Documents Show Homeland Security Was Tracking Occupy Wall Street Even Before The First Protest

Group Anonymous

Photo: Julia La Roche for Business Insider

The Department of Homeland Security has been tracking the Occupy Wall Street movement since well before protesters first took Zuccotti Park last September, according to internal DHS memos obtained by Business Insider through a Freedom of Information Act Request. The documents show that DHS alerted its agents to the Wall Street protests — and specifically the involvement of the hacker group Anonymous in organising the protests — sometime before the Sept. 17 kickoff of the protests in downtown Manhattan. 

In an undated memo, titled “Details On ‘Anonymous’ Upcoming Operations: 17 September 2011: Occupy Wall Street; U.S. Day of Rage,” the DHS Office of Intelligence notes that the hacker group had came out in support of the planned Sept. 17 Wall Street protests. The memo provides details of a YouTube video released by Anonymous that called on protesters “to adopt a non-violent ‘Tahrir-acampadas model,'” and to “flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.” 

The memo warns that AdBusters, the original organisers of the OWS protests, had also planned a demonstration on the National Mall to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq in October 2011.

Another DHS Intelligence memo provides further warnings about the impact and likelihood of upcoming Anonymous Operations. 

According to that memo, DHS cybersecurity analysts considered it “likely” that that peaceful OWS protests would occur on Sept. 17, and that “those protests may be accompanied by malicious cyber activity conducted by Anonymous.” 

The memo says analysts considered it unlikely that Anonymous would follow through with threats to launch a coordinated attack against Facebook on Nov. 5 2011. 

On Anonymous’s “Project Mayhem,” — a year-long effort that will end with an “unveiling of secrets” on Dec. 21 2012 — the DHS warns that “inconsequential physical mischief and potentially disruptive malicious cyber activities” are expected, but “specific tactics, techniques, and procedures are unknown.”

The memo also mentions an “Operation Halliburton” but says that “little is known” about the potential operation, which presumably targets the U.S. oilfield services giant. 

Two other memos obtained by BI warn about Anonymous’ threats to take down the New York Stock Exchange and to hack Fox News’ website over the network’s coverage of the OWS movement. 

The documents were released to Business Insider today in response to a FOIA request we filed when reports first started circulating that DHS helped coordinate the nationwide OWS crackdown last November. 

Although we have only made it through some of the 408 documents, what we’ve seen so far indicates that while the agency reluctant to get involved in the Occupy protests (at least initially), Homeland Security was definitely keeping tabs on the movement from the outset. 

Read the memos below. 

dhs memo occupy wall street

Photo: Department of Homeland Security

dhs memo anonymous

Photo: Department of Homeland Security

dhs memo anonymous new york stock exchange

Photo: Department of Homeland Security

dhs email anonymous fox news

Photo: Department of Homeland Security

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