance to Rob Ford himself—before giving a press conference about relief for typhoon victims in the Philippines.
So, given that we have not received any answers, here are our questions for Amin, for the benefit of public interest.
- Why did you wait four days to respond to our allegations that you hired a hacker to destroy a certain file on a password protected site?
- You wrote that the "entirety of the story is false and everything referenced therein has been fabricated," in regards to the story we published about your alleged scheme to hire a hacker. Can you please specify what elements are false?
- Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine and Bill Blair has admitted the crack tape exists. Did you know about the tape and/or Ford's habits back in May?
- Were you surprised when Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine last week? Did you know it was going to happen? As his spokesman, how did you react?
- If our hacker-source has completely fabricated the transcript we quoted from, can you then release your City of Toronto emails from May 18th—which are outside the grasp of FOI requests—as proof?
- You said you would be speaking to the IT department about a possible "spoofing" of your email account. Have you spoken to them? If so, what did they say?
- It appears that you tried to solicit drugs from this hacker, and we also found a photograph of you with someone who appears to be smoking marijuana. What's the story behind that photo? Are you a drug user? Have you ever tried to purchase drugs on behalf of the mayor?
- What was Rob Ford's reaction to our story about the hacker? What about Doug Ford?
We hope to get a response from Amin sometime soon.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @patrickmcguire