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January 28, 2013

"Anonymous re-hacks US Sentencing site into video game Asteroids"

This blog post via ZDNet provides the latest notable news concerning this weekend's hacking of the US Sentencing Commission's website (first reported here):

The U.S. Sentencing Commission website has been hacked again and a code distributed by Anonymous "Operation Last Resort" turns ussc.gov into a playable video game.

Visitors enter the code, and then the website that sets guidelines for sentencing in United States Federal courts becomes "Asteroids." Shooting away at the ussc.gov webpage reveals an image of Anonymous.

The trademark Anonymous "Guy Fawkes" face is comprised of white text saying, "We do not forgive. We do not forget."

Update Sunday, January 27, 11pm PST: the ussc.gov website has been offline intermittently, ostensibly due to high traffic. Anonymous Operation Last Resort tweeted the Asteroids hack can be "played" on yet another U.S. government website: "Backup gaming site while USSC.gov is down miep.uscourts.gov " (the U.S. Probation Office for the state of Michigan). This suggests, in this writer's opinion, that Anonymous has background control of multiple U.S. government websites - and after the antics this weekend, the group likely has had this access for a while and they are playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the United States Department of Justice.

Hacktivist group Anonymous began its "Operation Last Resort" Friday night by hacking the U.S. Sentencing Commission website in the name of suicide victim Aaron Swatrz, demanding reform in the U.S. justice system.

The government website was pulled offline and restored by Saturday. Now, on Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Sentencing Commission website appears to have been compromised a second time, severely, wherein a code being issued by Operation Last Resort and other Anonymous social media accounts turns ussc.gov into a game of Asteroids.

Prior related post:

January 28, 2013 at 08:36 AM | Permalink

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Comments

"miep.gov" is not the federal probation office "for the state of Michigan." There is no such entity. It is the U.S. Probation Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, part of the U.S. District Court based in Detroit. So far, both Anonymous hacks have been against Judicial Branch agencies; neither is part of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Posted by: Peter G | Jan 28, 2013 9:56:10 AM

I meant "miep.uscourts.gov," of course.

Posted by: Peter G | Jan 28, 2013 9:57:47 AM

I'm not really a fan of the Sentencing Commission, but someone needs to inform these guys that the Commission has nothing whatsoever to do with the Aaron Swartz case.

Posted by: C.A.J. | Jan 28, 2013 11:21:08 AM

The Sentencing Commission gave the feminist prosecutor her tool to beat up and intimidate an innocent person. They are part of the hierarchy. Although they achieved the greatest lawyer achievement of the 20th Century, the 40% across the board reduction in crime, they must be made to pay when the hierarchy will be held accountable.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 28, 2013 11:37:11 AM

As Glen Greenwald has written, the DOJ unjustly persecuted Aaron Swartz. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/12/aaron-swartz-heroism-suicide1

The Sentencing Commission is a component of the apparatus that the federal government unjustly used to go after Swartz.

Hats off to Anonymous! Keep up the good fight.

Posted by: Scarlett Rose | Jan 28, 2013 12:27:49 PM

"In targeting the Sentencing Commission site, hackers symbolically took aim at a justice system wherein minimum sentencing laws put undue power in the hands of government prosecutors, who can exact guilty pleas from suspects afraid of facing hefty jail sentences at trial. 'The federal sentencing guidelines,' Anonymous’ message on the site read, 'enable prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial.'"

http://www.salon.com/2013/01/28/anonymous_hacks_doj_website_for_aaron_swartz/

Posted by: Scarlett Rose | Jan 28, 2013 1:12:31 PM

Scarlett Rose --

"'The federal sentencing guidelines,' Anonymous’ message on the site read, 'enable prosecutors to cheat citizens of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to a fair trial.'"

I do wish you people would wake up. No one gets cheated out of his right to a trial. All you have to do to get a trial is tell the AUSA, "Get lost, you Nazi punk. You've got nothin'. Put your ridiculous plea 'bargain' where the sun don't shine. I'll see you and your fellow nimwits in court where I'll teach you a lesson you won't soon forget."

I guarantee you, you'll get your trial.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 28, 2013 1:30:54 PM

Bill, for sure one would get a trial if you frontended an AUSA with verbage as you suggest.. But the AUSA pounds it and the Judge paints it, nothing fair about that..To win one must be highly connected or have a high level firm appeal as in the GAll case..

If the guidelines are just advissory, why when something in the guidelines changes, does one get only the guideline drop on retroactivity.....The judge adheres to the "Mandatory / advisory" guidelines because the DOJ has a policy that this is the game we play..

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jan 28, 2013 1:50:38 PM

'MidWestGuy' my sentiments also...

Posted by: Fred | Jan 28, 2013 2:00:33 PM

MidWestGuy --

The question was whether citzens get cheated out of their right to a trial. They don't. Any defendant who demands a trial gets it.

The reason more don't demand it is that they know the government has the evidence of guilt. They thus understandably prefer the advantages of a dumbed down indictment to having the whole bloody mess spilled out in front of the judge and jury.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 28, 2013 2:13:05 PM

had to laugh at this one bill!

"I guarantee you, you'll get your trial."

because No you wouldn't IF 1 in 10 of everyone else told the govt the same thing the sytem would crash.

People are waiting years now for cases to move through the system. When less than what is it 1% demand thier day in court. The ideal that the sytem could handle 10% if laughable!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 28, 2013 2:13:54 PM

What Bill doesn't get is that innocent people plead guilty in order to avoid fully losing the vicious game the federal government compels them to play, in which the federal government has numerous structural advantages, including virtually unlimited resources.

Posted by: Scarlett Rose | Jan 28, 2013 2:59:02 PM

Scarlett Rose, you nailed it for some defendents.. Most are guilty, and get threatened with 3-4 times the sentence they would get otherwise.....The reason people Plead guilty is they get the 3 level drop and most can't afford an atty.. And yes, they don't want it all spilled out, but thats of a much lesser importance.. The 3 level drop is the Biggee..

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jan 28, 2013 3:19:04 PM

Scarlett Rose --

"What Bill doesn't get is that innocent people plead guilty in order to avoid fully losing the vicious game the federal government compels them to play, in which the federal government has numerous structural advantages, including virtually unlimited resources."

1. The system makes rare errors, sure, both in erroneous convictions and erroneous acquittals. But what you don't get, or, more likely, refuse to admit, is that the overwhelming mass of defendants plead guilty for exactly the reasons I spelled out to MidWestGuy. The No. 1 reason is that they are guilty.

2. It's not vicious and its not a game. When someone sticks a gun in the clerk's ear, or rapes the 11 year-old, or swindles some couple in their 80's (non-violent, as you would say), or sells meth to a 16 year-old addict (also non-violent), what do you want the prosecutor to do? Go out for a cup of coffee? Kiss the defense lawyer's ring in the hopes that this will help dissuade his client's meth gang from doing a hit on the government's witnesses?

3. It's true that the government has structural advantages. One would hope. You'd prefer that the criminal have them?

4. As to "unlimited resources," unlimited debt would be more like it. I never met a DEFENDANT who was $16 trillion in the hole.

5. Finally, you said that defendants are cheated out of the right to a trial. That is point-blank false. Any defendant who demands a trial gets it. I challenge you to name a single defendant in the last generation who demanded a trial and was denied one.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 28, 2013 5:07:35 PM

What actual crime did Aaron Swartz commit?

Posted by: V for Vendetta | Jan 28, 2013 6:23:31 PM

None.

Posted by: Humboldt Kush | Jan 28, 2013 11:01:57 PM

Here's the problem bill!

"Finally, you said that defendants are cheated out of the right to a trial. That is point-blank false. Any defendant who demands a trial gets it."

