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NY officials subpoena parody Twitter account in search of Brooklyn Bridge 'white flag' perps

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District attorney's office checks to see if 'all-powerful' Bike Lobby is behind mysterious flag switcheroo

Krystyn Heide / Twitter

The New York district attorney's office is investigating a Twitter account that took credit for placing bleached American flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge last month. A subpoena has been issued to Twitter requesting that the company identify the person or persons behind the account going by the name @BicycleLobby.

If we're to take @BicycleLobby at its word, the group has committed far more impressive deeds than swapping out the flags on the Brooklyn Bridge. This so-called "Bike Lobby" claims to have President Barack Obama's birth certificate. It also faked the Apollo 11 moon landing, according to a Tweet posted last month, and it's taken credit for taking down websites ranging from The New York Times and Facebook to HBO Go. Maybe it is high time to get these guys behind bars.

There's only one problem: @BicycleLobby is a parody account. It says so right in its Twitter bio, if those tweets didn't make it abundantly clear. This isn't the first time @BicycleLobby has been confused as a real group. In the immediate aftermath of the flag switch-up, the Associated Press and the Daily News, among others, briefly reported on the account's "confession." Nevertheless, the profile all appears to be a joke tied to over-the-top comments by Wall Street Journal editorial board member and outspoken critic of New York's bike sharing program, Dorothy Rabinowitz. "The bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise," she said in a 2013 WSJ video decrying the Mayor Bloomberg-led initiative.

The DA's office may have difficulty getting the information it's requested from Twitter — the social network carries a reputation for resisting such requests whenever possible, and it notifies users when government agencies submit subpoenas. Most notably, Twitter fought back against requests to release information on an Occupy Wall Street protestor who was active on the service. Whether or not Twitter reveals @BicycleLobby's identity, it seems the NYPD is getting closer to finding out who was behind the flag switcheroo: according to The New York Times, a department spokesman said this week that "we have an idea" who climbed onto the bridge to change the flags.