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Reply #8: There's reference in the reports that NewsCorp worked w/ "private detective agencies," [View All]

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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. There's reference in the reports that NewsCorp worked w/ "private detective agencies,"
Edited on Sun Jul-10-11 03:43 PM by leveymg
It'll be interesting to see which ones. Privatization of surveillance and intelligence collection is a big business in both the US and UK. Many of them have close ties with Right-wing organizations, law firms and media. This brings to mind the security company HBGary and two others, and the law firm named in this article:

By IBTimes February 16, 2011 8:08 AM EST

Anonymous, the hacker collective known for its attacks on WikiLeaks detractors, has crossed swords with HBGary and two other private security firms in what has come to seen as the latest retaliation to the HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr's plan to hand over the identity details of the faceless hackers to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In the latest reports, Anonymous claims to have uncovered proposals by a group of data intelligence companies to attack WikiLeaks ahead of reportedly planned disclosures on Bank of America (BoA). Besides HBGary Federal, two other security firms accused of planning to attack the whistleblower site are Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies. Emails leaked by the hackers suggest the three private security firms outlined a plan to attack Wikileaks upon request from Hunton and Williams, a law firm working for BoA.

And, the Wiki entry detailing HBGary's dirty tricks plans:

Some of the documents taken by Anonymous show HBGary Federal was working on behalf of Bank of America to respond to Wikileaks' planned release of the bank's internal documents.<4> The plan included "disrupting" reporter Glenn Greenwald in his support of Wikileaks.<14> Emails detail a supposed business proposal by HBGary to assist Bank of America's law firm, Hunton & Williams, in a "dirty tricks campaign" that included proposals to fabricate "false documents".<21> "Potential proactive tactics against WikiLeaks include feeding the fuel between the feuding groups, disinformation, creating messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization, and submitting fake documents to WikiLeaks and then calling out the error."<22>

Emails indicate Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and the law firm Hunton & Williams (recommended to Bank of America by the US Justice Department)<14> all cooperated on the project.<22> Other e-mails appear to show the U.S. Chamber of Commerce contracted the firms to spy on and discredit unions and progressive groups.<23><24>

And this revelation that HBGary claimed to be a USG Intelligence Community contractor:

There are threads aplenty to pull on here: Who is HBGary Federal? Who are its clients? What have they done for them in the past? Whats the connection with Hunton & Williams? Why did the Justice Department recommend Hunton & Williams to Bank of America?

A look through Factiva shows only one media hit for HBGary Federal in the last two years before the flurry of the past week. And its a very interesting one. This from SC Magazine, which covers IT security (emphasis mine):

HBGary Federal, provider of classified security services to the U.S. Department of Defense and the intelligence community, has partnered with Palantir Technologies, maker of analytics platforms. HBGarys team of researchers will leverage Palantirs analysis tool suite to provide enhanced threat intelligence.

Finally, what do we know the private investigators under contract to Murdoch's News of the World were actually doing? Among others, they wiretapped politicians and public figures, including members of the British Royal Family:

(T)he findings of Mr Justice Gross, the judge who sentenced (NOTW investigator) Glenn Mulcaire at the Old Bailey in January 2007, who said that he was satisfied that Mulcaire has dealt with "others at News International" beyond Goodman when he listened to the voicemails of public figures including Max Clifford, the Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes and supermodel Elle Macpherson.

In a sample chapter titled "The Approach", Mulcaire recounts receiving the telephone call which instructed him to tap the phones of members of the Royal Family. He writes: "It was just one of those normal calls. I'd get around 10 or 20 each year. 'We've got information we want you to look at, get yourself here as soon as you can.' It was from the News of the World. Never the politest of people. But I was under contract so there was little choice to get over there..."

In the following chapter, "The Operation", Mulcaire adds: "I didn't want to do the assignment. Anything that involves the Royals or the Establishment has me twitchy straight away, but I was under contract and you just have to switch off about the specifics and be professional. That's what you have to be to be a good private investigator and I considered myself to be among the best."

Mulcaire's phone-tapping exploits began to unravel in November 2005 after the publication of a News of the World story, written by Goodman, which revealed that Prince William had "pulled a tendon in his knee" something only a handful of people knew.

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