Anonymous dumps huge torrent of Chamber of Commerce docs

SDZion sez, "Anonymous has released a 1.2GB document dump consisting of thousands of documents. The torrent mostly contains information regarding the US Chamber of Commerce, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), over which the Koch brothers are said to exercise considerable influence."


  1. Awesome. It’s stuff like this, where Anonymous decides to be a force for public transparency, that makes me very willing to look past the juvenile stupidity that Anonymous does the rest of the time.

  2. I’m really digging this trend of forced transparency of government functions.

    Cory – Just out of curiosity, what are your views on this trend?

    1. The US Chamber of Commerce is actually a lobbying group, not a government agency.

      Although, given who really ends up having power, I guess you could still call it a “government function.”

  3. Truthers, Birthers, Trig Palin, and the Koch Brothers. It is interesting to see that the Internet has only accelerated humanity’s predilection towards seeing shadowy cabals and conspiracies behind everything.

      1. That’s what they do, indeed. (The link is to an article in the Nation about how Koch Industries distributed a packet to almost all of their employees telling them who to vote for. Candidates supporting “economic freedom,” of course. The packet also included helpful articles explaining why low wages are good for employees, etc.)

      2. Right, because the “Koch Brothers control the whole conservative/libertarian sphere” is the ‘politically correct’ conspiracy theory that it is OK for hip people to believe.

        For the record, Cato/Reason/Tea Parties/etc. represent the Koch side of the libertarian movement, which has been at a long low level war with the Murray Rothbard/Lew Rockwell/Ron Paul/ wing. The latter consider the former sellouts who are far too cozy with the power centers of DC.

        This is the reason why many libertarians particularly hate the Kochs – it was radical left-libertarian Samuel Konkin who invented the term “Kochtopus” some 20 years ago.

        It’s also worth noting that the Kochs have been pretty consistently anti-war over the years, so even they are not all bad.

        1. Yeah, they are more complex that they are painted, they gave the ACLU 20 million to fight the patriot act. Too much on the conservative side of things for me.

          1. Sorry, but exiledonline is hardly an impartial news source. I flip to the front page and it’s hyperbolic defense of the TSA and vicious unsubstantiated name-calling. I’ve read that site before, and it seems to be set up mostly to troll libertarians. Got any more?

          2. Thank you! That is a much better resource. Indisputable, and good to know.

            If you don’t mind, I wanted to talk a bit more between the schism in libertarianism.

            One side bases their beliefs on a moral value – there there is a natural law that prohibits aggression against others, and that must be the underlying rule of society. This side often tends towards anarchism, believing the state to be the greatest initiator of violence in society.

            The other argument is from utilitarianism, that a true free market principles and an economy based on small and distributed voluntary entrepreneurship will produce the best results for everyone and the highest economic growth.

            This divide could be illustrated by reading two touchstone books of libertarianism, both written in the about same year.. ‘for a new liberty’ by murray rothbard and ‘the machinery of freedom’ by david friedman (son of milton).

            Long story short, the Kochs come from the ‘utilitarian’ school. Which is why see no problem taking 50 million from the Dept. of War.

            Of course, if uncle Sam was going to give me $50 million..I think *I’d* take it. Better go to me than to buying another dozen cruise missiles. Personally, I would probably turn around and use the money to try and stop the wars ;)

          3. Oh yeah, the punchline to that post was that the Koch Brothers and Murray Rothbard co-founded the Cato institute in the mid-70s, but had a rather nasty split in a few years over these and other issues.

          4. It’s not that there isn’t truth to what they are saying, especially about the koch brothers, it’s just that their style is just overtly grating. You can’t ‘source’ name-calling…

        2. You know, until the “Libertarian side” (of anything) stops voting for Republican candidates who are LINO (Libertarian In Name Only), I can’t see a practical difference between Libertarians and Republicans. SAYING you’re for “fiscal conservatism” and voting for corporatist interests are not the same thing. Until Libertarians stop voting in guys who do NOTHING but take away people’s rights and give as much money to the rich as they can while increasing deficit spending to do so, Libertarians are no more “common sense” about fiscal issues than your average redneck who votes Republican because that’s how they were raised to vote.

