The Legend of Broadsword Six
Broadsword Six is a mysterious Twitter user who portrays himself as a hard-fighting veteran, former federal law enforcement officer and patriotic, anti-Trump, all-around badass. He claimed to have confirmed scoops by Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor, and contributed to their perceived credibility before loyal fans. But is Broadsword Six really the heroic warrior-poet he would have us believe?
A confirmed former USMC Force Recon veteran and blogger has written under the pseudonym “Broadsword Six.” I spoke with him in November, and he confirms that he is in no way affiliated with the "Broadsword Six" Twitter accounts. This report is based on open-source information, much of which has already been reported.
July, 2017 – Eric R Rosenwald
Broadsword Six is a Twitter account that’s become a fixture in the Louise Mensch-led anti-Trump ‘resistance.’ Celebrated as a patriot, veteran, and former “Fed,” Broadsword Six is part of a group that informally calls itself “Team #Asymmetric” or “#Tier1.” Skeptics mockingly refer to the tight-knit group as the “Scooby Gang.” They typically operate under the banner of crowd-sourced citizen journalism. The group investigates a wide range of links between the Trump organization and Russian intelligence services.
Broadsword Six claimed to have confirmed Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor reports, including an explosive scoop in May which claimed a massive US Marshal operation was underway, related to the Trump-Russia investigation. He also reported on Rudy Giuliani, North Korea, and the unusual decision to drop a MOAB bomb in Afghanistan, where he cited a US Marine Corps intelligence officer as a source.
His apparent military service and work as a “Fed” earned him credibility in the eyes of Claude Taylor, Louise Mensch and followers of “Team #Asymmetric.” Louise publishes stories on Patribotics.com, the primary outlet (other than Twitter) for her Trump-Russia reports. She co-authored articles with Claude Taylor and other guest contributors. Around this time, Claude raised over $18,000 for body work on the Ford Torino he displays in his profile avatar and header image.
I first became aware of Broadsword Six in April, when I read his commentary on the North Korea crisis. He made bizarre, false statements about the USS Pennsylvania, a U.S. Navy nuclear ballistic missile submarine. Writing as “Thomas McNally,” he presented himself as a military and intelligence expert. His Twitter avatar was a US Navy SARC (Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman) emblem. His header image (several divers holding an American flag) was originally posted by the official U.S. Marine Corps Twitter account.
Broadsword Six used terms like “SF” when “SOF” would have been the appropriate term. Other nomenclature errors, his bombastic writing style (including a cliché Black Hawk Down reference) and other dubious claims, left myself and many others skeptical.
At the time, his Twitter name was @broadsword_six / “Thomas McNally.” The account was suspended after he made threats directed toward another Twitter user who had been critical of him. Soon after, he rejoined Twitter under a new account, @broadsword_6. Around this time, he dropped the name “Thomas McNally”, and switched to “Broadsword Six.”
References to Arizona, his birth year and more reveal that the man behind Broadsword Six is likely Thomas McNally of Peoria, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix.) He appears to have served as a police officer for a federally-recognized Native American tribe. Reservation police officers typically have some federal law enforcement powers and training. Are his claims of having been a “Fed” based on this, or something else?
His phone number was also referenced in multiple detailed reports of a fake porn scam in which prospective adult actresses were tricked and taken advantage of by someone claiming to be an agent while promising future payment.
Thomas appears to have lived in the San Diego area, which is home to several major US Navy and Marine Corps facilities. Did Thomas serve in the military, and if so, how long? Was he ever part of an SOF unit? In what capacity did he serve as a “Fed”? Was he a SARC corpsman? He had been asked these questions on countless occasions, and would respond by blocking anyone who questioned him. Did Louise thoroughly vet him before she started to promote him?
#Asymmetric is an illuminating example of how tribal, social media echo chambers function. Is this an exercise in credible, responsibly-sourced, patriotic citizen journalism, or is it nothing more than hijinks, fanciful theories and impotent, hyper-patriotic rhetoric? Should charismatic mystery ‘sources’ be trusted over known, accountable experts? Considering the role social media played in the last election, it’s more important than ever to ask these questions.