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This story is just amazing. There is so much to it and so many highly incriminating revelations that it's like a candy store of sunshine.

Take the surprisingly overlooked revelation that Aaron Barr, CEO of HB Gary Federal, told a colleague that he intended to "post on the HBGary Fed and HBGary website, Daily Kos, tweet, and post on the anonymous FB page.” Here's the whole excerpt as posted by :

Aaron Barr “They still don’t get it. They think all I know is their irc names!!!!! I know their real fing names.” he brags to a colleague. “My plan is to post on the HBGary Fed and HBGary website, Daily Kos, tweet, and post on the anonymous FB page.” He goes on to reiterate “No they are not freaked out. They don’t get it…Greg will tell you. They think I have nothing but a heirarchy based on IRC aliases!”

Now, if we take this at purely face value, we could infer that Barr may already have a Daily Kos account, and may have posted here before. It would be interesting, when the DK3 archives are back up, to sniff out commenters who are posting anti-Anonymous (the hacking group he was referring to who "don't get it") diatribes etc.

If you will recall, in the big proposal for Hunton & Williams law firm on how to go after the Chamber of Commerce's enemies (i.e. us), one of the ideas was to create two fake "personas":

5. If needed, create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second.

In another proposal, the one dealing with Wikileaks, they talk about "feed[ing] the fuel between feuding groups", creating "disinformation", and creating "messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organizations".

Many of us have long suspected that our various community sites have been infiltrated by "personas". So in a sense, this is not surprising. But it at least this gives verification to our paranoia.

We on the left, from labor unions to environmental activists to bloggers, we are all under a full scale information warfare attack. This particular episode is just a glimpse. The tip of the iceberg. But let there be no doubt. It did not start here. This is not an aberration. And all of the parties that are claiming ignorance and feigning outrage are lying.

These operations involve corporate law firms like Hunton & Williams, PR firms, intelligence contractors like HB Gary Federal who, as was also revealed in the leaked emails, has ties with the NSA and other government agencies, and members of the press.

For evidence of the latter, look no further than the New York Times. In their only article to date covering this bombshell scandal, which may as well be titled "Nothing to See Here, Move Along", the writers, Eric Lipton and Charlie Savage, open with a big fat lie.

WASHINGTON — A fight between a group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers and a California-based Internet security business has opened a window onto the secretive world of private companies that offer to help corporations investigate and discredit their critics.

This hilarious line, highlighted in bold, sets up the deceptive narrative that will drive this story throughout - that these "private companies" acted on their own and Hunton & Williams knew nothing about it.

This is, of course, false. As reported by Think Progress , emails clearly establish that Hunton & Williams attorneys were, at the very least, involved in the planning process from the beginning, and were almost certainly the solicitors of the contract. Even Lipton and Savage's article confirms that the writers were aware of Hunton & Williams attorneys communicating back and forth with the contractors as early as Nov. 2010.

Now, before anyone thinks I'm accusing Charlie Savage of being a disinfo operative, let me make clear, that I don't. And I don't believe the New York Times or its reporters are involved in some mass conspiracy to coverup the Hunton & Williams incident. This is just the establishment press being the establishment press - always covering for their own class, playing fealty to power.

But it is widely known that some " reporters " are actually operatives working for interests other than their readers or their own papers. Who knows who they are? But when you have a story like this, where the main parties are so completely busted, it's a good opportunity to see where the establishment press lands on the issue.

So what I'm looking for to see where journalists, pundits, or editors are at on this story is threefold:

1. who is and isn't covering this story at all. So far, the establishment press has been a no show except for a few exceptions. I wouldn't call it a blackout, like the 2007 one following the David Barstow story in the Times about military analysts on network TV payrolls who were merely mouthpieces for Bush talking points. But it's close. Maybe the Times will put Barstow on this story as well and redeem themselves somewhat.

2. Does their coverage capture the hugeness of this story, that it reveals how one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in the country was hired upon the recommendation of the Justice Department to assemble a team of DEFENSE CONTRACTORS to engage in criminal and loathsome acts against American citizens?

3. Will that coverage be honest or will it following the footsteps of Eric Lipton and Charlie Savage and deceive its readers about the nature and facts of this story?

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Comment Preferences

    •  Remember that Obama's team is doing this shit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Picot verde


      As Greenwald wrote in January:
      Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama's closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama's head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs." In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-"independent" advocates to "cognitively infiltrate" online groups and websites -- as well as other activist groups -- which advocate views that Sunstein deems "false conspiracy theories" about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens' faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper's abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

          Sunstein advocates that the Government's stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups." He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called "independent" credible voices to bolster the Government's messaging (on the ground that those who don't believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false "conspiracy theories," which they define to mean: "an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role."

      As I've previously noted, conspiracies are a well-accepted legal principal, and it is commonly accepted that conspiracies occur every day, and only those conspiracies which involve powerful people are ridiculed as being nutty or dangerous.

