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FBI reveals 173-page Gamergate file

Case closed due to lack of leads

The FBI has posted a heavily redacted file pertaining to its Gamergate investigation.

Featuring a string of emails containing some extreme death threats (including a 'Montreal Massacre style attack'), the report primarily focuses on threats sent to feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian and game developer Brianna Wu. It also features a lengthy segment on the shooting threat made against Utah State University, where Anita Sarkeesian was planning to give a talk.

Ultimately, the FBI was unable to 'identify any subjects or actionable leads' and has administratively closed the investigation. Although there are large sections of the report missing or redacted, it appears the FBI did deliver some warnings to those making threats, but declined to prosecute formally.

The report also looked at threats made against an unnamed journalist, and a person who was SWATTED - where a SWAT team is called and sent to a victim's house.

Although a lot of identifying information was removed, many of the reports relate to known instances - including to the Utah State University talk, the threat against PAX East, the bomb threat made at GDC and the incident involving YouTube comedian Jan Rankowski, who made over-the-top threats to Brianna Wu.

The FBI did manage to identify some people that had made threatening emails and phone calls, but let them off with a warning. One minor from Indiana admitted to making threats over the phone to an unnamed woman, and that "he had probably called her at least 40 to 50 times". The juvenile said that "he sometimes just harasses her and tries to get on her nerves. He explained that he gets online in a chat group and she usually gets upset with them for what they are talking about. They recognize that she is upset and then they try to harass her to make her even more upset." He added that he had not made any bomb threats, but wouldn't be surprised if other people on the chat group had.

The report continues by saying that the harasser apologized for his behaviour and promised not to do it again, which was the end of the matter.

There was another interview with a harasser that admitted to sending an email threat - which itself was redacted from the report. Although the fact that he denied owning a shotgun hints at what the email may have contained.

Ultimately, however, the FBI was unable to locate many of those making the threats and formally closed the case. This was despite tracking IP addresses and contacting both Google and Microsoft to help with the investigation.

One of the victims of Gamergate, Brianna Wu, has criticized the investigation. She says she had hired someone to go through all the threats and supply them to the FBI, which they did. She claimed on Twitter that 'I'm absolutely livid. Only a fraction of information we gave the FBI was looked into. They failed on all levels."

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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year games business veteran. He spent nine years at UK business weekly MCV, including five years as editor. He joined GI in 2016 and oversees editorial, sales and events worldwide. He is the architect behind Best Places To Work Awards and GI Live. And is a tiny bit obsessed with market data. He also writes for Doctor Who Magazine. Because Doctor Who is awesome.