back to article LulzSec turncoat Sabu avoids jail time thanks to co-operating with Feds

Infamous Lulzsec hacker-turned-mole Sabu will not face jail time after the court agreed to cut the police informant's sentence. Hector Xavier Monsegur, better known by his handle Sabu, received a sentence for time already served from a US District Court on Tuesday at the recommendation of prosecutors. Sabu had faced twelve …


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  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    I pity the man. He's going to have a target on him the rest of his life.

    1. Don Jefe

      Why? See, that's the rub with 'joining' organizations that have zero internal regulation, loyalty or even sense of identity. There is no 'reward' for keeping your mouth shut. No indulgences are granted by a centralized figure/body of power.

      It's not like the Mafia or even a street gang, it's a loosely affiliated bunch of reasonably skilled computer operators who happen to all be going down the same street on the same day at the same time. They're just as likely to continue on that street as they are to all breakout and run into separate doors or just stop and shit in the street. Not that there's anything 'wrong' with that sort of structure, but it isn't one in which participation is rewarded.

      It would, in fact, be highly counterproductive for other 'cyber criminals' (god, that's a stupid term) to chastise this person as it will negatively affect the willingness of others to engage in such activities in the future. You can't punish people by a set of rules they didn't agree to adhere to: That's pure insanity. There is no 'honor among thieves' unless those thieves agree to the bounds of however they choose to define honor.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. dan1980

        @Don Jefe

        Not sure I fully agree with you there.

        What you say may well be true of groups with, as you say, "zero internal regulation, loyalty or even sense of identity" but how do you know that LulzSec was such a group?

        Anonymous certainly claimed to be but reading through some of the chat transcripts at the time, it seems to me that there was a solid core that decided who was in and out of any given operation and which functions they would perform. LulzSec seemed to be a more structured group from what can be seen - like a smaller, more dedicated subset.

        Personally, I think that the whole 'anonymous' shtick was very calculated as you had scores of people wearing silly masks claiming all manner of things as being the work of 'anonymous' and the news outlets just lapped it up. That, I believe is where the lack of any structure comes in - anyone could make a quasi-threatening video while wearing a Guy Fawkes mask or hack a web page and throw a 'we do not forgive . . .' on it.

        The other thing that doesn't necessarily gel is that it appears the groups as a whole, and certainly some of the participants, did have a kind of ethic. It might not have been an overly defensible one or one that would get a tick from St Peter but it did seem to me to define a group identity.

        I bring this up to address the 'honour* among thieves' statement.

        Whatever anyone else may think, I am of the opinion that many of these people truly believe that what they were doing was for the greater good. Some of them were clearly just self-important dicks who felt that their technical knowledge gave them the right to be judge and jury of the Internet. BUT, there were also clearly others be really did believe they were doing good.

        My point is that, while there may not be 'honour among thieves', it can be argued that many of the people involved in these attacks did not consider themselves to be 'thieves' at all.

        So, while your logic is sound, I don't believe your premise** is. Or, at least, I don't believe there is adequate information to assert that it is and enough to cast doubt.

        None of that is to say that I support their actions.

        * - "It was the critic Alexander who put me on my guard against unnecessary fault-finding. People should not be sharply corrected for bad grammar, provincialisms, or mispronunciation; it is better to suggest the proper expression by tactfully introducing it oneself in, say, one's reply to a question or one's acquiescence in their sentiments, or into a friendly discussion of the topic itself (not of the diction), or by some other suitable form of reminder."

        ** - That they were a loose collection of people without any structure, coordination or ethics.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          " 'honour*"

          ..or honor, depending on where you are from. Both are correct. However, the use of 'among' instead of 'amongst' was probably a more worthy correction to make :)

          1. dan1980

            I did agonise* over that.

            On another note, I really don't know why you were down-voted. Odd place this is at times.

            * - etc . . .

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon

              "Odd place this is at times"

              Can't argue with that. I think that, on occasion, it's possible to attract a neg-stalker depending on posts in other threads.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Takes a special kind of bastard

    To use someones children against them, especially a single parent. Here's looking at you FBI! For Shame! You're no better than those you supposedly "protect" us against. There is no amount of justification that can make THAT better. They have a special part of Hell that is 10,000 degrees hotter just for the likes of you!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Takes a special kind of bastard

      Yeah, you're right. They should have said, "Hey, you know, we feel really bad about this, but you're a criminal jackass breaking into other people's systems for fun and profit and we're going to send your ass to jail. BUT, just to show you how nice of guys we are, we're going to let you take your kids with you so you can retain custody!"

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Takes a special kind of bastard

        No. The kids should never entered into the FBI's equation at all. The guy made his choices and if they didn't include his kids then that's their problem. It isn't the problem of an over zealous public servant with a grudge against the world.

        You just don't fuck with people's families. Jesus, even Bush MkII knew that and the press also respected that. He'll fly your ass to Congo and let people torture you before disappearing you, but not screw with your families. It says a lot when a cockwasher like Bush MkII has lines he won't cross but the 'agents of justice' just run right on by and never notice the actual, certifiable, bonafide madman who gets permission from god to invade foreign lands has stopped and just won't go there.