It is as even you admit a RIGHT to a trial. They shouldn't have to demand it. It should be automatic. Which was what was intended in the beginning when the plea bargain was originally allowed by the USSC.

It was to be used in specific limited situations. Not 99% of all criminal cases!

Now of course the sytem has been rebuilt illegally to do nothing but plea bargains and if the courts ruled tomorrow all criminal cases WOULD go to trial. The system would be done!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 29, 2013 1:00:26 AM

V for Vendetta --

The indictment against Swartz is here: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2012/09/swartzsuperseding.pdf

The analysis of the charges by Prof. Orin Kerr of George Washington Law School is here: http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/14/aaron-swartz-charges/

A CNN story about the dropping of the charges and related news is here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/17/tech/aaron-swartz-death/index.html

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 29, 2013 2:35:09 AM

rodsmith --

As I have often said on this blog and elsewhere, I dislike plea bargaining and prefer trials. And personally, I never asked a defendant for, nor did I accept, a plea bargain.

When a defendant can get a jury trial anytime he wants -- which he can in every felony case -- it is simply false to say, as Scarlett Rose did, that defendants are cheated out of their right to a trial.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 29, 2013 2:39:48 AM

Swartz's alleged "crime" was downloading academic papers. Before the out-of-control feds. interceded, a local prosecutor recommended no jail time. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57565927-38/swartz-didnt-face-prison-until-feds-took-over-case-report-says/

The feds. are the real criminals in this case. Swartz was the victim.

Shame on the feds. and their apologists.

Posted by: Tom Johnson | Jan 29, 2013 2:45:17 AM

"if you are not part of the solution, then . . . " To me, that clearly makes the Sentencing Commission part of the problem.

Posted by: alan chaset | Jan 29, 2013 9:01:25 AM

In some ways more egregious is the prosecution of Andrew Auernheimer - prosecuted and found guilty of "unauthorized access" for downloading data from web pages that are publicly available in a browser.

This case and the case of Aaron Swartz can hardly be compared to killing children or scamming senior citizens, Bill Otis. I doubt the DOJ prosecutes many cases like that, anyway.

Aaron Swartz should have been charged with a misdemeanor and given probation or a diversion program and Auernheimer shouldn't have even been prosecuted.

And speaking of being 16 trillion dollars in debt, these cases are nothing but a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. We may have to pay to house and feed Aurenheimer for the next four years when he did NOTHING remotely approaching hacking.

But have no fear, Carmen Ortiz and company will just find a few more million dollar businesses she can try to steal to make up the shortfall. See "United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury"

Posted by: 8th Amendment | Jan 29, 2013 11:02:25 AM

8th Amendment --

"This case and the case of Aaron Swartz can hardly be compared to killing children or scamming senior citizens, Bill Otis."

Which is why I never compared them, as anyone would see if he looked at my comment and its context (which you nicely refrain from quoting).

Scarlett Rose made an utterly generalized, broad-brush attack, saying that "the innocent" were forced to plead guilty "in order to avoid fully losing the vicious game the federal government compels them to play..." That "game" is, of course, charging people with crime, a core function of the executive branch since the founding. I asked her (in a question neither she nor you has answered) what she expects to happen when a crime is committed, then gave examples of crimes prosecutors indict.

Give it a rest. The defense bar thinks EVERY crime alleged against one of their benighted clients is "overcharging" undertaken merely because of some "overzealous" prosecutor is "politically ambitious." These claims are occasionally true, as they were in the case of Mike Nifong, the left-wing prosecutor who wanted to do a little race huckstering so he could win his primary election. He did this by filing false rape charges against several white college students.

For by far the most part, however, these defense charges are complete baloney, as you could not help knowing. They're simply tripe cooked up by the defense lawyer, principally to deflect attention from his client's criminal (and often quite ugly or worse) behavior. There is a lesser, but still strong, element of sheer nastiness. The defense lawyer insults the prosecutor because he's mad about losing to him so often.

Too bad. If you don't want to lose, get clients who aren't thugs and swindlers.