      So Sunstein is really saying the government should use its power to protect powerful people.

      Christian, have you forgotten that Jesus was a victim of state sponsored torture?

      by Earth Ling on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:31:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Joining It. Which is different. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It is highly unlikely that it just started or started only when Obama took office.

        More likely that he (and/or members of this administration) have been sucked into the same anti-democratic infrastructure that is both above and beyond party and Presidents.  

        Yes.  I am deeply disappointed that Obama has not championed the rights and values we share to the degree I believe he should have.

        But focussing on him or any one president or party as the "enemy" here misses the point and endangers our sucess in ever prevailing againt the real enemies.

        If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

        by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:33:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's a bit early for full-blown witchhunts (7+ / 0-)

    Thus far it's only been shown that Aaron Barr is a braggart who likes taking money from wealthy people and large corporations based on fantastical claims of what he can do.  In fact, the only way he can even begin to earn his money, to the extent that anyone's been foolish enough to pay him anything, is if his boasting gets progressive organizations and websites thinking that there are "spies and wreckers" in their midst.  We're really not the purging type.

    Hey, does this make me a spy and wrecker?

    Todo tiempo pasado fue mejor. I don't believe that, but I hear this sig is permanent.

    by Rich in PA on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:47:30 PM PST

    •  it's not too early at all (9+ / 0-)

      Let's just hope it's not too late.

    •  Never too early for a witch hunt! (5+ / 0-)

      are you kidding me, we live for it.

      But I'll get back to you after I get thru all your 12, 456 comments, I'm about 1/3 thru, my eyes, my eyes!

        Next room for Spy, Wreckers is down the hall, this is Disinformation.

      "Responsible people leave neither loaded guns nor paranoid, eliminationist ideologies laying around for the mentally ill to play with".....Driftglass

      by KenBee on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 03:40:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It would be hard to damage by them here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Earth Ling

      given community moderation, and a silly lying diary by some paid hack is going to get lost in the shuffle or ridiculed.

      At the same time, ferreting out this stuff isn't a bad idea if/when it's possible but not by casting paranoid suspicions.

      In this case of this diary, I doubt Barr himself would have an account-- he'd have an underling do it to do the dirty work.

      At this point, I think it will actually be fun watching these morally impaired billionaire wingers try to do this to daily kos-- out of all the lefty organizations to target, this one should be the least productive for them.

      Can't wait to see them multiply embarassed in this project. It seems likely they will suffer more exposure, embarassment and scandal in this enterprise than they think they will create for our side.

    •  Have you actually read any of the diaries (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      or better yet read any of the emails that were dumped.

      Before making comments like this that mirror too closely the "narrative" being spun by those involved in soliciting these proposals and those joining in their development, perhaps you should look a bit deeper into who knew what and when did they know it.

      Even with what we have now, HBGary and its CEO are really bit players that provided us a window into what major US corporate interests are doing to engage in anti-democracy tactics.

      If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

      by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:37:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Correction (22+ / 0-)

    A guy named Greg Hoglund is the CEO of HBGary.  Aaron Barr is the CEO of an affiliated company named HBGary Federal.

    From the e-mail repository, it is clear that Hoglund was the honcho and Barr sort of a Guy Friday figure who for some reason got put in charge of the Federal government accounts.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 01:55:43 PM PST

    •  What Greg had to say re: Aaron (8+ / 0-)

      HBGary Email Viewer
       Original file:  8167  
      click here to show this e-mail with HTML markup  
      From:  Aaron Barr  
      To:  Greg Hoglund  
      Date:  Mon, 23 Nov 2009 17:24:03 -0500  
      Subject:  Re: Welcome Aaron Barr and Ted Vera to the HBGary management team!  
      click here to show full headers
      Full headers
      received: Array
      return-path: Array
      received-spf: neutral ( is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of client-ip=;
      authentication-results:; spf=neutral ( is neither permitted nor denied by best guess record for domain of
      message-id: <>
      from: Aaron Barr
      to: Greg Hoglund
      content-type: multipart/alternative; boundary=Apple-Mail-20--612514114
      mime-version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v936)
      subject: Re: Welcome Aaron Barr and Ted Vera to the HBGary management team!
      date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 17:24:03 -0500
      x-mailer: Apple Mail (2.936)  
      Attachments:  This e-mail does not have any attachments.  
      Hey Greg. I just registered for the portal.

      When do you want to get together this week to talk?

      I will be with Bob from 10:30-3pm tomorrow and, I have a meeting from
      Wednesday I am open.