        1. dan1980

          Re: Takes a special kind of bastard

          If you want to stand up on the moral high ground and claim for yourself some privileged status as a nation of 'freedom' and 'democracy' - of 'life, liberty and happiness' - then there are lines you can't cross, even if the outcomes may be better for you.

          In my oft-repeated quote from Shepard Smith at Fox News in response to talk of torture:

          "I don't give a rat's arse if it helps!"

          That's it in a nutshell - being moral means you don't get to make exceptions. Like saying you are an 'ethical investor' - even if the investment in question will give you ungodly returns, if you want to actually be and ethical investor, you must avoid it.

          Being moral and ethical means following the rules even when it would be easier to break them - especially then.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon

            Re: Takes a special kind of bastard

            "If you want to stand up on the moral high ground and claim for yourself some privileged status as a nation of 'freedom' and 'democracy' - of 'life, liberty and happiness' - then there are lines you can't cross, even if the outcomes may be better for you."

            Does the U.S. still make those kind of claims? A bit silly of them these days if they do, there is so much evidence to the contrary it makes that particular assertion farcical in the extreme.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Takes a special kind of bastard

          "You just don't fuck with people's families. Jesus, even Bush MkII knew that"

          Try telling that to Valerie Plame or the children of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

    2. Ossi

      Re: Takes a special kind of bastard

      Are you suggesting that having children should make you immune from going to prison? It's a serious question - I don't understand the logic of what you're saying. In what context would it be admissible for someone who has broken the law to be locked up if they have children?

      As far as I know, every American President (and every leader of every other country in history) has sent to prison people who have children.

  3. Crazy Operations Guy

    "guidelines of 259 to 317 months imprisonment.

    Why not just say 21.5 to 26.5 years? At this scale, and given how much those numbers change throughout the sentencing hearing and the sentence itself, does this much accuracy really matter?

    1. nitsedy

      Re: "guidelines of 259 to 317 months imprisonment.

      Little known fact - El Reg is run by a bunch of housewives who are still measuring the ages of their children in months. "Little Bobby is 374 months old, I'm so proud of him! You should see the Minecraft server he runs in his room downstairs!!"

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      26 years ?

      Who did he kill ?

      I'm all for justice, but it seems to me that, if he didn't kill anybody, he shouldn't be locked up for longer than a murderer would get.

  4. hapticz

    next he will be on the govt payroll (as a contractor) making ten lifetimes wages, meanwhile other as capable net people will be villified as 'non-patriots'... as the govt depends upon an unencumbered flow of tax money to sustain its own infrastructure, anyone that 'rocks their boat' will be targeted.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The problem is the other hackers mostly got time for doing hacks for Sabu under the FBI supervision. Jeremy Hammond had never heard of Stratfor until Sabu gave him a list of sites and the vulnerabilities they had, which I believe was given to him by the FBI. So the FBI directed most of the later attacks the others got jailed for and in essence was entrapment.

    The FBI stating that Sabu helped catch Hammond who was the number one cyber-criminal on their list and one has to wonder why someone who exposed some dodgy dealings of government security contractors makes someone more of a cyber-criminal than those infecting people with money stealing baking trojans among many other crimes.

    The amount of hacking Sabu actually did was minimal and he was more of a co-ordinator. This and the fact he was a single parents would have been seen as most courts in the world as a good reason not to send him to jail. Yet in the US they seem to want to send everyone to jail for even the smallest of crimes, so it did put him in a difficult position. Seems like he allowed himself to be used and abused well above what would be considered normal though.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Entrapment

      The US is primarily a society that values punishment and retribution far more rehabilitation.

    2. hapticz

      Re: Entrapment

      like most of the 'suddenly necessary' laws that have arisen, one day you're assisting the freedom fighters and leveling the playing field, the next day you're on the receiving end of the governments big stick.

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Book deal and Movie rights?

    Let's face it - Sabu's story is a lot more interesting than Mark Zuckerberg's.

  7. Zolko Silver badge

    ! RobinHood

    Isn't this Sabu the guy from LulzSec who used the credit cards that where stolen through raids - against politically motivated targets like Sony or others - to pay for his bills because he had no proper job, and that's how he got caught ? While the others didn't use those credit cards for any purpose other than to "punish" Sony (and for the Lulz of it) this Sabu guy actually stole the money of the people ? And now, he is free and his fellows are in jail !!!

    In other times, he would be called a traitor.

  8. TopOnePercent

    Not cool

    Sabu seems to be your typical keyboard warrior. Talks very big online, but faced with real world consequences of his actions he simply can’t stand up to it.

    That’s not to excuse the actions of law enforcement, if what has been reported is correct, as it seems to me to be digital entrapment. Just as DeLorean wouldn’t have had the first clue where & how to set up a mahoosive coke deal had the FBI not enabled, encouraged, and entrapped him into doing it; I strongly suspect that the some of the hacks for which people are serving jail time would not have happened without the FBI, via Sabu, encouraging, enabling, and ultimately entrapping them into doing it.

    I’ve not yet read any reporting of a Mitnick-like ban from the internet/computers for a few years. Seems to me he’s basically walked away almost as though it never happened for him, and that just seems wrong. I can understand a reduced penalty for cooperation, but would he really have walked if he’d got busted with a van full of coke, provided he could point out someone else with a ship full? No. So why is online different?

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