Instead, Reid released a statement to Mediaite saying that she’d been hacked and was not responsible for the posts. “In December I learned that an unknown, external party accessed and manipulated material from my now-defunct blog, The Reid Report, to include offensive and hateful references that are fabricated and run counter to my personal beliefs and ideology,” Reid said.
The posts had been dug up on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, which maintains copies of many pages on the web. When Reid said she’d been hacked, many jumped to the conclusion that it was the Wayback Machine that had been hacked. On its blog, the Internet Archive said that Reid’s lawyers had contacted them about a possible hack, but that they had no indication that one had occurred.
“This past December, Reid’s lawyers contacted us, asking to have archives of the blog (blog.reidreport.com) taken down, stating that ‘fraudulent’ posts were ‘inserted into legitimate content’ in our archives of the blog,” they wrote. “Her attorneys stated that they didn’t know if the alleged insertion happened on the original site or with our archives (the point at which the manipulation is to have occurred, according to Reid, is still unclear to us).”
On review, the Internet Archive “found nothing to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine versions.”
The Wayback Machine has been archiving posts for years and years, and in many instances, it re-crawls URLs. A blog post that went live in 2006 might have been indexed in 2007 and 2009 and 2011 and 2017. This is important because if Reid’s blog was hacked to insert new posts with old dates, the copies in the Internet Archive’s repository would have recent dates, even if they showed old time stamps on Reid’s site.
It’s not possible to view the Internet Archive’s public stash of Reid blog posts because Reid’s team recently inserted code into the site that prevents the Internet Archive from indexing it.
But the Internet Archive’s Brewster Kahle confirmed to me that the Wayback Machine crawled Reid’s site back in the 2000s—and that there was nothing suspicious about the way the posts appeared in the archives.
“We saw [the blog posts] in the ’00s soon after they were dated on the blog, and [they were] archived in normal course of operations,” Kahle told me.
Furthermore, the Old Dominion computer scientist Michael Nelson scoured the other public records of Reid’s site to see if he could find evidence for the screenshots that @Jamie_Maz posted. Even without precise URLs, which makes it much easier to look up the records, Nelson was able to identify five matches in the various archives from the screenshots.
There is a small caveat, which is that these other copies probably used the Wayback Machine’s copies as their original source, even if they have stored them separately.