“Weev” Auernheimer on Free Speech versus Exploitation

“The beauty of art is that it can be interpreted many ways by many different people.”

WASHINGTON – Andrew Auernheimer, an American gray hat hacker better known as “weev,” tells The Internet Chronicle that his indictment in a New Jersey District Court over a June 2010 AT&T data breach is at its root an important free speech issue. Speaking to Chronicle.su’s Gray Phone, Mr. Auernheimer, a 27-year-old associate of Goatse Security, claims he made certain AT&T was aware of the breach in time to patch it, he never sought financial gain from what was in effect the the extraction of 114,000 iPad users’ email addresses, and that he never personally possessed more customer data than enough to communicate that the breach was bona fide. While prosecutors imply Mr. Auernheimer’s actions and statements may constitute computer fraud and foreknowledge of possible insider trading, he and his fellow Goatse Security associates saw themselves as merely tarnishing a company’s reputation due to its own reckless mishandling of customer data.

The actual extractor of iPad users’ email addresses, Daniel Spitler, 26, who may face as many as 10 years in prison, has already plead guilty to having gained unauthorized access to computers and identity theft. Mr. Spitler’s sentencing is forthcoming. Mr. Auernheimer served as a media liaison for the group, and only possessed iPad device signatures and email addresses related to media, such as Thomson Reuters and News Corporation.

Citing ’90s law enforcement debacles, such as the civilian deaths at Waco and the deaths in the Weaver family at Ruby Ridge, Mr. Auernheimer issued his appraisal of the honesty of federal law enforcement: “These are lying, perjurous, murderous thugs.”

He added, “If they will murder people, and no consequences of it will come for them, do you think they won’t manufacture evidence or coax false testimony? Give me break.”

“I’ve never shorted a stock, I’ve not solicited a third party to short a stock. And there’s nothing that I do that’s any different than what the financial press does. I’m issuing my opinion on AT&T’s — the information that they’ve made publicly accessible and giving my opinion of their infrastructure, as a result and of course Apple’s products.” He added, “There’s nothing illegal about this. This is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, and also there is a system in violation here in that they have denied my right to due process by allowing AT&T to arbitrarily after the fact of access determine what is and isn’t not an authorized without the use of Congress to determine what is or is not an illegal act.”

A New Jersey district court informational document reads, “[D]efendent SPITLER, [Mr. Auernheimer], and other Goatse Security members discussed who in the press had disclosed the data breach to At&T, since, contrary to the Gawker Article, neither defendant SPITLER, nor anyone from Goatse Security had.” The document goes on to catalog an exchange between Mr. Auernheimer and colleague “Nstyr” in which they intimate they have not informed AT&T tech support by telephone.

“I don’t fucking care [about calling AT&T directly.] [I] hope they sue me,” wrote Mr. Auernheimer, in private correspondence confiscated by federal investigators. Asked by The Internet Chronicle’s Gray Phone why he didn’t go to AT&T first, he was concerned about greater liability by even talking to the telecommunications giant.

“Many people that have direct dialogue with companies in this sort of situation are accused of extortion, and I specifically wanted to avoid being accused falsely of extortion,” he says. Mr. Auernheimer contacted at least one third party — whom he declined to name but AT&T identified as a “business customer” — and says he was certain the patch would be forthcoming before leaking the data to Gawker could cause any harm. The third party’s identity, he says, makes it “inherently obvious” that he or she would make AT&T knowledgeable.

AT&T, he says, doesn’t “need to be informed by me. They need to be informed by somebody.”

An associate named “Pynchon” wrote to Mr. Auernheimer, “[H]ey, just an idea [ -- ] delay this outing for a couple days[,] tomorrow short some [AT&T] stock[,] then out them on [T]uesday[,] then fill your short and profit[.]

With this quote posed to him by Chronicle.su, Mr. Auernheimer said, “I don’t believe that anybody had an interest in shorting a stock,” adding, “And I certainly did not solicit them, too, and I’ve received no kickbacks for doing so. And I don’t believe anybody did, or otherwise I’d be charged with a securities-related crime, which I of course am not.”

Mr. Auernheimer said he doesn’t recall writing a reply to “Pynchon’s” stock-shorting idea with the reply: “[I]f you want to do it[,] go nuts.” However for Mr. Auernheimer and ultimately Mr. Spitler, the only entity to have extracted and held all the data, prosecutors are sure to make much of the transcript’s mentioning of any of their associates’ even jesting about or humoring such a securities violation. To be sure Goatse Security has a long history of conducting operations simply for reputational gain or their laughter at others’ expense — known as “lulz.”

