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Secret Plan To Kill Wikileaks With FUD Leaked 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the cyber-plumbers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Three information security consultancies with links to US spy agencies cooked up a dirty tricks campaign late last year to destroy Wikileaks by exploiting its perceived weaknesses, reads a presentation released by the whistleblowers' (pdf) organization that it claimed to be from the conspirators. Consultants at US defense contractors Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary proposed to lawyers for a desperate Bank of America an alliance that would work to discredit the whistleblowers' website using a divide and conquer approach. Since the plan was hatched, disgruntled volunteers mentioned in the PDF broke away from Wikileaks, financial institutions withdrew services, [Jacob ] Appelbaum was harassed by the US government, and Amazon denied service to Wikileaks' website."
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Secret Plan To Kill Wikileaks With FUD Leaked

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 10, 2011 @08:48AM (#35161316) Journal
    There was a really good article at Ars Technica this morning [arstechnica.com] that covers chronologically the events relative to HBGary Federal's tangle with Anonymous [slashdot.org]. I know it's against Wikileak policy to release the source of the leak but I'm guessing that the accessing of large amounts of HBGary Federal's servers might be a potential source of this plan.

    Of course the motivation for infiltrating Anonymous was profit as Arron Barr said in an e-mail:

    Step 1 : Gather all the data

    Step 2 : ???

    Step 3 : Profit

    Sort of an amusing story and very easy to see where Mr. Barr made the error of becoming part of this event (demonstration or debacle depending on your views) and seeking media attention. Pretty clear he was in over his head and doing his own thing thinking he was dealing with three individuals who were two bit morons. It almost deserves the cheesy "hunters have become the hunted" movie tag line. Well, the soft hack of HBGary Federal appears to be providing more than enough material for this to be a focus of media attention, congratulations are in order for Mr. Barr and let's all wish him the best of luck with step three. He's gonna need it!

    • I know it's against Wikileak policy to release the source of the leak but I'm guessing that the accessing of large amounts of HBGary Federal's servers might be a potential source of this plan.

      That's actually what TFA says:

      SC Magazine understood the document came into the hands of Wikileaks sympathisers Anonymous following a successful raid on HBGary, which saw its secrets recently scattered to the Twittersphere.

    • You misunderstood. (Score:5, Informative)

      by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:30AM (#35161686)
      You're right that Aaron Barr was hoping to profit from this, but he didn't write the quote you attributed to him. His coder wrote that, making fun of him because he thought of no way to profit from the dumb information that Aaron was making his coder collect. What is written before the quote you provided is:

      His programmer had doubts, saying that the scraping and linking work he was doing was of limited value and had no commercial prospects. As he wrote in an e-mail:

    • for killing Alexander Humilton.
    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:56PM (#35165534) Homepage Journal

      I am so glad that this snivelling little fascist, quisling, anti-democratic "security" operator got their nose bloodied, like this.

      "Teacher! Johnny was chewing gum in class!"

      "Good job, Gary! You have quite a future ahead of you - as we transform our liberal republic into an East-German-style police-state!"

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @08:50AM (#35161340)

    Oh so this was a secret plan was it?

    Was it commissioned by the ministry for the bloody obvious?

    • Re:Secret Plan? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:04AM (#35161450)

      Small problem, for anyone but a idiot :
      Wikileaks likely has more credibly than any lawmaker , politician or US based news agency or anything the government might say.or write

      • The only problem with wikileaks that I have is that they have quite a lot of media exposure, skipping the "first they ignore you" part. I do not believe they are just diversion/disinformation, but I think that some powerful parties are going to try exploiting their work: possibly to show internet is dangerous so it must be censored (that will happen if leaks cause tangible damage). Possibly to show that a centralized system (twitter, the net itself) can be an instrument of revolt (until it becomes so pervas

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          wikileaks has been around for years. They were pretty roundly ignored up until they allegedly got the windfall from Manning.

          • Re:Secret Plan? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @03:03PM (#35165592) Journal

            wikileaks has been around for years. They were pretty roundly ignored up until they allegedly got the windfall from Manning.

            They were ignored by the US public.
            Wikileaks was releasing information about other countries for years before Manning's datadump.

            "I didn't hear about it, so it never happened" is a poor way to make a point.

        • by Anrego (830717) *

          They've been around for a while. They even did a whole "we're going down due to lack of donations" sort of thing.

          The whole Mannings thing is what made wikileaks mainstream.

    • Re:Secret Plan? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by camperslo (704715) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:17AM (#35161548)

      It's seems that ways of countering access to information are on the minds of many.

      We certainly heard a few things about the significance of and attempts to control the flow in Egypt. We don't hear so much about Cuba. It got my attention when someone posted that the events in Egypt weren't getting covered there.

      http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/national_world/stories/2011/02/07/u-s-attacking-cuba-through-wi-fi-hot-spots.html [dispatch.com]

      (translated text of video)
      http://translatingcuba.com/?p=7111#more-7111 [translatingcuba.com]

      (the video, in Spanish)
      http://vimeo.com/19402730 [vimeo.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "...someone posted that the events in Egypt weren't getting covered [in Cuba]."

        O Rly?
        Granma [granma.cu] seems [granma.cu] to [granma.cu] be [granma.cu] covering [granma.cu] Egypt fairly extensively. Mind you, Granma's only the official state newspaper - it's not like it has any official status or anything...

    • Re:Secret Plan? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:31AM (#35161700) Journal
      It was obvious what to do. It was not that obvious that this was being implemented.
      It is nice to sometime have a reminder that there ARE conspiracies happening out there. Not all of them are crackpot theories.
      • It also shows a major flaw in conspiracies: they tend to be exposed. Or maybe that's just what they want us to think ;-)

        • by Anrego (830717) *

          That tends to be my response to most conspiracy theories.

          Yes, I think small highly placed groups can run a conspiracy.. but these big "everyones involved" deals can't work. Too many people who have to be kept happy.. too much potential for a leak.

    • Re:Secret Plan? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@nosPAm.eircom.net> on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:48AM (#35162594) Homepage Journal

      Was it commissioned by the ministry for the bloody obvious?

      Obvious to some perhaps, but an absurd conspiracy theory to others. However, these documents provide hard evidence of mafia-like activities by corporations.

      The documents are the definitive proof that private companies engage in the shadiest and most scurrilous of activities in an effort to further their own goals. It is the definitive proof that even in our age, private interests abuse their privileges and powers. The proof that a corporate underworld exists, that it attacks and abuses citizens, and that the law does not protect us from it.

      Our society is based on several things, among them free speech and the rule of law. If private companies actively undermine these principles in the ways that this document proves, then why should we tolerate their continued state of existence?

      There are those who say that we should not tolerate communists or islamists because they actively seek to undermine our way of life. I wonder where those people are right now?

    • So these Evil Consultants are running a propaganda campaign about Wikileaks, and Anonymous leaks their "secret plans", including the plan to try to sell a disinformation plan to BofA... But can we trust all the incriminating pages in the leaked secret plans? Could Anonymous have planted a bit of extra content in the leaked material? Could the Evil Consultants themselves planted bogus material in the leak, and leaked it to Anonymous themselves?

      Besides all the obvious propaganda campaigns against Wikileak

      • by GooberToo (74388) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @01:31PM (#35164550)

        So these Evil Consultants are running a propaganda campaign about Wikileaks, and Anonymous leaks their "secret plans", including the plan to try to sell a disinformation plan to BofA... But can we trust all the incriminating pages in the leaked secret plans? Could Anonymous have planted a bit of extra content in the leaked material? Could the Evil Consultants themselves planted bogus material in the leak, and leaked it to Anonymous themselves?

        I would like to subscribe to your news letter, but only if it dramatically goes, "Dunt dunt DUUUUNNNT!", and tells me what happened in previous episodes when I open it.

    • by ozbird (127571) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @01:23PM (#35164444)
      Evil geniuses always reveal their secret plan to the hero before failing to kill them.
  • Gandhi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @08:51AM (#35161342)

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
      Mahatma Gandhi

    Looks like were at part 3 now.

    • and they shot gandhi.

      just sayin...

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        Yeah, but he did get a movie made about him.

      • Re:Gandhi (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mhelander (1307061) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:38AM (#35162448)

        "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win, then they shoot you.”

        Fixed.

        • "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win, then one of your former allies shoot you.”

          Fixed. It's always been what happens after the revolution that's the problem.

