Hacker Gonzalez Says He Was Acting on Behalf of Government
Notorious hacker Albert Gonzalez is asking a judge to throw out his guilty plea in one of the largest cases of credit card theft in the U.S.
Gonzalez was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the security breaches of Barnes & Noble, OfficeMax, BJs Wholesale Club, TJX and other retailers. But Gonzalez says his actions were part of his assignments as a paid government informant. Last year, IT Business Edge blogger Lora Bentley reported that the Secret Service paid Gonzalez as much as $75,000 a year to help catch bank card thieves.
In his petition, Gonzalez states:
I still believe that I was acting on behalf of the United States Secret Service and that I was authorized and directed to engage in the conduct I committed as part of my assignment to gather intelligence and seek out international cybercriminals.
He blames a defense attorney for not advising about a "Public Authority" defense, in which a defendant argues that a crime was committed with the government's approval. The Secret Service has not commented on the petition.