WikiLeaks Sources in US Facing Serious Charges Seek Legal Aid

© Flickr / Dennis SkleyA suburban Chicago police department paid a hacker a $500 dollar ransom in Bitcoin to restore access to data the hacker disabled using a popular virus
A suburban Chicago police department paid a hacker a $500 dollar ransom in Bitcoin to restore access to data the hacker disabled using a popular virus - Sputnik International
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Two purported WikiLeaks sources were arrested in North Carolina in September for their alleged participation in a hacking group responsible for breaching the email accounts of CIA Director John Brennan, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

WikiLeaks - Sputnik International
EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks Sources Face Serious Charges Following CIA, FBI, DHS Hacks
The group provided the contents of the data theft to WikiLeaks, and are now expected to be indicted on December 28 and arraigned early January 2017 in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

As Sputnik previously reported, Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, 24, were extradited to Virginia to appear at an Alexandria District Court. Despite allegations that they belonged to the same hacker group, and the fact that they live so close together, the two men did not know each other offline.

The duo is accused of being part of the hacking group “Crackas With Attitude,” which allegedly social-engineered access to Clapper’s home telephone, internet account, his personal email, as well as his wife’s Yahoo email account.

Documents contained in the emails included drafts of policy documents, legislative drafts, contact details and, most sensitively, director Brennan's background security clearance questionnaire containing Social Security numbers and the personal information of over a dozen top intelligence officials, all contained within an unsecure email server.

“From about October 2015 to February 2016, the group used ‘social engineering’ hacking techniques, including victim impersonation, to gain unlawful access to the personal online accounts of senior US government officials, their families, and several US government computer systems,” according to a news release from the Department of Justice

Liverman, a computer science student who was known as @_d3f4ult on Twitter, maintains that he only knew the members of the group online, and never personally accessed any federal databases. He also maintains that his computer was hacked two nights before he was raided.

“The fact that they think five people under 30 did this, imagine what a foreign nation could do. The group exposed how vulnerable our government is,” Liverman told Sputnik News.

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Now, the Courage Foundation is helping to raise funds to assist in covering Liverman’s legal defense.

“Since February 2016, five people have been arrested in relation to CWA — three in the UK and two, including Justin Liverman, in the United States. Following his arrest in September 2016, Justin is facing potential CFAA charges in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He is represented by Tor Ekeland, Jay Leiderman and Maria Medvin and urgently needs funds to pay for his legal defence and expenses ahead of his forthcoming court dates,” the foundation wrote on their fundraiser page.

The foundation explained that, “Director Brennan admitted that CWA had shown up just how vulnerable government officials were to attacks that fell well below the sophistication of nation state actors, in part through the use of obsolete online services. In turn, the FBI was obliged to remind government and law enforcement employees about the importance of exercising basic information security standards across their personal email and social media accounts.”

Liverman has legal representation, but needs funds to cover the cost of his upcoming court dates.

“Courage Foundation is now facilitating and handling the crowdfund for my legal defense. I am no longer stuck with a public defender; my attorneys are now Marina Medvin, Tor Elkland, and Jay Leiderman. However, they still need funding, and any amount is appreciated,” Liverman told Sputnik News on Thursday. “If you can’t donate, just sharing on social media would be a big help since I can’t push it myself.”

Liverman believes that the FBI used tactics to aid in their arrests that were illegal. The method he believes that they employed to link him to the hacks is in line with the highly-controversial amendments to Rule 41, which, as of December 1, allow for the agency to hack and surveil an unlimited number of computers and devices globally, without a warrant. The amendment went into effect this month, long after he believes the tactics were used in this case.

“These lawyers are some of the only ones in the world fighting for internet user’s rights, so they deserve compensation to continue doing their amazing work. This case is precedent setting given the events surrounding it, along with the recent illegal Rule 41 being ‘passed,’” Liverman continued. “Thank you everyone for your support!”

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