According to a report in the Tech Herald, three security firms recently pitched the Bank of America with a plan to take down WikiLeaks. If the documents at the core of the story are legit -- and as Andy Greenberg of Forbes notes, "their level of detail would require immense effort on the part of counterfeiters" -- the companies come off as Keystone Kops.
The most interesting detail is that the firms involved -- HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies -- placed a lot of emphasis on the pro-WikiLeaks blogger Glenn Greenwald, arguing that "Without the support of people like Glenn wikileaks would fold," so "It is this level of support that needs to be disrupted." The firms are confident that this can be done, since "most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals."
The source of the documents is a massive trove of HBGary emails that was seized and released by Anonymous. The backstory behind that is pretty fascinating in itself.
[Hat tip: Andy Million.]
Update: One of the firms has expressed its regret. Greenwald reports:
In the wake of the ensuing controversy caused by publication of these documents, the co-founder and CEO of Palantir Tech, Alex Karp, has now issued a statement stating that he "directed the company to sever any and all contacts with HB Gary." The full statement -- which can be read here -- also includes this sentence: "personally and on behalf of the entire company, I want to publicly apologize to progressive organizations in general, and Mr. Greenwald in particular, for any involvement that we may have had in these matters." Palantir has also contacted me by email to arrange for Dr. Karp to call me to personally convey the apology. My primary interest is in knowing whether Bank of America retained these firms to execute this proposal and if any steps were taken to do so; if Karp's apology is genuine, that information ought to be forthcoming (as I was finishing writing this, Karp called me, seemed sincere enough in his apology, vowed that any Palantir employees involved in this would dealt with the way they dealt with HB Gary, and commendably committed to telling me by the end of the week whether Bank of America or Hunton & Williams actually retained these firms to carry out this proposal).
Update #2: Now Berico is trying to distance itself from the project too.