You are hereThe Tech Herald: Themis: Questions about Palantir surface in HBGary Federal’s aftermath

The Tech Herald: Themis: Questions about Palantir surface in HBGary Federal’s aftermath

March 3, 2011- While the HBGary Federal saga appears to be winding down, questions are surfacing about public statements given by Palantir Technologies. Despite the visual links, including slide decks and constant email communication, Palantir remains firm that they had nothing to do with HBGary Federal’s plans.

Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and HBGary Federal, along with lobbyist law firm Hunton & Williams, are all linked to separate plots that involve the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America. The links were exposed via emails published to the Internet by 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. Moreover, Team Themis, a name selected by the three firms who collaborated with Hunton & Williams, are also linked to plans made for Bank of America in order for them to deal with the “WikiLeaks Threat”.

Those in the public who have been following the HBGary Federal saga are starting to question Palantir over the full scope of their role.

“…despite the fact that their own employee, who was presumably not working unsupervised despite insane claims to the contrary by Palantir, was heavily involved in some of the most disgusting plans,” wrote Barrett Brown, an informal strategist for Anonymous, in a blog post.

Most of the public criticism, such as the statements from Brown, center on comments and actions made by Matthew Steckman, an engineer at Palantir.

In an email to the other Themis members, Steckman remarked that a payment split was approved by Palantir’s co-founder and CEO Dr. Alex Karp, as well as other board members when it came to the plans proposed for the Chamber.

“[Redacted] and I had to run this way up the chain (as you can imagine). The short of it is that we got approval from Dr. Karp and the Board to go ahead with the modified 40/30/30 breakdown proposed. These were not fun conversations, but we are committed to this team and we can optimize the cost structure in the long term,” the email to Themis members from Steckman explained.

We asked Matt Long, Palantir’s General Counsel, about the email and the discrepancies that are cropping up concerning Palantir’s public stance. He referred us to comments given to ARS Technica, back in February.

Long told ARS the email from Steckman “was classic salesmanship” and that it was clearly transparent the claims were made to impress. 



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