Nine names, 23 email addresses and 57 unlabelled phone numbers were published by hackers last weekend as part of an Anonymous-organized effort to "unhood" members of the Ku Klux Klan.
There are doubts, however, about the #OperationKKK data dump's veracity — and about one file, in particular, that alleges four U.S. senators and five mayors have hate group associations.
"These are the officials that have political power in the usa that are associated with either kkk or racist related," reads a document posted to PasteBin by an individual called Amped Attacks on Saturday evening. "Addresses will not be released so nobody gets it in their mind to take out their own justice against them."
All nine politicians listed in that file have since issued public denials of their involvement with any hate groups, many of them expressing shock, hurt and outrage over the allegations.
Still, news that Klan members are being identified by #OperationKKK (as Anonymous pledged would happen last week) continues to spread online. As of Monday afternoon, the story was atop Google's U.S. trends list.
To clarify the situation, Anonymous took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to share the handle of "the twitter account that released the pastebin with the government officials that are clearly not KKK" with its nearly 1.5 million followers.
"The actual release for Operation KKK will be 5 Nov," the account stated.
The twitter account that released the pastebin with the government officials that are clearly not KKK is https://t.co/G9cdjw4hfK— @YourAnonNews
The main account used by Anonymous for its anti-KKK campaign, @Operation_KKK, also weighed in to say, in part, that "#OpKKK was in no way involved with today's release of information that incorrectly outed several politicians."
This account has NOT YET released any information. We believe in due diligence and will NOT recklessly involve innocent individuals #OpKKK— @Operation_KKK
The anons at the helm of this initiative vouch ONLY for the dox list that will be released from this Twitter account on November 5 2015.— @Operation_KKK
We respect the work of our fellow freedom fighters. However, we are unable to confirm, deny or take credit for any work that we did not do.— @Operation_KKK
Amped Attacks has taken credit for the file that linked nine politicians to the KKK on Twitter as well.
He wrote: "i am not apart of anonymous nor have i ever claimed to be. i am my own man that acts on my own accord. i do however respect #OpKKK."
i am not apart of anonymous nor have i ever claimed to be,i am my own man that acts on my own accord.i do however respect #OpKKK— @sgtbilko420
The #OperationKKK campaign continues to promote Nov. 5 as the date it intends to reveal the names of 1,000 alleged KKK members.
Still, as many others online caution, Anonymous suggested on Tuesday that appearing on such a list does not necessarily make someone a hate group member.
"Regarding #OpKKK: the phone numbers and e-mail adresses were found on KKK website databases. Be careful with the information and fact-check," wrote @YourAnonNews. "Anyone can provide fake information when signing up to a website, reporters should be aware of this."