The Gatekeeper Files: Military Involvement in the Game of “Reputation Management” and Lawfare

*Please note: As stated on page one of this article, this is an opinion piece only and at no point should anyone take this information seriously. It’s just a page filled with salty opinions, sarcasm, wildly inaccurate theories, and spicy source material which means in terms of facts besides the facts that are mentioned which should not be considered facts, there are no facts in this article. This includes terms like “Iraq War” because at no point are we suggesting that a war in Iraq took place because we can’t confirm this first hand and sadly, we are not time travelers. 

We will leave it up to the readers to decide which sources they find legitimate or not even though that seems a bit risky to suggest which we didn’t. We also encourage readers to do their own research but we didn’t say that either. Remember, this shouldn’t be taken seriously because nothing’s real and we’re living in the Matrix. 

Recipients of the Janus Lares Project

The last thing we knew about Joseph Burkett who spent at least nineteen years in the military according to FOIA documents, is that he went into business with an individual who was married to the co-founder of an extremely well-known private security company called Blue Hackle. In 2011, Blue Hackle relocated to the U.S. and became a government contractor for the DOD, State Department, and USAID. But after 2012, there’s no real indication that Burkett was still involved in the military/security life so one might argue, “What’s the big deal if Trevor Fitzgibbon was working with a former security contractor. Burkett was probably out of the game by then.”  

We tend to agree. 

However, the list of individuals that Burkett added to a presentation that was for a start-up reputation management company they were considering, the one he sent to Fitzgibbon and five other recipients in October, 2017, seems to indicate an entirely different story: 

Every recipient minus Fitzgibbon have military backgrounds and all of them are listed as have editing permissions on the document. Burkett wrote in his email:

“Thank you for all your interest. Speaking with Trevor this morning, he identified that we need a Mission Statement…Please all feel free to add your input to any slide you might think needs work.”

“The power point should provide enough information to begin drafting  business planning if we receive the green light from the potential investors.”

The first person listed on the presentation is Dave Staffel who may have been at the September 2017 meeting at Ed Butowsky’s home in Texas (along with Burkett and members of Shadowbox). We only mention this because it’s been stated publicly that there was a “Dave Stossel” in attendance but his last name may have been inadvertently (or purposely) publicly misspelled. Unfortunately, when we reached out to Butowsky again, this time to confirm whether or not Staffel was at the meeting, we didn’t get a response. We hope during these troubling times that he and his family are safe and healthy. As for who Dave Staffel is, well…

Aptus Technologies

In 2008, Staffel and two other former Green Berets formed a company called Aptus Technologies Holdings, Inc. in Delaware, the one state in the U.S. that’s known for making it difficult to retrieve company documents. According to

“The U.S. military is hampered by antiquated technologies that leave units all but deaf and blind as they try to hunt down insurgents and win hearts and minds. A team of former Special Forces officers is now building the tools to fix that.”

“Aptus’ core offering is the Threat Act Program, or TAP, a data-mining tool that quickly serves up the relevant information a unit needs…”

“TAP…can rapidly locate the relevant reports within a set of databases and, using artificial intelligence technologies, quickly sort through reams of information to serve up the relevant details in easy-to-understand visualizations.”

The article went on to report that the Army had already tested the application and were “in the process of bringing it into the fold.” TAP will make “a big jump in modernizing the Army,” stated Col. Marisa Tanner. 

In 2009, Aptus applied for a U.S. trademark and according to the application TAP originally stood for “Terrorist Act Probability,” a program they claimed could be used by both the private sector and intelligence communities. More:

“TAP is the result of The Mackall Group’s privately funded research effort to fill a current capability gap in the predictive analysis of human-induced anti-social activity.” 

The Mackall Group was incorporated in Wisconsin by one of Aptus’ co-founders and may have been the venture arm of the company. At one point, The Mackall Group had the same Texas address as Aptus and if there’s a common denominator in this entire story, like, across the board, it’s the state of Texas.


