I’ve put a lot of effort into this site over the years, so it can be tempting to ignore a claim that I’ve only encountered once, in a short comment on an unrelated entry. That’s especially true if it’s a claim made without any substantial evidence, such as the one left by “Dave” all the way back in December of 2017:
Here is the image Dave linked to, which is miraculously still live:
On the left is a low-resolution screenshot of Mark Barden, father of seven-year-old Sandy Hook victim Daniel Barden. The source appears to be this MSNBC interview with Mark and Nicole Hockley. On the right is a slightly blurry, washed out photo of one of the dozen FBI agents that responded to the shooting that day. A significantly higher quality version of that photo is a little more difficult to find. This one, from “Splash News”, represents a modest improvement:
But wait! I recognize that guy; he’s the same agent seen here:
Based on the above photo, it seems obvious to me that this is not Mark Barden. The men have visibly different chins, lips, and eyes. Here’s a another side-by-side comparison, this time using higher-quality photos:
So when I finally got around to replying to Dave a couple of weeks later, my answer was basically “just because we don’t know who this guy is doesn’t mean that it’s Mark Barden; they don’t even look all that much alike”. And I left it at that. Claims that everyone at Sandy Hook that day was an “actor” are silly enough as it is, but the suggestion that they I guess ran out of actors and had to start reusing them, particularly those that played prominent, highly visible roles such as parents, are so illogical, so untethered from reality that it’s nearly impossible to do anything other than laugh. Do you mean to tell me that they couldn’t just grab one of the dozens and dozens of people seen milling about at the firehouse to play an FBI agent? They had to use one of the guys who was bound to be all over every news program in the country for the foreseeable future? Come on. It couldn’t make any less sense. But then I saw this exact claim again a few days ago on the site’s Facebook page, which, side note, has turned out to be a real magnet for whackadoos who have no idea that there’s a whole affiliated website here full of material.
Damnit, Marv. Guess I gotta put some effort into this nonsense now. Thankfully, new shit has come to light that makes this a bit easier to debunk now than it was back in December of 2017.
The first step in figuring out this man’s identity – and again, it is absolutely not Mark Barden, so let’s pump the brakes on that confidence, Marv – is to revisit this list of very real FBI agents that responded to the shooting on the 14th. This is the same list I used while debunking the similarly absurd claim that David Wheeler also “played” an FBI agent that day.
Not surprisingly, most of these agents have very small online footprints, if any. I imagine this is strongly recommended, if not required, by their employer. Luckily, some of them did at least have LinkedIn profiles, which included photos. As I made my way down the list, I noticed that one such photo looked awfully familiar:
That’s the public LinkedIn profile of FBI Special Agent (now FBI Supervisory Special Agent) Ian Kaufmann, who is credited as a member of the “Law Enforcement Support Personnel” in the list discussed earlier. While his current (at least according to LinkedIn) city is listed as Pensacola, Florida, his “Experience” shows that he was based in New Haven, Connecticut from October, 2007 to December, 2014. And while that certainly looks like a match to me, I’d be a lot happier with some additional photos for further corroboration. Luckily I didn’t have to look too far to find some.
On June 20th, 2019, the Facebook page belonging to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office posted about a small ceremony in which six of their personnel were recognized by the FBI for their assistance in taking down a nationwide ATM skimming and fraud operation the previous year. The full post reads:
Six Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office personnel were recognized by the FBI for their role in assisting the FBI in taking down a nationwide ATM skimming and fraud operation last year.
Certificates of appreciation signed by FBI Director Christopher Wray were presented today to Deputy Ethan Elsasser, Investigators Nicholas Grundin, Les Wolthers, Alan Vafides, Mike Kruger, and Sgt. Tom Piaget.
They played a key role in the apprehension and investigation of two Romanians believed to be traveling state to state installing skimming devices on ATM machines. Viorel Naboiu and Florin Bersanu were taken into custody by OCSO deputies May 10th of last year after a traffic stop was conducted on Highway 98. They were charged with use or possession of a scanning/skimming device and defrauding a financial institution.
The FBI’s federal investigation led to large scale racketeering case and prison sentences for both men.
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Sean Ryan from the Jacksonville Office says losses from two of the subjects involved totaled an estimated 1.5 million dollars.
He was accompanied today by Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Ian Kaufmann.
There are three photos accompanying the post, two of which include Agent Kaufmann, confirming that he is not only the same Agent Kaufmann seen on LinkedIn, but that he is the man seen “wearing the FBI vest” at Sandy Hook. Here is a comparison:
Short of Agent Kaufmann personally verifying that yes, that is in fact him, I think that’s about as good as we’re going to get.