FBI’s LulzSec informant Sabu gets second stay of execution

Sabu was arrested in June 2011. Potentially faced with more than 100 years in prison and the loss of his family, Sabu had by August agreed to a plea bargain that involved cooperating with the FBI. He pleaded guilty to charges in front of judge Loretta Preska in a sealed courtroom, ostensibly for his own safety but likely to keep his new role secret. He cooperated with the FBI up to and including the Stratfor hack; and through his work the LulzSec group has been dismembered and the members arrested – including most notably the arrest of Jeremy Hammond, allegedly the architect of the Stratfor hack.

It has been suggested that Sabu’s plea bargain would involve a suspended sentence rather than a jail term. That sentence has now been delayed by a further six months. A fax from the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York to judge Preska (obtained by Ars Technica) reads: “The Government respectfully submits this letter to request an adjournment of the sentencing control date in this matter from February 22, 2013 to August 23, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in light of the defendant’s ongoing cooperation with the Government. Pursuant to his cooperation agreement, the defendant consents to the requested adjournment.”

What that ‘ongoing cooperation’ might be is unspecified. It is likely, however, to focus on evidence that can be used against Jeremy Hammond and potentially against any action against WikiLeaks and/or Julian Assange. A recent announcement from Anonymous makes it clear that it considers Sabu, Stratfor, Hammond and WikiLeaks to be inextricably bound. Following judge Preska’s refusal to recuse herself (see details here) from the Hammond case, FreeAnons.org released a statement on Saturday:

“The FBI used their tried and true fallback, and bought cooperation from a snitch to instigate and infiltrate us, in order to build a case against Jeremy. They hid behind anonymity to make cases against hacktivists. They orchestrate crimes, and engage in criminal activity and unconstitutional surveillance, using the same method they condemn: anonymity.”

The ‘snitch’ is Sabu. The orchestrated ‘crimes’ probably refers to the Stratfor hack. The suggestion is that since Sabu was already working for the FBI and yet still took part in the Stratfor hack, it was an orchestrated crime designed to catch LulzSec and specifically Hammond. The ‘unconstitutional surveillance’ could be linked to several Anonymous suspects; but almost certainly includes Aaron Swartz. Swartz committed suicide in January when it became clear that the authorities were seeking a lengthy prison sentence. However, a congressional briefing by the DoJ over the incident, according to the Huffington Post last week, confirmed that he had been offered, but declined, a plea bargain, and that he had been specifically targeted because of his radical views.

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