A phone call between the FBI and Scotland Yard, London’s police headquarters, was hacked and its contents published on YouTube by the hackers group, Anonymous. The call disclosed details of intelligence sharing with the Irish authorities.
The hackers group, who recently attacked Irish government websites, said they intercepted an FBI agent’s email account and accessed details of the call. These details have also been published online.
The email was addressed to cops in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and France, and contained a phone number and password for accessing the call. It is believed that one of the FBI agents emailed the message to themselves, which breached the security system in place.
Anonymous gloated, via their Twitter account saying “The FBI might be curious how we're able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now.”
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British police said the conference phone call was intercepted on 17th January. They added that the interception of this call poses no risk to their ongoing operations.
Initially reported by the Sun newspaper, the FBI released a statement saying the information "was intended for law enforcement officers only and was illegally obtained."
During the call, officers and agents can be heard discussing names of people they were tracking, plans for legal action, and requests for more time. At one point co-operation with Irish officials is discussed.
British official: “I don’t know what your liaison’s been with the Irish, but we’ve been speaking with the Irish around X and Y [names redacted] and looking to share some intelligence with them and some information on that. I don’t know if they’re in on this call ... ?”
American official: “I don’t ... is anyone on from Ireland?… No, I don’t think so.”
British official: “Now I’m not sure if it’s going to assist or take our job any much further but… it’s probably worth getting back in touch with them from your side because I think they’ve got stuff that they could share.”
American official: “Okay.”
The email invited foreign counterparts to join the call to “discuss the on-going investigations related to Anonymous ... and other associated splinter groups.”
From the audio, it would appear that only British and U.S. officers were present on the call.
During the call one of the FBI officers can be heard thanking the British police for their help. They say: “I just want to express our gratitude for being flexible on this. I know New York (FBI office) appreciates it, and the FBI as a whole.”
One of the British police replies “We're here to help. We've cocked things up in the past, we know that ... It's not that much of a hardship.”
Two of the subjects they discuss in the call are Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis, two British suspects linked to Anonymous. Karen Todner, a lawyer for Cleary said such date breaches have the potential to derail police work.
She said “If they haven't secured their email it could potentially prejudice the investigation.”
Anonymous is a collection of activists and hackers whose targets so far having included the Church of Scientology, the music industry and Visa and MasterCard.
Here’s a report on the incident:
Here’s the audio from the call: