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February 23, 2011

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Barr was born to be in the Stasi. Pity he missed his calling.

Ipso facto, de Vries is Commander X.

I think the phrase Tynan was looking for, here, is ipso fatso.

Russell, the way things are going, that may be the only place Barr could get hired now if he left HBGary.

Its parent company, the security firm HBGary, wanted a separate firm to handle government work and the clearances that went with it,

For those who don't know, there's probably another reason why HBGary Federal was a separate firm. By law, companies providing services for the federal government have to give the feds the best possible price of all their customers. They can't give any customer a better deal than the federal government. The law is supposed to keep the feds from getting screwed. In practice, companies establish sibling corporations that ONLY do work for the government; since those companies have no other clients, they can charge the feds whatever they like.

Julius Caesar, Act 3, scene 3


SCENE III. A street.
Enter CINNA the poet
CINNA THE POET
I dreamt to-night that I did feast with Caesar,
And things unlucky charge my fantasy:
I have no will to wander forth of doors,
Yet something leads me forth.

Enter Citizens
First Citizen What is your name?

Second Citizen Whither are you going?

Third Citizen Where do you dwell?

Fourth Citizen Are you a married man or a bachelor?

Second Citizen Answer every man directly.

First Citizen Ay, and briefly.

Fourth Citizen Ay, and wisely.

Third Citizen Ay, and truly, you were best.

CINNA THE POET
What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I
dwell? Am I a married man or a bachelor? Then, to
answer every man directly and briefly, wisely and
truly: wisely I say, I am a bachelor.

Second Citizen That's as much as to say, they are fools that marry: you'll bear me a bang for that, I fear. Proceed; directly.

CINNA THE POET Directly, I am going to Caesar's funeral.

First Citizen As a friend or an enemy?

CINNA THE POET As a friend.

Second Citizen That matter is answered directly.

Fourth Citizen For your dwelling,--briefly.

CINNA THE POET Briefly, I dwell by the Capitol.

Third Citizen Your name, sir, truly.

CINNA THE POET Truly, my name is Cinna.

First Citizen Tear him to pieces; he's a conspirator.

CINNA THE POET I am Cinna the poet, I am Cinna the poet.

Fourth Citizen Tear him for his bad verses, tear him for his bad verses.

CINNA THE POET I am not Cinna the conspirator.

Fourth Citizen It is no matter, his name's Cinna; pluck but his
name out of his heart, and turn him going.

Third Citizen Tear him, tear him! Come, brands ho! fire-brands:
to Brutus', to Cassius'; burn all: some to Decius'
house, and some to Casca's; some to Ligarius': away, go!

Exeunt

LJ:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest -
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men -
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.

...Which is, of course, the start of Marc Antony's speech over the body of Julius Caesar, in the preceding scene (Act 3, scene 2).

Actually, I was thinking of the part where you talk about the problems of singling out the innocent. Not that I think Barr is an innocent, but when you talk about mistaken identity, that is always the scene that I flash on. Should have given a bit more explanation, but I accidentally hit the post button and couldn't think of a graceful way of explaining it post post, as it were.

Greenwald is quoted as saying:

"For a lawyer to be at the center of an odious and quite possibly illegal scheme to target progressive activists and their families, threaten the careers of journalists as a means of silencing them, and fabricate forged documents intended for public consumption -- and then steadfastly refuse to comment -- is just inexcusable."

Actually, Greenwald, a lawyer, should know better. For whatever the merits of whatever else is being blogged about, lawyers should not spew forth to defend themselves if doing so might harm their clients' interests. Their refusal to comment is most likely very appropriate - the opposite of "inexcusable." If someone has standing to sue Hunton and Williams, the firm should certainly do what's required by a court.

lawyers should not spew forth to defend themselves if doing so might harm their clients' interests.

So the client's interest is the only thing that matters? There's no larger social interest?

I mean, if a newspaper found out that my employer had asked me to engage in criminal or unethical actions and then asked me about it, I'm sure my employer would prefer that I keep my mouth shut about the crimes and ethical violations they were trying to effect. But as a (nonlawyer) professional, I might just have an obligation to society to expose such criminality when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a nice reporter.

I suspect the public's distrust of lawyers stems in no small part from the perception that lawyers act as if they only have obligations to their clients and none to society at large.

None of which is to say this isn't an excellent post, Fiddler! It is!

All sorts of interesting info, well gathered and linked.

Please don't misunderstand and think that I somehow put together that last set of links just for this comment; it simply was easier for me to grab my past HTML of some links, and drop them in, and to therefore agree that people who haven't been following the very long story of governmental data-mining, Stellar Wind, Hepting, and so on, haven't been paying attention. That's all!

Please keep up the fine work!

It suddenly occurs to me to wonder if possibly you picked up the "updated" in every post title thing from Glenn?

It's something he's always done, and there are so many blogs out there these days, maybe it's become common among many other well-known blogs I'm not familiar with; it's 1000% possible, given how many Big Name Blogs I don't follow. I just wonder because you're linking to Glenn, and he's the only one I've ever noticed using that form.

It doesn't particularly matter; just an idle curiosity. Though I've never quite followed why he does it that way.

But you should definitely follow your own preferred style as you wish!

lawyers should not spew forth to defend themselves if doing so might harm their clients' interests.

Not quite right. If you client confesses to you that he robbed a bank last week, that's confidential.

If you client tells you of his plans to rob a bank next week, though, that's not confidential, and in fact, you have a duty to disclose it to law enforcement. The attorney-client privilege does not allow attorneys to conspire with their clients to commit crimes.

A lawyer has a duty to the client and to the court, (and, as rea says, to law enforcement, depending on the circumstances) but no duty to make public statements. If Hunton & Williams has done something illegal (odious or not), or if it violated professional ethics, it is required to answer whatever charges are brought against it in court or before a bar panel.

[...] The third Hunton attorney who appears in the e-mails is Robert "Bob" Quackenboss, a trial lawyer who specializes in helping corporations fight labor.
Can't resist pulling this name out. First, the fact that a lawyer who helps "corporations fight labor" has a name suggesting that he is a quack for bosses.

That's uh, too rich.

Second, let's spend A Day At The Races:

Groucho's character was originally named "Quackenbush" but was changed to "Hackenbush" over fear of a lawsuit by a real Dr. Quackenbush.
Why, yes, I am a Marxist.

This whole saga is like one way overlong Marx Brothers series of sketches, but lacking a Margaret Dumont.

[...] Two more songs were filmed but cut. One, "Dr. Hackenbush", was sung by Groucho about what a great doctor he is ("No matter what I treat them for they die from something else").
No, thenk yew.

Fiddler:

[...] Firedoglake [...] describes analysis Aaron Barr [....]
As a small piece of credit, that's "emptywheel" you're quoting. Just as you might like to be credited as "Fiddler," rather than "Obsidian Wings," though perhaps not.

Please forgive me for being fiddly. :-)

You work on this side, I work on that side, we meet up somewhere in the middle.

On ObWi, Margaret Dumont is played by John Th-- Count me, something or other, in, out, hello I must be going.

We probably need a playbill for ObWi, so one can know all the players.

I suppose a FAQ on all the regulars would be unwieldy, but perhaps they can discuss at Taking It Outside.

Why, you make me think of my youth.

'Anonymous' takes down Americans for Prosperity website:

The online activist group "anonymous," which has used coordinated denial of service attacks -- a crude but effective Internet weapon -- to temporary disable sites belonging to foes ranging from Scientology to WikiLeaks foes -- has turned its firepower on the Koch-backed conservative group Americans for Prosperity, making the group's site intermittently unavailable tonight.
Uh oh. We're crossing streams.

Hi. http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2011/02/anonymous_vs_hb.html"> Bruce Schneier on Anonymous vs HBGary.

On I hope unrelated fronts, BOA online back up, nixes hacker rumors.

BOA online back up, nixes hacker rumors
Danielle Drolet
March 02, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC: Bank of America's online payment service resurrected yesterday afternoon after some customers began receiving a "temporarily unavailable" message. The company denied hackers were involved in the incident.

The website trouble began Monday, which resulted in a number rumors suggesting BOA's website could have been potentially hacked by WikiLeaks and another group, Anonymous.

"The intermittent service disruptions that we had yesterday in online banking were not the result of any form of hacking or anything to do with WikiLeaks," said Tara Burke, a ...

I hope not. But I know some of this story is untrue, because the entire Bank of America system for all of California went offline yesterday, which I know because:
a) I recently opened an account;
b) As soon as I got home from opening the account, I found a trojan email from BOA in my inbox. I found this very suspicious, called my "personal banker," very nice clueless person who was recently hired, barely understood what I was talking about;

c) I've been unable to get through to my BoA account online for many days, after getting locked out several times, and having little time to deal with it further; since I only have all of $25 in it, it didn't matter; it was possibly my personal memorization mnemonic for my passwords had failed; I've tried unsuccessful to make them work, on and off, for some days, and yesterday confirmed the account was hacked, because the BOA security system sent my "confirmation" info to a hotmail account.