 In 2011, while Joseph Burkett was engaged in setting up a new company with the co-founder of Blue Hackle’s wife, the founder of KMS Ventures, Aaron W. Kozmetsky, was busy chit chatting with Stratfor’s then CEO and President, Shea Morenz, about Aptus Technologies. According to emails published by WikiLeaks, on September 20, 2011, Kozmetsky wrote, “Check out the Aptus website” (the link that Kozmetsky included in the email is no longer live but can be found here via From the website):

“Aptus Technologies is proud to offer our Threat Act Program, or TAP™ – a data mining program that parses threat acts from all of your data and displays them in an intuitive environment. Through interaction with the user, TAP™’s machine learning back end allows the client to gain better fidelity of impending attacks and therefore strengthen operational planning. This powerful visualization tool is ideally suited to allow for predictive analysis and preemptive action.”

The very next day, Morez responded, “Know these guys? I met with one of the founders today…Very interesting technology.” Interesting, indeed. So interesting in fact that the Army was looking to implement the application and Kozmetsky who was obviously trying to sell it to Stratfor, was later listed as a board member and director of the company on two different websites.

Two years after their discussions about Aptus, Kozmetsky and Morenz were still in communication. At the time, Morenz was heading up Stratfor’s investment fund, Stratcap, when Kozmetsky mentioned that he had “recently signed on as an Advisor to Craft international.”

“Craft is a world-class combat operator and contractor for security, logistics and training serving the needs of the US government, military, law enforcement, corporations and private citizens.”

James Patrick, a former Green Beret and one of the co-founders of Aptus Technologies which later changed its name to DecisionGrid, Inc. (and apparently raised $7 million in equity financing), wrote about DecisionGrid, Inc. on his LinkedIn profile:

“Through a joint venture with American Sniper Chris Kyle’s company Craft International, developed and sold surveillance system on remote land using sensors integrated with a central reporting architecture; deployed system in an austere environment on the US/Mexico border. Integrated the surveillance system with local law enforcement response mechanisms.”

In no way was this company small potatoes. However, it’s unknown what happened to Aptus/DecisionGrid but Staffel, three years ago, was listed as the Senior Offering Manager for IBM Cloud. He was responsible for a “$4 million budget and global technology team” but there’s no trace of him working for IBM outside of a few SEC filings

Don Smith

The third person listed on Burkett’s presentation after Staffel and Fitzgibbon is Don Smith, an Army veteran who founded the Institute for Research in Stability and Conflict which gives advisory support to a wide range of government/military acronyms. He’s also spent almost the last six years with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command as the Chief of Command Information Warfare Programs (Strategic Initiatives Group) and a group intelligence officer. 

In November 2016, Smith was appointed to President Trump’s transition team which was originally led by guys like Mike Pence, Chris Christie, and then-incoming National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Meanwhile, the original executive committee boasted high-caliber moral characters like Steve Bannon, Rebekeh Mercer, Devin Nunes (don’t sue us!), and three of Trump’s children: Trump Jr., Eric, and Ivanka. Deploraball attendee Peter Thiel was also on the team.

“[Burkett] indicated at the meeting that he was inside the Trump camp.” 

– Former Shadowbox member

According to Smith’s LinkedIn page, he was part of the Texas Army National Guard as was Burkett and another individual listed on Burkett’s presentation, Kevin Countie. 

Kevin Countie

Countie is a retired colonel from the U.S. Army who spent over twenty one years down in Texas with the DEA as both a senior intelligence analyst and intelligence liaison among a host of other things listed on his LinkedIn page like spending three years as Deputy Director of the Counter Threat Finance Intelligence Program of the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense of Intelligence. And no, we don’t know if he was portrayed on Narcos

Chris Toland

Toland’s listed on the Janus presentation but little is known about him except that he was in the Marines and might be the same guy seen in this 2007 C-Span video where he talks about surviving a roadside bombing during the Iraq War and how the stories about Abu Ghraib are kinda just…meh, he’s seen worse at fraternity hazings. 

Troy Eden

Last but not least on Burkett’s list is Troy Eden or rather Chief Master Sergeant Troy Eden of the U.S. Air Force. He spent two years as a Signals Intelligence Division Senior Enlisted Leader for the NSA in Hawaii after which he became Command Chief of the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing. According to the website Sixteenth Air Force, 480th provides a “comprehensive set of ISR capabilities for the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), as well as the national cryptologic, information technology, cyber ISR, tactical analysis, Combined Forces Air Component Commander (CFACC)-support, and national-to-tactical signals intelligence integration.”

