This shadowy swarm of hackers/criminals/activists/pranksters has largely remained quiet since mid-summer's arrest of a de facto Anonymous leader (apparently, a 19-year-old Scottish kid) following the group's high-profile hack of Arizona's Department of Public Safety.
But now we know Anons have been plotting in the dark for the past two months, hacking Texas police servers, gathering personal information and a cache of embarrassing emails to dump online for all the world to see.
Late last week, Anonymous claimed responsibility for hacking the personal and work email accounts of over two dozen Texas police chiefs, posting the contents online and hijacking the Texas Police Chief's Association web page. In a lengthy prologue to the 3 gigabytes of emails, photos and memos the group dumped on a hidden server, Anonymous wrote: “Lewd jokes? Check. Racist chain mails? Check. You lost your radio license? Lulz. Playing on the fears of voters? Check.
We are attacking Texas law enforcement as part of 'Chinga La Migra' as they continue to harass immigrants and use border patrol operations as a cover for their backwards racist prejudice.”
James McLaughlin, executive director of the police chief's association, said officials discovered the breach Thursday night, adding, “Right now, we're just talking about how to get the site back up and running." Though he wouldn't comment any further on the inquiry into the breach, McLaughlin said the FBI was spearheading the investigation.
In releasing the documents, Anonymous said, “While many of our comrades facing charges and in prison are innocent, there is no such thing as an innocent police officer, and we will continue to directly attack the prison-industrial-complex by leaking their private data, destroying their systems, and defacing their websites.”
Contained in the emails are mundane day-to-day descriptions of department work, along with dozens of FBI, Border Patrol and counter-terrorism documents sent to department officials classified as “law enforcement sensitive” or “for official use only.” Other exchanges are flat-out embarrassing, containing racist chain mail, passed along inside departments, nude photos and sexually-charged messages.
The literal first line of the first email in the long stream posted by Anonymous reads: “That stupid bitch who started that stolen car chase at Yale and 610 got what she deserved (I'll bet she was fat and black too). Same with that pervert that got shot by the county. Fuck that guy, see ya. That all sounds like good police work to me. Those folks got the criminal cure. It's guaranteed, they will never commit a crime again.” The message was found in Friendswood Police Chief Robert Wieners' account – he's insisted elsewhere it wasn't him that sent the message, but only responded "How do you really feel : )."
Closer to home, Anonymous hacked the accounts of Olmos Park Police Chief Fred Solis, charging him with passing along “anti-immigrant” jokes and emails (apparently, it was simply a photo of a Chihuahua dressed in scuba gear, with a line reading “Mexican Navy Seals”).
Emails from former Helotes Police Chief Morton Ault, who was fired last year amid allegations of fraud, seem to be from his personal account, containing exchanges with women he appears to have met online, possibly on AdultFriendFinder – some of the back-and-forths are so graphic, they even make us here at the Current blush.
Perhaps most troubling – apart from the fact that dozens of Texas law-enforcement agencies can be so readily hacked, possibly leaking sensitive and damaging information on ongoing investigations – are the numerous racist chain mail and anti-Muslim jokes peppered throughout the emails from a handful of departments. A Houston Police Lieutenant circulated a joke titled “Jeff Foxworthy on Muslims, Straight-Forward Country-thinking.” Among the other “you might be a redneck”-style quips: “If you were amazed to discover that cell phones have other uses than setting off roadside bombs. You may be a Muslim.”
Bouncing around on Wieners' email account is an article written by infamous American Family Association blogger Bryan Fischer, explaining “why radical Muslims act so unreasonably brutal”
“I DO BELIEVE THAT THIS GUY IS ONTO SOMETHING!! Subj: 1,400 years of inbreeding among Muslims. Read the article and make up your own mind.”
Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.