      • by iammani (1392285)

        Mmmm... So, first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win, then they shoot you?

      • He won against the British. The guy who shot him was upset about the conflict between India and Pakistan.

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win, then someone shots you, then you bless them.
      • by sjames (1099)

        He didn't say there was no downside, and he did win, India is no longer part of the empire.

    • by Jiro (131519)

      I can think of a lot of examples where someone was ignored, laughed at, fought, and they lost. I've never been a believer in Godwin's Law, so the most obvious example I can point out is Hitler. If you want to limit it to ideas, most examples are by definition going to be ones you never heard of (since if you heard of it, it probably won), but I haven't heard much about the Arian Heresy recently.

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        I've never been a believer in Godwin's Law, so the most obvious example I can point out is Hitler.

        You don't believe that every thread on the internet eventually devolves into talking about Hitler, so you'll...talk about Hitler?

  • Dear Wikileaks, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @08:55AM (#35161384) Journal
    It would appear that a variety of groups, representing a de-facto merger of state and corporate power, are allied to destroy you.

    On a scale from "1" to "highly ironic" how would you describe this confirmation of your assertion that the "representative" goverments actually pend a lot of time doing dirty deeds in the shadows?
    • Re:Dear Wikileaks, (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JamesP (688957) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:17AM (#35161556)

      I would be worried about the 'state power thing'

      as far as "corporate security researchers" go, they are, apparently, using Microsoft Bob to do their "hacking"...

      No, really, see the Ars Technica link up there:

      "They think I have nothing but a heirarchy based on IRC [Internet Relay Chat] aliases!" he wrote. "As 1337 as these guys are suppsed to be they don't get it. I have pwned them! :)"

      And that's the 'security researcher' mixing sys admins with 'hackers'

    • by Jiro (131519)

      Attacking Wikileaks this way is perfectly legitimate. If Assange was lobbing missiles at us from his home country, we would be justified in attacking him or even killing him--even though lobbing missiles at us is perfectly legal where he is standing. It's often legal in country A to fight country B; this does not mean that country B isn't allowed to do anything to the person in country A.

      Right now he's in the position of the guy lobbing missiles. Don't think "he's just releasing documents, that's nonviol

      • Re:Dear Wikileaks, (Score:4, Informative)

        by jbengt (874751) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @02:01PM (#35164908)
        Using tactics that are most likely illegal in the US is not a legitmate thing to do in the US, regardless of the target. Now if Congress were to issue a declaration of war on Wikileaks, that might make it legitimate, although still not right, since Wikileaks has not really broken any US laws.
  • by Zerth (26112) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:00AM (#35161418)

    Palantir [wikipedia.org] Technologies? Really?

    Was "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall Inc" already taken?

    • Doesn't the Tolkein estate take exception to this? If not, please excuse me while I head down to Companies House to found General Products...
    • Actually this is a real company that has been around for a while. They are into data visualization technology which also sucks. The kind of thing where you can tell 4 Pentagon generals "You can find Osama Bin-Laden from your office by buying our bloat." And they all buy it. All part of the military industrial complex. Good stuff.
    • Re:Obvious name (Score:4, Interesting)

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:47AM (#35162568)
      Their offices are named after Tolkein places too. The office in Tyson's Corner VA is Rivendell. They have lego models of the death star and toy Deloreans out on display, along with beer in the fridge. It's a typical dot-com silicon valley tech company, selling an overpriced and sexy looking but less than useful visualization software. We use it at work here. I'm less than impressed.
  • by Isaac Remuant (1891806) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:01AM (#35161426)

    http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/201106/6798/Data-intelligence-firms-proposed-a-systematic-attack-against-WikiLeaks [thetechherald.com]

    Can't say I'm surprised but the tactics and manipulation they discuss but I find it outrageous all the same.

    However, the fact that they felt the need to present such a teach-yourself-how-to-destroy-wikileaks-in-21-days presentation in such a dumb manner is somewhat encouraging.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:16AM (#35161544)
      They are trying to sell themselves to the people who want to see Wikileaks die. I imagine that companies like Palantir do not really care about Wikileaks, except that Wikileaks is a great marketing point for them. Look at the tone of the second half of the presentation: everything people have tried to do to protect themselves from Wikileaks has not worked, but we are experts with experience in intelligence and counter-intelligence; we can save you (just pay us)!
  • How do we know that this isn't disinformation from the intelligence firms to make genuine future leaks look like they might be 'planted' to make competing governments and corporations look bad?
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      We don't, that's why we have to critically evaluate new information in light of its purported origins, its content, and the interested parties' reactions to it.

