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

By FZ - Posted on 08 March 2011

- 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.

One presentation, detailed in a 24-page PowerPoint slideshow, was put together as a means of pitching potential clients like the Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America, which was readying itself in anticipation of being the whistle-blowing Web site's next target.

On Monday, Georgia lawyer and congressman Henry "Hank" Johnson, Jr., wrote a four-page letter signed by 20 of his congressional colleagues calling for a probe of Hunton and the three tech companies over their alleged conduct. (The Washington Post and have more on Johnson's request and the e-mails stolen from HBGary, some of which can be found here.)

Last week a Chamber of Commerce critic called Stop the Chamber filed a 14-page ethics complaint with The District of Columbia Bar against Hunton partners Robert Quackenboss, John Woods, and Richard Wyatt, Jr. The complaint accuses the trio of violating a D.C. Bar rule prohibiting conduct involving "dishonest, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation" by collaborating with HBGary, Palantir, and Berico to target Chamber of Commerce critics.