"Aaron Swartz should have been charged with a misdemeanor and given probation or a diversion program and Auernheimer shouldn't have even been prosecuted."

Says you. And maybe you're right -- or maybe not. You are poorly positioned to know, since you don't have either all the facts of the cases, or the public responsibility of the United States Attorney.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 29, 2013 1:14:57 PM

" I asked her (in a question neither she nor you has answered) what she expects to happen when a crime is committed, then gave examples of crimes prosecutors indict."

Actually, I did answer. See my last paragraph. I even answered in the context of the case this blog post is actually discussing, unlike you with your awfulizing about rapes and murders.

" You are poorly positioned to know, since you don't have either all the facts of the cases, or the public responsibility of the United States Attorney."

Typical prosecutor "conversation stopper". I've seen this response all too often. "You cannot judge us or our decisions, you weren't in the courtroom, you don't have all the facts, you weren't on the jury!" Please. The facts in both of the cases I mentioned are fairly straightforward and very well-known. That's what the press is for, Bill Otis, to disseminate information to the general public so we can make informed decisions about who to vote for and what issues to pressure our Congresspeople about.

"....or the public responsibility of the United States Attorney."

What are you saying here? That the people who pay your salary have no right to question your decisions or your performance because they don't "bear responsbility"? Huh. Whatever happened to "no taxation without representation"?

Posted by: 8th Amendment | Jan 29, 2013 1:40:38 PM

8th Amendment --

"Actually, I did answer."

No, you didn't.

"See my last paragraph."

Your last paragraph isn't even about a criminal case, much less about the kinds of crimes I asked about, and which you sneeringly dismiss. Not that sneering dismissal of rape, murder and drug pushing is unusual for a certain segment of the defense bar.

"I even answered in the context of the case this blog post is actually discussing, unlike you with your awfulizing about rapes and murders."

QED. Gosh, why would anyone "awfulize" (is that a word?) rape and murder. Hey, look, boys will be boys!

And how odd it is that you huff about the reliability of press reports. The more usual defense shake-and-jive is that the press unfairly "tries" the client before the "true" facts have come out. But now that (most of) the press is on your side, it has all of a sudden become The Source To Go To.

But I'm not worried. When some grisly child murder gets reported in the press tomorrow (you know, "awfulized"), you'll be right back to the standard line on the unreliability of media accounts.

"What are you saying here? That the people who pay your salary have no right to question your decisions or your performance because they don't "bear responsbility"?

Neither you nor the public pays my salary, wise guy. I haven't been in the USAO for over a decade. I teach at a private law school.

But if a point be made of it, I said explicitly on this forum that I support the Congressional inquiry into this case. So your implied accusation that I oppose the questioning of DOJ decisions is just point-blank false. In this, it's just like your still-unretracted claim that I "compared" the Swartz case to "killing children."

You give every appearance of being the standard defense shill, pretending that boatloads of innocent people are being railroaded.

Nonsense. Sometimes innocent people are charged and convicted, that's true. The huge mass of defendants are guilty. And you know this, don't you?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 29, 2013 2:48:00 PM

What role does defense play when charges are presented to the Grand Jury?

Posted by: Obvious | Jan 29, 2013 2:56:11 PM

"What role does defense play when charges are presented to the Grand Jury?"

Ham sandwich.

Posted by: George | Jan 29, 2013 3:27:57 PM

'Neither you nor the public pays my salary, wise guy. I haven't been in the USAO for over a decade.'

if you have a government pension then you are feeding off the public teet, twit

Posted by: wise guy | Jan 29, 2013 8:10:01 PM

wise guy --

"if you have a government pension then you are feeding off the public teet, twit"

He didn't say a word about a pension -- that's your invention. Where are you getting that? What I get is a salary, from a private employer. That's because I work for a living. You might try it sometime.

BTW, do you have what it takes (not much) to tell us your name?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 29, 2013 8:55:28 PM

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