For those of us who follow Anonymous, Wikileaks and Occupy, the connections between the three are not news. We’ve been watching the connections for a long time.
Finally, however, Julian Assange will be called out very publicly on at least one of his less than savory actions to more than just the Anon/Wikileaks/Occupy watchers.
Parmy Olson, who has been writing on Assange, Wikileaks and Anonymous for Forbes for some time, is coming out with a new book, “We Are Anonymous”. Olson as a longtime watcher will likely have many interesting observations. In one of the most interesting so far, Olson details Assange meeting online with Lulz Sec.
Lulz Sec was a small hacking group, a part of Anonymous, who had been involved in multiple hacks against government and corporate websites. These efforts included stealing credit card information as well as government and business information which they later leaked onto the internet.
After Lulz Sec attacked the CIA.gov website, Assange posted a supporting tweet on twitter, according to Olson. He later deleted the tweet, but reached out to Lulz Sec privately. He and a Wikileaks staff member known as “q” met in an IRC channel with Topiary and Sabu of Lulz Sec.
At first, Topiary was nervous. Here was Julian Assange himself, the founder of Wikileaks, reaching out to his team. He couldn’t think why he wanted to talk to them. Then he noticed what q and Assange were saying. They were praising Lulz Sec for its work, adding they had laughed at the DDOS(distributed denial of service) attack on the CIA. With all the flattery it almost felt like they were nervous.
Sabu told Assange that his crew was up for taking out “traditional government targets”.
Q went on to explain why he and Assange were reaching out to Lulz Sec-they wanted help infiltrating certain government and corporate websites in Iceland. They had reasons for wanting retribution on Iceland:
A young Wikileaks member had recently gone to Iceland and been arrested. Wikileaks had also been bidding for access to a data center in an underground bunker but had lost out to another corporate bidder after the government denied them the space. Another journalist who supoorted Wikileaks was being held by authorities. Assange and q appeared to want Lulz Sec to to try to grab the e-mail service of government sites then look for evidence of corruption or at least evidence that the government was unfairly targeting Wikileaks. The picture they were trying to paint was of the Icelandic government trying to suppress Wikileaks’ freedom to spread information. If they could leak such information, they explained, it could help instigate an uprising in Iceland and beyond.
This was not a deal out the goodness offered without exchange. Q was offering to give Lulz Sec a spreadsheet of classified government data, a file called RSA 128, which was encrypted and needed to be cracked. Q explained they had computers at MIT working on it for two weeks but hadn’t cracked it yet.
Topiary confessed to Assange that they had been behind the HB Gary hack, which thereafter resulted in a leak of 75,000 emails, including personal emails. Assange told them they could have structured the leak better.
Topiary and Sabu invited the Wikileaks pair over to Sabu’s server and created a channel for them. Q said he wished they could help the group more obviously with things like servers but that they didn’t want to link Wikileaks too obviously to Lulz Sec. The team received links to 2 government websites and one company website to the rest of the team for which they were to find ways to get into their networks and grab their emails.
What Assange didn’t know was that Sabu, by this point, was working with the FBI as an informant and likely all this was being monitored.