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The Tech Herald: Themis: House Democrats call for hearings over Chamber plot

March 3, 2011- House Democrats are calling for an immediate Congressional investigation to see if three data intelligence firms might have violated the law when they conspired with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal, along with lobbyist law firm Hunton & Williams, are being linked to the U.S Chamber of Commerce, via leaked emails from Anonymous.

Based on the publically available information, the idea was for the four organizations to help the Chamber develop a plan that would discredit critics. The story, centering on the Chamber as well as Team Themis, a name selected by the three firms who collaborated with Hunton & Williams, was first reported by Think Progress in early February.

In response to the Think Progress report, the Chamber said that, “The security firm referenced by ThinkProgress was not hired by the Chamber or by anyone else on the Chamber’s behalf. We have never seen the document in question nor has it ever been discussed with us.”

“HBGary’s proposal, which has been written about by ThinkProgress, was not requested by the Chamber, it was not delivered to the Chamber, and it was never discussed with anyone at the Chamber. The leaked e-mails appear to show that HBGary was willing to propose questionable actions in an attempt to drum up business, but the Chamber was not aware of these proposals until HBGary’s e-mails leaked.”

Fast forward to Monday, when Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia 4th District), as well as 19 others who disagreed with the Chamber’s statements, called for a Congressional investigation into the actions of three data intelligence firms, each a government contractor.

“We are deeply concerned by evidence that intelligence contractors may have engaged in a criminal conspiracy to target American citizens on behalf of powerful corporate interests,” Johnson said in a statement.



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