The Leaked Campaign to Attack WikiLeaks and Its Supporters
By Glenn Greenwald / salon.com
Feb 11, 2011

There's been a very strange episode being written about the past couple of days involving numerous parties, including me, that I now want to comment on.  The story, first reported by The Tech Herald, has been been written about in numerous places (see Marcy Wheeler, Forbes, The Huffington Post, BoingBoing, Matt Yglesias, Reason, Tech Dirt, and others), so I'll provide just the summary. 

Last week, Aaron Barr, a top executive at computer security firm HB Gary, 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.  News reports have indicated that WikiLeaks is planning to publish highly incriminating documents showing possible corruption and fraud at that bank, and The New York Times detailed last month how seriously top bank officials are taking that threat.  The NYT article described that the bank's "counterespionage work" against WikiLeaks entailed constant briefings for top executives on the whistle-blower site, along with the hiring of "several top law firms" and Booz Allen (the long-time firm of former Bush DNI Adm. Michael McConnell and numerous other top intelligence and defense officials).  The report prepared by these firms was designed to be part of the Bank of America's highly funded anti-WikiLeaks campaign.

The leaked report suggested numerous ways to destroy WikiLeaks, some of them likely illegal -- including planting fake documents with the group and then attacking them when published; "creat[ing] concern over the security" of the site; "cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters"; and a "media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of wikileaks activities."  Many of those proposals were also featured prongs of a secret 2008 Pentagon plan to destroy WikiLeaks. 

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."

In the wake of the ensuing controversy caused by publication of these documents, the co-founder and CEO of Palantir Tech, Alex Karp, has now issued a statement stating that he "directed the company to sever any and all contacts with HB Gary."  The full statement -- which can be read here -- also includes this sentence:  "personally and on behalf of the entire company, I want to publicly apologize to progressive organizations in general, and Mr. Greenwald in particular, for any involvement that we may have had in these matters."  Palantir has also contacted me by email to arrange for Dr. Karp to call me to personally convey the apology.  My primary interest is in knowing whether Bank of America retained these firms to execute this proposal and if any steps were taken to do so; if Karp's apology is genuine, that information ought to be forthcoming (as I was finishing writing this, Karp called me, seemed sincere enough in his apology, vowed that any Palantir employees involved in this would dealt with the way they dealt with HB Gary, and commendably committed to telling me by the end of the week whether Bank of America or Hunton & Williams actually retained these firms to carry out this proposal).

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
Revolution and American Indians: “Marxism is as Alien to My Culture as Capitalism”
Russell Means158,326 views today ·
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min47,088 views today ·
MP Says Government is Intentionally Making People Destitute to Prevent Organised Opposition
2 min24,721 views today ·
Every Town Needs a Remakery
Jeremy Williams17,775 views today ·
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small16,708 views today ·
Five Maps That Will Change How You See the World
Donald Houston, University of Portsmouth7,134 views today ·
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh7,126 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min6,684 views today ·
Have We Been Denying Our Human Nature for Four Hundred Years?
Lynn Parramore4,379 views today ·
Load More
New
Republican Fight to Criminalize Protest Tactics
5 min
Five Maps That Will Change How You See the World
Donald Houston, University of Portsmouth
Hooded: A Multimedia Project to Challenge and Change How Young Black Men Are Portrayed
3 min
The Edible Bus Stop: Community Gardens From Neglected Sites
2 min
'Disaster': Trump Administration Signs off on Keystone XL Pipeline
Nika Knight
Escape From Syria - Faiza's Story
5 min
A Letter to Extremists
Nafeez Ahmed
Muslims This, ISIS That
3 min
Visit Hawai'i - The Occupied State
2 min
Load More
What's Next
Rap News 6: Wikileaks' Cablegate - The Truth Is Out There
6 min
2013 In Review: Power, Politics and Resistance
56 min
The Assange Agenda -- Surveillance, Democracy And You (trailer)
3 min
Like us on Facebook?
The Leaked Campaign to Attack WikiLeaks and Its Supporters