Posted on | January 13, 2013 | 28 Comments
New information about Neal Rauhauser’s activities has been published recently, and I’m trying to figure out where to begin.
Recall that it was Rauhauser’s involvement in the legal battle between Brett Kimberlin and Aaron Walker that first interested me in that story. Rauhauser’s interest in the 2011 WeinerGate scandal brought him into conflict with SWATting target Mike Stack, who today published links to e-mails between Rauhauser and an online researcher named Kelly Hallissey.
This involves a 50-page PDF document published by a site allied with Anonymous, which has also published several other files related to Rauhauser, including: Phone conversations involving “Project Vigilant” — a government-connected information research operation — and a phone conversation in which Neal admits to being “Carlito2000,” who played a key role in the Barrett Brown meltdown. (Brown, a former spokesman for Anonymous, was arrested in September for a video rant in which he threatened to “destroy” an FBI agent.)
What seems to be clear from the e-mails is that Rauhauser was trying to recruit Hallissey to particpate in one of his schemes. At one point in July — see Page 44 of the PDF document — Rauhauser put Hallissey in touch with an FBI agent. The e-mail shows Neal falsely accusing Brandon Darby of three SWATtings. In a September 16 phone call, Rauhauser tried to direct Hallissey to online chat logs involving Barrett Brown, including the one with Neal as “Carlito2000.”
OK, so what’s going on here? Why has someone within Anonymous started publishing these recorded phone calls and other documents?
We can speculate on motives, but my best guess is that Rauhauser is suspected of being a government snitch, and this evidence is being published by someone who is trying to make Rauhauser “radioactive” — an untouchable, an enemy of Anonymous — so that every hacker will be warned to stay away from Rauhauser.
There is also the clear suggestion that Rauhauser is under federal investigation, so that anyone communicating with him might be under surveillance. Thus, by the logic of Anonymous, hackers connected to Rauhauser are also potential security risks and should be avoided.
How all this fits together, I don’t know yet. but I was intrigued by the publication of an e-mail from January 2012 — a year ago — in which Rauhauser is asked to meet with two FBI agents. Within two months of that date, the LulzSec raids went down. Hmmm . . .
One final note: Neal is a very convincing liar. In his conversation with Kelly Hallissey, Rauhauser tells outright lies with such apparent sincerity that it sounds like he actually believes what he’s saying. And if you didn’t know the truth, you might be tempted to believe him, too.