Mr. Spitler’s indictment falsely claims that AT&T is headquartered in New Jersey. Mr. Auernheimer characterized this as perjury motivated by venue shopping, intended to maximize chances at prosecution. AT&T is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

In their analysis of chat logs federal prosecutors independently construed the sad-face emoticon “D8″ as the sexual metaphor “balls deep,” or as they put it, “to be deeply involved in an activity or to perform an activity to the greatest extent possible.” This revelation is not only humorous but shows, when taken in the context of Mr. Auernheimer’s relayed concern about civil, not criminal, liability for the data breach, Mr. Spitler was actually expressing fear.

‘Anonymous’ Idea Arrested

“You can’t arrest an idea”~Topiary

INTERNET — Thursday, Anonymous, the idea, was arrested by the U.S. Government. Tired of butthurt countercultural types touting such a smug slogan, Anonymous imagery was symbolically “imprisoned” at Guantanamo Bay. “We just wanted to show those kids that, yes, we can arrest an idea. We’ve arrested every single one of those snide kids and we’re waiting on evidence so we can make a move on the rest,” said Guantanamo Torture Artist President Obama.

Barrett Brown didn’t have time to comment, as he was busy rewriting his book to reflect how wrong he was about Sabu. When offered advice from Chronicle.SU strategists on countering persona management with increased use of reverse Turing Tests, Brown flew into an uncontrollable rage. “Why should I listen to YOU? You’re just some freak who was completely right when I was woefully wrong about Sabu.” Brown’s indictment for grievous lapses in journalistic ethics remains hilarious, and his continued hijacking of Anonymous for huge personal profits has paid off with his new fake title of “Ex-Anonymous Spokesperson Security Expert.” Brown has been featured by clueless networks like Bloomberg and Russia Today because of his facile relationship with so-called Anonymous ‘Snitch’ leadership.

Kids, the hate’s only beginning! Hold on Tight, because if you think Barrett Brown’s been a silly-nilly wait till you hear about Assange!

Assange has gone completely insane with power! The mission of WikiLeaks has drifted from revealing government ‘cover ups’ of accidental killings of journalists to ratting out internal gossip at Stratfor, a ‘fellow’ publisher! If that’s not enough, they’re responsible for at least one hoax planting lies (!) on a New York Times columnist who would never say such things.


As we all know, Anonymous is a longstanding phenomenon of angry kids who gang up out of nowhere to DDoS web sites that piss them off for some reason. This has been going on long before the term ‘Anonymous’ gave such a group a crystallized identity. Now that the ‘Internet’ and ‘Social Media’ are big things, they’re able to generate huge headlines by leeching of of Internet-related media events and leveraging the ‘cool,’ threatening imagery. Used to be they’d have to take down Yahoo or something to get any attention, but that was back when Yahoo meant something. Kids these days, I’m tellin’ ya…


So now this contrived mantra, “DDoS is something like a sit-in during the Civil Rights movement,” has been put to the fucking test. The sacred WikiLeaks has come under DDoS attack from an opposing camp, AntiLeaks, which considers WikiLeaks a new form of terrorism. The argument, which is consistent with Assange’s own theories, is that these major leaks are not intended to reveal specific crimes but rather to inhibit communications networks and undermine, specifically, America’s imperialism. There’s nails, strings, and planks of wood. You probably couldn’t understand Assange’s transcendently enlightened Theory of Conspiracy without decades of self-absorption.

What did Anonymous say to this act of ‘free speech?’ WE WILL DESTROY YOU, ANTILEAKS!


Assange let his Jimmies get Rustled and became worse than Rupert Murdoch. Much worse. Instead of letting a broken bureaucracy do his dirty work through mismanagement, Assange has engaged directly, if the body of evidence is not all fabricated, in intensely unethical, questionable practices. Enlisting hackers, educating informants in hacking techniques, and putting on hoaxes is not behavior I can defend. It’s disgusting and sick! Shame on Assange! Shame on Brown! Shame on Topiary! Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! *chant continues until all of Occupy has been arrested.*



Topiary pleads guilty to satisfy the butthurt bloodlust of a wretched justice system

This is a horse

Topiary (Jake Davis) plead guilty to excellent charges of heroism, including an attack on the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA).

SOCA is an unjust, contradictory agency established by the Illuminati to attack internet security through freedom reduction.

Dr. Liebehart Schwartz of the Cannibiological Institute of Human Progress called Topiary a “hero” and “a freedom fighter,” for fighting against authority with not just technical prowess, but his words, too. “Because of toxic organizations like SOCA and the NSA, people are less safe on the internet now than they were in the year 2000.

With Topiary’s wit and charm, LulzSec was able to captivate a larger audience, earning their sympathy and support. That’s what made him dangerous.

“Any blind nigger can exploit a security vulnerability left over from Web 2.0.” said Schwartz, “But with Topiary’s wit and charm, LulzSec was able to captivate a larger audience, earning their sympathy and support. That’s what made him dangerous.”

Asperger’s enthusiast Ryan Cleary also pled guilty to various charges, none of which included being a snitch.

Eat your cheese, rat.

Topiary enjoys a large support base including #FreeTopiary on Twitter, young intellectuals, and the mighty thundercock of justice and hate better known by you as the chronicle.su.

Topiary and his lesser counterparts will stand trial April 2013. If convicted, Topiary faces prison time. Make no bones about it, he will be handed a prison sentence, which should make for a more interesting year for everyone who has watched the LulzSec case from beginning to end, after the Beast of Greed and Delusions rears its ugly head once again.

This message was brought to you by Norton Internet Security. Are you scared yet?

Gamer retires from life as time consuming Diablo III career takes off

Jim Hannahan

Jim Hannahan, pictured during his last known public appearance, smiles comfortably just outside the wretched clutches of a long and rewarding Diablo III career.

Roanoke, Va.– 28-year-old Kroger clerk Jim Hannahan stopped going into work when he realized being a cashier at the supermarket was not only beneath a level 60 Legendary Monk, but cut directly into game time.

What at first he believed might be a rough transition came more naturally than expected, Jim said. “I used to just play it in my spare time,” he explained, “but then I found myself abandoning heavy responsibilities like work and nutrition. Now I’m peeing in bottles and setting them by the desk. I just dump ‘em out later, whenever I’m in town.”

What began as a casual hobby gradually assumed full time control of area man Jim’s coping mechanisms, creeping into his sex drive and profoundly changing his habits among regular society. There is no longer a facet of Jim’s life Diablo III does not touch.

While experts suggest Jim suffers from depression and social anxiety, others aspire to his achievements, which are logged indefinitely at his profile, BabyDust#1662, on the Battle.net servers.

Tommy Sellers, 14, purchased Diablo III on release day but, because of school and extracurricular activities his parents “forced him into,” he is only level 52 on the Hell difficulty setting. Tommy expressed a desire to drop more time consuming activities like baseball and French Club in order to play Diablo III (Game of the Year) and eat Hot Pockets, a wonderful product. “Jimmy’s already on Inferno pushing the devil back into the underworld,” said Tommy, “and here I am learning French like a sap – like a fucking faggot. All I’m learning in French class is surrender – to my parents! I wish I didn’t have to do anything so I could just go up to my room and play Diablo III forever. I hate my fucking bitch mom.”

One night, out of nowhere, Jim woke up the whole neighborhood, bellowing ‘YOU CAN’T FUCKING HEAL ME!?’

To fully engage Diablo III, Jim takes dietary supplements for nourishment and has resorted to daily intake of Baby Dust Pills, a tremendous product, in order to release aggression through masturbation. Jim said dying all the time is not only costly monetarily, but causes unhealthy spikes in blood pressure followed by “inexplicable” heart palpitations and crying fits.

“Jim’s in a world of pain he’s just going to have to fight his way out of, alongside Barbarians and Demon Hunters.”

Tammy Hannahan, Jim’s mother

A friend close to Jim, who asked that she remain Anonymous, said he is prone to sudden outbursts between long stretches of tomb-like silence. “One night, out of nowhere, Jim woke up the whole neighborhood, bellowing ‘YOU CAN’T FUCKING HEAL ME!?’ at the NPC [non-playable character] following him around. I said, ‘Jim, they can’t hear you!’ and he didn’t respond, not a word. He just kept shaking his head, and clicking. Oh, the clicking!”

Jim Hannahan has not expressed plans to go back to work, because playing Diablo III, dying repeatedly and farming for gold, he said, “feels enough like work already.”

th3j35t3r brings the heat down on Wounded Warriors

UGNazi's leader: Dana White?

Self-styled “Patriot hacktivist for good,” th3j35t3r, has famously used his platform as a criminal vigilante to solicit donations for the Wounded Warrior Project. The Wounded Warrior Project came under attack early Friday morning from a possible Anonymous splinter group known as UGNazi, which insistently denies any affiliation with Anonymous.

Critics of th3j35t3r suggest that using such highly controversial and illegal acts of vigilantism to promote the Wounded Warrior Project is not appropriate, and most soldiers would not approve if they were aware. However, the Wounded Warrior Project has indeed thanked th3j35t3r for his support in the past, possibly unaware they may have jeopardized the safety of their own web presence by doing so.

