Over a year ago, it was revealed that the federal contractors HBGary Federal, Palantir, Berico, and Endgame Systems had combined forces to create a sort of cyber-offense unit called Team Themis. With the assistance of the law firm Hunton & Williams, they went about collecting potential clients, including two institutions which desired to go on the offensive against certain activist groups. One of these institutions, the Chamber of Commerce, provided them with the names of various individuals believed to be involved with groups that opposed their policies, and asked them to come up with a plan by which to discredit them. This was one of the options that Team Themis came up:
“Create a false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information, and monitor to see if U.S. Chamber Watch acquires it. Afterward, present explicit evidence that such transactions never occurred. Also, create a fake insider persona and generate communications with CtW. Afterward, release the actual documents at a specified time and explain the activity as a CtW contrived operation. Both instances will prove that Chamber Watch cannot be trusted with information and/or tell the truth.”
In the eyes of the Justice Department, this sort of thing does not constitute even probable cause of criminal activity on the part of any of the individuals involved, or their companies, or the various other employees who viewed these kinds proposals. I say this because no one involved has had their apartment door knocked down and their equipment and notes seized by the FBI, as I have. The fact that Team Themis also discussed the option of hacking the servers of Wikileaks, and engaging in a campaign of intimidation against the journalist Glenn Greenwald due to his support of the organization, did not seem to generate much activity over at the DoJ or FBI, either.
Perhaps this is because these latter measures were proposed for another of Team Themis’ prospective clients, Bank of America, and that Bank of America first got in touch with Team Themis and Hunton & Williams after they were recommended to them by the Justice Department itself.
The call for a Congressional inquiry into this matter was shot down by Rep. Lamar Smith. His reasoning was that the Justice Department is best equipped to decide if any investigation is warranted in this instance. I would tend to disagree with that insomuch as that they helped to put these activities in motion.
At any rate, the FBI is now searching through my belongings for information on HBGary, Endgame Systems, and the website that my group Project PM maintains for the purpose of disseminating info on such firms as these, Echelon2.org.
They will find quite a bit of information on all of these things. They will also find further evidence of wrongdoing on the part of two other “security contractors” who posted pictures of what they believed to be my apartment so that, as one of them put it, the Zeta drug cartel would know which house I lived in (http://twicsy.com/i/6dHfX). They will find the name of the contractors in question; they will find screen shots showing one of them in particular has ties to the former CEO of HBGary Federal.
But they will not choose to investigate those sorts of things. The state has friends, and the state has enemies.
Written By: Barrett Brown (Project PM)