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

By FZ - Posted on 23 March 2011

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?

BERICO TECHNOLOGIES: Berico’s co-founders, CEO Guy Filippelli and COO Nick Hallam have issued a statement claiming that Berico “does not condone or support any effort that proactively targets American firms, organizations or individuals,” calling the actions “reprehensible.”

However, Berico’s initial proposal to Hunton & Williams called for the “open source collection of information on target groups and individuals that appear organized to extort specific concessions through online slander campaigns.”

Furthermore, Berico COO Nick Hallam signed a contract with HBGary in November to “better conduct cyber investigations and corporate campaign analysis” in response to the request of Hunton & Williams.

In pursuit of this unethical project to proactively target the Chamber’s political adversaries, Berico employees then uploaded data scraped from Facebook onto Palantir’s servers.

Emails indicate that Berico CEO Guy Fillippelli met with Hunton & Williams partner Bob Quackenboss, the primary contact with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to negotiate pricing of the spying campaign.