On Thursday, the teenage hackers who broke into the CIA director's personal AOL email account struck again, releasing a list of almost 2,400 names, emails and phone numbers that appear to belong to members of federal and local law enforcement, intelligence and even military agencies.
As it turns out, the data dump, as well as the hack that allowed them to obtain the data, might be far worse than initially thought. The list contains not only names of local police officers, but also names of FBI, Secret Service, CIA and other intelligence agents.
Some of these might even inadvertently have had their cover exposed, according to Michael Adams, an information security expert who served more than two decades in the US Special Operations Command, who reviewed the data for Motherboard.
"I don't think they have a fucking clue what they have."
Some police agents on the list, for example, are listed as having an FBI email address, which Adams believes could be FBI agents working at local police depts. And there are even what appear to be agents deployed abroad, such as a in the tiny Caribbean Nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The list released by the hackers, according to Adams, would allow a foreign government to map out where agents work, and with whom, which makes it more serious than a random data dump. Even the hackers might not have realized what they got their hands on.
"They're busting covers left and right and they don't know it," Adams told Motherboard. "I don't think they have a fucking clue what they have."
There are even four people listed as working for the United Kingdom Home Office, who all have leo.gov emails. Leo.gov is part of the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (or LEEP), a portal maintained by the FBI where "law enforcement agencies, intelligence groups, and criminal justice entities" can access "beneficial resources." According to its membership criteria, agents from foreign law enforcement and intelligence agencies can be part of it, provided the FBI vets them.
An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on "specific claims of hacktivism," and added that "those who engage in such activities are breaking the law."
"The FBI takes these matters very seriously," an FBI spokesperson said in an email. "We will work with our public and private sector partners to identify and hold accountable those who engage in illegal activities in cyberspace."
The list released by the hackers, who call themselves "Crackas With Attitude" and claim to be teenage "stoners," also seems incomplete. The names are listed in alphabetical order, but there are only names starting with the letter A, B, or C.
One of the group's hackers, who goes by the name Cubed, told Motherboard that they have "a lot more names." When I asked him if he could be more specific, Cube said there are "Too many to count."
The hacker, however, declined to say if and when they plan to release them.
Another member of the group, known as Cracka, told Motherboard that the group accessed several federal law enforcement tools, including JABS, a database of arrested people, IC3, an FBI crime-reporting tool, and VCC, a sharing tool for law enforcement agencies. Cracka also gave Wired a detailed list of other law enforcement tools they allegedly got access to through a portal he declined to name.
Considering all this, Adams said he is surprised the hackers are still at large.
"If they were really teenage stoner hackers they'd be in jail."
"If they were really teenage stoner hackers they'd be in jail," he said. "It is very difficult for me to understand how hackers characterized as 'teenage stoners' cannot be caught with the resources available to the United States Intelligence Community and the FBI."
On Thursday, after the dump, Cubed even joked about that, ironically tweeting at some of his associates: "I think the [CIA] lied to us….why havent [sic] we been caught?"
Cracka, who previously told Motherboard he doesn't want to be arrested, posted a manifesto on Thursday evening, said he is not doing all this "for fame" but to punish the US government for funding Israel, and to defend Palestine.
"Did you know I'll be tortured and possibly killed by the US government for this?" he wrote in a Pastebin. "Do you really think I'd be risking my life for fucking e-fame? No you idiots, I'm risking my life and my freedom for others, for the freedom of Palestine and other countries."
This story has been updated to include the comment from the FBI.