    • by xednieht (1117791)
      Because these firms are anything but "intelligent". They are too stooopid to secure their own systems.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:20AM (#35161580)

    The sudden appearance of rape charges, schisms and turmoil within the organization, etc. were pretty obviously concerted efforts to discredit the organization and Assange. Didn't take a genius to see it all coming after his big leaks started, or to know who was behind it. I knew [slashdot.org] a discrediting campaign was coming down back before Assange even met his "rape victims" or faced a schism.

  • Sales Pitch... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:25AM (#35161634)

    Oh boy, that PDF is nothing more than a sales pitch written by someone who probably believes the hype of "cyber-warfare" as portrayed in movies, and is trying to excite some clueless bank executives into getting involved in the action as portrayed.

    It does sound exciting with talk of "global networks, movement between countries", although in reality such movement would just be scp -r /var/www/wikileaks user@server-in-foreign-country:/var/www/.

    Of course, as a sales presentation it's well done, I could imagine the bank executive getting excited that he could initiate a "cyber-hunt" to kill the organization.

  • by voss (52565) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:25AM (#35161636)

    Does not mean they were following some sinister plan.
    Julian Assange has already proven he is hard to get along with and has his own agenda which may not prove compatible
    with other people who want a wikileaks without Assange's anti-us agenda.

    • by crhylove (205956)

      I don't think his agenda is anti-US. It's just that since ww2 the US has been the bad guy in every major conflict. I doubt he has any racism or some other predisposition against the US.

  • Wrong move? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Wouldnt a better move be to prevent further leaks than to kill the messenger? Offing Wikileaks wont solve the problem at all.

    Even better would be going to the source of the problem, America meddling in other states internal affairs through very shoddy practices. Killing politicians, supporting torturing dictators, pressuring, lying, stealing and toppling democratic states are not something a superpower should have to succumb to, thats for banana republics.

  • Lawsuit anyone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:28AM (#35161662)

    If this document is genuine, this company "Palantir" has suggested and supports activities that are not only criminal in Europa but also in the US. We're talking about libel and slander, "cyber-terrorist" attacks on foreign it business and infrastructure (servers hosted in Sweden, France), and so on.

    I don't know whether the document itself gives enough grounds for a lawsuits, probably not, but if these guys do anything of what they suggest or even aid in it, and it can be traced back to them, I feel a lawsuit coming in 3...2...1...

    By the way, how are the investigations of the DoS attacks against Wikileaks server going? Any news on that?

    • I feel a lawsuit coming in 3...2...1...

      Retroactive immunity in 2...1...in b4 lawsuit!

    • I don't know whether the document itself gives enough grounds for a lawsuits

      Filed by whom? Wikileaks? I seriously doubt that Assange and pals want to open their organization up to the kind of discovery likely to result from filing a lawsuit.

  • by poity (465672) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:29AM (#35161674)

    Talk about a role-reversal...the discreditors become the discredited. Alas, this is a great blow to the future of the Wikileaks conversation. Now all critics legitimate and otherwise can be lumped together as part of a coordinated effort against Wikileaks. It's now easier than ever to accuse someone who demands more self-scrutiny from WL and its supporters as a "shill" or "operative". And this time we have these 3 companies to blame.

    • by Weezul (52464)

      Except there are no legitimate critics of wikileaks, not anymore.

      There *were* legitimate critics of wikileaks way back when they screwed up the redaction of the Afgan War Logs, Amnesty international even yelled at them, but after that criticism wikileaks has been sooo slow & careful about publication that nobody reasonable could complain. Afaik, all human rights groups are quite happy with wikileaks demonstrated willingness to respond to legitimate criticism and current self-scrutiny.

      And all the rape c

      • by dave1791 (315728)

        >All that'll change here will be some American libertarians who're stupid enough to belief Fox news even
        >half the time will now lump Fox news criticism of wikileaks

        You realize that Noam Chomsky calls himself a libertarian socialist, right?

