Three Firms, One Plan to Neutralize WikiLeaks

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WikiLeaks' global presence has corporations on edge. First, it was the private diplomatic cables about America's efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then there were allegations that WikiLeaks was on the brink of releasing sensitive Bank of America documents.

According to Deep Journal, this last threat set security firms HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies as well as analytic firm Palantir into preparation mode, which culminated in a report titled The WikiLeaks Threat and a plan they say they can use to tear WikiLeaks apart.

The 24-slide presentation is written dossier-style, with pictures of key players and color-coded organization charts with labels that include disgruntled ex-volunteers, American journalists and spokesmen, and analyses of Wikileaks' strengths and weaknesses. Among their targets: Blogger Glenn Greenwald, described as "an established professional who has a liberal bent," and was apparently critical in having WikiLeaks move its server operations from Amazon to OVH in Paris. The report says Glenn Greenwald, who has criticized politicians' reactions to WikiLeaks and said publishing the diplomatic cables is not a crime, represents a level of support "that needs to be disrupted." Without people like Greenwald, Palantir's slideshow says, "WikiLeaks would fold."

The report then examines the personality of the WikiLeaks structure, noting the hierarchy is slippery because orders aren't so much given as they are inferred. Nevertheless, it's clear who's in charge: "Julian [Assange, WikiLeaks' founder] pronounces and the minions follow."

Handling this seeming octopus, the reports says, requires a multi-pronged strategy that incorporates the basics of counter-intelligence warfare: exacerbating tensions among staff, distributing false information, investigating employees and volunteers for shady activities, and create an media campaign that pushes "the radical and reckless nature of WikiLeaks activities . . . [to create] concern among moderates."

Tech Herald says the draft is one of several, and Deep Journal traces its start to November 2010. In the interim, co-author HBGary Federal, which was investigating hackers was itself hacked February 7. Tech Journal says HBGary Inc would not respond to calls, but posted this on its website:

HBGary, Inc and HBGary Federal, a separate but related company, have been the victims of an intentional criminal cyberattack. We are taking this crime seriously and are working with federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities and redirecting internal resources to investigate and respond appropriately.
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