Although the story is still developing, it is important to note that UGNazi did not, in fact, attack the Wounded Warrior Project’s actual donation page. Predictably, th3j35t3r has accused UGNazi of an alliance with Anonymous and has promised reprisal, as vigilante law dictates.

Is Tom Ryan th3j35t3r?

WASHINGTON – Security professional Tom Ryan, in an interview with The Internet Chronicle, said that he was not in fact cybercriminal th3j35t3r, as he had been accused of being in much rumor and Twitter gossip, which Mr. Ryan said had largely been driven by Anonymous leader Barrett Brown. Mr. Brown, a self-avowed leader of the group Anonymous, has received taunts from Tom Ryan’s Twitter account, taunts claiming that Mr. Brown is himself a federal informant.

With regards to specific Twitter linguistic similarities shared by both Mr. Ryan and th3j35t3r , similarities recently circulated documents have noted, Mr. Ryan said that, upon seeing the documents, “If you want to compare a lot of the people that have served in the military, you’ll probably see a lot of the same lingo.”

Mr. Ryan’s profile itself is rather high, speaking earlier this year at Fordham University in a lecture called “When Hackers Attack: Protecting Your Online Identity.”
“Do you think th3j35t3r’s in the military? Do you think this confirms it?” this reporter asked.
“Well, he has claimed to have been,” said Mr. Ryan.
“Right, of course,” I said.
“But since I don’t know who he or she is, I really don’t know,” said Mr. Ryan, as the hacker’s identity is only for convenience’s sake inferred masculine by this article.
Added Mr. Ryan, “I totally don’t agree with the whole jester’s ideology as far as [denial-of-service]’ing attacks and all.  And there’s a lot of things that’s said about [the dox’ings] that were purposely left out of that document because anybody that knows me knows that I’m totally against DOS’ing and [distributed denial-of-servicing]’ing because I think it’s stupid.”

A popular Pastebin document, one widely circulated, noted that Mr. Ryan and th3j35t3r shared similar ideological attributes, in their associations, which to some observers seemed to line up with what many assessed would be the profiles of individuals who would attack Taliban and jihadist websites. “th3j35t3r” has been accused of censoring – although he actually, through a link, simply modified copies of — North African media sources, and extrajudicially undermining the operative base of WikiLeaks’ servers. His website claims that he monitored anyone who screened a QR code, very typically with cellphones, in the process stripping their text message histories from their phones, as well as their Web histories and passwords, were they to be in his list of bad guys.

Mr. Ryan says, in response to the Pastebin, says he’s familiar with the allegations that he is th3j35t3r and that the allegations are “completely false.” By phone, Mr. Tom Ryan says that several linguistic similarities between his own Twitter account, @TomRyanBlog, and that of th3j35t3r were totally coincidental. He says that one incidence of “#tangodown” — a hurrah used by LulzSec and th3j35t3r  to indicate having taken down a website –was purely for an April Fool’s day joke, as he had tweeted only on the 1st of April. However, he had actually tweeted twice that day, one minute apart each time.

“And you turn around and you look at it,” said Mr. Ryan of the phrase, “and they use that comparison, but yet Anonymous IRC uses it all the time. They used it yesterday on the CIA.”

The only major underground source on major record hinting semi-definitively at th3j35t3r’s background as a “former defense operative with knowledge of Special Forces activities” who told The New York Times that th3j35t3r was formerly of Special Operations Command, raising questions about the possibility of th3j35t3r being an operative on the payroll of the federal government.

Parties of major interest in First Amendment cases became the recipients of attacks, namely the notably discriminatory Westboro Baptist Church, just as they had been under the thumb of adversarial, to th3j35t3r, hacktivist collective LulzSec. A group based primarily in the United Kingdom, LulzSec’s now all but arrested members have received Homeland Security Department scrutiny in recent months, as a model of the modern, disorganized mass cybersecurity threat. At the time LulzSec appeared to be free, to the public, “th3j35t3r” was obsessed with carrying out their unmaskings and claimed to have identified a member, Hector Monsegur, in November, while Mr. Monsegur was in reality already an FBI informant.

In his own lawless undermining of a Midwestern anti-homosexual group’s website, what finally set off th3j35t3r against that church, he wrote, was their celebration of the deaths of several homosexual U.S. service men. Only two months prior, in December, the controversy over “don’t ask, don’t tell” would become a congressional standoff in the House at the end of 2010.