          1. Replace “Libertarian” with “Progressive” and “Republican” with “Democrat”, and your point still remains valid.

          2. Since when does Nader support corporate interests/taking people’s rights away/giving money to the rich?

          3. While most of the statement remains valid, it really misses the point. In particular, Democrats are generally willing to do some things that don’t involve seizing an individual’s rights and giving money to the rich. Sometimes, they even disagree with others in their party, read/write legislation, and vote in the best interest of their constituency.

            Republicans make a notably worse compromise party due to their unwavering commitment to party leadership and the various organizations that do their job for them, (ALEC and their model legislation, for example).

            That is, both parties have their unfortunate corporate sponsorship, but the Republicans defer their jobs to a network of non-profits, (funded by the same corporate sponsorship).

            It’s rather like what you might get told about writing press releases in Journalism 101; If you make it look enough like news, folks will be glad you did their job for them and print it as is. Since ALEC and other well-funded conservative organizations do legislators’ jobs for them, no Republican candidate does anything but present the given material as is.

          4. I have never voted for a Republican in my life, other than Ron Paul (and I voted for McCain in the primaries in 2000, because I always hated Bush).

            And this is true of most true libertarians.

            The definition of libertarian is the ‘non-agression axiom’ – the belief that no individual or body should be able to initiate infringement on the person or property of another – including the government.

            The Republicans are just as guilty of infringing on this as the Democrats – in different areas, but guilty all the same. This is why most people who have actually studied the ideas of libertarianism – and not just heard a few good things about it on Fox – oppose the Republicans just as much as the democrats, if not more. I became libertarian in part because of the libertarian websites that had the most stinging and consistent criticism of Bush.

            A chief interest of mine is the reduction of the power of corporations in the world. I differ from liberals in that I feel that government is the enabled and bodyguard of the corporation, and that reducing government power is one of the best ways to reduce corporate power.

            You might not agree, but that’s certainly not a ‘republican’ position.

            I don’t see the Republicans coming around anytime soon, and often speak about the need for a liberal-libertarian alliance in this country.

            And I share your disgust for wolf-in-sheep’s clothing LINOs who preach liberty and then support Guantanamo etc.

            P.S. One important reasons rednecks vote republican is that they want to be left alone, and don’t want to be party to thousands of stupid laws. Not that the republicans actually deliver this, but it is a primary selling point for many people. I don’t understand why liberals don’t understand this…

  4. Wait, I take it back. On second look, this is all publicly available information legally scraped from their websites – there’s absolutely nothing secret here.

    Honestly I’d be more wary of the people watching to see just who downloads a supposedly secret doc dump.

    Stay away, people. Don’t download this. Wait for real leaks.

  5. over which the Koch brothers are said to exercise considerable influence

    Do the emails confirm this?

    1. It’s not clear that anyone’s found anything yet. There’s a great deal of data, and it was just released yesterday, AFAIK.

  6. Government should be the servant of the People.

    Full Stop, Reset what we seem to be heading to.

    And transparency of GOVERNMENT is literally the only way to keep the roles of Government and the People in proper relationships.

    The balance of course must be that the PEOPLE have an Inviolable assurance of personal privacy. Subject perhaps to two exceptions. Become a public official- and surrender that privacy in exchange for being part of government as one exception, The only other thinkable to me exception might be *VERY* special cases involving a crime warranting due process. 99% of the mundane folks in a normal life NEVER do anything seriously criminal enough to have a victim etc. Civil crimes however? That’s a separation of categories indeed.

    I admit- David Brin’s works have influenced me. As have the experiences of the Grateful Dead’s free music trade! The connections are really simple.

    Maybe 1% of our world’s people really are a danger to others. Yet our present social and political climate seems to declare the reverse, Were transparency invoked? And our officials held accountable for subornations down to a free drink from a lobbyist staffer, we’d have a vastly different world. IF some electeds had their direct payments from RIAA/MPAA etc made transparent, Likely they may not have been elected at all.

    Koch brothers etc can indeed write a check to anyone and expect “in their personal realm” privacy. But if the officials receiving penny one were transparent.? Think about it and run with the concept.

    1. I have no idea what you’re arguing about.

      But you ought to realize that this is wikileaks dumping information about private companies and organizations, something you seem to welcome in this case, but generally are arguing against.

      In the words of Yoda – so unclear you are.

      1. I see what you did there – equating Anonymous with Wikileaks. Do you know this to be true?

        1. no no, my fingers rebelled and typed the wrong thing there. Same difference to my point though,

          I could’t tell if the comment I was responding to was pro or con Anonymous (which I misspelled with a W) as well as pro or con government involvement in these affairs.

  7. Its clear that the “1 %” that is a danger to others can be detected in high school. It is called tendancy towards political office.

    They need to be redirected and permenantly banned from seeked position.

    Otherwise, you get… well, look around.

  • Seeing as the files are just a scrape of all the publicly available documents on the websites of the three organizations, this blog post basically amounts to an advertisement urging people to read those websites.

    I’m not doubting there’s dirt to be found, but it’s not going to be in that torrent.

  • The Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan is a country club for Totalitarian Buffoons. They rose to prominence with the election of John Engler to Governor of Michigan in the late 1980s. Engler was elected during the first wave of the term limits craze in Michigan. If someone had been in office a little too long they were voted out regardless of the job performance they may have had after being elected.
    James Blanchard unbelievably lost to Engler who was only known previously (IMHO) as being divorced from his politico wife in Isabella County. Engler and his cronies, Right Wing Presidents of public Universities, conservative executives of Dow Inc. (The headquarters being in nearby Midland)and other backers from the mid-Michigan area came together to support the Mackinac Center. This area of Michigan had the militia men to the east in Deckerville and the home (at the time) of the Michigan branch of the KKK to the south in St. John. While these last two groups could not be formally linked to the Mackinac Center, they did contribute to the mindset of a lot of the conservatives there at the time.
    I was living in the middle (geographically speaking) of all of this activity. I saw my fair share of Oliver North haircuts and public university funding of Pat Robertson on campus appearances.
    These people are the back room shysters looking to fix the game in their favor by yelling “small government” which came to mean more power to fewer people.
    Search the webs to find more funny business by these zealots.

    Ug, now I need to go take a walk.

    1. I grew up in Mid-Michigan at that time, and come on, it wasn’t quite as bad as all that. That said . . . Mt. Pleasant, neither a mountain, nor particularly pleasant.

  • Dumb question here, but if this is about a torrent, then why not a link to the torrent file (15-150K in size), or the hash (a string used to verify the received data), and people can find it for themselves?

  • To anon @1 and 5:
    You read through 1.2 gb in 16 minutes? And were researched enough on the background of the Kochs to know there was nothing of interest, but still thought you should warn everyone else not to read it? Thanks for your public servivce.

    1. No, I haven’t read the documents. I haven’t read them because I believe I know what the phrase “entirely legal means” means on the quoted section of the Daily Kos article:

      “The content from,, and were collected with entirely legal means.”

      It means they scraped the website. It means they typed something like “wget –mirror” and hit enter, then stuck the whole pile in a Truecrypt archive.

      It means they’re wasting everyone’s time.

      They gift-wrapped the publicly available sections of those three websites, put it in an encrypted file, and stuck it on a torrent, then claimed to be an Anonymous splinter to piggyback their popularity.

