The FBI Didn't Take Down Austin Plane Crash Pilot Joe Stack's Online Manifesto

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Update 2: T35 has changed its note on the site to no longer make reference to an FBI request.

Update 1: Melen of T35 stands by his claim. “The FBI did call me and ask that I take down the site,” he tells us. “I am not sure if you’d call it a request, recommendation, or suggestion, but that’s what happened.”

Who took down Joe Stack’s online manifesto?

The pilot who flew his small plane into an IRS office in Austin, Texas this morning wrote a suicide note on his former business domain (pictured here).

But shortly after the site attracted national attention, a note from the hosting company, T35 Hosting, went up in place of the text at 2:30 pm:

This website has been taken offline due to the sensitive nature of the events that transpired in Texas this morning and in compliance with a request from the FBI. To see an archived version of the original letter, please go here:

Problem is, the FBI doesn’t make such requests.

FBI spokesman Special Agent Eric Vasys in San Antonio tells us “the FBI does not request that sites remove language such as being reported to be authored by Mr. Stack. That’s not our area to do that.”

On the contrary, Vasys adds: “In similar investigations, requests are made that electronic records be maintained for investigative purposes and not be destroyed or erased.”

That contradicts what Alex Melen, who is listed as the president and founder of T35, noted in a forum post today that “The fbi requests were made over the phone.”

It’s not clear if the call was a hoax or if Melen is finding an excuse to shut down an overloaded server.

As he posted, the traffic was crippling:

Joe went over his bandwidth limits in just a few minutes today actually. I personally credited his account with an extra $500 of bandwidth to keep his site up. Even though it was just a text page, it was still close to 100kb in size, and when multiplied by over 10,000,000 hits (in the last 2 hours), that’s still enough to bring a server down and use hundreds of GB of bandwidth.

And this:

I’m not going to really comment on the event specifically.. but just wanted to say that Joe was a customer with us for a long time (over 6 years) and had never had any issues. Always paid his bills on time, always a good customer. I’m still really shocked by everything that happened.

Melen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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