Firm Involved In Planning Attack On Journalist Glenn Greenwald To Hurt Wikileaks Apologizes; Cuts Ties With HBGary Federal

from the fallout dept

Yesterday we had the news of how HBGary Federal -- the firm whose CEO claimed he had "infiltrated" the non-group's leadership and identified who ran the non-group (which doesn't actually have "leaders" in the traditional sense) -- had been exposed for planning a propaganda attack on Wikileaks at the request of some lawyers working with Bank of America (and, it turns out, recommended by the Justice Department). Part of the strategy was to somehow put a tremendous amount of pressure on Salon writer Glenn Greenwald to stop his support of Wikileaks. Exactly how that was to work was not entirely explained.

However, the Tech Herald, which broke the original story, has now spoken with the CEO of Palantir Technologies, one of the two other companies that HBGary Federal had teamed up with in this proposal. Dr. Alex Karp, who is both the co-founder and CEO of Palantir, seems to be genuinely sorry about the whole ordeal, saying he told his firm to cut all ties with HBGary Federal, and issuing an apology to Greenwald.
"The right to free speech and the right to privacy are critical to a flourishing democracy. From its inception, Palantir Technologies has supported these ideals and demonstrated a commitment to building software that protects privacy and civil liberties. Furthermore, personally and on behalf of the entire company, I want to publicly apologize to progressive organizations in general, and Mr. Greenwald in particular, for any involvement that we may have had in these matters."
Meanwhile, HBGary Federal apparently remains pretty quiet...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Lisae Boucher (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 5:21am

    Are they hoping to avoid a lawsuit and a huge claim for damages?

     

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  2.  
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    Jon Renaut (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:15am

    That's not an apology

    . . . any involvement that we may have had. . .

    If you don't admit wrongdoing, you haven't apologized. Good for them for cutting ties with the other firm, but that doesn't count as an apology.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:26am

    Rough translation: Now this is in public, we can no longer go down this road. We will select another firm to come up with a more devious way to accomplish our goals in private.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    TechDan (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    HBGary is silent

    because they've taken a massive hit to their credibility.

    Who would believe anything they say now?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    Re:

    More like hoping to avoid an attack from Anonymous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    davebarnes (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:40am

    HBGary is silent

    because they got pwned by Anonymous big time.

    I find this very funny: https://twitter.com/aaronbarr

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    An object lesson in the evils of secrecy

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Dragos (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:44am

    Glenn Greenwald

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    An object lesson in the evils of secrecy

    Oops! Sorry for the inadvertent empty post.

    Palantir is an object lesson in the evils of secrecy. They got involved with government agencies that cloak themselves in secrecy, justified or not. I think the involvement put Palantir on a slippery slope when it comes to the ethics of their actions. They were clearly willing to do more under the cover of secrecy than they would do without the secrecy.

    Secrecy, especially the compartmentalized-knowledge, institutionalized variety favored by the US Government almost inevitably leads to abuses we all later regret.

    And just to do a bit of lightening rod action, "palantir" is a word from J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" books. Essentially, it's a crystal ball. In the Lord of the Rings, people used them for remote viewing and communications. The idea of a crystal ball is clearly public domain, but is the word "palantir" itself? Perhaps "Palantir Technologies" is a copyright infringer, a.k.a. "pirate". In which case, it would be no surprise that they'd do regrettably unethical things.

     

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  10.  
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    Trails (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    Translation

    Please leave us alone, Anonops.

     

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  11.  
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    Michael, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    Re: HBGary is silent

    The US government?

     

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  12.  
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    giafly, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 7:18am

    Good choice of company name

    "the palantíri were major plot points during the events of The Lord of the Rings. Importantly, every character who attempted to look through a palantír was deceived"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palant%C3%ADr

     

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  13.  
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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Can't blame him for apologizing...next he will be making a contribution to the Bradley Manning Defense Fund!

