UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 19: Sidney Powell, attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, November 19, 2020. Trump attorneys Rudolph Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, also attended.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
The “former military intelligence official” who is cited under the anonymous name “Spider” in Sidney Powell’s election lawsuits reportedly has no intelligence expertise and is an IT consultant, according to a Washington Post report. Joshua Merritt, a 43-year-old information technology consultant, confirmed his identity as “Spider” to the Post. He acknowledged that being cited as an expert was misleading. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The anonymous source named “Spider” or “Spyder” who was cited as a former military intelligence official in several of Sidney Powell’s election lawsuit is actually an IT consultant without expertise in military intelligence, according to a Washington Post report.
Spider confirmed his identity as Joshua Merritt, a 43-year-old information technology consultant, to The Post.
Powell was kicked off President Donald Trump’s campaign legal team in November but has sought her own lawsuits in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Arizona trying to overturn the election results, Business Insider previously reported.
Her lawsuits make unsubstantiated claims about election fraud, and her cases in all four states have been dismissed by judges.
In the lawsuits, Merritt claims to have worked for the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, based in Arizona.
He also alleges that public data on server traffic shows that voting systems were “certainly compromised by rogue actors, such as Iran and China.”
However, while Merritt is an Army veteran who was enrolled in training with the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, he never completed an entry-level training course, The Post reported.
“He kept washing out of courses,” Meredith Mingledorff, a spokeswoman for the US Army Intelligence Center of Excellence told The Post. “He’s not an intelligence analyst.”
On Friday, Powell told The Post: “I cannot confirm that Joshua Merritt is even Spider. Strongly encourage you not to print.”
She added, about his description as an intelligence analyst: “If we made a mistake, we will correct it.”
Merritt told The Post that he was a trainee with the 30th Battalion for seven months over 15 years ago. He acknowledged that his description as an expert in the lawsuits was misleading but blamed “clerks” for Powell’s legal team for writing that he was an expert not a student.
“That was one thing I was trying to backtrack on,” he told The Post. “My original paperwork that I sent in didn’t say that.”
Additionally, the separation papers he provided to The Post did not mention any intelligence training. Merritt spent most of his time as a wheeled vehicle mechanic while in the Army.
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Merritt told The Post that he’s removing himself from Powell’s cases and moving away with his family after his name had circulated.
Powell’s legal team had asked the judge in the Wisconsin case to keep Spider’s identity sealed if they move forward to an evidentiary hearing.
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