AM Law Daily: Congressional Dems Seek Hunton Probe, HBGary CEO Resigns

- by Brian Baxter

March 1, 2011- A day after some House Democrats called for an investigation into Hunton & Williams and three tech firms over an alleged plot to attack WikiLeaks supporters and critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the CEO of one of the companies stepped down.

Aaron Barr, CEO of cybersecurity services firm HBGary, told Threatpost on Tuesday that he was resigning his position to focus on his family and allow his company to move on following the attacks by Anonymous. The so-called hacktivist group stole 71,000 e-mails from HBGary after Barr told the Financial Times that he planned to reveal the names of some of the organization's leaders.

As previously reported by The Am Law Daily and The National Law Journal, a sibling publication, Hunton became embroiled in the dispute after the pilfered e-mails revealed that the firm was working with HBGary and two other tech companies--Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies--to craft a rapid response plan to leaks by WikiLeaks and affiliated groups.

Rep. Johnson, colleagues call for full Congressional investigation of "Chamberleaks" scandal

20 members of U.S. House call for hearings on planned ‘dirty-tricks’ campaign that targeted critics of U.S. Chamber of Commerce 

March 1, 2011-

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), along with 19 colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives, today called for a full and immediate Congressional investigation of evidence that three prominent defense and intelligence contactors and a leading Washington, D.C., law firm planned a dirty-tricks campaign to undermine and discredit critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A series of e-mails recently revealed to the public indicates that defense contractors HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies, and Palantir Technologies may have conspired to conduct an unethical and possibly illegal campaign to undermine American citizens and organizations, including national labor unions, U.S. Chamber Watch, and the Center for American Progress.  

Pacific Free Press: WikiLeaks' Threat and Other Tales from the Dark Side

March 6, 2011- It all began with news that WikiLeaks would soon shine a spotlight on the thieves dominating the global financial sector, those self-styled "masters of the universe" reigning over capitalism's Borg hive. Scant months later, as a result of hubris and egomaniacal greed, an enormous window was smashed open and a sharp, merciless light flooded the dark recesses of the dirty world of corporate spying.

Last November, Julian Assange told Forbes that WikiLeaks next target would be a "major American bank."

"It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume," Assange informed journalist Andy Greenberg.

"For this, there's only one similar example. It's like the Enron emails."

This was no idle threat. Back in January, Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer, a former executive with Switzerland's Bank Julius Baer turned over two CDs to Assange at a London press conference.

Hunton & Williams Mentioned in Washington Post Article About Dirty Tricks

WASH PO: Hacked e-mails show Web is an increasingly useful tool in dirty-tricks campaigns

By Dan Eggen
Friday, March 4, 2011; 11:39 AM
 

Although much of K Street spends its time plying the halls of Congress on behalf of well-heeled clients, there is a growing dark side to Washington's lobbying and public-relations industry: figuring out new ways to undermine and sabotage opponents.

This little-discussed aspect of the influence business came into view in recent weeks with the release of thousands of hacked corporate e-mails, which detail a pair of high-tech dirty-tricks campaigns aimed at supporters of WikiLeaks and foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Legal Ethics Forum: Hunton & Williams vs. Wikileaks

-By Brad Wendel

February 15, 2011- Several stories in the mainstream media and progressive blogs have reported on a meeting in which several security firms pitched for the business of Hunton & Williams in connection with the threatened disclosure of Bank of America documents by Wikileaks.  (See the WaPo, NYT, the Guardian, and Salon, and this post on a DailyKos affiliated blog.)  Hunton & Williams represents BoA, and the firms were trying to figure out a way to get out ahead of the disclosures and protect the bank as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The proposal involved a strategy of disinformation aimed at discrediting Wilkileaks as well as prominent supporters in the media, including Glenn Greenwald at Salon.  Numerous documents have come to light detailing the proposals to Hunton & Williams, including a PowerPoint presentation in which the three security firms, HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies proposed to submit faked documents to Wikileaks and subsequently expose them as fakes.  The presentation also suggested threatening the career of Greenwald, as well as reporters at the New York Times and the Guardian. 

ARS Technica: Dems push for Congressional investigation of HBGary Federal

March 1, 2011- Embattled HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr quit his job yesterday as the prospect of a Congressional investigation loomed. A dozen Democrats in Congress asked various Republican committee chairs to launch probes of HBGary Federal's idea for a "reconnaissance cell" targeting pro-union organizers.

HBGary Federal was hacked last month by Anonymous after Aaron Barr believed he had unmasked much of the group's leadership—and Barr's entire cache of corporate e-mails was made public. Those messages revealed that Barr had joined up with two other security firms, Palantir and Berico, to pitch the powerhouse DC law firm of Hunton & Williams on an idea to go after union-backed websites who opposed the US Chamber of Commerce. The scheme, if adopted, would have cost the Chamber up to $2 million a month.

The three companies called themselves Team Themis, and instead of providing simple "business intelligence," they had a few other ideas: