Anonymous and LulzSec member Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in jail today, his punishment for pleading guilty to one count of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It was the maximum time he faced.
Hammond, who went by "Anarchaos," was one of several LulzSec members turned in to the FBI by their own leader, Hector Xavier Monsegur (a.k.a "Sabu"). He was arrested March 2012 and plead guilty in May 2013 to hacking into the computers of a private intelligence firm called Stratfor.
The 28-year-old expected to be punished harshly, telling the Guardian yesterday that the prosecution's recommendation that he serve 10 years was a "vengeful, spiteful act." He used his sentencing statement to rail against the government and explain that his actions, though knowingly illegal, were the only way he knew to create change:
Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s [sic] own citizens or the international community.
He also mentioned Chelsea Manning:
I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.
I thought long and hard about choosing this path again. I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.
And said he only hacked into Stratfor's systems because Sabu, while working as an FBI informant, told him to:
I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention. Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Loretta A. Preska accused him of "causing mayhem" and "widespread harm," as well as displaying "unrepentant recidivism."
Hammond had the support of many, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which wrote a letter of support last week; Russell Brand, who tweeted that Hammond was a "legit hero"; and Wikileaks, which followed his sentencing by promptly releasing all of the files Hammond acquired from hacking Stratfor.
As he was lead out of the courtroom, New York Times reported, Hammond pumped a fist in the air and said "Long live Anonymous! Hurrah for anarchy!"