November 15, 2013
NEW YORK — Convicted hacker Jeremy Hammond was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for stealing internal emails from the global intelligence firm Stratfor.
During the hearing, he claimed in a defiant sentencing statement that his acts were meant to expose the truth and that he hacked foreign government websites at the behest of an FBI informant.
“The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life,” Hammond said in a prepared statement provided to HuffPost Live. “I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?”
Hammond, 28, for years has protested both online and off to disrupt foes, including participants at the 2004 Republican National Convention and pro-Iraq War activists. But stealing Stratfor files as part of the online hacking collective Anonymous gave him national recognition.
In May, he pleaded guilty to one conspiracy charge for hacking the Texas-based private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor. The security breach resulted in the theft of employee emails and account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers and clients, including information from 60,000 credit cards.
The government charges originally added up to 30 years in prison, but Hammond took a plea deal for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a federal anti-hacking law also used to prosecute internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz. He admitted to hacking several other websites, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Special Forces Gear, the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, and the sheriff’s office in Jefferson County, Ala.
Nearly 5 million emails obtained in the Stratfor hack were turned over to WikiLeaks by Hammond and published as the “Global Intelligence Files.” They revealed domestic spying on activists, including Occupy Wall Street.
The resulting media publicity led some, including 4,000 online petition backers and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, to hail him as a whistleblower. But to the federal government, he was little more than a common thief.
“While he billed himself as fighting for an anarchist cause, in reality, Jeremy Hammond caused personal and financial chaos for individuals whose identities and money he took and for companies whose businesses he decided he didn’t like,” United States Attorney Preet Bharara said in a May statement.
On Friday, Hammond, who has been in detention for 20 months, struck back. While apologizing to the innocent people who had their personal information exposed as a result of his leaks, he lashed out at the FBI, and Hector Xavier Monsegur, an informant widely known by his online name “Sabu.” For months, Hammond claimed, Sabu guided him as he hacked the Stratfor website and thousands more around the world.
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