“I draw the line in the sand . . . when they attempt to get in the face of the mourners of our military . . . their families,” wrote th3j35t3r during a Halloween Hacker Halted Conference, in Miami — also, claims Mr. Ryan, attended by himself. “th3j35t3r” would hint that he, too, had attended, tweeting photographs from that location.
Today, The Internet Chronicle received an email from an anonymous, unfamiliar source, one referring the outlet to an attachment, an atachment of screenshots sampled from a Twitter user named “Smedley Manning.” This username is clearly an allusion to Bradley Manning, a modern-day U.S. political prisoner, the most prolific leaker of state secrets; and Smedley Butler, at the time of World War I the most decorated soldier in national history, and the discoverer of a plot, he said, by domestic industrialists to overthrow the Roosevelt administration. “th3j35t3r” was the first of “Butler’s” 50-some followers on Twitter.

At this address, there is a rather lengthy, anonymous rumination on the meaning of the Tom Ryan and th3j35t3r writing similarities. Altogether it’s a very nitty-gritty breakdown on the kinds of reconnaissance and counterintelligence talents that Mr. Ryan brags that he possesses on his LinkedIn page.

So far, there’s nothing explicitly illegal or even, arguably, unethical in the hacker’s actions on QR codes on cellphones, says Security New Daily, as th3j35t3r’s software, they say, has only been listening to see how much information a social-networking app will give up.

CORRECTION: This article misattributed a claim to have attended the Hacker Halted conference. Indeed, as Mr. Ryan points out on Twitter, “I never said I went to Hacker Halted.” It was a reiteration of innuendo present in the so-called dox’ing of th3j35t3r:

Last year, TR and J both attended Hacker Halted in Miami and DEFCON in Nevada. Based on what we know of the pair’s political leanings and infosec knowledge, that alone automatically narrows them down to less than 5,000 possible suspects.


Inside the Expanding Panopticon: Covert Legal Interpretation and Mass Surveillance


Cuba’s defunct Presidio Modelo, the only  “panoptic” prison facility true to the vision of utilitarianism founder Jeremy Bentham

WASHINGTON – Government secrecy faced major public scrutiny this month, as a former National Security Agency mathematician’s claims to all-encompassing government surveillance did not line up with the NSA director’s public statements; and the American Civil Liberties Union found itself embroiled in controversies associated with what it contends are abuses of power by the executive branch, as well as local law enforcement.

Secret Patriot Act Interpretations

Last month the American Civil Liberties Union asked for clarification of the meaning of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. DailyKos Blogger Joan McCarter writes: “The provision in question, [Section] 215, allows the government to gain access to records of citizens’ activities being held by a third party. It gives the FBI the power to force doctors, libraries, bookstores, universities and internet service providers, for example, to turn over records on their clients or customers.”

In a March letter to the American Civil Liberties Union, FBI’s special counsel Paul Colborn said, “We have searched the [Office of Legal Counsel's] files and found two documents that are responsive to your request. We are withholding the documents pursuant to [Freedom of Information Act] Exemption Five, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5). They are protected by the deliberative process privilege, and they are not appropriate for discretionary release.”

While the Obama administration feels that the public is entitled to an understanding of public law, its Department of Justice has said it does not feel that the public is entitled to a full understanding of its own interpretation of public law it enforces.

Alleged National Security Agency Surveillance of Virtually All Domestic Citizen Communications

A former senior NSA mathematician, William Binney, spoke to Democracy Now! this week and expounded upon claims he made to Wired magazine last month. Mr. Binney told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. He said that “that [secret interpretation of Patriot Act Section 215] gives [the NSA] license to take all the commercially held data about us, which is exceedingly dangerous, because if you take that and put it into forms of graphing, which is building relationships or social networks for everybody, and then you watch it over time, you can build up knowledge about everyone in the country. And having that knowledge then allows them the ability to concoct all kinds of charges, if they want to target you.”

Asked Ms. Goodman, “Do you believe all emails, the government has copies of, in the United States?”

Mr. Binney said, “I would think – I believe they have most of them, yes.”

She said, “And you’re speaking from a position where you would know, considering your position in the National Security Agency.”

He replied, “Right. All they would have to do is put various Narus devices at various points along the network, at choke points or convergent points, where the network converges, and they could basically take down and have copies of most everything on the network.”

Narus is a subsidiary of Boeing that developed the NarusInsight, a computer system whose installation by AT&T in San Francisco generated a class-action lawsuit. The Electronic Frontier Foundation alleges that the telecommunications giant, using the NarusInsight, helped the NSA monitor practically all communication and relayed it to the NSA.

