Rep. Johnson seeks intelligence firms' contracts in ChamberLeaks scandal

March 28, 2011- Congressman writes Gates, Holder and Clapper; says he will lead investigation himself if necessary

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-04) has requested that the Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and Director of National Intelligence turn over to Congress all contracts with intelligence firms HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies.  (Click HERE to read the letters – .pdf, 3 pgs)

Rep. Johnson has led calls for a formal Congressional probe into allegations that the contractors conspired to use intelligence and counterterrorism tools to attack U.S. citizens.  “We need aggressive action to defend American citizens in the cyber domain,” said Johnson.  “This scandal cries out for a full investigation.  I’ll do it myself if I have to.”

SC Magazine: HBGary faces Congressional probe

Rep Hank JohnsonMarch 24, 2011- A subcommittee consisting of 19 members of the U.S. Congress is seeking to launch an investigation into the activities of security firm HBGary Federal following revelations that the company, together with two other security firms, Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies, may have conspired to sabotage opponents.

In a letter sent to four members of the House of Representatives, the Congressional subcommittee said HBGary and its partners "planned a 'dirty-tricks' campaign that included possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech."

Because HBGary Federal has contracts with the U.S. military and intelligence agencies, the Congressional probe is looking into suspicions that the company may have used tools paid for by U.S. tax dollars to launch private attacks on citizens and groups who foot the bill. They request to see the company's contracts with the U.S. military and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Forbes: Congressman Probing HBGary Scandal Fears ‘Domestic Surveillance’

March 23, 2011- When a small team of hackers launched a 24-hour assault on software security firm HBGary Federal last month, they did so to take revenge on its CEO, who had sought to penetrate the global collective they aligned themselves with known as Anonymous.

They did that and more. Now a Congressional subcommittee has asked to see all HBGary Federal’s contracts with the U.S. military and the National Security Agency (NSA), along with those agencies’ contracts with two other private security firms, Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies.

The hacked HBGary Federal emails that were posted online showed the three firms had proposed a plan to the Chamber of Commerce’s legal representative Hunton & Williams to infiltrate and discredit the Chamber’s opponents with fake documents,  personas, and potentially even malicious software. There were also proposals to track and intimidate supporters of WikiLeaks.

Computer World: HBGary's Hoglund sheds light on Anonymous

March 22, 2011- On Super Bowl weekend, HBGary CTO Greg Hoglund found himself locked out of his own email account. The fallout of the leaked messages from his account and that of HBGary Federal's CEO Aaron Barr has been widely reported. Yet, not from the point of view of the victims. In Part 1 of this interview with CSO correspondent Robert Lemos, Hoglund talked about how the hack happened and the lessons for chief security officers. In Part 2, he describes his research on Anonymous and why the group is making the insider threat problem more dire.

You said initially that Anonymous was not even on your radar. Why is that?

Think Progress: ChamberLeaks: Military Contractors Palantir And Berico Under Scrutiny

March 19, 2011- Last month, ThinkProgress revealed a campaign organized by lawyers for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce against its opponents using three security contractors, Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal. During an Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) asked military officials to provide contract information related to the government’s business with the firms involved in the Chamber proposal. Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), requested that the information be made available to the full subcommittee.

Palantir, Berico, and HBGary may have used techniques and technologies developed under military contracts in their pro-Chamber campaign. For months, the security firms — who named their collaboration “Themis,” after the Roman goddess of law and order — worked on behalf of the Chamber’s law firm, Hunton & Williams LLP, creating electronic dossiers on political opponents of the Chamber through illicit means.

What is known about the business relationship between these firms?

Reporters Without Borders Condemns Chamber of Commerce Attacks On American Journalists

On Monday, March 14, 2011, Reporters Without Borders,, the international organization dedicated to protecting journalists around the world from attacks, issued the following statement about the Chamber of Commerce dirty tricks campaign that used military intelligence operatives to target journalists Glenn Greenwald and Brad Friedman.

"Reporters Without Borders supports the Democrats' initiative
for an investigation on these practices for they can be
harmful to journalism."

On March 8, 2011, twenty Members of Congress requested an investigation into the Chamberleaks scandal and held its first hearing on March 14, 2011.   

House Armed Services Committee Hearings on Cyber Warfare


At 33:05, Rep. Hank Johnson begins asking questons about Palantir and Berico, and asks for the Defense Department to provide his office with the DoD's contracts with HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies, and Palantir Technologies . 

The clip below has been trimmed to include only Rep. Hank Johnson's questions:



Forbes: Congress Opens Investigation Into HBGary Scandal

March 17, 2011- ==UPDATE===: Following a query by Twitter user @Shoq, here are the 16 other Congressmen/women who signed Rep. Hank Johnson’s letter seeking an investigation into HBGary and others, via Salon: Keith Ellison, Luis Gutierrez, Jesse Jackson Jr., Sheila Jackson Lee, Chris Murphy, Edolphus Towns, Betty Sutton, Peter Welch, Raul Grijalva, Bruce Braley, Mike Honda, Barbara Lee, Jim McDermott, Tim Ryan, Pete Stark and Maxine Waters

The U.S. Congress is stepping into the continuing HBGary scandal after global hacktivist group Anonymous exposed proposals by the government-contracted software security firm to damage WikiLeaks and other organizations.

The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities on Wednesday asked the Defence Department and National Security Agency (NSA) to hand over all contracts they had signed with HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies, Wired reports.

Hunton & Williams, ‘Privacy Expert,’ Snared In Invasion-Of-Privacy Scandal

Originally published in the Privacy Times Newsletter, March 2, 2011- Reposted with permission.

A major law firm that perennially has won a so-called “Best Privacy Adviser” award, is
embroiled in an invasion-of-scandal and the target of a complaint to the District of Columbia Bar Association for violating the code of legal ethics.

The controversy stems from a proposed campaign involving Hunton & Williams to
discredit both the liberal opponents of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the supporters of WikiLeaks through collection of personal data and dirty tricks.
The Feb. 23rd bar complaint, filed by the group “StopTheChamber” against Hunton &
Williams Partners John W. Woods, Richard L. Wyatt Jr., and Robert T. Quackenboss, accuses the attorneys of being involved in a conspiracy to filch data from the Facebook sites of the Chamber’s political critics – and their families and children – in possible violation of federal law.