'Leaked' FBI document calls Anonymous a national security threat

Psych profiles show LulzSec, Anons older, more politically focused than they let on, FBI concludes

According to a PDF containing what purports to be a leaked psychological assessment of the leaders of LulzSec and Anonymous by the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit (which also profiles serial killers), Anonymous is not only not a collection of individuals, it's a coherent group that poses a threat to national security.

Neither the FBI nor Dept. of Homeland Security have commented on the "leak," which may be a fake according to the TechHerald, but seems to reflect accurately the thinking behind a series of DHS warning bulletins and crackdowns that have resulted in 75 raids and 16 arrests of Anonymous members just this year.

Anons themselves refer to the group as a rough, almost coincidental collective of individuals that occasionally cooperate on projects to protest specific things.

There are approximately eight vortices of special interest within the collective, according to interviews, postings and counter-arguments posted by various Anonymi in response to invective by those it attacked.

Attacks are the work of small groups of interested individuals who, on their own initiative and using public argument as their weapon, gather like-minded Anonymi to protest governmental outrages or attack injustice in whatever form they find it, according to de facto leaders in the non-existent but vocal #OPpublicrelations.

In March, for example, members of Anonymous and 4Chan debated, in the finest traditions of American Democracy and citizen activism, whether to attack and defeat the Internet scourge that is Rebecca Black – the annoying but harmless pop "singer" whose made herself famous with a mom-and-dad-funded music video on YouTube that repeated the same lyrics so often it became apparent those might be the only words she knows.

(Other, less world-shaking Anonymous projects resulted in significant attacks against the embattled governments of Egypt and Syria, the exposure of government atrocities in Bolivia, civil protest against censorship on the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, attacks on Visa, Mastercard and Paypal in support of whistleblower site WikiLeaks and a long-simmering, high-profile protest against unrestricted greed, corrosive dishonesty of Wall Street and the and economic destruction from which the rest of the country suffers while financiers continues to prosper.)

The FBI has analyzed various instant messages, forum postings, emails, Twitter posts and other documentation and decided Anonymous behaves more like a coherent organization led by a small number of powerful and focused activists, not a politically involved group of individuals using the Anonymous banner as gathering point.

"The Anonymous ‘collective’ has risen from an amorphous group of individuals on the Internet to the current state of a potential threat to national security. Due to the nature of Anonymous, they believe that they are a leaderless collective. However, it has been shown that there is a defined leadership group," the document reads.

"A thorough assessment of each UNSUB’s online activities, speech patterns, and general writings was collected by the FBI. Each UNSUB was individually assessed by members of the SBU (sic) and a psychological profile created from these datasets."

Most of the members of Anonymous are under 30, but the bulk of its leadership are not teenage hacker/script-kids as many portray themselves, according to the FBI.

"It is likely" that Sabu, one of the more vocal spokestrolls for the LulzSec mini-collective of Anonymous, "works in the information security sector and has been doing so since the early days of the internet and hacking activities. His use of net speak is interspersed with proper American English diction and grammar that implies he is an American citizen and has been educated,” the FBI notes said.

BS, quoth the Anon:

"Anonymous is not a group, it does not have leaders, people can do ANYTHING under the flag of their country," according to one member in an email interview with the AP. "Anything can be a threat to National Security, really," the member said in an email interview. "Any hacker group can be."

If the document is real, it ends on a disturbingly dangerous and presumptive conclusion: that attacks and protests by Anonymous will eventually lead to the death of members of Anonymous, law enforcement or the public that will drive many supporters away from Anonymous.

Until then, Anonymous, whether collectively or individually, may be unstoppable in practical terms.

The overall assessment for the movement however is the following:

    1. The movement is out of control and there seems to be no real coherent motivation

    2. The leaders have begun to hide themselves a bit more due to arrests that have been made

    3. Their reliance on technology will eventually be their downfall

    4. Their interpersonal relationships are weak points, as such they should be leveraged

    5. Their increasing attacks on infrastructure will eventually lead to serious results that could in fact lead to deaths

It is after the first real attributable deaths that there may be a tapering off of their ranks as the members realize that by outing individuals, actual physical actions can occur that cause great damage. Until such time though, the movement will continue with the masses used as fodder and the command structure urging them on to carry out their commands. – Psychological Profiles of Anonymous Leadership, FBI BSU Quantico, Aug., 2011

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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