The Other McCain

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Was #Anonymous Busted Because of Barrett Brown’s Betrayal — or Blunders? UPDATE: Hacker ‘Anarchaos’ Pleads Not Guilty in Federal Court Appearance

Posted on | May 15, 2012 | 12 Comments

By sheer chance today, I happened across an intriguing post at Ameristroika suggesting that Barrett Brown played a key role in the takedown of the Anonymous/LulzSec criminal hacker conspiracy.

To summarize briefly: The indictment of LulzSec hacking suspects Ryan Ackroyd, Jake Davis, Darren Martyn, Jeremy Hammond, and Donncha O’Cearrbhail mentions an unindicted co-conspirator.

There are enough intriguing coincidences — e.g., a tip to the Feds from a Kansas IP address, some months after Brown had mentioned plans to visit Kansas — to raise suspicions. Was Brown an FBI informant? Has he turned snitch since the FBI raid in March? Was it all a clever scam by Brown to score a book deal?

Permit me to suggest an alternative theory: Brown isn’t as smart as he likes to think he is, and got sloppy. He trusted someone he shouldn’t have trusted, and that person turned out to be a snitch.

Has Brown now rolled over and started giving up his former accomplices in a cowardly effort to save his punk ass? We’ll find out eventually, I guess, but the question is how soon we’ll find out.

UPDATE: One of the accused hackers thinks he can beat the rap:

A Chicago man pleaded not guilty Monday to criminal charges that he participated in a series of cyber attacks allegedly carried out by “LulzSec,” a globe-spanning collective of computer hackers who targeted government and corporate websites last year.
Jeremy Hammond, 27 years old, briefly appeared in Manhattan federal court to be arraigned on the charges.
After the hearing, a small group of supporters gathered outside the courthouse with signs saying “Free Hammond. Solidarity With All Hacktivist Prisoners” and “Burn The Prison Society.”
In a new indictment returned earlier this month, federal prosecutors in Manhattan alleged that Mr. Hammond, who allegedly went by the online names “Anarchaos,” “POW” and “ghost,” was a member of the LulzSec conspiracy and participated in some of the group’s hacking activities.

UPDATE II: Remember that “LulzSec” was a spinoff of “Anonymous,” a pre-existing network of so-called “hacktivists” that made headlines by swarming online to defend Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks project. And the online battles continue between the pro-Anonymous and anti-Anonymous. Barrett Brown’s name is mentioned several times by Sean Gallagher today at the tech Web site Ars Technica in an article about “Jester,” an enemy of Anonymous.

Brown first came to my attention in September 2009, immediately after the Great LGF Blogwar. When I learned in February 2011 that Brown had emerged as a public spokesman for Anonymous, I immediately predicted that Brown was either already under FBI surveillance, or else soon would be under surveillance.

Barely four months later, the British made the first arrest in the “Lulzsec” case, and soon the hacker named “Sabu” had turned snitch against his accomplices — although his accompliced didn’t know it — and the whole thing came tumbling down. But I’ve always thought Brown’s dumbass idea of making himself the public face of Anonymous was the key by which investigators unlocked that puzzle.



12 Responses to “Was #Anonymous Busted Because of Barrett Brown’s Betrayal — or Blunders? UPDATE: Hacker ‘Anarchaos’ Pleads Not Guilty in Federal Court Appearance”

  1. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    May 15th, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

    Wow.  If Barrett Brown is a rat, he better hope he avoids prison.  

  2. ThePaganTemple
    May 15th, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    Here’s what I think might have happened. Since Brown went out of his way to promote himself as a spokesman for #Anonymous, the feds just kept him under surveillance, got a court order to tap his phone and maybe his e-mail, and before long this led them to the conspirators. Remember, Brown himself probably wasn’t directly involved in any illegality, and probably had no direct knowledge of any crimes. But he kept in contact with the conspirators, though maybe indirectly. All the feds had to do was be patient until they had all their ducks in a row.

  3. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    May 15th, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    Or he was a rat and went squealing to the Feds like a little girl when he thought he might get charged with something.  

  4. M. Thompson
    May 15th, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

     Both make sense.  The Feds could have got permission to listen in, and if he got a ‘bad feeling’ he ran straight into their waiting arms, getting himself a nice, fat plea bargin.

  5. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    May 15th, 2012 @ 9:25 pm
  6. t-dahlgren
    May 15th, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

    Barrette is a twit.

    If anyone was identified because they trusted him then they are even bigger twits. 

  7. McGehee
    May 15th, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

    Pretty much. Trusting Barrett Brown would be one of those acts of stupidity so vast that it’s a crime against nature.

  8. Adjoran
    May 16th, 2012 @ 1:18 am

     Nah, he’d be a popular guy to know, and learn lots of new skills.

  9. Adjoran
    May 16th, 2012 @ 1:19 am

    Trying to imagine a guy living in Mom’s basement being part of an international hacking conspiracy.

    He can’t go to prison – who would cut the crusts off of his PB&J’s?

  10. MrPaulRevere
    May 16th, 2012 @ 3:34 am

    I suspect Barrett Brown belongs to the ‘no such thing as bad publicity’ school of thought. As long as he’s not in prison, has access to high quality narcotics and is being talked about, life is good.

  11. ThePaganTemple
    May 16th, 2012 @ 11:58 am

     He might get charged yet, and if he’s convicted all the federal inmates will have to do is wait patiently in the showers until Barrett gets all their dicks in a row.

  12. Sources: Fed Probe of ‘Anonymous’ Hackers Continue; ‘LulzSec’ Case Could Yield New Indictments in HBGary Case : The Other McCain
    May 24th, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

    […] a public spokesman for “Anonymous.” Last month, Brown’s apartment was raided by the FBI.Brown has not been charged with any crime, and many supporters of the “Anonymous” hacker network have expressed suspicion that Brown has […]