Head of LulzSec reportedly worked with FBI for months, participated in disinformation campaign

By End the Lie

Hector Xavier Monsegur aka Sabu

Today brought yet another international raid targeting alleged members of the hacker group Lulz Security, better known as LulzSec along with reports that Hector Xavier Monsegur or “Sabu” was working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for months.

During the peak of their activities I pointed out that their activities were in no way forwarding the cause of internet freedom, in fact they were giving ammunition to those in Washington who would like to see the internet be under total government control.

An article in the Guardian (which I addressed here) quoted one of my articles on the subject, essentially claiming that I had been tricked by the group into thinking they were working with the government.

As it turns out, I was, to a certain extent, correct the entire time. While it is now clear that all of LulzSec was not a government operation, I was correct in postulating that the leadership could be working directly with the government.

At the time, there was also concerns that the LulzSec member “Nakomis” was working with the government, although it is now obvious that they were controlling the group from the very top.

It’s always enjoyable to see when the alternative media and so-called “conspiracy theorists” are vindicated by the mainstream media months after the fact.

The operation targeted five of the top members of LulzSec across the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States and an FBI official told Fox News, “This is devastating to the organization. We’re chopping off the head of LulzSec.”

LulzSec has claimed responsibility for a wide variety of attacks on targets ranging from Sony, to FBI affiliates, to government entities like the official Senate website and even random everyday people.

Last year, LulzSec assimilated into the amorphous Anonymous and stopped operating under their own banner, although the operations never ceased.

Monsegur reportedly was facing a dozen hacking-related charges, to which he pleaded guilty on August 15, 2011. After this time, it appears that he began working with the FBI in order to receive a reduced sentence.

“They caught him and he was secretly arrested and now works for the FBI,” a source that went unnamed who is allegedly close to Monsegur told Fox News.

So far, those arrested include: Ryan “Kayla” Ackroyd, Jake “Topiary” Davis, Darren “pwnsauce” Martyn, Donncha “palladium” O’Cearrbhail, and Jeremy “Anarchaos” Hammond.

Kayla and Topiary were arrested in London, England, pwnsauce and palladium in Ireland and Anarchaos in Chicago, Illinois.

This comes after another recent international raid targeting Anonymous resulted in arrests of a whopping 25 suspects.

According to Fox News’ coverage, Monsegur was quite a helpful asset for the government. According to anonymous sources who they claim are close to Sabu as well as law enforcement officials, he was disseminating disinformation via Twitter and even protecting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other government and financial institutions from being hacked.

The FBI was reportedly able to flip Monsegur on his associates by leveraging his guardianship of two children against him.

“He didn’t go easy,” an anonymous law enforcement official involved in the operation said. “It was because of his kids. He didn’t want to go away to prison and leave them. That’s how we got him.”

“He really cares about these kids,” another unnamed source said. “They’re young [and] he is really worried about what will happen.”

After he faced his charges, Monsegur reportedly began working out of FBI offices on an almost daily basis, assisting federal agents in identifying and arresting other prominent members of LulzSec and Anonymous.

Eventually he was allowed to work from home using a laptop provided to him by the FBI while his old computer was given to the FBI along with all of the encryption keys needed to uncover his records and log them as evidence.

Fox News paints Monsegur as this godly figure in the hacking world, likening the leads on vulnerabilities that hackers “he commanded” would send him to “offerings made to a monarch.”

Furthermore, they quote an anonymous law enforcement official as saying, “In half the world he was a god. If he thought what you did was good, you’d rise up in the [hacker] community – once he blessed you, basically.”

Monsegur reportedly spent 8 to 16 hours on the computer every day under the constant watchful eye of an FBI agent who monitored his activities through software loaded on to the government-issued laptop.

When LulzSec hackers would pass information to Monsegur about vulnerabilities they discovered, he would turn around and hand over the information to the FBI who would attempt to warn the targets before they were attacked.

Monsegur and his FBI handlers were also behind a large disinformation campaign which even included getting in touch with reporters who believed they were interviewing a notorious hacker.

Sometimes the journalists would be speaking directly to FBI agents the entire time, other times it would be Monsegur himself with his handlers by his side making sure he said what they wanted him to.

“About 90 percent of what you see online is bulls—,” one of Monsegur’s FBI handlers told Fox News, referring to their quite massive disinformation campaign.

