Apparently, disgraced former HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr just can't help himself.
The guy who lost his job and was publicly humiliated after promising to reveal the identities of the supposed leadership of hacktivist group Anonymous and getting caught devising a plan to illegally discredit, defraud and spy on perceived opponents of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America is now palling around with a self-appointed NYPD/FBI "snitch" at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and beyond, according to --- ironically enough --- emails accidentally released on the Internet by the "snitch" himself, Thomas Ryan.
These two are the government corporate welfare queens and "cyber security" clowns that can't shoot straight, it seems. But at least they have each other --- and your tax-payer dollars --- as they both work for highly remunerated, government contracted security firms. And while they each claim to represent different sides of the partisan aisle, strangely enough, as an investigation by The BRAD BLOG reveals, they've found common ground in representing government and corporations in their fight against We, the People.
Barr had been CEO of the U.S. government contracted firm HBGary Federal until earlier this year, after the firm was embarrassed when their hard drives were scrubbed, their websites hacked, Barr's Twitter account defaced, his iPad remotely wiped and some 70,000 of the "cyber security" company's emails were stolen and posted on the Internet by Anonymous in retaliation against Barr who, the hacktivist group claimed, was poised to release inaccurate information about the group's supposed "leadership".
Found among the treasure trove of Barr's HBGary emails was a $12 million plot being hatched on behalf of the criminal thugs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest and most powerful Rightwing lobbying outfit. The scheme was being secretly devised, according to the emails, by the Chamber's high-powered D.C. law firm Hunton & Williams along with HBGary and two other U.S. cyber security contractors, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies. Their plans were to smear, defraud, plant fake documents and spy --- even hack --- perceived political opponents of the Chamber.
The plot was accidentally discovered via Anonymous' hack of HBGary just days before it was to be put into action. The scheme was to take tools developed by the three companies with public money for use in the "War on Terror" and turn them against U.S. Citizens like myself and my family who were discovered to have been named as targets in the emails, along with photos and personal details about us. A number of progressive advocates and organizations, including other journalistic outlets, were also to have been targets of the Chamber's plot.
Also discovered among the emails was a parallel scheme being coordinated by the same D.C. law firm and the same three U.S. government-funded cyber security firms --- who had banded together to call themselves "Team Themis" --- to target perceived proponents of WikiLeaks, including Salon journalist Glenn Greenwald, on behalf of the corporate giant Bank of America. In both plots, HBGary's Aaron Barr was seen as the lead developer of the various extra-legal schemes.
Barr, who has claimed on a number of occasions to be a Democrat, became a public laughing stock and was forced to resign in shame last February on the heels of the revelations. But his proclivity for scheming against law-abiding U.S. citizens and his vendetta against members of Anonymous has yet to be assuaged, as evidenced by both his recent bizarre, blue-haired appearance at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in Manhattan, and his various collaborative appearances in recently released emails and several Twitter exchanges with the Rightwing Ryan...
One week ago, Adrian Chen at Gawker detailed the story of Ryan, a "New York security consultant" as "the Guy Who Snitched on Occupy Wall Street (OWS) to the FBI and NYPD".
According to emails that super-genius Ryan now says he accidentally released himself, he had been sending notices concerning protest plans being discussed by OWS supporters on a Google Groups mailing list to both law enforcement and security staffers of corporations like Comcast (which was being discussed as a potential target of demonstrations) in advance of OWS activities.
Last week, Ryan took to one of the propaganda websites of Republican con-man Andrew Breitbart to release the OWS emails publicly, and managed to include a number of his own "snitch" emails in the document dump as well.
Beyond the emails from the OWS supporter's "september17discuss" mailing list, super-genius Ryan also accidentally included copies of a number of his own emails to the FBI, the NYPD and others, including Barr, among those he released to the public.
In one email, for example, Ryan forwarded a discussion from the "september17discuss" mailing list concerning a proposed plan by demonstrators to show up at NBC's Today Show with protest signs. Ryan sent the emails as a heads-up to Mark Farrell, Chief Security Officer at NBC Universal's parent corporation Comcast.
