LONDON (AP) — A sensitive conference call between the FBI and Scotland Yard was recorded by the very people they were trying to catch, the hacking group known as Anonymous claimed Friday.
The group released a roughly 15-minute-long recording of what appears to be a Jan. 17 conference call devoted to tracking and prosecuting members of the loose-knit hacking group.
The recording's authenticity could not immediately be verified, and it's not clear how the hackers got their hands on it. It appears to have been edited to bleep out the names of some of the suspects being discussed.
Anonymous also published an email purportedly sent by an FBI agent which gave details and a password for accessing the call.
"The FBI might be curious how we're able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now," the group gloated in a message posted to Twitter.
Calls to law enforcement officials on both sides of the Atlantic were not immediately returned.
Amid the material published by Anonymous was a message purportedly sent by an FBI agent to international law enforcement agencies. It invites his foreign counterparts to join the call to "discuss the on-going investigations related to Anonymous ... and other associated splinter groups." The email contained a phone number and password for accessing the call.
The email is addressed to officials in the U.K., Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and France, but only American and British officials can be heard on the recording.
Emails to the FBI agent and others coded in on the call were not immediately returned, but the discussion itself appears sensitive. Those on the call talk about what legal strategy to pursue in the cases of Ryan Cleary and Jake Davis — two British suspects linked to Anonymous — and discuss details of the evidence gathered against other suspects.
Karen Todner, a lawyer for Cleary, said that the recording could be "incredibly sensitive" and warned that such data breaches had the potential to derail the police's work.
"If they haven't secured their email it could potentially prejudice the investigation," she told The Associated Press.
Anonymous is an amorphous collection of Internet enthusiasts, pranksters and activists whose targets have included the Church of Scientology, the music industry, and financial companies such as Visa and MasterCard.
Following a spate of arrests across the world, the group and its various offshoots have focused their attention on law enforcement in general and the FBI in particular.
Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://twitter.com/razhael