According to sources at the show, she was there to do a piece called Hackers for Hire, with the goal of showing the criminal hacker underground and possibly outing an undercover fed. As Michelle was said to have said, "People in Kansas would be very interested in what is going on at Defcon". She was busted hours before she walked in the door, the first slide before the keynote was this, and the speaker asked to notify a goon (security) if she was spotted.
The people from Defcon talked to her four times, two before the show, two on the scene, and offered her press credentials and the opportunity to officially talk to the people she wanted to talk to. Four times she declined.
Too bad. They knew when her plane took off. They knew when her plane landed. They knew when she picked up her non-press attendee pass (human in the vernacular). They followed her around. They knew when she walked into the ladies room to wire up, camera and sound. She knew that the camera was not allowed but did it anyway, and told a goon that she was doing so.
Picture © Charlie Demerjian 2007
We are told she was walking around 'panning' her bag and at times holding it like a camera. In the above shot, you can see the lens on her handbag, it is the shiny spot above the two silver circles. Michelle was told that a fed would be outed in the largest room in the show, and off she went.
Dark Tangent was on the stage, and had a lengthly preamble about undercover feds and the "spot the fed" contest. A fed was 'spotted', and I brought Winn Schwartau up on stage as a 'fed'. The conversation then went to integrity and how to go undercover ethically. For those of you who don't know, Winn is not a fed.
Then there was a new contest announced, spot the undercover reporter who is violating the Defcon rules. She was offered the option of coming up on stage and getting a press badge, but instead, Michelle bolted for the door, pushing a goon out of the way.
I caught up with her when she made it out the door, and what followed was a perp walk of epic proportions. People polled in the audience overwhelmingly voted that it was not cool. There were people swarming Michelle, Defcon people estimated 150 or so, as she walked for her car, quickly at first, slowing when it became obvious that she wasn't going to get away. She didn't look happy. Awwww.
Oddly enough, Michelle Madigan would not answer questions shouted at here, ranging from "What were you thinking?" to "Can I have your badge?" I guess she now knows what it feels like to be on the others side of the 'to catch a predator' stories.
In the end, she got into her car and promptly drove into a dead end corner of the parking lot. Needless to say, there was a large crowd of people who found it very amusing when she had to back up and drive through the crowd to get out of the parking lot.
The moral of the story? Don't screw around with people who are smarter than you. I guess Dateline NBC hasn't learned this lesson. µ
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