I-Team

Intelligence Report: The Curious Case of Jeremy Hammond

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A suburban Chicago man, who the government claims is the world's greatest computer hacker, has been in a federal lockup for nearly eight months. Now The I-Team has an idea of the scope of the case against Jeremy Hammond.

Hammond, 28, is a "hacktivist," someone who breaks into government and business computers, he believes, for the greater good. The 2003 Glenbard East graduate is a computer expert, no doubt about it, and his IQ is in the genius range.

Hammond was arrested last March on criminal hacking charges. Now we have an idea of the extent of the government's case against him.

Hammond is part of a group called "Anonymous" that has made headlines around the world this year for hacking into major computer systems and shutting them down, but not before extracting sensitive information.

The tactics Hammond discussed at a hacking conference in 2005 are the same ones that caused his arrest: "Any method of disruption at any cost; any means necessary...let them call us terrorists. I'll still bomb their buildings."

Hammond is known by the nickname "Anarchaos." Federal prosecutors have charged Hammond with the December hacking of computers owned by the Texas-based private intelligence gathering firm Stratfor; allegedly stealing the personal data on hundreds of thousands of individual Stratfor clients, including a former U.S. vice president and CIA director.

According to newly filed court records, the government has collected five computer disks of evidence against Hammond; 40,000 separate files, the equivalent of 100,000 pages, enough to fill 40 file boxes of documents.

Hammond is being held in the federal lockup in New York City, where his attorney "conservatively estimates that the necessary review of this material with the defendant could take years, with a paralegal visiting the jail five days a week."

So, at a hearing in New York next week, they will ask that Hammond be released on $200,000 bond, money and property to be put up by his parents and friends.

Hammond has several previous arrests for hacking but got his start as a sidewalk agitator and was arrested a few times during protests that got out of hand.

Hammond has become a celebrity in the anti-capitalism and hacking worlds. He was just profiled in Rolling Stone and has a sizable group of protesters who follow his case, which is being prosecuted out of New York. Five people in the U.S. and in Ireland have been charged.

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