Last month’s Wired article, by James Bamford, relays Mr. Binney speaking of NSA monitoring techniques. “’How do you manage 20 terabytes of intercept a minute?’ he says. ‘The way we proposed was to distinguish between things you want and things you don’t want.’ Instead, he adds, ‘they’re storing everything they gather.’”

In April of 2006, former AT&T technician Mark Klein, who said he witnessed the application of NarusInsight in San Francisco, wrote in a public statement, “Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of this administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA’s spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA’s charter or with [the Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Act.] And unlike the controversy over targeted wiretaps of individuals’ phone calls, this potential spying appears to be applied wholesale to all sorts of internet communications of countless citizens.” As Wired acknowledges, the reason that Mr. Binney’s statements to the magazine are so important is because they are the first instance in which we have a statement from inside the NSA confirming Mr. Klein’s suspicions about Internet service provider NSA “black rooms,” the ambiguity of whose existence has become the linchpin for high-profile federal court litigation against the NSA.

An ongoing case against the NSA filed by another former AT&T employee, Carolyn Jewel, elicited one government response implying that Ms. Jewel is not associated with al-Qaeda, or a foreign terrorist organization associated with al-Qaeda, could pose a national security risk. In the brief, the government contends, “As the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) explained in his declaration asserting the state secrets privilege, the privilege extends to key evidence implicated by plaintiffs’ claims, such as whether plaintiffs themselves had been subjected to any surveillance of the type alleged in their complaints. Confirmation or denial of such claims would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security.” (In theory only al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda associates can be legally subject to warrantless surveillance of this alleged kind.) The brief asserts that denial of even specifically Ms. Jewel’s being monitored could “reasonably could be expected to harm the national security of the United States.”

Despite Ms. Jewel’s claims that practically every American faces extensive NSA surveillance, the Justice Department contends that the plaintiff’s claims to being almost certainly monitored, even were she correct, do not grant her the requisite standing to file suit, just as similar claims did not justify the first suit, Hepting v. NSA, associated with Mr. Klein’s claims about AT&T’s complicity in alleged illegal NSA activity. That activity, another court decided, was made retroactively legal by the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Added the government brief, Ms. Jewel is alleging “additional activities that go far beyond the acknowledged [Terrorist Surveillance Program] and that have never been confirmed or denied by the government.”

During its Binney segment, Democracy Now! played a clip from a House Armed Service Subcommittee hearing where the head of the NSA, Army General Keith Alexander, says “to conduct [the mass collection of citizen emails, cellphone conversations, Google searches, text messages, Amazon.com orders, and bank records]in the United States, it would have to go through a court order, and the court would have to authorize it. We are not authorized to do it, nor do we do it.”

Gen. Alexander’s statement, which he delivered to Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA), amounts to a denial of any extrajudicial monitoring of communications between citizens inside the United States. Additionally, Gen. Alexander’s denials to Rep. Johnson appear to accomplish what the government’s response in the Jewel case does not seek to, namely to reveal “to foreign adversaries the channels of communication that may or may not be secure.” The testimony to the general public appears to indicate that most lines of communication are secure.

Asking for clarification in the course of Rep. Johnson’s questions, Gen. Alexander asks if a particular inquiry was referencing reporting by James “Bashford [sic].”

Extensive Extrajudicial Cellphone Tracking by Local Law Enforcement

This month the ACLU has reported on the extensive use of cellphone tracking by local police forces, often without judicial review. Telecommunications companies even charge police forces surveillance fees for making use of the extant tracking technology, installed in all modern cellphones, which is based on antenna location and not necessarily GPS.

In the 200 responses they received to their 380-department inquiry on tracking cellphones, the ACLU says, “only a tiny minority reported consistently obtaining a warrant and demonstrating probable cause to do so.”

Two weeks later after the ACLU’s proclamation, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said in a hearing, “Such surveillance is neither limited to terrorist threats, or most importantly, subject to a warrant requirement or judicial review — a little bit too close to big brother for me,” adding a pledge to try to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act to mitigate any local abuses.

The Largest-Scale FBI Sting Ever: A Retrospective

A Match Made Near the National Archives

WASHINGTON – The saga of former LulzSec hacker Hector Monsegur, also known as “Sabu,” is long and receiving widespread attention in the blogosphere. Civilian security authorities at Backtrace Security claim that they had so accurately fingered the LulzSec group in March of 2011, that the FBI requested that they mute and extract from the World Wide Web a list of likely culprits in the hacking spree, which haunted entities corporate and governmental alike.

