In February, ThinkProgress broke a story revealing that attorneys for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had communicated with a set of military contractors — HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies — to develop tactics for sabotaging and spying on the Chamber’s progressive critics. The Chamber attorneys and the security firms discussed targeting ChamberWatch, the SEIU, MoveOn, ThinkProgress, and other groups. The proposals details efforts to steal private computer information, spy on the families of the Chamber’s critics, and plant false documents within organizations opposed to the Chamber’s agenda.
ThinkProgress has uncovered yet another presentation from one of the private security firms describing plans for the Chamber. Because of a technical glitch, a few emails of the 75,000 emails leaked to the public from one of the defense firms did not process. One of the emails now processed correctly reveals yet another proposal, created by HBGary Federal executive Aaron Barr, and forwarded to the other security firms. Although it appears not to have been completed, the last slide in the presentation lists tactics — labeled “Discredit, Confuse, Shame, Combat, Infiltrate, Fracture” — to “mitigate [sic] effect of adversarial groups while seeking litigation.” View a selection of the slides below:
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The presentation was emailed on November 17, 2010, a period of time in the midst of several meetings between the private security firms and lawyers representing the Chamber. As we have detailed, emails obtained by ThinkProgress indicate that officials working directly for the Chamber may have also had direct knowledge of at least some of the proposals.
The Chamber has distanced itself from the controversy. In a blog post, a top Chamber official says they never finalized any deal with the security firms for the hacking proposal against the Chamber’s progressive critics.
Currently, there are a handful of lawmakers looking to investigate the ChamberLeaks controversy. Last week, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) again requested contract information about the U.S. government’s relationship with the firms HBGary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies. At an Armed Services subcommittee hearing, Johnson pressed Teri Takai, acting assistant secretary for the Department of Defense office of Networks and Information Integration, about current government contracts with the firms involved in the ChamberLeaks scandal. Takai avoided Johnson’s question about the ethics of taxpayer-funded defense firms using military-style technology against political opponents, but said she would follow up with his request for disclosure. Watch it: