Barrett Brown

From MURAT: Project PM, Project Hastings, Project Swartz
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Barrett Brown
Born August 14 1981
Education Episcopal School of Dallas
Criminal Charge(s) Several
Criminal Penalties 8.5 years prison time
Criminal Status Detained for over a year

Founder of Project PM. Currently jailed while awaiting sentencing for various alleged offenses enumerated in three separate indictments. There is a movement in his name called Free Barrett Brown.


Barrett Brown is an activist, author, and freelance writer specializing in “information age” topics. His work has appeared in the Guardian, Vanity Fair, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, Skeptic, Skeptical Inquirer, New York Press, American Atheist, and other outlets.

A native of Dallas, Brown entered the University of Texas in 2000 but dropped out after taking a copywriting job for America Online. During the next few years he lived in Austin, Dallas, New York, and Mexico, while pursuing similar gigs and contributing to a string of policy journals, magazines, and online outlets. In 2006 he was commissioned to write a humorous nonfiction manuscript regarding the spurious intelligent design movement. The result, Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Easter Bunny, was released the following year, receiving accolades from Matt Taibbi, Alan Dershowitz, and others. Soon after, Brown became director of communications for Enlighten the Vote (formerly Gampac), a political action committee intent on supporting secular candidates for U.S. office, while also serving as chief contributor to CNET’s online political analysis startup Political Base.

In 2009, Brown began to recruit volunteers for a “distributed think tank” called Project PM, with the original objective of establishing experimental online networks for use by activists, bloggers, and nongovernmental organizations. His focus gradually shifted to the Anonymous movement, which he covered in print before finally getting directly involved with the group’s work on the occasion of the Tunisian uprising. Thereafter, he came to serve Anonymous as an organizer and “propagandist” in support of operations.

After the February 2011 incident in which several intelligence contracting firms led by HBGary Federal were caught planning covert operations against WikiLeaks and its supporters, including several journalists, Brown refocused the mission of Project PM to investigate the private intelligence sector and promote effective opposition to surveillance, data mining, and advanced disinformation techniques by states and other institutions. Among other efforts, Project PM maintains a wiki that hosts information compiled from stolen corporate and government e-mails, as well as more traditional sources, and assists journalists who wish to cover issues relating to the “cyber-industrial complex.”

Original Charges Before Dismissal and Plea Deal

Most of the PACER documents are available at or in the references below. The charges enumerated below carry a potential total maximum sentence of 105 years.

Indictment One - 3:12-CR-317-L

Count One: Internet Threats, 18 U.S.C. § 875(c)

Maximum sentence: 5 years

Count Two: Conspiracy to Make Publicly Available Restricted Personal Information of an Employee of the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371 (18 U.S.C. § 119)

Maximum sentence: 5 years

Count Three: Retaliation Against a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, 18 U.S.C. §§ 115(a)(1)(B) and (b)(4)

Maximum sentence: 10 years

Indictment Two - 3:12-CR-413-L

Count One: Traffic in Stolen Authentication Features, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1028(a)(2), (b)(1)(B), and (c)(3)(A); Aid and Abet, 18 U.S.C. § 2

Maximum sentence: 15 years

Count Two: Access Device Fraud, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1029(a)(3) and (c)(1)(A)(i); Aid and Abet, 18 U.S.C. § 2

Maximum sentence: 10 years

Counts Three Through Twelve: Aggravated Identity Theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1); Aid and Abet, 18 U.S.C. § 2

Maximum sentence: 2 years each, total of 20 years

Indictment Three - 3:13-CR-030-L

Count One: Obstruction: Concealment of Evidence, 18 U.S.C. § 1519; Aid and Abet, 18 U.S.C. § 2

Maximum sentence: 20 years

Count Two: Obstruction: Corruptly Concealing Evidence, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1); Aid and Abet, 18 U.S.C. § 2

Maximum sentence: 20 years

Current Case Disposition Post Plea Agreement

18 U.S.C. § 875(c) — Transmitting a Threat in Interstate Commerce — Count One

Maximum sentence: 60 months

18 U.S.C. § 3 (§§ 1030(a)(5)(B) and 1030(c)(4)(A)(i)(I)) — Accessory After the Fact in the Unauthorized Access to a Protected Computer — Count Two

Maximum sentence: 30 months

18 U.S.C. §§ 1501 & 2 — Interference with the Execution of a Search Warrant and Aid and Abet — Count Three

Maximum sentence: 12 months

Total maximum statutory sentence: 8.5 years



  • Places second in a national Ayn Rand essay contest
  • High school newspaper staff – wrote opinion, political and humor columns
  • 1997: Summer internship/ wrote columns at Atencion newspaper in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico
  • Founds an Objectivist society at high school
  • 1998: interned at the Met, an alternative weekly
  • Late 90s: lived in Tanzania with his father, received high school diploma from Texas Tech University Distance Learning Program

Early 2000s

  • Enrolled at University of Texas – Austin, journalism department, writer at school’s Daily Texan newspaper.
  • Began writing for America Online, first paying job as a writer. From 2000-2004 provided coverage for AOL Anywhere and CityGuide sections, regional correspondent for Austin, Dallas and other area markets with focus on community events, entertainment venues and dining/travel.
  • Dropped out of college, continued freelance work for print and online publications including: National Lampoon Online, Austin Monthly, Toward Freedom – a D.C.-based public policy journal, Dallas Child, Dining Out, Free Life – a London-based public policy journal, Pizza Today, literary journal Swans, and others.
  • Served as weekly columnist and feature writer for, a political analysis site from 2004-2005
  • April 2007: Flock of Dodos, a comic critique of intelligent design and creationism is published.

Late 2000s

  • 2007: Moves to Brooklyn; contributes to New York Press, The Onion’s A.V. Club, McSweeney's, Daily Kos, Vanity Fair, Skeptic magazine, Huffington Post, and more.
  • April 2007: Flock of Dodos, a comic critique of intelligent design and creationism is published.
  • 2007: Writer at Fox Business Channel, Yahoo, – Member of creative team for animated humor series Minyanville, which aired on Fox Business Channel’s Happy Hour program and Yahoo Finance.
  • 2007 to 2008: Paid blogger for – online political news start-up founded by CNET.
  • 2007 to 2009: Serves as Communications Director for Enlighten the Vote, a political action committee supporting the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Appears on Fox News to debate separation of church and state.
  • Worked on projects for various corporate clients and ad agencies creating marketing collateral, web copy and blog content.


  • February: Operation Titstorm gains his attention.
  • March: Announces the formation of Project PM.
  • Returns to Dallas.
  • October: Advises the campaign of Wynne LeGrow, an atheist Democratic congressional candidate for Virginia's 4th district
  • December: Operation Payback / Avenge Assange - protest against blockading of donations to WikiLeaks.


  • February: HBGary is hacked by Anonymous.
  • March: Interviewed by NBC News. Participates in Operation Bradical. Declares an information war on behalf of Anonymous against the Pentagon on Russia Today.
  • April: Profile in D Magazine, which later wins a National Magazine Award.
  • May: Claims he's quitting Anonymous.
  • June: Publishes report on Romas/COIN
  • September: Present at Occupy Wall Street in NYC. He and Gregg Housh sell a book to Amazon, tentatively titled Anonymous: Tales From Inside The Accidental Cyberwar
  • November: Involved in OpCartel against the Zetas. When his address is posted online, he flees to Brooklyn for several weeks.
  • December: Stratfor is hacked.
  • December 25: On IRC Brown allegedly copy and pastes a hyperlink from #Anonops to #ProjectPM.





Date Publication Title
February 10 2010 Huffington Post Anonymous, Australia, and the Inevitable Fall of the Nation-State
March 18 2010 Skeptical Inquirer The Internet and the Republic of Skepticism, Part One
March 24 2010 True/Slant Project PM
April 13 2010 Huffington Post Wikileaks and War; Secrecy and Context
May 3 2010 Skeptical Inquirer The Internet and the Republic of Skepticism, Part Two
May 6 2010 Huffington Post A Proposal for a Minor Revolution in Human Affairs
May 15 2010 True/Slant Just This Once, Let Us Do the Reasonable Thing
June 23 2010 Vanity Fair Why the Hacks Hate Michael Hastings
June 29 2010 Skeptical Inquirer A Tale of Two Internets
August 20 2010 Skeptical Inquirer Skepticism is Best Left to the Skeptics
October 11 2010 Skeptical Inquirer A Modern Solution to An Age-Old Problem
December 8 2010 Huffington Post The Aims of Anonymous
January 27 2011 Guardian Anonymous, a net gain for liberty
February 16 2011 Skeptical Inquirer Skepticism in the Face of Evidence Is No Virtue
February 16 2011 Al Jazeera Anonymous and the global correction
February 17 2011 Guardian How Anonymous hacked the security firm hacker
May 6 2011 Guardian Sony's Anonymous claim, a health warning
June 22 2011 Guardian A sinister cyber-surveillance scheme exposed
October 9 2011 Guardian A virtual secret state, the military-industrial complex 2.0
April 20 2012 Guardian The cyber misinformation campaign against USA Today
July 11 2012 Guardian Cybersecurity and the intelligence community's nefarious purposes
July 1 2013 Guardian The cyber-intelligence complex and its useful idiots
August 12 2013 VICE Reading 'Born Again' In Jail
November 11 2013 VICE Bored Out of My Mind In Jail
December 17 2013 VICE What Radio Censorship Says About America
January 14 2014 FrontBurner The Poetry of William Blake
January 31 2014 FrontBurner Secrets of the Illuminati, or, Yay, Cookies!
February 17 2014 FrontBurner The White People Meeting
March 11 2014 FrontBurner Enter the Kissinger!
April 01 2014 FrontBurner Mutilated Animal Farm
April 22 2014 FrontBurner It Turns Out That Gerald Ford Is Dead
May 14 2014 FrontBurner I Wish I Could Do, Like, Magic
June 04 2014 FrontBurner The Spy Who Misspelled Me
June 17 2014 FrontBurner More Like George Bernard Flaw
July 01 2014 FrontBurner A Visit to the Hole
July 18 2014 FrontBurner There Was a Bad Mutha Who Lived in an SHU
August 19 2014 FrontBurner We'll Take the Hole SHU-bang
October 13 2014 FrontBurner His Real Crime Was Getting That Tattoo
October 30 2014 FrontBurner Let Me Just Drop Everything and Respond to Your Libel
November 06 2014 FrontBurner The Dread Destroyer Has 5 Points of Armor


<references />