Hacker accuses US government of tricking Anonymous into attacking foreign targets

0
116

A former member of Anonymous says the United States government coerced hackers to do their dirty work during an ever-escalating international cyberwar. Meanwhile, the sentencing hearing for the movement’s alleged ex-ringleader has been delayed yet again.

The hacker-turned-informant who compromised the underground
movement known as Anonymous for the FBI will remain free for at
least another two months following a Friday morning decision to
postpone sentencing for the man behind the online alias “Sabu.”

Hector Xavier Monsegur, a single father from New York involved
with a number of high-profile hacks carried out by Anonymous and
its offshoots, had been scheduled to be sentenced Friday morning in
Manhattan. He pleaded guilty to a dozen criminal counts two years
prior.

Just one day earlier, an ex-colleague within the ranks of
Monsegur’s cyber-clan published a statement in which he suggested the US
government gave Anonymous the ammunition to take down foreign
targets, and directed those orders through a cast of characters
who took direction from the infamous informant.

RT reported previously that Monsegur, better known by his
Internet handle “Sabu,” was scheduled to be sentenced on Friday
after a federal judge decided twice already to postpone previous
hearings that would have sealed the turncoat’s fate. For the
third time in 12 months, however, the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York elected once again to
adjourn the hearing Friday morning without handing out a
punishment.

Lulz Security

A spokesperson for the court told RT over the phone on Friday
that Monsegur’s sentencing has been moved to October 25, 2013 at
2:30 p.m. Should District Judge Loretta Preska make a
determination at that time, it will come 28 months after Monsegur
was arrested for his connection with a series of hacks that
impacted the websites and servers of Sony, PBS, News Corp,
Stratfor and others. Those operations were
carried out by hacktivists aligned to Anonymous and its offshoots
Lulz Security and Anti-Sec, and a number of individuals in the US
and abroad have been arrested, indicted, convicted and sentenced
already for their involvement with those groups thanks to
Monsegur’s cooperation with the authorities.

Assistant US Attorney James Pastore said previously that Monsegur
has been cooperating with the government proactively since
literally the day he was arrested.” When Judge Preska
authorized a sentencing hearing for Monsegur that was slated for
six months ago, she signed-off on postponing her decision “in
light of the defendant’s ongoing cooperation with the
Government
.”

Representatives at both the District Court and the office of lead
prosecutor, US Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to cite why
Preska has postponed sentencing for another two months, but
Friday’s news marks the third instance in which she has agreed to
delay her decision in the case. It also comes just days after a
leading FBI cyber-cop declared the Anonymous movement all but
dead and cited the arrests that stemmed from Monsegur’s
cooperation as the catalyst in their demise.

Austin P. Berglas, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s
cyber division in New York, told Huffington Post this week that
the arrests of five LulzSec hackers in March 2012 had a “huge
deterrent effect
” on Anonymous and brewed distrust within the movement.

Austin P. Berglas (Image from thebigthrill.org)

All of these guys [arrested] were major players in the
Anonymous movement, and a lot of people looked to them just
because of what they did
,” Berglas told HuffPost. “The
movement is still there, and they’re still yacking on Twitter and
posting things, but you don’t hear about these guys coming
forward with those large breaches
.”

It’s just not happening,” he said, “and that’s because
of the dismantlement of the largest players
.”

Among those top-dogs taken down last year is Jeremy Hammond, a
28-year-old political activist from Chicago who has been in
confinement since his arrest 17 months ago. Hammond pleaded guilty earlier this year to a number
of computer crimes in a deal that will allow him to escape a
possible life sentence.

On Thursday, a website managed by Hammond’s supporters published
a statement the hacktivist penned from behind bars in advance of
Monsegur’s since-adjourned sentencing.

It is widely known that Sabu was used to build cases against
a number of hackers, including myself
,” Hammond wrote.
What many do not know is that Sabu was also used by his
handlers to facilitate the hacking of targets of the government’s
choosing — including numerous websites belonging to foreign
governments. What the United States could not accomplish legally,
it used Sabu, and by extension, me and my co-defendants, to
accomplish illegally. The questions that should be asked today go
way beyond what an appropriate sentence for Sabu might be: Why
was the United States using us to infiltrate the private networks
of foreign governments? What are they doing with the information
we stole? And will anyone in our government ever be held
accountable for these crimes
?”

Hon. Loretta Preska, Chief Judge, Southern District of New York (Image from uscourts.gov)

In an earlier statement published by Hammond in February,
he wrote that the US government “and numerous
federally-contracted private corporations openly recruit hackers
to develop defensive and offensive capabilities and build
Orwellian digital surveillance networks, designed not to enhance
national security but to advance US imperialism
.” Attempts to
enlist hackers for such activity, he said, “should be
boycotted or confronted every step of the way
.”

Hammond is expected to be sentenced in November by Judge Preska
to a maximum of ten years in prison, but attorneys working with
related cases have said previously that they don’t expect
Monsegur to be sent away until the FBI has finished with
Anonymous. When Monsegur’s February 2013 hearing was postponed,
attorney Jay Leiderman said he thought the case would be
continuously delayed “until he either testifies against
Hammond or Hammond pleads guilty
.” Leiderman is not working
on the Monsegur case, but is co-representing Matthew Keys, a
journalist who was indicted in March with conspiring to damage a
computer system after allegedly enlisting members of Anonymous to
deface a former employer’s website. Federal prosecutors have
since filed a Notice of Related Cases motion linking the Keys and
Monsegur matters since the Anon-turned-informant “appeared in
the Internet chat log at the core of the Keys case, and, in that
chat log, offered advise on how to conduct the network
intrusion
” for which the journalist was indicted.

USA vs. Keys: Related Cases
by Matthew Keys

In public tweets Friday morning about the latest Monsegur
adjournment, Leiderman wrote, “Don’t expect him to get
sentenced until the Keys case is over, at very least
.”
Monsegur’s new sentencing hearing is scheduled shortly after
Keys’ next date, Leiderman added.

Meanwhile, the FBI’s claims about dismantling Anonymous may be
only instigating the collective further. OpLastResort, an
Anonymous-affiliated Twitter account, released on Friday what’s
alleged to be the personal information pertaining to roughly
23,000 employees of the US Federal Reserve.

Republished from: RT