        You might want to take a look at the Nolan Chart sometime. You might find that the definition of libertarian (as evidenced by the platform of the libertarian party in the US) is a bit different than you (and all of those FOX viewers who currently style themselves as

    • by sgt_doom (655561)
      Exactly, which is why it is most suspicious that Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Bildt, was a director at Lundin Petroleum: (Bildt first appointed Justice Minister Beatrice Ask to the cabinet when he was previously prime minster of Sweden, and she was the one who re-opened the Assange case which had been closed due to flimsy and lacking evidence)

      http://www.liquida.com/page/7491240/ [liquida.com]

      Carl Bildt was a member of the board of directors of Lundin Oil while a consortium of Swedish, Austrian and Malaysian compa

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:30AM (#35161678) Journal

    This is not America....
    shalalalala

    A little piece of you,
    the little piece in me,
    will die
    (this is not a miracle)
    For this is not America

    Blossom fails to bloom this season,
    promise not to stare,
    too long
    (this is not America)
    For this is not the miracle

    There was a time,
    a storm that blew, so pure
    For this could be the biggest sky
    And I could have the faintest idea

    For this is not America

    shalalalala
    shalalalala
    shalalalala

    This is not America (No)
    This is not....
    shalalalala

    Snowman melting from the inside
    Falcon spirals to,
    the ground
    (this could be the biggest sky)
    So bloody red, tomorrow's clouds

    A little piece of you,
    the little piece in me
    will die
    (this could be a miracle)
    For this is not America

    There was a time,
    a wind that blew, so young
    For this could be the biggest sky
    And I could have the faintest idea

    For this is not America

    shalalalala
    shalalalala
    shalalalala

    This is not America (No)
    This is not,
    shalalalala
    This is not America (No)
    This is not,
    shalalalala
    This is not America (No)
    This is not,
    shalalalala

    From Falcon and the Snowman.

    Not really linked perhaps, but what else can you say when movie plots become really but to think of a movie based on reality?

  • December 3rd? (Score:5, Informative)

    by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:32AM (#35161712)
    The plan was pitched to Bank of America on the 3rd. Amazon and EveryDNS already had withdrawn services so I think it's a stretch to try to insinuate that Paypal doing the same on the 4th is somehow related to a proposal submitted to a separate financial institution on the 3rd. It's also not entirely surprising that people pointed out to be weak links and ready to leave Wikileaks turned out to be weak leaks and decided to leave Wikileaks. This sounds like a case of some defense companies ever looking to scrape up some profits pointing out the blindingly obvious and now when a couple of the obvious things happen on their own people trying to attribute it to a successful implementation of said plot.
    • Ah, a fool (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:02AM (#35162036) Journal

      Government and the control of society is about more then absolute evidence, it is about state of mind.

      There are those in society who wish for private industry to have greater control of society without an elected body having the right to control them. So be it, but do we then just accept this without questioning what kind of mentality these self appointed power brokers posses?

      This is not a criminal trial, it is a hiring process and during such a process I want to see from your past and current behavior how you are going to act in the future. So, if people propose banks like Bank of America should have LESS regulation and LESS government oversight shouldn't we first examine whether that is a good idea?

      No, them telling us it is a good idea is NOT good enough fool. And THIS leak shows exactly what the mentality of the Bank of America is. No, not because there is proof they did this but because they EVEN considered it.

      That requires some advanced thinking but basically goes that for some thought crimes are indeed crimes. Some people/institutions should NOT even be allowed to consider certain things.

      The Kenedy assassination is a prime example of this. Was the CIA behind it or not? Doesn't really matter, it has been proven beyond a doubt that senior CIA officials had plans to assassinate the president of their own country. THAT is enough of a crime in itself. If the protector of democracy even dares thinking of killing a democratically elected leader the crime has been done.

      The Bank of America by even being involved in this have shown that banks can not be trusted to be open and that private businesses will fall all over themselves to supply services to lie to the people. That means we have once again been shown that banks and private industry need strict government supervision.

      That is what this leak shows.

      Not some timeline of crime to be fought over in court to sentence some individuals but the whole sale condemnation of private business as being unworthy of trust.