In their interest of salvaging their own countercutural credentials, justifiable or not, the story of Mr. Monsegur has left aspiring members of hacker group of Anonymous to backpedal and equivocate. For 10 months, the Federal Bureau of Investigation used Mr. Monsegur’s connections within the hacker world and substantial public podium to carry out an elaborate public sting and psychological operation, one on a scale unprecedented in agency history.

Professional hackers who, in a relatively low-key fashion, had publicly fingered Mr. Monsegur, would account to the Internet Chronicle their conviction that the FBI’s sting operation was neither entrapment nor incitement to illegal action. Jennifer Emick, a representative of Backtrace Security said, “The issue is not whether or not he talked about it because all of them incite [illegal behavior,]” adding, “Saying, ‘wow, man, that’s a great hack; tell me all about it:’ It’s not incitement.”

Backtrace would deduce Mr. Monsegur’s identity using an advertisement for a car sale referenced by one of the links the hacker provided in an IRC venue. From the link to the sale of the sedan, Backtrace would discover a Facebook page, which revealed for the first known time, “Sabu’s” real identity. Mr. Monsegur’s Twitter account, briefly hidden after the disclosure of suspect cooperation – both its modes of free operation and ulterior motivation – has become the subject of wide speculation.

The Real Sabu @anonymouSabu
@WalkingstickMtn I speak opinion. I dont do propaganda. I have no agenda other than giving oppressed peoples a voice. Potty mouth? grow up.

In the days just before the FBI announced Mr. Monsegur’s informant status, the unemployed New York man’s tweets began to border on the ironic – and, one could speculate, even the intentionally hinting – to his more than 44,000 followers. Mr. Monsegur translated, and then retweeted, a Portuguese communique from AnonymousIRC Brasil (@AnonIRC), even as the information he had been giving was likely resulting in the arrests of his fellow Anonymous hackers, the 4chan-birthed outlaws who have for years perpetrated denial-of-service attacks against their ideological foes – notably, recently, the FBI in its undermining of the long-time copyright infingers, Megaupload.

The Real Sabu @anonymouSabu
Hackers of the world: Interpol has declared war on hackers. Organizing arrests in South America and Europe. Time to strike back. Infiltrate.

One of the biggest tells that Mr. Monsegur was an informant came January 9th 2011, when “Sabu” retweeted a call for finances from TeaMp0isoN (Team Poison), who had in fact made repeated attempts to out Mr. Monsegur. There was no apparent reason why a hacker would help fundraise for a group that had been so dedicated to his undoing.

n0threat @NotaThreat2u
RT! Plz help @phantom4life of #TeaMp0isoN. If you ever supported #TeaMp0isoN & the work they do plz help – wepay.com/donations/bail…
Retweeted by The Real Sabu

Ms. Emick speculated upon Mr. Monsegur’s respective amnesia or forgiveness. She said, “When [TeaMp0isoN] stopped getting attention for going after Sabu, they joined Anonymous,” adding, “Skids’ [script kiddies] want attention, right?”

In order to appeal to the Internet activist community, the FBI promulgated anti-Israeli and anti-copyright viewpoints, as evidenced by these retweets.

Chris Ho @Vangelus
The paraphrasing of “Megaupload was shut down by the FBI due to an estimation by the MPAA” is tremendously unsettling. Keyword: estimation
Retweeted by The Real Sabu

Freiheitskämpfer @ripNSA
There is a joke in the intel community that NSA means Never Say Anything. To us it is: No Secrets Anymore. #antisec #fuckfbi #fuckisrael
Retweeted by The Real Sabu

Sabu claimed to be a post-colonialist, even after his co-opting by the FBI, making Said-esque points sympathetic to the indigenous populations of the Americas and greater Israel/Palestine prior to 1948.

On March 9, The New York Times would account: “On Twitter, both before and after [Mr. Monsegur] was helping the authorities catch his compatriots, he was prone to grand declarations: ‘Give us liberty or give us death — and there’s billions of us around the world. You can’t stop us. Because without us you won’t exist.’”

In 2010, Mr. Monsegur said (in what New Scientist falsely advertises as the first-ever interview with a key LulzSec member) he was drawn to Anonymous, what he said was a leaderless, anti-authoritarian movement that has taken up a variety of political causes. His catalyst, he said, was his outrage over the arrest of Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, the famous whistle-blower website.

Within the broader Anonyous movement, Mr. Monsegur for a time became a leader of Anonymous splinter group Lulz Security, or LulzSec, which claimed to attack computer security companies for laughs, or “lulz,” rather than for financial gain. Describing himself, he said in the New Scientist interview, “I’m not some cape-wearing hero, nor am I some supervillain trying to bring down the good guys. I’m just doing what I know how to do, and that is counter abuse.”

