CT Watchdog Probes DC 'Spy vs. Spy' Dirty Tricks

By Andrew Kreig / Project Director

Connecticut Watchdog's On the Horn Radio/TV News Hour available globally via Internet interviewed me Feb.22 about the consumer implications of my recent column "Spy vs. Spy As Hackers Square Off Over DC Dirty Tricks." The story describes how hackers associated with WikiLeaks exposed a plot by private security contractors to disrupt the computers and social networks of political targets around the United States. Watchdog Publisher George Gombossy, at left below, and contributor Denis Horgan led the questioning. On the Horn Producer Brian Parker provides

Tune in by clicking here for the show, which is available by archive, maintained by network founder Brian Parker, right.  On the show, I disclosed a major new story not yet published anywhere in North America regarding a group effort by major Swedish newspapers to censor reader comments critical of that nation's prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The story is significant because the average reader typically has scant resources to determine why a comment is not posted on a specific website. In Sweden this week, however, Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli undertook an investigation and just published his results.

Connecticut Watchdog, which this week announced its expansion to Massachusetts as part of its national strategy, is a leader role in publishing cutting-edge stories on the political dimensions of how Internet-access systems work. As part of this oversight, it published the Justice Integrity Project column Feb. 16 describing how

pro-WikiLeaks hackers in the group Anonymous exposed government contractors apparently caught trying to sell political dirty tricks services to a law firm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Anonymous announced that it had hijacked 40,000 emails from contractor HBGary Federal because the latter was compiling dossiers to hurt Anonymous, unions, and bloggers, among others who have been critical of big business. As we have reported here, the HBGary emails suggest that it was willing to pay bloggers $250 per hour secretly to disrupt communications of critics of big business as part of an overall contract valued $2 million a month for HB Gary. Anonymous exposed the plot before it could be finalized with the Chamber's law firm Hunton and Williams. Further details are here.

In other news, Connecticut Watchdog published an updated version of our story on New Jersey corruption issues:

Connecticut Watchdog, Court Slaps Feds Again For Christie-Era NJ Prosecutions, Feb. 24, 2011. In a major setback for the U.S. Justice Department, a federal appeals court last week dismissed federal bribery and conspiracy charges against two New Jersey Democrats targeted in a trap set by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. More generally, the ongoing court battles over the prosecutions that Christie, below left, launched as his state’s U.S. Attorney could hurt his image as a rising national political star within Republican ranks and as a cost-cutting corruption-fighter. Beyond that, the Justice Department’s policies are national in scope and raise intriguing issues about how government can best fight corruption without wasting taxpayer money and violating civil rights.

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