I don't have a hotmail account.

I couldn't get through on the nationwide BOA phone system.

I then called the local branch yesterday, and my "personal banker" was "on vacation."

The bank manager was helpless because THEIR ENTIRE COMPUTER SYSTEM WAS DOWN.

Duh.

Why was it down? Good question.

March 1, 2011 1:02 PM PST
Bank of America online banking down across U.S.

Bank of America's online-banking service is down for U.S. customers.

When users across the U.S. try to access their online banking, the Bank of America home page displays a message saying "online banking is temporarily unavailable." It provides no indication of when the service should be back up and running.

Bank of America has stopped short of calling the issue an outright "outage." Company spokeswoman Tara Burke told CNET in a phone conversation today that an update to BofA's Web site over the weekend is causing the "intermittent service disruptions." She also noted that the issue "is not impacting customer information or compromising customer security."

According to a Bank of America technical-support person who also spoke with CNET by phone today, the problem first occurred yesterday afternoon. The company was able to restore service this morning, only to see it go down "nationwide" a few hours later.

As one might expect, upset customers have taken to Twitter to express displeasure. A search of "Bank of America outage" on the social network reveals dozens of tweets referencing the issue hitting the site every minute. One of the more comedic comments came from a user coming to the conclusion that the outage "must mean Bank of America doesn't want my mortgage payment."

In her conversation with CNET, Burke wouldn't say how many customers have been affected by the issue. She also didn't provide any more details about the problem. She would say only that the company is working on a fix.

"We're looking to restore capability as quickly as possible," she said.

We will update this story as we learn more.

No update. Twitter had a lot yesterday.

But BOA does seem to be running again, Twitter seems quiet.

More on what's said to be so about Monday and Tuesday:

Outages for Bank of America's online customers
March 1, 2011, 5:54 p.m. CST
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Customers of Bank of America Corp. were again having problems accessing their accounts online Tuesday.

It was the second outage for the Charlotte, N.C., company in less than two months.

The latest outages, which began Monday and hadn't been resolved by early Tuesday evening, were the result of system upgrades over the weekend, said Tara Burke, a company spokeswoman.

The site was slow to load in some cases, and other customers were unable to log on.

Burke declined to say whether the bank had anticipated that the upgrades would disrupt service. But she said no customer information was compromised.

"We hope to have it restored as quickly as possible," Burke said.

Bank of America, the country's largest bank, has 29 million online banking customers.

The company's online banking service last experienced outages Jan. 14 for almost an entire day. Bank of America said at the time that the problems were the result of routine system changes that were performed overnight. The site was also down for several hours in August as a result of what the bank called a "temporary system" issue.

Burke declined to say when the bank's next system maintenance would take place. But she noted that customers were still able to access account information through mobile banking and ATMs during the outages. She also noted that the service problems were not the result of hacking.

That has been a distant concern for some customers since the company said in December it would no longer handle payments for WikiLeaks, the secret-releasing organization. The bank's actions followed similar moves by MasterCard, Visa and PayPal.

Hacker groups that support WikiLeaks subsequently managed to disrupt the websites of some of those companies, but Bank of America's site did not show any signs of being affected.

Julian Assange, the driving force behind WikiLeaks, has said his organization plans to release information about banks this year. In particular, Assange has said his organization had a trove of files on Bank of America.

I'm staying away from the BoA website until I have time to deal with my account, which isn't urgent for me, and won't happen until next week. At least.

But at the least, it looks a lot like either my "personal banker" got personally hacked, or her branch did, or BoA did, or... I just don't know right now.

What I do know are probably unrelated things:

1) Bank of America had a national computer network shutdown yesterday.

2) If they have been hacked, they're investigating now, and would not be announcing anything but denials.

3) My personal account has been hacked. I've personally verified this.

I surely hope these three things are unrelated.

They almost certainly are just coincidences.

But I know I'm feeling a bit jumpy about things computer security-wise right now.

I wish I had one of my expert computer security friends visiting right now to personally check out my own system. I'm sure I've been having odd problems simply because I'm not a security expert, nor a Vista expert, far from either, and it's undoubtedly just the normal computer problems most everyone has, and I regularly have, just like you probably do, unless you're more computer whiz than I am, which doesn't take much.

On the general subject of newwork security, and, hey, let's look at the military intel and social network side: Spy bloggers not ‘friending’ U.S. targets, Centcom says.

