Hacked emails show Web’s usefulness in Chambers dirty tricks

Hacked e-mails show Web’s usefulness in dirty-tricks campaigns
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 7, 2011; A03

Although much of K Street spends its time plying the halls of Congress on behalf of well-heeled clients, there is a growing dark side to Washington’s lobbying and public relations industry: figuring out new ways to undermine and sabotage opponents.

This little-discussed aspect of the influence business came into view in recent weeks with the release of thousands of hacked corporate e-mails, which detail a pair of high-tech dirty-tricks campaigns aimed at supporters of WikiLeaks and foes of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The plans were pitched by three federal contractors to lawyers at Hunton & Williams, a top-flight D.C. law and lobbying firm that works for the Chamber. Proposed tactics included creating fake personas online to fool Chamber critics, planting false electronic documents to undermine the credibility of activists, and using powerful computer tools to “scrape” Facebook and other social-media sites for personal information about Chamber foes, according to the e-mails.

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