The Many Conflicting Faces of Sabu

Today we learn more about the Internet hacktivist known as Sabu via fresh court documents made public yesterday, which further complicate his persona.

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Today we learn more about the Internet hacktivist known as Sabu via fresh court documents made public yesterday, which further complicate his persona. As of last week Sabu was just the leader of LulzSec, an Internet hacktivist group. But in just a few days, we've learned he was acting as an FBI informant, who turned in his fellow hackers.The more we find out, the more complicated the man's image gets. So far, these are the many conflicting faces of Hector Xaviar Monsegur a.k.a Sabu.

Sabu the Hacker

Before he started working for the FBI, Sabu got himself in trouble with the government for his hacktivism. "Mr. Monsegur was active in computer and hacking circles as far back as the late 1990s," report The New York Times's N.R. Kleinfeld and Somini Sengupta. Since then he started a group for programmers in 2002, was drawn to Anonymous in 2010, and led spin-off hacker group LulzSec. During that time, he participated in hacks again Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Sony as well as the governments of Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria and Zimbabwe, and the United States Senate, court documents reveal, notes The Times.

Then, he got caught.

Sabu the Model Informant

After his arrest, Sabu "literally worked around the clock" with FBI agents, the documents revealed, notes The Wall Street Journal's Chad Bray. "Since literally the day he was arrested, the defendant has been cooperating with the government proactively," Assistant U.S. Attorney James Pastore said at a secret bail hearing on Aug. 5, 2011, according to a transcript released on Thursday, continues the Journal. And not only did he cooperate, but he was good at it, getting hackers to dole out valuable pieces of information. In the following online chat, spotlighted by Kleinfeld and Sengupta, Sabu tricks fellow hacker Jeremy Hammond to confirm his nickname, Anarchaos.

"If I get raided anarchaos your job is to cause havok in my honor," wrote Sabu.

"It shall be so," replied Hammond a.k.a Anarchaos.

This type of work helped bring down and indict prominent hacking groups in Europe and the U.S.

Sabu the Bad Neighbor

The man was a criminal living in the projects -- it makes sense he wouldn't treat his neighbors with much respect. "He partied all night," one neighbor told The Times. "I always made complaints to the police. Nothing was done." Another complained to the Manhattan Community Board 3 about "excessive noises" for two years, according to this letter unearthed by Gizmodo. The Times explains him as "party boy of the projects," citing several neighbors saying they smelled weed wafting out of his apartment. "One neighbor said that when she left in the morning the hubbub persisted," writes the Times. "The music gives me headaches," a neighbor told Kleinfeld and Sengupta.

Sabu the Good Neighbor

But at other times, Sabu had a neighborly side. "In one neighborly gesture, he offered to use his hacking skills to sweeten other tenants’ credit ratings," writes The Times. And, he apparently once went out of his way to track down a man whose wallet he had found.

Just Sabu

After he was arrested on June 7 and started cooperating with the FBI, Sabu gave his first interview to the New Scientist in July. "I’m not some cape-wearing hero, nor am I some supervillain trying to bring down the good guys," he told them. "I’m just doing what I know how to do, and that is counter abuse."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.