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Hacked e-mails reveal plans for dirty-tricks campaign against U.S. Chamber foes

Several of the documents focus on ChamberWatch, a union-backed organization that criticizes the business lobby and many of its members. The documents include personal details about activists who work for the group and suggestions for targeting its reputation, including planting fake documents, tying the organization to radical activists or creating "fake insider personas" on social media.

ChamberWatch, one memo said, is "vulnerable to information operations that could embarrass the organization and those associated with it."

Christy Setzer, a ChamberWatch spokeswoman, said that "even if the chamber was not aware of these specific proposals, they were clearly aware of the work that was being done."

The chamber disagreed and singled out ThinkProgress for allegedly organizing a "smear campaign" similar to unproven allegations last year that the business group used foreign money in its domestic political activities.

"The leaked e-mails appear to show that HBGary was willing to propose questionable actions in an attempt to drum up business, but the Chamber was not aware of these proposals until HBGary's e-mails leaked," the chamber's statement said.

Palantir chief executive Alex Karp, a self-described progressive, said in a statement Monday that the Silicon Valley software firm had severed ties with HBGary Federal and placed on leave an engineer involved in the project pending a review.

"Palantir does not make software that has the capability to carry out the offensive tactics proposed by HBGary," Karp said. "Palantir never has and never will condone the sort of activities recommended by HBGary."

Berico's co-founders, Guy Filippelli and Nick Hallam, said in a statement Friday that they also had severed ties with HBGary Federal and had launched an internal investigation into the affair.

"Our leadership does not condone or support any effort that proactively targets American firms, organizations or individuals," the executives said, adding that such proposals "run counter to our organization's values."

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