“We got the 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing. They can cheer, but they can’t talk about what they do. They’d have to kill you.”

— President Obama at Joint Base Langley-Eustis (source: WikiLeaks)

Eden also spent time as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Defense Intelligence Agency and since the fall of 2014, he has been the Command Chief for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center located in Dayton, Ohio.  

Defense Intelligence Agency via Youtube

In November 2013, Eden and then-DIA Director General Michael Flynn took part in an event at DIA headquarters where together they “added four individuals into the agency’s Patriots Memorial.” The following month, he and Flynn did a “DIA Superbowl Shout Out” video together for U.S. troops and when Flynn was prosecuted for lying to investigators, Eden submitted a letter of support to the U.S. District Court in D.C.

Is This Real Life?

So if you’ve been following along since the first part of this article, we basically went from this:

To this:

Each blue star represents a client of Steven Biss, the Virginia attorney who suing the Twitter cow on behalf of U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, as well as a multitude of other people.  If Fitzgibbon did indeed go into business with these six men, it significantly changes the landscape that he was working with a retired U.S. military contractor who was out of the game to being actively involved with a group of military guys, some of whom had obviously worked in intelligence.

These revelations appear to be parody material at best.  Is it possible that Fitzgibbon fabricated this entire project to impress a few folks because if that’s the case he’s crazier than a shithouse rat.  If, on the other hand, the men who were allegedly part of the Janus project are exactly who they appear to be (for instance, Staffel’s email address in the Burkett email can be verified via a university website where Staffel posted a research paper a few years ago), one might be inclined to question the motives behind his involvement in the activist community.*  

There’s no mistaking the fact that Shadowbox member Thomas Schoenberger liked to talk about how they had a “team of ex intel guys” and was in touch with Burkett’s wife, Lara Logan, about Fitzgibbon’s target, Jesselyn Radack. Schoenberger: “My intel guy says…”

Schoenberger: “My navy intel guy gets stuff straight from DHS files.”

Schoenberger:  “I have a friend in Dallas who is former military intel.”

Schoenberger: “We have a team of ex intel guys like Lara’s hubby as well. Welcome to Cicada 3301 Trevor.” 

Fitzgibbon: “it all sounds incredible – fyi lara logan from 60 minutes is calling”

Schoenberger: “Good. She is a great lady.”

Schoenberger: “You may want to see this Lara. Jesselyn [Radack] is about to be exposed…Beth and I have come up with some serious stuff…”

Logan: “Who is your team?” 

The million dollar question, at least as far as this current investigation is concerned, is for what purpose would Logan and Burkett be in contact with someone like Schoenberger and why would Shadowbox need a team of military/intelligence guys? 

But That’s None of Our Business

Additionally, David Staffel, is the first one listed on both the email and Janus presentation and not surprisingly (because of his background) he’s very googleable as is Aptus Technologies in relation to him. Like extremely googleable. So googleable that it’s possible someone might come to the conclusion that anyone from Shadowbox who:

  • Was given the Janus Lares presentation whether directly or indirectly 
  • Already knew that Burkett was ex-military and reportedly a former government contractor when they saw the presentation 
  • Gave any sort of f*ck about who their business partner, Trevor Fitzgibbon, was working with after seeing the presentation 
  • Felt there were “spooks” in attendance at Butowsky’s meeting which included Burkett (and possibly Staffel) and happened before the presentation was emailed 
  • And is an avid researcher obsessed with WikiLeaks’ documents verified by their own Twitter account…

…was well aware that Fitzgibbon was working with a group of guys that included Staffel who had ties to Kozmetsky, Stratfor, and Craft International, all of which can be found in WikiLeaks documents. To think otherwise is almost like coming to the conclusion that the odds of Trump being in the White House during a pandemic are astronomical. And then there’s the conclusion one might come to that not only did Shadowbox member(s) know, they continued working with him, had a falling out, acted like victims, and then failed to alert activists for over two yea—never mind. 

Consider this our head’s up to the activist community.

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