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Salon: Democrats call for probe of top D.C. law firm


March 1, 2011- More than a dozen Democratic members of Congress will today call for an investigation of a top law firm and three technology companies who were exposed last month as having plotted to attack critics of the Chamber of the Commerce through dubious tactics like creating false documents and researching labor activists' families.

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The Washington Post got an early look at the Dems' letter, written by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), that asks Republican leaders to investigate Hunton & Williams, which is a law firm for the Chamber, as well as HBGary, Berico, and Palantir. A taste:

[The lawmakers] wrote that the e-mails appear "to reveal a conspiracy to use subversive techniques to target Chamber critics," including "possible illegal actions against citizens engaged in free speech."

The lawmakers say it is "deeply troubling" that "tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed against American citizens."

The firms also came up with a plan to go after WikiLeaks and its supporters in the press, including Salon's Glenn Greenwald. The work against anti-Chamber activists as well as WikiLeaks supporters was exposed after the hacker group Anonymous published thousands of internal emails from one of the tech firms, HBGary.

As I've written previously, Hunton & Williams is a leading international law firm with dozens of big corporate clients. Three Hunton attorneys connected to the episode were hit with an ethics complaint last week by one of the anti-Chamber activists targeted in the proposed plan. Unlike all of the other players, Hunton has not publicly commented on its role in the plot.

We will post the lawmakers' letter here as soon as it is made public. With the Republican majority in the House, it's unlikely that an investigation will be launched any time soon.

In a separate development Monday, HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr, who personally drafted memos calling for various kinds of disinformation tactics, has stepped down. “I need to focus on taking care of my family and rebuilding my reputation," he told Threat Post.

FULL STORY & UPDATES HERE:

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