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AntiSec hackers retaliate after Anon-collaborator arrested by FBI

Published time: September 13, 2012 19:05
Edited time: September 14, 2012 02:09
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images / AFP

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images / AFP

In retaliation for a Wednesday night raid that ended with frequent Anonymous collaborator Barrett Brown placed in federal custody, the group AntiSec has released credit card data believed to belong to more than a dozen government officers.

The Dallas home of Project PM founder Barrett Brown, an independent researcher, activist and informal spokesperson for Anonymous, was raided by armed officers on Wednesday after he uploaded the last of several videos to the Internet calling for an investigation into the FBI. He was in court later Thursday and charged with threatening a federal officer.

Only hours after news of his arrest first made the rounds online, AntiSec, a branch of the Anonymous movement that seeks to expose and exploit lax security practices, responded with a statement that explains, “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

“Barrett Brown, our controversial hated/loved friend,” was raided, the Thursday afternoon memo credited to the AntiSec collective reads. Brown was participating in a live video chat on the Internet at the precise moment his home was stormed by authorities, allowing many of his acquaintances to have a front-row seat to the event. AntiSec suggests all so-called Anons should view the clip, since uploaded online, “then try to come and convince us that FBI is not mad as hell at us.”

“if u dont want to trust us, it's ok, you shouldn't. but dont be dumb and at least to not realise something here is kinda fishy currently,” the statement reads.

Brown’s mug shot and a brief profile were posted on the Dallas County Jail Lookup System’s website momentarily on Wednesday before his status was updated to read “in transit.” Thursday morning, Brown’s information disappeared from the database and the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas confirmed that the suspect had been taken into federal custody to make a court appearance that afternoon. The Dallas County clerk’s office was uncertain if Brown would be arraigned immediately, but said he was scheduled to have his charges read and be presented with an attorney. RT was directed to the US Attorney’s Office in Dallas for more information preceding the court appearance but our calls have not immediately been returned.

Attorney Jay Leiderman, a California-based lawyer that has provided legal assistance and representation to accused members of Anonymous in the past, confirms that Brown was apprehended over alleged threats made against an FBI officer. Brown went before a magistrate on Thursday afternoon and was ordered to be held without bail.

Through his work with Project PM, Brown has spearheaded probes into several governmental contractors, notable Palantir and HBGary, and believes that the US Justice Department has been routinely involved in criminal activity targeting activists. This week, Brown said that both the FBI and HBGary had sought the services of a paid informant to help drum up charges against himself relating to fraud and hacking, and that federal agents, led by FBI Officer Robert Smith, had put his life at risk.

In emails Brown claims to have obtained between HBGary staffers and alleged FBI informant Jennifer Emick, the two parties are said to discuss searching for “Something to get Barrett Brown picked up on” while Emick was on the payroll of both the private company and federal investigators looking to trump up charges.

“I don’t know if the FBI knew that, but they know that now. Because I know it, and they monitor me,” Brown said in the video, uploaded only one day before he was detained.

Just hours before his arrest, Brown claimed through a YouTube video he uploaded that Officer Smith and other FBI agents have threatened the safety of himself and his mother by engaging with informants who sought to expose personal details that would put both him and his family in immediate danger since, as Brown claims, the FBI is aware that the Zeta drug cartel has threatened him in the past. He uploaded around 30 minutes worth of material discussing the case onto YouTube in the hours before the raid.

In retaliation for his arrest, Antisec posted the full credit-card use data for 13 accounts believed to belong to government officials, complete with .gov email addresses registered with the data.

“This data could be potentially and underteminatedly false as FBI could potentially claim,” writes AntiSec, “they also would be a potentially different set than those we released from Stratfor and they could just potentially bring an underterminate amount of lulz. but what the hell, you are free to try them if u want. spend a lot!!!! send flowers to Barrett!!!”

Brown was detained by the FBI earlier this year and had several of his personal computers taken into custody by the authorities as a result. This week, Brown uploaded a video ultimatum to the FBI, demanding that they return his possessions within the next 14 days.

“I want everyone to know a demand I’m making to the FBI today. That I will have my stuff returned to me in two weeks. No later,” Brown insists, specifying that among the items taken from him were his laptop, his mom’s computer, his personal calendar, notebook, and X-Box video game system.

“When I get it back I’m going to release some stuff that’s on there, and they don’t know what I have access to. That I have copies of that is on there. They don’t want me to have it back. There’s a reason they’re not giving it back, even copies of it. They aren’t done with it,” Brown says.

Later, Brown says, “They have two weeks and 24 hours from now I will receive a call from Robert Smith himself apologizing for what happened.” The next day, Brown released a third video claiming that Officer Smith threatened that the District Attorney’s office was filing obstruction of justice charges against Brown’s mother.

“My fucking mom is being threatened by a fucking US DA and a fucking chickenshit little faggot cocksucker, a little FBI agent — Robert Smith, who we are investigating now,” he said.

In the video, uploaded with the title, Why I'm Going to Destroy FBI Agent Robert Smith Part Three: Revenge of the Lithe, Brown explains, “So that’s why Robert Smith’s life is over. And when I say his life is over, I don’t say I’m going to kill him. But I am going to ruin his life and look into his fucking kids because (HB Gary CEO) Aaron Burr did the same thing and he didn’t get raided for it. How do you like them apples?”

If convicted of making a threat made against a federal law enforcement officer with intent to retaliate against the performance of official duties, Brown could be sentenced to no more than 10 years in prison.

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