At an August 5th, 2011 court hearing, we would learn later, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Pastore told U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska, “The defendant has literally worked around the clock with federal agents. He has been staying up sometimes all night engaging in conversations with co-conspirators that are helping the government to build cases against those co-conspirators,”

“As far as I know, he tried to run off.” said Ms. Emick. “When he gets to court, I think you’ll see that he’s not going to be offered any protections. And I think that the real reason they were alluding to in the phone call, you know, with [the United Kingdom's Scotland Yard law enforcement agency], “I think they were putting off those hearings so that they could hear the revelation about Sabu and what Sabu’s been up to before.”

Added Emick, “[Jake Davis, also known by the handle 'Topiary' is]17 years old and vulnerable and whatever. And you know, he’s really loyal because he’s a kid, and you know, kids are idealistic.” This naivete, said Emick, made him particularly vulnerable to trusting Mr. Monsegur too much.

Both Backtrace Security’s Emick and “Hubris,” who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said Sabu tended to retweet more than directly tweet after his arrest. “It used to be [LulzSec] were kind of insular and they retweeted each other,” said “Hubris.”

Backtrace Security, who say they specialize in social engineering and psychological operations, said, “When we were starting out, we had a very specific plan. And we had some cohorts who, you know, like – I don’t know – emo’ed out and didn’t fulfill their end, which would have been funny. But the idea
was to cause them to panic.”

In response to Backtrace’s provocations, which attracted FBI scrutiny, Ms. Emick said “[LulzSec hacker] Ryan [Cleary], you know, leveled the place,” exposing his compatriots. “You know,” she said, it would have been a perfect time to pop up with a replacement, and they all would have hopped on as long as they got to keep their ops [operations] because that was all they ever cared about, which is stupid privilege and status.”

Asked about any irony of Sabu’s tweet talking about people being taken down because they’re trying to be leaders in Anonymous, Ms. Emick said, “I think Sabu still really thought he could be both characters: you know, that he could be the good law enforcement guy and, you know, the leader of the hacker revolution.”

Backtrace had sockpuppets, they said, fake personalities operated and orchestrated by the former 4chan enthusiasts, “that would come to me and tell [them] stuff like, you know, ‘Oh, leave Sabu alone. He’s secretly an operator with the CIA.’ He puppeted all over trying to get everybody to – he’s got a really
big ego, and I think that’s all that really mattered. He just wanted to be hot stuff.”

In a phone interview with the Soviet Internet Chronicle, Ms. Emick would repeatedly characterize arrogance as having been LulzSec’s Achilles’ heel.

When asked about the manner in which Sabu was caught, Backtrace Security could not make heads or tails of the claims that Sabu was caught by the FBI because he forgot to turn on Tor when he entered an IRC client. “Hubris” said he suspects that such reports are misinformation, adding, “we would have seen [Mr. Monsegur's IP address had he logged on without Tor.]” However, Sabu, they concede, made other types of mistakes. The Backtrace team says one of their members, “Le Researcheur,” spotted an IP [address] that leaked once where he “was bouncing out of somebody else’s house.”

The U.S. Attorneys Office, in releasing the details of Mr. Monsegur’s bond hearing, revealed that at least some of the twitterers with whom Monsegur was corresponding were indeed suspects themselves. And despite an ongoing investigation, Backtrace said that a lot of the suspects are apparent because “they’re gone [from Twitter].” Ms. Emick said the Twitter users that are “weird” are the ones that are still exclaiming, in her own paraphrase, “’No, hey, guys. It’s all good. I knew all this time that he was bad, yeah.”

Those claims to prior knowledge, hinted Ms. Emick, are the really possible indicators of further, as-yet-to-be-disclosed undercover law enforcement involvement.

Lurk moar: Ryan Cleary violates bail after talking to Sabu, goes directly to jail

Ryan Cleary

Ryan Cleary was seen wearing the same clothes during his March arrest as when he was arrested last summer, but according to eyewitness reports, "looked more like a zombie this time."

LONDON – Internet snitch Ryan Cleary‘s lawyer made no attempt to defend her client’s retardation Saturday as she told chronicle.su he has been in prison since March 5 for talking to Sabu over Christmas, a violation of his bail.

Even though Sabu was, by that time, fully employed by the FBI, Ryan and a few other people who don’t read chronicle.su still thought he was on their side, and probably said some criminal-ass shit to him.

Cleary is lurking Chelmsford Prison near London.

He will go before a judge in May alongside LulzSec‘s very own Jake Davis, a.k.a. Topiary.

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