In retaliation to the handling (mishandling) of internet activist Aaron Swartz’s case, and after his tragic suicide, hackers who claim to be affiliated with Anonymous have threatened to release sensitive information regarding the U.S. Department of Justice. One such file is allegedly ready for immediate release on multiple servers. The hackers infiltrated the website of the U.S. government agency responsible for federal sentencing guidelines, where they posted a message demanding the United States reform its justice system or face incriminating leaks to select news outlets. In their lengthy letter, when referring to Aaron, they said that a line was crossed. Since 1:40am efforts to get into the USSC.gov website only resulted in the Anonymous message on its homepage, with the following video included.
This is: #OpLastResort.
Via cached copy:
Operation Last Resort has begun…
Warhead – U S – D O J – L E A – 2013 . A E E 256 is primed and armed. It has been quietly distributed to numerous mirrors over the last few days and is available for download from this website now. We encourage all Anonymous to syndicate this file as widely as possible.
Warhead refers to the release of sensitive information; each ”warhead” is named after each of the Supreme Court Justices, and are about to be deployed.
The contents are various and we won’t ruin the speculation by revealing them. Suffice it to say, everyone has secrets, and some things are not meant to be public. At a regular interval commencing today, we will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents of the file. Any media outlets wishing to be eligible for this program must include within their reporting a means of secure communications.
We have not taken this action lightly, nor without consideration of the possible consequences. Should we be forced to reveal the trigger-key to this warhead, we understand that there will be collateral damage. We appreciate that many who work within the justice system believe in those principles that it has lost, corrupted, or abandoned, that they do not bear the full responsibility for the damages caused by their occupation.
It is our hope that this warhead need never be detonated.
What they want.
However, in order for there to be a peaceful resolution to this crisis, certain things need to happen. There must be reform of outdated and poorly-envisioned legislation, written to be so broadly applied as to make a felony crime out of violation of terms of service, creating in effect vast swathes of crimes, and allowing for selective punishment. There must be reform of mandatory minimum sentencing. There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused, and consideration of motive and mens rea. The inalienable right to a presumption of innocence and the recourse to trial and possibility of exoneration must be returned to its sacred status, and not gambled away by pre-trial bargaining in the face of overwhelming sentences, unaffordable justice and disfavourable odds. Laws must be upheld unselectively, and not used as a weapon of government to make examples of those it deems threatening to its power.
Richard McFeely, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, said the bureau was immediately aware of the threat and is “handling it as a criminal investigation.”
“We are always concerned when someone illegally accesses another person(‘s) or government agency’s network,” he said.
Rest in peace Aaron Swartz.