      On Nov 23, 2009, at 11:13 AM, Greg Hoglund wrote:

      > I am extremely excited to announce that Aaron Barr and Ted Vera have
      > joined the HBGary team! Ted and Aaron will operate and lead HBGary
      > Federal, a wholly owned subsidiary of HBGary, with a focus on
      > contracting in the government space. They are very experienced and
      > most recently built a $10 million/year business at Northrop
      > Grumman. Both have won and lead multi-million dollar development
      > projects and managed substantial teams. We have known Aaron and Ted
      > for more than 5 years. These two are A+ players in the DoD
      > contracting space and are able to “walk the halls” in customer
      > spaces. Some very big players made offers to Ted and Aaron last
      > week, and instead they chose HBGary. This reflects extremely well
      > on our company. "A" players attract "A" players. Aaron will take
      > position as CEO of HBGary Federal, and will be operating out of the
      > DC area. Ted will take position as President and COO of HBGary
      > Federal, and will be operating out of Colorado Springs. Welcome
      > aboard!
      > -Greg Hoglund
      > CEO, HBGary, Inc.

  •  I read the Times article (13+ / 0-)

    this morning and I could n't help but think that here is a CEO of a computer security company spending all his time on Facebook and Twitter.  How many of his flunkies have been fired for doing the same at work?

    I loved the smackdown his coder gave him for not providing any actual algorithms. Just Barr's gut. Science has proven guts have no glory in the decision making sphere.

    The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

    by JenS on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 02:34:08 PM PST

  •  Dang it! You got me! (6+ / 0-)

    I figured no one would know that I had an account here. I mean, I clicked that popup that said it would clean my viruses and protect me online ... after I paid them 19.95...

    yeah, I'm totally not Aaron Barr - but it was fun to pretend for a while

    &xC5;what a moran, that guy

    Good policy is good politics

    by AZ Independent on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 02:40:16 PM PST

  •  I'll rec once you make the slight... (8+ / 0-)

    title edit. 'HBGary Federal...'

    and yes, I think it's highly likely Barr has or had a DKos account. He was after all researching social media and Dkos has to be a big fat target (though not as big or easy to scrape as Failbook).

    'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

    by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 02:55:48 PM PST

  •  Nicely done! (7+ / 0-)

    I wonder if you might add tags for BofA and CofC.

    Between Greenwald (and Salon, who appear to have thrown down a gauntlet over the plan to attack GG) and ThinkProgress, I think we'll see plenty of in-depth followup.  But, as you ask, will MSM-dependent citizens be fully-informed?  (I tend to doubt it.)

    And I applaud your item #2 -- the best and most succinct summary of the deep story I've seen yet --

    this story . . .  reveals how one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in the country was hired upon the recommendation of the Justice Department to assemble a team of DEFENSE CONTRACTORS to engage in criminal and loathsome acts against American citizens?
  •  New Wikileaks Informationthread in 45mins (7+ / 0-)

    "Sad songs are nature's onions."-Mr. Show

    by cedar park on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:14:37 PM PST

  •  Busted? Too easy to believe this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    doinaheckuvanutjob, Dirtandiron

    A highly-respected security firm that is so incredibly stupid that they leave their web site, email, and IRC accounts wide open to hackers? So many over the top internal communications that feed right into the conspiracy theories that will drive their so-called target group into a frenzy ?

    One thing that's probably true here. The Justice Department already has the personal identities of many of these people. Recall that it only took a few days for arrests to be made after previous attacks by Anon.

    The one thing that's also likely to be true is all the talk among the lawyers and greedy business owners about ways to ramp up the fear and hype the level of the threat to a point where the proposals for a contract become very expensive. This seems to be a bit over the top, though.

    Considering the sources of all these "revelations", there's not much that's verifiable and, as a result, credible. Every piece is obviously selected to fit someone's agenda.

    Also, just because someone doesn't worship Anon or WikiL, it really doesn't mean that they're spies or infiltrators. People against DKos sign up on DKos all the time. I suspect that the comment about posting here comes from doing a Google search for the business name and Anon's activities.

    I suspect that the mainstream press isn't covering this stuff because it's mostly based on hearsay and unverifiable claims. The idea that this is deliberately being swept away isn't a credible theory, either.

    I prefer to sit back and watch the show. Popcorn all around.

    "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:35:00 PM PST

  •  Aaron Barr has no time for dKos just now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eru, Dirtandiron, Earth Ling

    He's huddled in a corner, sucking his thumb, wondering wtf happened to his career.  I think he's got people trying still to get the HBGary Federal website up and running again and maybe get back control of his twitter account.  And his iPad (or is it iPhone, who knows?) is all shot to hell and back.  That's got to hurt real bad.

    Jesus...the fail is epic.  

    Jennifer Brunner for Governor 2014

    by Buckeye BattleCry on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 04:38:34 PM PST

    •  Barr (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      He's huddled in a corner, sucking his thumb, wondering wtf happened to his career.

       If there were any justice he would be in the corner of a jail cell.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 02:30:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't Count On It (0+ / 0-)

      These folk take care of their own.  

      Barr may slide from public view, but as our former VP likes to say - they don't leave their soldiers on the battlefield.  

      He may be tagged as the public scapegoat in this LNII (Lone Nutjob Isolated Incident) affirmative defense, but these crime bosses are loyal to their trigger pullers.  

      If health care is not basic necessity, try living without it.

      by Into The Woods on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 01:42:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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