"There is a huge protest in New York call [sic] "Occupy Wall Street". Here is an email of stunts that they will try to pull on the TODAY show," Ryan added to the top of the email thread he forwarded to Farrell. "We have been heavily monitoring Occupy Wall Street, and Anonymous," he claimed.
Another forwarded email thread, which simply included discussion of OWS hopes of reaching out to workers and unions to support their demonstrations, was sent to FBI special agent Jordan T. Loyd, a member of the bureau's New York-based cyber security team. Loyd responded back to Ryan with a single word: "Thanks!"
That note was also CC'd to fellow super-genius Aaron Barr, who recently died his hair blue before making his way to the first day of demonstrations on Wall Street on September 17th. Barr now admits he met up with Ryan at the demonstration as well. The OWS demonstrations were initially publicized, and have since been strongly promoted by members of Anonymous via social media outlets such as Twitter.
In another email [PDF] forwarded by Ryan to Barr from the "september17discuss" list, this one touting a planned appearance at the protest by "Ivan Marovic, a leading strategist in the revolution to overthrow Milosevic in Serbia," Barr replied back to Ryan: "Oh shit."
"Tom Ryan and I have similar interests in social media, Anonymous, and the OWS movement," Barr told the security news site Threatpost in an email over the weekend, after their associations had begun to come to light over the last several days following Ryan's release of thousands of emails from the Google Group. Ryan --- whose blogger bio at Breitbart's site lists a number of corporate and government contracted jobs --- claimed in his Breitbart post that the emails from the "september17discuss" list revealed "Anarchists, Socialists, Unions, Democrats and Their Plans" at Occupy Wall Street.
(Earlier that same day, Breitbart himself trumpeted the then-imminent document dump in a silly post breathlessly promising the emails would reveal a "Conspiracy to 'Destabalize' Global Markets, Governments". They didn't.)
According to Threatpost, Barr claimed he was "not involved in Ryan's efforts" to infiltrate, spy and snitch on OWS demonstrators, but explained, "I am not sure what the issue is if he did this as a private citizen. After all isn't that what many of these movements are calling for, greater transparency"?
Apparently, Barr has trouble discerning the difference between transparency demanded of governmental agencies, as well as corporate entities who benefit from both government largess and extraordinary access to lawmakers, and that of private U.S. citizens who are exercising their Constitutional First Amendment rights to "peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Both Barr and Ryan make their living off of tax-payer dollars via lucrative governmental contracts. Their personal lives are of little concern to anybody. But their activities scheming with each other and against the private citizens (who are unknowingly forced to fund those schemes), on behalf of public agencies and corporate entities who owe their existence to public dollars, is another matter.
For some reason, despite his record of embarrassing failures and involvement in extra-legal plots as CEO of HBGary Federal, Barr was recently hired as Director of Cyber Security for yet another government defense contractor, Sayres and Associates.
Perhaps the firm failed to notice Barr's emergence earlier this year as a national laughing stock when his infamously failed plans to "expose" Anonymous blew up in his face, and even resulted in Stephen Colbert's mockery of Barr's HBGary debacle: "To put this in hacker terms, Anonymous is a hornet's nest, and Barr said, 'I'm going to stick my penis in that thing.'"
Or perhaps Barr's new employers, Sayers and Associates, simply don't care.
Nonetheless, The BRAD BLOG's investigation of public records --- and, ironically, the same social media sources which the pair point to as a threat to government and corporate security --- reveals Barr, the supposed "Democrat", has been palling around with Ryan, the Breitbart-blogger and Rightwing "snitch", since his ignominious departure from HBGary. Both, apparently, have a shared interest in creating fake personas on the Internet and otherwise sticking their penis' into hornet's nests, either for self-aggrandizement or for money or both.
During this year's DEF CON --- described as "one of the oldest continuous running hacker conventions around, and also one of the largest" --- held in early August at the Rio in Las Vegas, the pair were apparently "hangin" together, according to a now-deleted tweet by Barr. Though his other tweets from DEF CON are still available on his Twitter feed, the one which he tried to delete is nonetheless still posted on his yfrog page. The tweet, which reads "Hangin with #notafed," included a photo of an unidentified man who appears to be Ryan:
Compare the photo --- and baseball hat --- from the photo in Barr's tweet above to the photo Ryan uses with his bio at Breitbart's website:
Barr and Ryan have also swapped public tweets and replies on occasion, though it seems it is usually Ryan tweeting in hopes of gaining Barr's attention on Twitter.
