A HACKER who was once raided by the FBI and sent to prison has said the US will likely thrown the book at alleged Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira.
Just like the so-called “Jack the Dripper“, Deric Lostutter has experienced what it’s like to be US public enemy number one as he was raided by an FBI Swat Team.
AlamyThe US Airman was is accused of being responsible for the worst US intelligence breach in decades[/caption]
Jack Teixeira, who is alleged to be behind the Pentagon files leak, was arrested on ThursdayAP
TwitterDeric Lostutter has put his hacking days far behind him but still champions civil rights[/caption]
He faced the full force of the law and was jailed for sharing information he believed should be public – which in his case helped expose the rape of a girl, 16.
But he believes the massive document dossier believed to have been leaked by Teixeira, 21, will see the US seek to make an example out of the young man.
Deric – who was a member of hacker collective Anonymous – said he believes Teixeira most likely did what he did to “impress his group of chat friends” .
But he likely also was motivated by his desire to hit back against “big government”.
And comparing his treatment to what awaits the US Air National Guardsman, Deric told The Sun Online: “It will be more harsh.”
But just like he was – he believes the US will be keen to hold him up as an example to others who may seek to hack or leak.
He added that these sorts of leaks also happen more often that many people think.
“It’s pretty common for people, even non military people, to gain access to classified data,” said Deric.
“Look at all the Anonymous people that have gone to prison.”
Deric pointed out that Jack could have been tried for treason, but at the moment he is facing charges under the Espionage Act.
But that could still see him jailed for 10 years per count – something that could see Jack in jail for decades.
The leaking of the highly-sensitive Pentagon intelligence files over the last week, which constitute one of the worst intelligence breaches in US history, left the US scrambling for a culprit.
Teixeira was arrested by FBI agents on Thursday at his home in Massachusetts.
He allegedly oversaw the online Discord group called Thug Shaker Central where approximately 30 people – mostly young men and teens – shared a love of guns, racist memes, and games.
This was where the so-called “Discord Leaks” were first sighted — leaked from the supposedly secure nerve centre of the US intelligence community.
Each count against Teixeira can carry up to a 10-year-prison sentence and with estimates of 300 leaked classified documents, Teixeira could be looking at spending the rest of his life behind bars.
A younger Lostutter speaking publically about the FBI raid on his home in 2013CNN
Lostutter appeared wearing the famous Guy Fawkes mask of Anonymous
Footage shows the moment the young suspect – in red shorts with his hands behind his back – is pulled by heavily-armed agents into an unmarked sports utility vehicle in a forested area.
This was an experience, Lostutter knows very well – having been through something similar almost exactly 10 years ago.
In April 2013, a SWAT team with machine guns paid an aggressive visit to one of the first known faces – and perhaps most instrumental member – behind the hacker collective Anonymous.
Lostutter would spend two years in prison for his own crusade of leaks with a side of illegal hacking.
And he believes the same fate awaits Teixeira, someone he also described as a “patsy” who will take suffer the full fury of the US government despite other swirling scandals.
“Jack the Dripper’s” case is more high-profile, it concerns national security, and Teixeira is a soldier so will be tried under the uniform military code of justice.
All things which are going to go against Teixeira – and make things much worse him than they were for Deric.
However, there still appear to be overriding similarities behind the high-profile leakers’ grander intentions.
I did the right thing, the wrong way
Despite the differences in their alleged crimes however – Deric believes there are some similarities in their motives, even if Teixeira was also driven by a desire to impress his gamer pals.
Lostutter is a firm believe in making information available, and rails against governments hiding things under the guise of “protecting national security”.
The massive leak – that has seen information released on the war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s alleged chemo treatment, and Chinese hypersonic weapons – revealed a flimsy cloak of secrecy in the US.
“The goal [with Anonymous] was always to hold power accountable and speak out against corruption and not to face repercussions for doing that,” Lostutter, a dad-of-one, told The Sun Online.
The former hacker and whistle-blower had always wanted the world to be a “free, transparent one” and that’s what he told the world right before his arrest.
A decade on, Lostutter admitted: “I did the right thing, the wrong way.”
He is referring to the Steubenville rape case – the case that motivated him to commit his crime.
A 16-year-old girl had been raped and Lostutter had heard that the high school football players responsible were going to get away with it.
He wanted justice.
So now, wearing the now infamous Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta – now often associated with Anonymous – he warned the perpetrators “You can hide no longer”.
Jack Teixeira could face decades in prison
Protests were organised and the high school’s athletics page was hacked. Explosive allegations surrounding the case, including that Steubenville officials were covering it up, were being leaked online.
The players were outed – and he helped to put the perpetrators behind bars but his methods were risky, harmful and illegal.
The now-dad still divided opinion – either being seen as an online vigilante putting right to wrongs or as a shady web criminal.
“It is a shame I had to step in when no adults did,” Lostutter, who was working as a cybersecurity consultant at the time, said.
“I wanted to protect people’s rights and [the victim] had a right to be free from harm”.
Although, the legal and moral boundaries had become blurred and confusing for the Kentucky native, for those that prosecuted him for the hacking – they were very clear, and he was jailed.
The fact is, he said, “I was in jail a lot longer than the [convicted] rapists were and I was branded a liar by the public and government.”
Lostutter is the first to admit he knows what he did was “wrong”, but his sentence he claims was “egregious and an abuse of discretion.”
“They were trying to set an example,” he said, something he believes the US could see again with Teixeira.
And he believes a shift is happening in the US, something that could see Teixeira become championed by a disaffected youth who are “p***ed off” about the state of the things in the US.
Members of Teixeira’s gaming community told the Washington Post that “had a dark view of the government”.
Like the former Anonymous hacker, he saw the US government and its intelligence agencies as authoritarian or at least heading that way – and he allegedly ranted about “government overreach”.
Still, Lostutter is unimpressed with his dangerous methods said that the young airman clearly cross a line.
Lotstutter explained the Anonymous back in the day was an idea – ranging from a “janitor in New Zealand, it’s a garbage collector in Louisiana, it’s a p***ed off 17-year-old girl in Ohio”.
However, while the barely out of school US Airman will probably have to face the full brunt of the American government, Lostutter has already served his time and keeps a relatively low-profile these days.
The Anonymous masks are burnt and his hacking days are far behind him.
He is still an untiring advocate for human rights and for freedom.
But this time on the right side of the law as he continues his training to become a civil rights attorney.
The future for the retired hacktivist looks a lot like “living my life as a law-abiding citizen, raising my daughter and continuing to speak out against injustice on behalf of the next generation.
“We have a responsibility to protect the kids.”