An FBI supervisory official told Fox that Monsegur’s activites helped the FBI alert some 300 government, financial and corporate entities around the world to the potential points of vulnerability in their systems, all without blowing his cover this entire time.

Monsegur also acted as a fact-checker for the FBI, verifying claims of breaches and information theft from members of LulzSec or Anonymous.

Sabu was even responsible for calling off a DDoS attack on the CIA’s public website at the request of the FBI.

“We told Sabut to tell them to stop,” an anonymous official stated. “’It’s embarrassing for the CIA,’ we told Sabu, ‘Make them stop, now.’”

Like any good minion, Monsegur followed orders and said, “You’re knocking over a bee’s nest,” to his hacker pals.

When he told them to stop, that is exactly what they did. I’m not sure why the attack was so embarrassing for the CIA given that it was not actually a hack, just a disruption of their public website’s availability.

“When people in the hacking community realize their God has actually been [in] cooperation with the government, it’ll be sheer terror,” one senior official said.

“You might be a messiah in the hacking community but you’re still a rat,” another anonymous source said.

It will be interesting to see how Anonymous reacts to this revelation, although it has been said in the past that around a quarter of all hackers already work with government entities in one way or another.

The activities of LulzSec made it very clear to me that they would be targeted for infiltration, if they weren’t already compromised.

It is now obvious that my hunch was correct and they were a tool of the FBI for even longer than I had thought.

Did I miss anything? Would you like to share your opinion, tip me off to an important story, or share some of your own writing? Email me at [email protected]

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4 Responses to Head of LulzSec reportedly worked with FBI for months, participated in disinformation campaign

  1. Mars March 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    Wow! This is a like a spy movie during warring countries. However, the spying, espionage, and warring is all taking place in the same home country. Let the revolution begin!

    Reply
  2. John USN March 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Well it’s one way of getting a budget increase by increasing threat activities.

    Reply
  3. Aoi Warai October 18, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    You don’t get “vindicated” by guessing that someone works for the government, then finding out they did. You guess is still worth as much as a coin toss. This is the problem with “conspiracy theorists”, especially those comfortable self-identifying as such. Their “predictions” are a conglomeration of their intuition, bias, paranoia, amalgamated into a “one-size-fits-all” habit of “theorizing” that everything is a secret misinformation operation. So pound your fist and pat your back all you want, you didn’t predict anything — you flipped a coin. You might have written extensively abut the coin toss, but its not worth feeling superior about. It’s not, strictly speaking, a prediction.

    Speculation that someone might be working with the government is fine. Most people with half a brain were prepared for that to be true in the case of Lulzsec. But the conspiracy theorists go ape-shit when it’s actually confirmed, thinking its a confirmation of their prophetic powers of prognostication. Well before you proclaim yourself Nostradamus, re-read your own writings about the estimated high percentage of “hackers” that are probably informants. That’s not a recent revelation, its been part of hacker lore for decades. The same is true of drug dealing and espionage. In a deceptive world, you assume hostile groups have agents in place. It’s just good security culture.

    Anyone who wasn’t born yesterday knows this. It’s not a revelation.

    Reply
  4. Aoi Warai October 18, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    p.s.
    Any hacker or technologist with half a brain didn’t get involved with Anonymous during the Lulzsec fiasco. Anonymous, though it has “groups”, is more of a tactic than a group. People who get so fired up about something like Lulzsec, thinking its new or interesting or noteworthy, are people that would HAVE to be largely unfamiliar with security and the underground community. Groups like Lulzsec are ever present, and go mostly ignored by the mainstream media. Most pull off way more sophisticated attacks than this group did.

    Also, to presume that they were a “psy-op”, meant to create political effect, means dismissing the fact that they were stopped and outed by the arrests. Why stop something that was building credibility, and fueling anti-authoritarian sentiment, if that had been the goal?

    For the purposes that conspiracy theorists generally cite as the reasons such psy-ops are launched, they would have been more effective if left in place. Think of the countless number of other groups that are left in place while being secretly funded: al Qaeda, various other terror groups and crime syndicates, etc.

    The conspiracy theorists excuse themselves from the obvious dissimilarity in the case of Lulzsec with lame excuses like “they outed them and announced arrests because we correctly guessed what they were doing and they had to cover their tracks”. No they didn’t, because no one listens to conspiranoiacs except other conspiranoiacs, not even after they “get vindicated” or whatever you want to call your coin toss.

    Always remember to factor in your own lack of credibility and sense of self-importance.

    Reply

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