A military judge sentenced Army Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of eye-opening classified documents to WikiLeaks. There is now a #BecauseofBradleyManning “twitterstorm” happening that leads to a Pastebin post with suggested tweets. Amie Stepanovich with EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) pointed out in a tweet:
Meanwhile, another day, another piece of the NSA spying scandal exposed as unnamed sources familiar with NSA surveillance capabilities told the Wall Street Journal:
The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology.
It used to be that we’d hear about government spying and other civil liberty-smashing news from LulzSec and AntiSec hackers dumping the digital dirt on the “guilty” parties. Do we hear less about the hacking collective Anonymous pulling off high-profile cyberattacks on American businesses because the FBI “dismantled the leaders,” or because members of Anonymous have a new and “wiser” game plan about leaking classified info?
No more large-scale breaches by Anonymous due to FBI . . . so says FBI agent
Austin Berglas is a former Army captain who currently works as assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's New York cyber division. The FBI believes that busting members of LulzSec “had a ‘huge deterrent effect’ on Anonymous,” Berglas told the Huffington Post. After Hector Xavier Monsegur aka Sabu turned snitch, it created “an ‘added layer of distrust’ within the hacking group.”
"The movement is still there, and they're still yacking on Twitter and posting things, but you don't hear about these guys coming forward with those large breaches," Berglas added. "It's just not happening, and that's because of the dismantlement of the largest players."
More classified leaks on the way courtesy of Anonymous . . . so says Army officer secretly in Anonymous
Compare that with the interview on BuzzFeed about “Anonymous’ secret presence in the U.S. Army.” In it, an active-duty Army captain and member of Anonymous talks about the “handshaking phase” and building trust among the many Army members secretly involved in Anonymous. Some Army officers are wary of others “working undercover for the Central Investigative Division” (CID), but the crackdown on whistleblowers, on Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden has pretty much guaranteed that “more leaks are on the way.”
BuzzFeed’s Justine Sharrock asked, “Are the retaliations against Manning and Snowden discouraging Anonymous activity and the desire to leak information?”
The Anonymous Army officer replied:
They are watching as the government comes down harder and harder. There is a growing sense of disdain and hatred because we are complicit in it. There are some secrets that need to be secrets but the stuff [the military] keeps secret just to protect the bottom line — you just feel like you are selling your soul every day. That is a lot of the motivation. Especially for people of the generation that believe that information should be free.
When directly asked if there will be future leaks, GI Joe Anonymous said:
Yes. A lot [of Anonymous members] are mid- to high-rank NCOs. They are well-respected, have connections, and overly large security clearances. A lot of people who are part of the [Anonymous] culture are just dying at this point for something to come across their table that isn’t already out there. It is so easy to leak information that if you want to, you can do it.
It remains to be seen what will or will not happen, but you gotta wonder . . . did this all start #BecauseofBradleyManning? Or did it start because people living in the "land of the free" are unhappy about living under a microscope that belongs to a surveillance society of distrust?