The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘Assange Told Him He Didn’t Care How the Information Was Obtained’

Posted on | January 8, 2014 | 11 Comments

Siggi Thordarson (left) with Julian Assange

My colleague Ali Akbar called my attention to this Rolling Stone story about Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, the hacking wunderkind who at age 17 became Julian Assange’s most valuable assistant. Thordason reveals the reckless ambition and cult-like paranoia inside the WikiLeaks freak show, and this 600-word excerpt is pretty brutal:

In the wake of the Manning cables, Assange wanted more newsmaking leaks, but the material coming in wasn’t meeting his insatiable appetite or ambitions. So Siggi reached out to Gnosis, a hacker group that made its name in December 2010 for compromising more than a million registered accounts on Gawker websites.
Gnosis tipped Siggi off to a notorious 16-year-old female from Anonymous named Kayla who had just helped hack HBGary, an IT security firm that worked for the U.S. government. Gnosis claimed to have an unpublished copy of HBGary’s database, including its clients’ names and e-mails. “Don’t release it,” Siggi messaged back. “Allow us.”
Anonymous, however, ended up leaking the files themselves, and Siggi told Gnosis that his boss was pissed. “You can’t really control Anonymous,” Gnosis replied. “You can kinda herd them in the right direction but other than that lol good luck.”
But that didn’t stop Siggi from trying. In January 2011, Siggi got word that DataCell, the hosting service behind WikiLeaks, had valuable contracts pulled by an Icelandic power company called Landsnet, and he wanted revenge. “I have a funny request for you,” Siggi wrote Kayla in one chat. “www.landsnet.is is something ‘Anonymous’ should take down if it’s possible.” Two minutes later, Kayla replied that she’d just unleashed a botnet against the website, a form of a cyberattack that swamps the site with requests. Siggi tried logging on to the Landsnet site. “Haha request timed out,” he wrote.
The attack didn’t stop there. When Siggi explained that the Icelandic government had made a deal to assume DataCell’s contracts, Kayla asked if he wanted her to take down one of its sites too. “Definitely,” Siggi replied. Minutes later, a ministry site was down. But as the sites fell, Siggi joked that Kayla might inadvertently knock Iceland’s power offline too. “If you see a button that says turn off electricity don’t press it please,” he wrote.
With his connections to the Anonymous cell more secure, Siggi suggested that the group could be of even greater help – getting them more secret documents that WikiLeaks could release. “I don’t care where the information comes from,” Assange had told him, which Siggi took as carte blanche to solicit stolen material. So Siggi had Gnosis introduce him to one of the most infamous hackers of all: Sabu, leader of the Anonymous offshoot LulzSec. In the spring of 2011, LulzSec had taken down the sites of high-profile targets including Fox, the CIA and PBS, whose Web page they replaced with the title “FREE BRADLEY MANNING. FUCK FRONTLINE!” But Sabu wanted proof that Siggi was who he said he was by speaking with Assange directly. Siggi claims to have complied and arranged the Skype call.
With Sabu convinced, Siggi put him on a job: to dig further into the Icelandic government’s computers to see if it had intel on the DataCell deal. Soon, Sabu delivered. Siggi says Assange told him to have LulzSec upload the files to a WikiLeaks FTP server, which they did. And Sabu soon had more secrets to offer. He told Siggi his crew had recently hacked Stratfor, a “global intelligence” agency and government contractor, and found more than 5 million confidential e-mails between Stratfor and companies such as Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, as well as government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
But as the e-mails poured in, Siggi began to grow anxious and questioned the scale of the operation. Even though he was the one who initiated the relationship with the hackers, he worried that they were going too far. “Crossing this line by accepting stolen information and publishing this is literally just breaking the law,” he says he told Assange. “You’re going away from being a journalist organization and threatening national security.” But, once again, Assange told him he didn’t care how the information was obtained. . . .

You should read the whole thing. It confirms in detail a lot of what anyone with common sense understood intuitively: Assange is an irresponsible psychopath, and contempt for the rule of law was the core value of the WikiLeaks/Anonymous project.

Assange’s supporters will accuse Thordarson of “betrayal,” but how could anyone expect loyalty within an enterprise so profoundly committed to criminality? The moral of this complex story is ultimately simple: Bad causes attract bad people.

 

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Comments

  • Quartermaster

    “The moral of this complex story is ultimately simple: Bad causes attract bad people.”
    Yep! Bad people like Dimocraps.

  • Pingback: Julian Assange and his “Siggi” | Batshit Crazy News

  • Zohydro

    Scandies…

  • DaveO

    Bigger lesson: Siggi may be George Smiley, and he’s likely to spend the rest of his life wondering who, among his friends, will kill him for the money or for their own security.
    Spy masters don’t die of old age.

  • http://www.redstateeclectic.typepad.com AngelaTC

    Hurrah for contempt of the law!

    Seriously, that’s one of the GOP’s biggest problems. That “law and order” militancy is at direct odds with liberty.

  • http://deadrepublicanparty.wordpress.com/ rmnixondeceased

    “Say no more!” …

  • http://deadrepublicanparty.wordpress.com/ rmnixondeceased

    To anarchists and leftists, the ends always justify the means …

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    The fourth institutional factor driving deception in a society at large is the tactic of granting special dispensation from honor to those who are fighters for your side. (Taqiyya is the largest example of this, but the left uses this tactic all the time, which Stacy’s article shows.)

    But here are some truths about the Fourth Factor that show that in the long run, it is a failed strategy:

    …this is a primitive, tribalistic way to wage war. It cannot be employed in such a way that it only affects one’s enemies.

    Why? Because, when a society officially sanctions dishonorable behavior, it does so in the belief that honorable men would only lower themselves to use such a tactic when absolutely necessary. This represents a form of category error, where “fighters” are confused with philosophers, or with learned men of strong moral fiber. Not all “fighters” are true warriors.

    As a tactic, sanctioned dishonor is similar to the desperate act of releasing a deadly germ to hamper your enemy, knowing it will also do direct damage to your own fighters (in reality, the tactic of encouraging dishonor mostly handicaps the side employing it, because its own fighters are made unreliable; and unfortunately, you can never really trust them again when they come back home.) The fact is, this is a ruinous tactic; it spreads misery in all directions, and threatens to wipe the very notion of truth from the commonwealth of men.

    As Stacy’s article shows, you can’t ever trust these men again, not even if they were once fighting along side you for the same cause.

  • robertstacymccain

    If the “cause” requires you to act dishonorably, there is something wrong with the cause.

  • http://boogieforward.us/ K-Bob

    With the term ‘require’ you can get into seemingly grey areas of the “firebombing of Dresden” sort. (Which is only grey to those who misunderstand the prosecution of war.)

    The larger, “culture dooming” problem comes from replacing ‘requires’ with ‘absolves you whenever’.

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