How NHPR reported on the Oath Keepers in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Public Radio recently reported on the presence of nearly 300 New Hampshire-related names found on a leaked Oath Keepers database. We wanted to share some more information about how we reported that story.

Why are we reporting on the Oath Keepers and this database?

Highlighting extremism and the risk it poses to the state and the country’s democracy is an essential role for media outlets including NHPR. In addition to participating in armed standoffs and a history of inflaming racial justice protests, the Oath Keepers are alleged to have participated in the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. NHPR sought to shine light on residents of New Hampshire who may have been involved with the group. We focused our reporting on people in positions of power in the state, including elected officials and those in law enforcement.

Highlighting extremism and the risk it poses to the state and the country’s democracy is an essential role for media outlets including NHPR.

How did we obtain this information?

NHPR requested the database containing the apparent membership information through DDoSecrets Collective, a non-profit entity that shares leaked or hacked records that it believes would serve the public’s interest. DDoS obtained the membership data from an anonymous hacker. The date of the hack isn’t clear.

The original database contains the names and contact information for approximately 38,000 members of the Oath Keepers. NHPR focused on those with New Hampshire addresses.

How did we verify these records?

NHPR is unable to completely verify the accuracy of the entire database. However, the contact information in the database — including addresses, email addresses and cell phone numbers for members listed in the records — connected NHPR to residents who confirmed their membership in the group. Media outlets across the country have also used the same database to contact and confirm membership.

To date, the Oath Keepers do not appear to have denied that the hacked database is anything but an accurate record.

How did we confirm police certifications?

Through a Right to Know request, NHPR obtained a list of every part-time and full-time certified law enforcement officer in the state, updated as of 12/31/2021. NHPR then cross-referenced every name in the Oath Keepers dataset containing a New Hampshire mailing address with the list of certified officers.

NHPR then confirmed through interviews that the officers whose names appear in the database were also serving in law enforcement.

Why aren't we publishing the whole list?

As a condition of its release, DDoS is requiring media outlets not to publish the entire database, as it contains names as well as personal contact information. Another section of the database also appears to contain partial financial transaction records.

Have a tip for NHPR? Email us here.

This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and was first published by New Hampshire Public Radio.



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