Hector Xavier ‘Sabu' Monsegur has revealed how we knew the FBI were on his tail, and how the agency used his ‘weakness' to become an informant, a move which saw him work with the agency to prevent a reported 300 cyber-attacks against government and NSA computers and networks.
In a series of interviews with CBS This Morning, Sabu - the co-founder of LulzSec hactivism group who has been working with the FBI since his arrest in June 2011 - detailed the night that the FBI came and arrested him, as well as the unequivocal terms of his arrangement with the agency.
“They said ‘well, we know who you are, we know what you're doing and we also know you have two kids in the house, so – to keep it simple - you can either cooperate with us, come down town with us and you'll be back in the morning, or we're going to call ACS [the New York social services] and take the kids away. It's your call, you make the decision,'” he said.
“So it's clear as day that we had an understanding that my weakness was the kids.”
In another interview with CBS This Morning co-host, Charlie Rose he described how hackers often reach a ‘point of no return' and vehemently deny ever identifying any other Anonymous members.
“After you're hacking for so long, you reach a point of no return. Regardless of your fear that they're going to get you one day, it's too late.”
And despite his co-operation apparently contributing "directly to the identification, prosecution and conviction of eight of his major co-conspirators" he added: "It wasn't a situation where I identified anybody. I didn't point my fingers at nobody. My cooperation entailed logging and providing intelligence. It didn't mean, 'Can you please tell me the identity of one of your mates?'"
By cooperating with the FBI, Sabu avoided a 20-year jail sentence.
In her recent book We are Anonymous by journalist Parmy Olson, reviewed in the Guardian, she reports: "And then the FBI was at the door. Sabu was picked up by the feds, held for 24 hours, turned into an informer and then dropped back into position. And it was only a matter of time before the arrests began, including those of Topiary, Ryan Cleary, an autistic teenager from Essex, Ryan Ackroyd, a 26-year-old ex-soldier from Doncaster who purported to be a 16-year-old girl, and T-flow, or Mustafa Al-Bassam, from south London, who really had been 16 at the time and whose hacking CV included writing a script that helped Tunisian revolutionaries overcome government internet restrictions."