      This isn’t a document dump, it’s a spur to get people to install Truecrypt. How do I know that? Because putting something in an encrypted file, and ONLY an encrypted file, is STUPID. If you want to make sure the files haven’t been messed with, you don’t give people the only available information (filename, password, file size) that can be used to identify it. They didn’t even hand out hash files. So they demonstrably don’t give a shit about whether the real file is actually making it to people, so why would you make someone install Truecrypt to look at a tempting set of files? You’d do it if you wanted more people to have Truecrypt installed. It’s an admirable goal, but this was a boneheaded way to do it, because this is going to cast doubt on any REAL leaks that may occur in the future regarding those organizations.

      And yeah, the Kochs are a fucking nasty bunch. I follow a few climate-related blogs (Climate Progress primarily) that often go into their influence on climate legislation and lobbying in particular.

      But I really don’t believe that everyone on the Internet has been, for years, so stupid as to not notice incriminating evidence on the public portions of the websites of these three organizations. If we’re going to find anything actually interesting, it’s not going to be in that file.

      Someone cried wolf because they wanted to have a piece of the Anonymous popularity pie, and people fell over themselves to believe it.

  • Libertarianism is the political position that everyone is a white middle class male. It’s myopic selfishness and an ignorance of society and history at best couched in a pretense at the idea of liberty and freedom.

  • Not to get all Randhole (referring to her confounding use of medicare-which no argument, legally she had a right to, but immunity from hypocrisy? Not so much, esp when you consider her lung ca was probably due to to her copious consumption of taxed tobacco products) on y’all but wanna read a joke?

    Q: What’s the difference between a libertarian and a non-libertarian?

    A: One 911 phone call…


  • I’m suspicious of this.

    1) If it’s a webscrape of publicly available data, why would the leaker be so proud of it? “I know how to use wget” is hardly 1337. I mean, I can see some value in having all this publicly accessible data collected in one place, where sysadmins can’t take down any individual embarrassments. But the whole thing seems a bit overblown.

    2) Some people have been claiming this is a “false flag” operation, and that HBGary has talked about “leaking” false information to discredit critics. That makes sense to me. Just take a bunch of data that you’re fine with releasing, mix in a couple of documents with fake scandals, and boom, instant rope-a-dope.

    Readers should be skeptical of any particularly explosive tidbits that they find. They’ll require corroboration.

    3) What I’ve read so far, the files all seem like press releases.

    I guess I’ll just have to wait to see if anything interesting comes out of this. So far it seems like it’s not really a “leak” so much as a “collection”.

    1. Well, there’s some mysterious second truecrypt volume, and its password hasn’t been released/discovered. The dump could be a ploy to distribute whatever’s in the second file. Of course, without knowing what’s in it, it’s hard to tell if that’s a good thing or not.

      1. Well, there’s some mysterious second truecrypt volume, and its password hasn’t been released/discovered.

        It could contain 70 million credit card numbers, courtesy of PSN.

  • 4) WTF with encrypting the data? Seems to provide an unwarranted air of mystery, while making the information harder to access. Well, at least now I’ve got TrueCrypt installed.


    “All of the documents in this re-release were collected using a tool called FOCA (Fingerprinting Organizations with Collected Archives). It’s a powerful tool, which can be used by both internal and external sources.

    Internally, it can be used to see what types of potentially sensitive data is leaking to the public about an organization. Externally, the same data can be used to help map a plan of attack. In either case, it is a way to collect and examine OSINT, or Open Source Intelligence.

    FOCA project files were included in the document release, adding additional proof that the collected data came from public sources. Additionally, by nature of the FOCA tool itself, some interesting details about the three organizations were also made available.

    For example, Windows XP and outdated versions of Adobe and Microsoft Office software are widely adopted. This information isn’t major, but the other details released could be considered sensitive, including network mapping data (server shares and IP addresses), email addresses, and user ID naming conventions.

    There are more than 1,500 files in the Torrent published to the Web. Again, based on the FOCA project files, all of them are currently in the public domain on their own. “

  • First it was okay to leak government secrets.

    Then it was okay to leak military secrets in a time of war.

    Now it’s okay to leak private business secrets.

    Who’s next?

    “Really doesn’t make very much difference, because sooner or later, we’ll all of us be on the menu…all of us.”

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