     

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  14.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 8:06am

    Re: Good choice of company name

    BUT BUT... COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re:

    thats only part of it. they also want to come out relatively unscathed in the publics eye and not get tied up in whatever may happen to hbgf in the near future.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    You know, I wasn't sure before, but now both WikiKeaks and Anonymous are my heroes. Exposing all this secret crap is very clearly the right thing to do. God bless them!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 9:56am

    Re: Good choice of company name

    Heh. I was going to post that last sentence. You have to wonder about their judgement if they went with that name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 10:12am

    Re: Glenn Greenwald

    Great read if a bit over the top at points.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Um, hell no

    They were instrumental in helping to prepare a campaign of disinformation and cyberattacks using the Internet and traditional media, and now suddenly they develop a conscience? Give me a f#cking break. I'm so sick of this "we got caught! Quick, apologize!" mentality, but you know what's even worse? I'm not sure whether or not people are actually accepting the apology, but everyone sure lets this shit blow over fast. Just like the DynCorp pimping fiasco, and hell, as far as I know they didn't even apologize! It just blew over.

    Bah, sorry for the rant, but this shit is just getting out of hand, and we're letting it pass by with barely a blink. Something's really wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2011 @ 11:28am

    "Exactly how that was to work was not entirely explained."

    1. Pressure Glenn Greenwald.
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

     

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  21.  
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    aldestrawk (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Aaron Barr retreats

    Aaron Barr was scheduled to give a talk at the Security B-sides Conference in San Francisco on Monday. The talk was to be about how the security of companies and government installations is endangered by their employees use of social networks (e.g. Facebook). In that talk he was planning to include his investigation into Anonymous. Although he probably was not going to name any members in the talk he did have a scheduled meeting with the FBI last Monday. The stolen email messages indicate he was going to be presenting his data from his investigation into Anonymous. Given the events that occurred over the weekend, I am sure there was a lot to discuss. Aaron Barr's talk at the B-sides conference has been canceled. Billy Rios, who wrote the book, "Hacking, The Next Generation", has replaced his slot but the topic is TBA. I am not making this stuff up. There will be a movie forthcoming.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    a (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    so sincere.

    Kinda reminds me of south-parks bp episode "im sorry". so sincere.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4PGBSptYCI

     

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  23.  
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    velox (profile), Feb 11th, 2011 @ 6:26pm

    Palantir is GENUINELY sorry??

    The apology statement by Dr. Alex Karp also included this (not included in Mike's quotation):
    “I have made clear in no uncertain terms that Palantir Technologies will not be involved in such activities."
    So while Palantir seeks to distance themselves from HBGary, how genuine are they when it was Palantir's name headlining the Powerpoint slide which described plans to undermine Greenwald

     

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  24.  
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    DecentDiscourse (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 7:19am

    New term proposal: "ABd" or "AB" someone or thing

    Unfortunately, I think Aaron Barr's trouncing was so utterly epic that it requires a new term, a kind of super-form of "pwned." I propose that the terms "ABd" (pronounced "ABdeed") and "AB" be defined to mean a digital attack of an overwhelming, all-encompassing, devastating nature compromising multiple professional and personal systems and likely to result in the end of a career (or extended neutralization) and/or the coining of a new term. Examples: "Billy got ABd totally." "Somebody should AB that company."

    Now, of course there will be a need for another term if it turns out that instead of getting ABd, HBGary Federal actually setup an elaborate honey trap and was expecting this. Slim chance, given the fallout, but stranger things have happened.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    DecentDiscourse (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    New term proposal: "ABd" or "AB" someone or thing

    Unfortunately, I think Aaron Barr's trouncing was so utterly epic that it requires a new term, a kind of super-form of "pwned." I propose that the terms "ABd" (pronounced "ABdeed") and "AB" be defined to mean a digital attack of an overwhelming, all-encompassing, devastating nature compromising multiple professional and personal systems and likely to result in the end of a career (or extended neutralization) and/or the coining of a new term. Examples: "Billy got ABd totally." "Somebody should AB that company."

    Now, of course there will be a need for another term if it turns out that instead of getting ABd, HBGary Federal actually setup an elaborate honey trap and was expecting this. Slim chance, given the fallout, but stranger things have happened.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    DecentDiscourse (profile), Feb 12th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    How the hell did that get up twice?

    Is there a way to delete the repeat?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2011 @ 11:53pm

    Re: How the hell did that get up twice?

    ask mike nicely... don't worry we will survive :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    nonanon, Feb 13th, 2011 @ 3:01am

    Re: New term proposal: "ABd" or "AB" someone or thing

    What about "abarred"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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