Knox County Government could sink in the HarberTerry Frank blogged on Friday about an upcoming series in the Halls Shopper News to debut today about Tyler Harber, who is a former Knox County "politico" (in Knox County that means GOP hack) and was a political gofer and bagman (officially emplyed by the office of Probation and Pre-trial Release) for Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale. My hunch is that Terry is not writing everything she knows about Harber or the "work" he did-in fact I'd bet a million dollars she knows a heck of a lot more than she is ready to tell us right now.
However, I do know some of what Harber will likely reveal in his tell-all to Ms. Bean. I have been made privy to this information from sources that I deem highly reliable. None of my sources are a liberal or a Democrat, and none of them were involved in the things that Harber will reveal-but know people who were. I have not been told not to reveal most of what I've been privy to, but I do want to be cautious because I believe much of what Harber will reveal will soon be the subject of a major investigation if it is not already.
Among the things Harber may reveal today is that he was a Ragsdale "bagman," and acted as a "mole," spying on the internet activity of opponents of Mike Ragsdale. Harber had an accomplice in this, as he didn't know much about computers. His accomplice did, however, and that person is currently a promenent member of Tennessee's blogging community. I will say that I read this individual's work quite regularly, and they've always struck me as the genuine sort, so it wouldn't surprise me if this individual cooperated with any ensuing investigation that may come out of all this.
One of the people that may have been the target of Ragsdale's ire is Tennessee Conservative Union Chairman Lloyd Daugherty. Now I don't have the personal relationship with Daugherty that many other East Tennessee conservatives are fortunate to have, but I have done a couple of shows (editions of the old Tennessee Confidential) on Daugherty's Southern Roots Radio, and we have talked on the phone a couple of times when I've called into his morning radio show. We don't always see eye to eye, but Lloyd strikes me as a very genuine person, a straight shooter, and an individual who has a heart-and-soul commitment to conservative ideals. Daugherty, who has been known to be critical of Ragsdale (along with many other true conservatives) may have been the target of a clandestine "investigation" that Tyler Harber was responsible for carrying out. From WATE reporter Gene Patterson on his blog:
Expect a quote or two from the head of the Tennessee Convervative Union, Lloyd Daugherty. Harber alleges Daugherty was the target of a clandestine investigation.
Daugherty joins us for the Final Word segment Sunday on Tennessee This Week. He says you can hear more about the Halls News series from Betty Bean Monday morning on his radio show, “The Voice.” Frank Cagle will also join the discussion.
This is all very serious business that we have to believe that Mike Ragsdale and his cronies are hoping simply blows over. The facts seem to be that Ragsdale received information that was obtained in this illegal fashion and at the very least attempted to use it to entrap his political opponents. Whether he knew that his bagman Mr. Harber was obtaining information through computer hacking is still an open question, but I believe Mr. Harber will likely tell us that Mike Ragsdale did know.
One person who will likely want to find out if Mike Ragsdale knew that people in his administration were involved in computer hacking to find damaging information on people Ragsdale perceived as a threat is Sheriff Tim Hutchison. Contrary to the beliefs of some local liberals and Democrats, there is utterly no love lost between Hutchison and Ragsdale. I'd bet the ranch that Hutchison is chomping at the bit to turn Ms. Bean's story into a wholesale investigation, and you can bet he'll be looking straight at his nemisis (that certain local politicos don't want you to believe is his nemisis) Mike Ragsdale. If something is rotten in Knoxmark and Ragsdale is in any way involved, Hutchison will be looking to find out about it, and he'll be looking very hard.
One of two things is going to happen here. Either the Ragsdale machine will do everything they can to discredit Harber and try to throw Ragsdale's critics and any potential investigation off-track (something they already seem to be trying to do), or Hutchison will press on and we will get to the bottom of this.
What did the Mayor know, and when did he know it?