      But of course, you are a fool and trust the bank because merely considering lying isn't bad at all... no no, let them work without oversight I am sure that when something really bad happens they will tell us honestly...

  • by tmk (712144) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:40AM (#35161778)

    Since the plan was hatched, disgruntled volunteers mentioned in the PDF broke away from Wikileaks, financial institutions withdrew services, Apelbaum was harassed by the US Government and Amazon denied service to Wikileaks' website."

    It's always nice to have a good conspiracy - but chronology is a bitch. Even before the plan was hatched, Paypal has canceled Wikileaks accounts twice, disgruntled volunteers were gruntling very publicly, Wikileaks had to change providers several times and Julian Assange reported harrassment from every government he had to deal with.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      There is a difference between when a plan is set in motion and when a plan is being made public or shared with others to get them to join the fight on your side. The presentation was most likely made to get others on board but they were already doing it well before (maybe not documented or in documents we'll never get to see).

      It was obvious that there was US pressure against PayPal, Amazon and EveryDNS since Wikileaks hadn't broken any laws (and hasn't yet) and only a few days/weeks later Amazon gets a huge

      • by tmk (712144)

        The presentation was most likely made to get others on board but they were already doing it well before (maybe not documented or in documents we'll never get to see).

        Why do you think this is "most likely"? Are there any leads to support this assumption?

  • by Dogun (7502)

    The interesting thing here is not the PDF, but the backstory - it may suggest the US Govt believes BoA is the target of the next Wikileaks leak.

    The PDF appears to mostly be a "You can trust us to protect you against future leaks" sideshow. Presumably Palantir/etc want to build some smarts into BoA.

  • These guys are idiots

    what the fuck are they thinking by claiming that Glenn [Greenwald] weighs “professional preservation” against “cause”? Could they be more wrong, painting Glenn as a squeamish careerist whose loud support for WikiLeaks (which dates back far longer than these security firms seem to understand) is secondary to “professional preservation”?

    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/02/09/security-firms-pitching-bank-of-america-proposed-targeting-glenn-greenw [firedoglake.com]

    • by DavidTC (10147)

      Indeed. Greenwald is the guy who, when Obama was elected, immediately started criticizing Obama for continuing all the stuff that he (And Obama) used to criticize Bush for. Unlike 75% of the other people, who figured it was okay if a Democrats was doing it. Which made it clear he actually thinks those thing are wrong, and isn't some sort of partisan looking for some cushy political job.

      At this point, he's probably unemployable in any political job or on any news network. He's what happens when you group al

  • Pfft. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:48AM (#35161884) Homepage

    I'll say it again.

    If US intelligence agencies and their actions, security, political connections and control of information are *REALLY* this bad, the US has a much bigger problem than a website.

    If this is how a genuine intelligence agency acts and gets caught doing so by the equivalent of a back-bedroom UFO hunter, then the first ever *real* cyberwar will see them wiped off the planet.

    The UK, in the middle of a war, infiltrated by spies, managed to capture, analyse, decrypt, monitor and intercept German communications for YEARS, to the extent that they could literally direct the enemy to move their defences to cover false "threats" while watching them do that. And most of exactly what happened took 50+ years to come out and we still don't know *all* of it.

    The US, in peacetime (so no major distractions, counter-incentive, etc.), can't stop their own soldiers putting documents into the public domain, with HUGE fanfare, then "rubber-stamp" those documents as official by "hunting down" a civilian not really related to the leak, when the guy handed himself into a police station in an allied country and told the newspapers about it. If the US "anti-cyber-warfare" campaign is anywhere near as ineffective, you better hope nobody tech-savvy *bothers* to go to war with the US.

    • Re:Pfft. (Score:5, Informative)

      by will_die (586523) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:23AM (#35162236) Homepage
      Summary is just bad. The 3 companies have/had contracts with the Department of Defense but they were tring to get business with the Bank of America.
      This was not something done by the DoD or any US intelligence agency.
      Frankly it would be hard to find many business that do not do some type of business with the US government, the DoD or some intelligence agency. Looking at just one of the companies it looks like it was setup as a 8(a)(female or minority owned) so can smaller contracts or small portions of larger contracts.
  • Word salad (Score:5, Informative)

    by wcrowe (94389) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:52AM (#35161916)

    "Consultants at US defense contractors Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary proposed to lawyers for a desperate Bank of America an alliance that would work to discredit the whistleblowers' website using a divide and conquer approach."

