The Army’s senior neuropsychologist also happens to be the long-time administrator of a Keith Olbermann fan site.
When retired Lt. Col. Mike Russell isn’t working as the program manger of the Army’s brain testing program, now as a civilian, he’s busy online as the site administer of KeithOlbermann.org, which describes the former MSNBC and Current TV host as “The Last Reporter Standing.”
A frequent contributor to the site’s Web forum, the main focus of the site, Russell has posted over-the-top political rants against Republicans, criticized the military’s psychiatrists and seemingly tried to recruit fellow online posters for positions on military bases.
“I have 78 people working for me. I can’t find anyone with even a Bachelors [degree] in History in Mississippi,” Russell complained on the forum in June 2010.
A day later, he replied to a post from a user named “dejapig” who asked, “Are you moving to Gulfport or just commuting?”
“No, you miss my situation, I am building a network of people worldwide — Kuwait, Okinawa, San Antonio, Hawaii, Seattle,” Russell responded to the query.
“I can get people most places. I need a man in Gulfport for Keesler ASAP — Keesler is a big deal for the Air Force. I will have someone in a week or so, but I am in a position to offer a high paying job right this second, now. It will be gone in a week.”
Keesler is an Air Force base in Biloxi, Miss.
Russell went on to suggest that he was willing to bend requirements to hire someone from the online forum — and even suggested he had done so in the past, for a participant who used the username “Philbert.”
“I ordinarily want people with a medical background, a former behavioral science specialist or combat medic with a degree in psychology,” Russell responded to “dejapig.”
“This is me flexing entry requirements for Philbert. Defense Contractor work. They must be US Citizens. If I could hire immigrants I would.”
Russell went on to insist that he wasn’t kidding: He had already offered forum participant “WeAreAlldoomed” a high-paying job.
“I also need a Research Assistant, Research Psychologist and a Neuropsychology Technician. I already offered WeAreAlldoomed obscene amounts of cash to move from Dreary Scotland,” he explained in the same post. “These folks need a proven track record, I have stuff to write.”
To demonstrate his identity and illustrate what he does, Russell provided links to an article he published and an interview he had given.
“The jobs are there, you just have to be willing to move for them,” he went on.
“I sometimes write about history,” he said, linking to an article he wrote in a military journal, “but it is to illustrate our present. I am about medicine and resilience.”
“This is me,” he continued, providing a link to an NPR interview.
“My voice is on there four different times in that 12 minutes, i.e. I introduce myself at minute 4:12.”
The Daily Caller has no evidence that Russell actually hired anyone from the forum on the Keith Olbermann fan website, if he had made any formal offers, or even if he had the authority to hire anyone.
Russell has also used the forum to criticize the Army.
“I was in charge of suicide prevention for the army earlier in the war,” he wrote in a thread titled “Active troop suicides higher than KIA in 2012” in June 2012, “but resigned when it was clear that they were unwilling to make any actual changes to fix the problem.”
“Actually the army has a lot of crappy psychiatrists,” Russell wrote in November 2009. “[I]t is a residency program that usually doesn’t get as much applicants as openings, so it is a place you get get a training slot if everyone else turns you down. For psychiatry it is a choice between training a dud and going without.”
But much more frequently than offering jobs or criticizing his employer, Russell used the KeithOlbermann.org forum to lambast conservatives and Republicans.
“There are 300 million Americans,” he wrote in May 2012, and “20% of them are rabid Republicans (or actually Fascists, by the ‘politics tests’).”
“I hope [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker burns in hell,” he wrote in June. “AFTER being thrown out of office.”
“The limbic brain concept has a root of validity, in that Republicans are more from the ‘gut’ and Democrats tend to be more (sometimes overly cerebral),” he wrote in April 2009.
“You pigs have corrupted the country,” he wrote to one forum commenter he apparently didn’t like, in a chain about the Wisconsin recall election last June.
Russell then ranted about politics being corrupted by corporate cash, specifically naming Charles and David Koch, business leaders who fund conservative and libertarian organizations.
“All the politicians, including Obama and Romney are BOUGHT, and the world is buried in your bullshit lies streaming form unlimited multi-national corporate cash. You are probably some paid shill the Koch brother pay to spam our forum with lies. Traitors, the lot of you.”
In the forum, Russell’s username was simply “Michael.” But several of his posts clearly identify him as the Michael Russell who has been called the Army’s senior neuropsychologist in news articles.
Russell’s Facebook page also provides a link to the forum.
“I understand you desire to defame my character and cause damage to my reputation,” Russell wrote to TheDC when asked for a comment.
“I hope you are looking forward to your travels to San Antonio, Texas, where your defamation lawsuit will be held, because whatever my status in 2010. I retired from the military in November 2010 and sold the forum you are complaining about to Cheryl Roberts in 2011, so am a Private Person in 2012.”
According to Russell’s forum posts, he left the Army in 2010 and hired himself as a civilian replacement.
“I am retiring this year, and have hired myself as my replacement. Mil-Civ,” he wrote in June 2010.
According to another post on the forum, he was “in charge of suicide prevention for the army earlier in the war,” presumably referring to during the Afghan or Iraq wars. His Facebook profile states he served 24 years in the military, including serving in Iraq, before retiring and continuing his role in the Army in a civilian capacity.
But Russell had been active on the Keith Olbermann fan site up until TheDC reached out to him for comment. Soon afterward, he changed his username to “Lazarus” before seemingly removing his profile completely. According to the statistics compiled on his forum profile as of earlier this month, he had posted a total of over 9,000 messages to the forum, an average of nearly four per day since creating his username in February 2006.
“I have been a very frugal man, and do have the resources to sue you world class, and Mr. Tucker Carlson, who employs you,” Russell continued in his email to TheDC.
“I have studied the Texas Torts and all relevant Supreme Court decisions, and am confident I will prevail should ANY damage to me be done me. Fair warning, Ms. [Sic] Weinstein. Better send this along to Mr. Carlson, and get an attorney.”
When offered another opportunity to comment, Russell responded in an email that his “interest was not to participate in your attempts at defamation, it is to establish malice aforethought and to insure the linkage of the ‘deeper pockets’ of Tucker Carlson.”
“You are talking about some old blog posts from a forum I used to run years ago, taken down long ago, which you have not properly sourced and clearly do not mean what you think they mean,” he wrote.
“The malice is obvious, the libel obvious. I purchased keitholbermann.org in 2007, your employer purchased keitholbermann.com sometime later (we will get that during discovery) why the hit job on me? Personal business interest of the Daily Caller, not any journalistic purpose. Defamation, blackmail, libel. With malice aforethought. Against a private person who can collect monetary damages.”
Asked whether it was appropriate for an employee of the Army to offer jobs on a partisan website, an Army spokesman punted the question.
“The Army posts all job vacancies on the USAJOBS.GOV web site,” the spokesman wrote in an email to TheDC. “As a part of the robust, transparent hiring process, this website helps us hire only the best-qualified individuals to serve our Soldiers and our nation.”
The Army refused to comment on the criticisms of Army psychiatrists, saying that they “have not seen the posting[s].”
“The Army employs world-class behavioral health professionals to assist Soldiers, Civilians, and Army Families,” the spokesman said. “[T]hese professionals are essential to maintaining the health of the force.”
Asked whether it is appropriate for an Army doctor who presumably deals with patients of all political stripes to engage in hostile partisan rhetoric, the Army spokesman said, “We cannot comment on this allegation.”
“The Army healthcare system treats all beneficiaries equally,” he added.