The U.S. Central Command says its new “Persona” social media "infiltration" software is designed to cozy up to extremist bloggers overseas, not law-abiding Americans chatting on Facebook or similar sites.

Earlier this month, the Web buzzed with a report that the software was designed to “manage ‘fake people’ on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues,” implying that the Defense Department was targeting critics of the war in Afghanistan and other conflicts.

Further compounding a sinister view of the software was the discovery of e-mails from the head of a company implicated in “dirty tricks” against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and a pro-labor organization, which discussed how such technology could be used.

"There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas...” wrote Aaron Barr, the chief executive officer of HBGary Federal, a Colorado Springs company whose hacked e-mails revealed plans to attack critics of Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

[...]

Centom's June 22, 2010, contract, offered through the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, specified that “Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries…while hiding the existence of the operation…and provid(ing) excellent cover and powerful deniability.”

“Individuals can perform static impersonations, which allow them to look like the same person over time,” the contract added. It “also allows organizations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization.”

The fake Internet personas, the contract specified, “must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms.”

Centcom spokesman Cmdr. Bill Speaks acknowledged in an interview last week that the Air Force had a contract for the Persona Management Software, but denied it would be deployed against domestic online protesters.

“The contract, and the Persona management technology itself, supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language Web sites to enable CENTCOM to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the U.S.,” Speaks told SpyTalk. “The contract would more accurately be described as supporting U.S. Central Command, rather than the Air Force -- the Wing here at MacDill provides contracting support for us -- efforts.”

Speaks said the software would "absolutely" not be used against law-abiding Americans.

[Update: Speaks adds, "The phrase [law-abiding] suggests that we might use it against Americans who are not law-abiding. The truth is that these activities are not directed towards Americans, without qualification."]

Former CIA director and retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden called the technology cutting-edge but “developmental.”

“Operationally developmental, technologically developmental and legally developmental,” he told Washington Times reporter Shawn Waterman.

But in testimony last June, then-Centcom commander Gen. David Petraeus suggested the use of such technology was well underway.

“Operation Earnest Voice (OEV) is the critical program of record that resources our efforts to synchronize our Information Operations activities, to counter extremist ideology and propaganda, and to ensure that credible voices in the region are heard,” Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“OEV provides Centcom with direct communication capabilities to reach regional audiences through traditional media as well as via Web sites and regional public affairs blogging,” Petraeus said.

Links not included, see original.

I've written about some of this stuff before. Links not being included, given that I've done well over a hundred posts, more, on data-mining, NSA, The Program, related material.

And, no, I'm not making a post of this.

I really don't feel like attracting more attention to ObWi about Anonymous right now.

I'm sure it's just jumpiness on my part.

This is... interesting. Persona Management Software.
Solicitation Number: RTB220610
Agency: Department of the Air Force
:

Office: Air Mobility Command
Location: 6th Contracting Squadron

Solicitation Number:
RTB220610
Notice Type:
Sources Sought
Synopsis:
Added: Jun 22, 2010 1:42 pm Modified: Jun 22, 2010 2:07 pm Track Changes
0001- Online Persona Management Service. 50 User Licenses, 10 Personas per
user.

Software will allow 10 personas per user, replete with background , history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographacilly [sic -- gf] consistent.

Individual applications will enable an operator to exercise a number of different online persons from the same workstation and without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries. Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms.

The service includes a user friendly application environment to maximize the user's situational awareness by displaying real-time local information.

0002- Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN). 1 each VPN provides the ability for users to daily and automatically obtain randomly selected IP addresses through which they can access the internet. The daily rotation of the users IP address prevents compromise during observation of likely or targeted web sites or services, while hiding the existence of the operation. In addition, may provide traffic mixing, blending the user s traffic with traffic frommultitudes of users from outside the organization.

This traffic blending provides excellent cover and powerful deniability.


Anonymizer Enterprise Chameleon or equal 0003- Static IP Address Management.

50 each Licence protects the identity of government agencies and enterprise organizations.

Enables organizations to manage their persistent online personas by assigning static IP addresses to each persona. Individuals can perform static impersonations, which allow them to look like the same person over time.

Also allows organizations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organization.


Anonymizer IP Mapper License or equal

0004- Virtual Private Servers, CONUS. 1 each Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup foreach customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is operating within and which allow a customer's online persona(s) to appear to originate from.

Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network and integrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer.

Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by each customer and never shared among other customers.