    I had to read this sentence several times before it made any sense. The first few times it sounded like the defense contractor consultants asked some lawyers to marry them in order to obtain the Bank of America, who was inexplicably desperate -- all of which would discredit Wikileaks.

    I think what was attempting to be conveyed was the following:

    "Consultants at US defense contractors Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary proposed an alliance with a desperate Bank of America which would work to discredit the whistleblowers' website using a divide and conquer approach."

    • Yeah, but your version doesn't mention the lawyers. That's very important, mentioning the lawyers. People hate lawyers, and the Slashdot crowd especially hates corporate lawyers, so you'll get a bigger response by including them in the conspiracy.

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @09:56AM (#35161954)

    Wait a minute. Isn't Wikileaks reporting a leaked report that there was a conspiracy against them a little bit like saying God exists, because the Bible says so?

    • by Rand Race (110288) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:13AM (#35162134) Homepage

      Not a leaked report per se. This was Anonymous eating the brains of HBGary.

      More like saying God exists because Cthulhu hacked Satan's servers and uploaded the Secret Bible to Pirates Bay.

    • by poity (465672)

      Very good point, but if that were true it would mean someone or some group like Anon made this document up. However, I actually expect someone pretending to be a security professional to create a far more technical and competent looking presentation than what we see here, which is classic real "professional" work. A pretender from 4chan would probably pay more attention to details -- like not using Firefox icon for IE8, haha.

      • by radtea (464814)

        like not using Firefox icon for IE8, haha.

        And not spelling "Julien"'s name incorrectly...

  • The more one attempts to discredit an institution or individual, the more weight it gives to the information or ideas that they have. And the more interested I am in hearing it.

    Come on, folks. The cliques in high school have this figured out. The heads of our intelligence agencies must have been home schooled.

    • by radtea (464814)

      The heads of our intelligence agencies must have been home schooled.

      Huh? You mean they're highly educated, broadly socialized into the adult world at an earlier age than most kids, and are used to self-organized, project-based learning?

      I know in parts of the US there are Christian nutjob homeschoolers who teach their kids a bunch of gibberish, but I don't think that's the majority even there, and in the rest of the Anglosphere homeschooling is a pretty strong indicator of a good education relative to current high-school standards (my kids were not homeschooled, but I know

  • by Fractal Dice (696349) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:14AM (#35162140) Journal

    It's hardly surprising that there is a market for plans in how to manipulate public perception. There's a whole industry that exists specifically for this. People who find themselves in that industry have to set aside their conscience to do the job and put food on the table. They rationalize it as a game or a competition or just business. Some are probably reading slashdot right now.

    It's the sad nature of civilization that we are a huge crowd of people just trying to put one foot in front of the other. It's hard to imagine that our small push forward on the person in front of us is really contributing to the squeeze that is crushing people to death somewhere else in the crowd.

    • People who find themselves in that industry have to set aside their conscience to do the job and put food on the table. They rationalize it as a game or a competition or just business.

      Oh, I don't know. The kind of people that would be attracted to that kind of business were probably skewing sociopathic anyways. I think there's a lot more use for true sociopaths in society than we like to believe. Somebody has to pull the trigger and a sociopath will be more than happy to and wonder why you didn't want to at the same time. The trick is channeling that into useful areas instead of purely destructive ones.

  • by LastGunslinger (1976776) on Thursday February 10, 2011 @10:36AM (#35162418)
    Don't forget that they made Julian Assange a pompous douchebag by drugging his food. A side effect, perhaps intended, is the paranoia that makes him think he'll be imprisoned at Guantanamo. They also slipped a defective condom into his wallet so they could trump up rape charges.
  • by nomadic (141991)

    "Three information security consultancies with links to US spy agencies"

    That's a dishonest rhetorical device; any "links" to US spy agencies are irrelevant here, the article clearly states that these were independent companies offering their services to another independent company.

    Since the plan was hatched, disgruntled volunteers mentioned in the PDF broke away from Wikileaks, financial institutions withdrew services, Apelbaum was harassed by the US Government and Amazon denied service to Wikileaks' webs

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