You are hereLA Times: HBGary executive seeks to distance firm from affiliate involved in private spying scandal

LA Times: HBGary executive seeks to distance firm from affiliate involved in private spying scandal


Jim Butterworth says computer security firm HBGary is separate from consulting firm HBGary Federal, which was part of a consortium that created a plan to discredit groups that have criticized the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

February 16, 2011- An executive for a small computer security firm tried to distance his company from the activities of a related partnership that has become a focal point in a burgeoning private spying scandal.

Jim Butterworth, vice president of HBGary Inc., said Tuesday that the suburban Sacramento developer of anti-malware and other computer protection software was a victim, not a perpetrator, in the scandal. Its computer system was hacked and thousands of sensitive e-mails and documents were stolen, he said.

Butterworth said the firm was separate from HBGary Federal, a consulting firm that works with classified and unclassified information for government and private-sector clients.

But he acknowledged that the two companies share the same legal headquarters in Sacramento, store data on the same computer servers and share at least some overlapping ownership.

HBGary Chief Executive Greg Hoglund and his wife, Penny Leavy-Hoglund, the company's president, own about a 15% interest in HBGary Federal, Butterworth said.

In addition, Leavy-Hoglund signed the registration papers for HBGary Federal, a limited liability company, according California secretary of state records.

HBGary Federal was part of a consortium that, according to e-mails released last week by activist hacking organization Anonymous, created a plan to discredit labor and liberal groups that have criticized the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The e-mails showed that HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies Inc. in Palo Alto and Berico Technologies in Arlington, Va., proposed to use misinformation and fake social networking profiles to pressure union-backed nonprofits that opposed the chamber.

The firms sought $2 million in fees for providing political intelligence services.

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