Thomas Ryan: Self-appointed spy of Occupy Wall Street
Like thousands of New Yorkers, Brooklynite Thomas Ryan has been attending Occupy Wall Street general assemblies for weeks.
Only he’s no protester — he’s a plainclothes private security consultant “monitoring” the group’s activities.
“The movement is so big, you don’t know what they want to do and what they’re capable of,” said Ryan, who said he was initially curious about the protest. “Everyone has a different agenda.”
He’s become so concerned Occupy Wall Street poses a danger to New Yorkers, he’s even sent their e-mails to the FBI and the NYPD.
“They keep saying they want their own Tahrir Square — but look what happened there,” he said. “People died.”
In one e-mail, he sent an NYPD detective a tip that protesters planned to crash a press conference where Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was meant to speak.
Another time he sent the FBI a tip that protesters planned to reach out to union leaders to increase their numbers.
The FBI declined to comment on Ryan, but one source did point out that all of Ryan’s “tips” came from publicly available information.
Nonetheless, the Occupiers have labeled Ryan a snitch and a spy.
Occupy Wall Street spokesman Patrick Bruner called Ryan’s actions “disingenuous and unproductive.”
Death threats go both ways
Death threats abound on both sides of the debate. Since Tom Ryan chronicled his findings earlier this week on Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, he said he has received hundreds of death threats.
One man wrote to him, “Let me slit your throat you corporate whore … I would slaughter your family as well if given the chance.”
And he’s not the only one getting threats.
Occupy Wall Street spokesman Patrick Bruner said he’s been getting threats from conservatives who oppose the protest.
“Just because I get a threat from a conservative, doesn’t mean it’s representative of that party,” he said.
Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.