Anonymizer Annual Dedicated CONUS Light Geosite or equal

0005- Virtual Private Servers, OCONUS. 8 Each

Provides CONUS or OCONUS points of presence locations that are setup for each customer based on the geographic area of operations the customer is operating within and which allow a customer's online persona(s) to appear to originate from.

Ability to provide virtual private servers that are procured using commercial hosting centers around the world and which are established anonymously. Once procured, the geosite is incorporated into the network and integrated within the customers environment and ready for use by the customer.

Unless specifically designated as shared, locations are dedicated for use by each customer and never shared among other customers.

Anonymizer Annual Dedicated OCONUS Light Geosite or equal
0006- Remote Access Secure Virtual Private Network. 1 each

Secure Operating Environment provides a reliable and protected computing environment from which to stage and conduct operations.

Every session uses a clean Virtual Machine (VM) image. The solution is accessed through sets of Virtual Private Network (VPN) devices located at each Customer facility. The fully-managed VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is an environment that allows users remote access from their desktop into a VM.

Upon session termination, the VM is deleted and any virus, worm, or malicious software that the userinadvertently downloaded is destroyed.

Anonymizer Virtual Desktop
Infrastructure (VDI) Solution or equal.


GENERAL INFORMATION
Notice Type:
Sources Sought
Original Posted Date:
June 22, 2010
Posted Date:
June 29, 2010
Response Date:
Jul 02, 2010 12:00 pm Eastern
Original Response Date:
Jun 28, 2010 12:00 pm Eastern
Archiving Policy:
Automatic, 15 days after response date
Archive Date:
July 17, 2010
Original Set Aside:
N/A
Set Aside:
N/A
Classification Code:
70 -- General purpose information
technology equipment

NAICS Code:
511 -- Publishing Industries (except
Internet)/511210 -- Software

Publishers
Persona Management Software.
Solicitation Number: RTB220610
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Office: Air Mobility Command
Location: 6th Contracting Squadron
Notice Details Packages Interested Vendors List Print Link
Contracting Office Address:
2606 Brown Pelican Ave.
MacDill AFB, Florida 33621-5000
United States


Place of Performance:
Performance will be at MacDIll AFB, Kabul, Afghanistan and Baghdad, Iraq.

MacDill AFB, Florida 33679
United States

Primary Point of Contact.:
[I'm redacting; it's in the original if you click through -- GF]

Italics mine.

I know I feel safer.

Don't you?

Alleged WikiLeaker could face death penalty.

According to a new report from NBC News [sic - it's actually CBS -- gf], Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly put the "leaks" in WikiLeaks, could face the death penalty. On Wednesday, the US government filed 22 new charges against Manning, one of which—"aiding the enemy"—is a capital offense. NBC also reports that military prosecutors will likely seek life in prison, and not the death penalty, if Manning is convicted on this charge. Manning would also be dishonorably discharged.

Manning's counsel has a blog post up today with a copy of the statute that could put Manning away for life. Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, "Aiding the Enemy-Giving Intelligence to the Enemy," prohibits giving to the enemy, where "intelligence" is defined as information that is "true, at least in part."

It's not yet clear that the Article 104 charge will end up being referred to a court martial. According to the aforementioned blog post, it will be up to an Article 32 Investigating Officer to determine which of the new charges Manning will end up actually facing at trial.

Noted.

CommonDreams decided that the Persona story was "NEW!" and "REVEALED!" by them on March 17th, 2011, based on this Grauniad story of the same date.

Sigh. Ahead of the curve again. And here decided that the Persona story was "NEW!" and "REVEALED!" by them on March 17th, 2011, based on this Grauniad story of the same date.

Sigh. Ahead of the curve again. Charlie Stross was slightly mocking me in email that this was "old news" from June, 2010, as it was, although I only threw it in when I mentioned the aforementioned BoA story.

Charlie pointed me at a Ken MacLeod story, but I really need to be blogging, like I should have blogged this Persona story, sigh.

This is a particularly great story. It's a living Bill Gibson/Bruce Sterling/Charlie Stross story.

Gary, I would have been pleased to read these posts had I known they were there when you posted them, several weeks ago. It would have been very helpful to read them *then*. As I said elsewhere, I don't habitually read back through past posts for further comments after a few days, or after the conversations have moved on to later posts. If you post comments after that time in the future (there should be a verb tense for that phrase, but it doesn't exist in English) please drop me an email and I'll go back and look at them.

These comments, that is, though some are long enough to be posts.

::reaching for coffee and, with any luck, more awakeness::

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


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