Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More on the anti-Wikileaks plot

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Astonishing how overtly companies discuss breaking the law and plans for unethical behavior.  Ed Brayton notes:

The whole situation is appalling but hardly surprising. And as Greenwald notes, much of it is illegal. But don’t expect anyone to be charged with those crimes any time soon. It was the DOJ that recommended HB Gary to Bank of America. And their actions fit the DOJ’s agenda to destroy WikiLeaks. The DOJ will conveniently look the other way.

Obviously, Ed Brayton doesn’t know the DOJ plans. Who knows? Maybe the DOJ is horrified by what HB Gary proposed and will take quick legal action against them. We can only wait and see. I suggest not holding one’s breath, though.

Justin Elliott of Salon provides some recent updates on the story:

Here’s an update on the unfolding story of the trio of technology firms that hatched a plan to attack WikiLeaks and their supporters in the press — including Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. The plan was apparently prepared at the behest of Hunton and Williams, a large law firm working for Bank of America, which is worried because it is reportedly the subject of a future WikiLeaks document release.

The plan (.pdf) was outlined in a slideshow prepared by the three security firms; it was obtained and released online by the group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers known as Anonymous. One of the three firms, Palantir Technologies, just announced that it has put an engineer who was involved in the project on leave “pending a thorough review of his actions.”

When this story broke last week, Palantir was quick to deny any involvement in the anti-WikiLeaks plan and to sever ties with one of the partner firms, HBGary, that had masterminded the plan. One of several provocative items in the plan said that Greenwald’s public support for WikiLeaks needed “to be disrupted.”

Here’s where a new wrinkle in the story comes into play. Anonymous has now published a new batch of thousands emails hacked from executives at HBGary. And the emails appear to contradict Palantir’s claim that it had nothing to do with developing the anti-WikiLeaks plan.

Here’s what Palantir, which also apologized personally to Greenwald, said in a statement sent to reporters over the weekend:

Palantir did not participate in the development of the recommendations that Palantir and others find offensive.

Palantir was NOT retained by any party to develop such recommendations and indeed it would be contrary to Palantir ethics, culture and policies to do so.

That’s a pretty airtight denial. But now let’s look at an email exchange between HBGary executive Aaron Barr and Matthew Steckman, an engineer at Palantir (who has now been put on leave). On the morning of Dec. 3, Barr wrote Steckman: . . .

Continue reading.

I know that I have readers who are not discomfited by this sort of thing, and indeed accept it as a normal course of action these days. My own feeling is that such things are not only wrong but extremely corrosive and, if not exposed and fought, contribute to a slide into the sort of society in which most of us would not like to live.

Written by LeisureGuy

15 February 2011 at 8:43 am

Posted in Business, Government, Law

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