Also interesting reading on the WikiLeaks world is the humiliating news that Bank of America hired some ‘internet security’ consultants (Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies) who briefed them on cyber attacks and personal pressure tactics they could launch against WikiLeaks, including naming Glenn Greenwald, who has highlighted the conditions [alleged] leaker Bradley Manning is being kept in at Quantico.
It backfired on them (the ‘security’ firms — and particularly a boastful and publicity-seeking
creature person called Aaron Barr) in a most spectacular fashion when 50,000 of their emails including five drafts and the final, er, promotional slideshow were hacked and published. Oops.
Here’s Greenwald’s summary:
Last week, Aaron Barr, a top executive at computer security firm HB Gary Federal, boasted to the Financial Times that his firm had infiltrated and begun to expose Anonymous, the group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers that had launched cyber attacks on companies terminating services to the whistleblowing site (such as Paypal, MasterCard, Visa, Amazon and others). In retaliation, Anonymous hacked into the email accounts of HB Gary, published 50,000 of their emails online, and also hacked Barr’s Twitter and other online accounts.
Among the emails that were published was a report prepared by HB Gary — in conjunction with several other top online security firms, including Palantir Technologies — on how to destroy WikiLeaks. The emails indicated the report was part of a proposal to be submitted to Bank of America through its outside law firm, Hunton & Williams.
Later, Greenwald referred to the references to him:
One section of the leaked report focused on attacking WikiLeaks’ supporters and it featured a discussion of me. A graph purporting to be an “organizational chart” identified several other targets, including former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8 Lee, Guardian reporter James Ball, and Manning supporter David House. The report claimed I was “critical” to WikiLeaks’ public support after its website was removed by Amazon and that “it is this level of support that needs to be disrupted”; absurdly speculated that “without the support of people like Glenn, WikiLeaks would fold”; and darkly suggested that “these are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause.” As The Tech Herald noted, “earlier drafts of the proposal and an email from Aaron Barr used the word ‘attacked’ over ‘disrupted’ when discussing the level of support.”
Not that funny to see what they were [allegedly] aiming to do: Deceit, fake leaks, ctyber attacks, media smear campaigns, ‘pressure’, find leaks.
Bottom line, I’m less than impressed with the stated goal to act fraudulently, but the plan to muscle journalists by threatening their ‘career’, as Greenwald says, is very cynical:
The very idea of trying to threaten the careers of journalists and activists to punish and deter their advocacy is self-evidently pernicious; that it’s being so freely and casually proposed to groups as powerful as the Bank of America, the Chamber of Commerce, and the DOJ-recommended Hunton & Williams demonstrates how common this is. These highly experienced firms included such proposals because they assumed those deep-pocket organizations would approve and it would make their hiring more likely.