In this September exchange, Ryan (who tweets under the name of his company, @ProvideSecurity, as well as a number of other aliases) replies to a tweet from Barr with "Stay Frosty," a phrase defined at Urban Dictionary as "A valediction which has come to mean 'be cool,' but which more properly understood is an admonishment to stay alert and on one's toes." Another user at Urban Dictionary defines it as "Something only a tool, wanna be rapper, or some who's trying to be cool uses."
You'll note at the time of his reply above, Ryan's Twitter account claims that he was tweeting from McLean, VA, where the headquarters of the CIA is located. Whether he was actually there or not is impossible to know, since Twitter locations can be set manually. For the record, Barr himself happens to live in McLean.
Government/military contractors like Barr and Ryan continue to turn their intelligence gathering operations, both privately and via the public dole, towards fellow U.S. citizens. They have little fear of being held accountable to the same rule of law as everyone else. It's simply a fact that different rules now apply to them. On Saturday, my colleague Ernest Canning wrote about the corrupt nexus between lobbyists from government contracting giant Lockheed Martin and officials from the state of Maryland who worked together to derail a simple, non-binding resolution calling for a decrease in Pentagon spending, even though the resolution had the support of a majority of the Montgomery County (MD) Council members who were considering it. That 5 of the council's 9 members had the temerity to support the resolution's call for cuts in Pentagon spending was a bridge too far for one of this nation's largest recipients of government money and the politicians they own. Pressure was applied to the County Council, and the resolution was withdrawn without a debate or vote.
Spying on citizen protesters by government contractors, working either as agents of the government, or in hopes of obtaining still more government contracts, is now the norm, rather than the exception. It's yet another example of government/military/corporate contractors running amok with impunity, as we saw in Barr's U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America schemes. Characters like Barr and Ryan have every reason to believe that they are beyond the same the Rule of Law that applies to private citizens, even as they convince themselves they are fighting for good while playing super secret agent against their fellow, law-abiding Americans.
As Salon's Greenwald, a Constitutional attorney, noted after he was discovered to have been one of Bank of America's targets in Barr's "Team Themis" scheme with Hunton & Williams, Palantir & Berico, "in the worlds of the Surveillance and·National Security State, the powers of the state have become largely privatized. There is very little separation between government power and corporate power. Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former."
In the cases of the Democrat Barr and the Republican Ryan, they stand joined at the hip against the same perceived enemies: the 99% of Americans who don't comprise the government/military/corporate elite they rely on for their bread and butter.
To date, despite all of the known evidence of the two different extra-legal conspiracies in which Barr was involved while at HBGary Federal --- one on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one on behalf of Bank of America, both under the auspices of a major D.C. law firm --- there have been no prosecutions, no Congressional hearings, no disbarments, no accountability whatsoever.
According to the HBGary emails released on the Internet by Anonymous last February, it was the U.S. Department of Justice itself who referred Bank of America to the lawless lawfirm of Hunton & Williams for the bank's campaign against WikiLeaks. Is it any wonder then that there have been no prosecutions by the DoJ? Or, as Canning wrote on Saturday, "is it any wonder that citizens, via Occupy Wall Street, have finally begun to stand up against the entire machine by occupying our public squares in defiance of those who have used our own largess to work against the very citizens they claim to defend, protect and employ?"
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UPDATE 2:55pm PT: Super-genius Aaron Barr tells Twitter, in regard to my article above: "don't believe everything you read. There are many things wrong with this story."
When I asked him in reply via Twitter for a list of those things, since, as I also mentioned to him, he's "got my email addy (& home addy & more)", he tweeted back: "your story is not accurate. I didn't participate in the group mailing list collection or release and don't know Breitbart."
Of course, my article claims none of those things. Once again, the new "Director of Cyber Security" for Sayres & Associates is clearly a genius. Or a really bad liar. Either way, I'm sure Sayres & Associates couldn't be prouder of their new representative.