Saturday, July 2, 2011

Advice to LulzSec

Okay kids, listen up. Apparently the FBI is about to pounce on a few of you, and your alternatives are (a) to cooperate and become an FBI snitch/hacker, or (b) do a G. Gordon Liddy. Given your age, you probably don't know who G. Gordon Liddy is. Google him.

The net-net: G. Gordon Liddy refused to rat out his Watergate co-conspirators and took his full sentence. He subsequently secured himself several key roles in the Miami Vice television series, wrote a bestseller novel and has spent years as a radio talk-show host. That's "door B" for you. Door A, becoming an FBI snitch/hacker may give you some short-term benefits, but I challenge you to come up with any historical heroes from the world of cowards.

My advice is to take your medicine like a man and turn a tremendous current liability into an asset of equal magnitude. I have a friend who achieved the singular distinction of making the cover of Time Magazine for two consecutive weeks. Dick Morris made the Time cover on September 2, 1996 as man responsible for Bill Clinton's success. Exactly one week later, on September 9th, Dick had to resign in disgrace after letting a prostitute listen to his private conversations with President Clinton from a hotel room's extension phone.
After I lost my 1988 race for the U.S. Congress (yup, before you were born, ya little scamps), I went to work for Data General (see my monograph on the Great Tom West) doing advertising and public relations. Data General president Ed deCastro also assigned me to spend $248K getting tax limitation passed in Massachusetts (he also told me that if it didn't get passed, that I would be fired from Data General). Working with the Massachusetts Hi Tech Council, we hired Dick Morris to help us with the campaign. Dick and I became friends. In fact, he introduced me to the late great Tony Schwartz, and together they taught me guerrilla warfare. But I'll always remember one of Dick Morris's diatribes. Morris ran half a dozen House and Senate campaigns, and waxed poetic.

He said, "I always tell my candidates that if they ever get caught with their zippers open, they should NOT try to lie their way out of it. They should immediately fess up and face the music, because Americans love to forgive reformed sinners." Dick took his own advice. He weathered the storm and is now a popular television commentator and best selling author.

So listen up, LulzHopper. You're about to be arrested. Your "mum" is going to freak out and sell everything she has to get you a legal defense. The FBI/Interpol/ScotlandYard et al are going to play good-cop/bad-cop and make you that deal you can't refuse. Use the examples of G. Gordon Liddy and Dick Morris. Refuse that stinking deal! Take your lumps and come out the other side stronger than ever.

The alternative is to become a snitch, a coward who embarked on high-risk behavior but who couldn't take the consequences. I grew up in Wyoming, working summers on a cattle ranch. My advice to you: "Cowboy up!" Don't try to lie your way out of it and become another Weiner, a laughing stock with his disgraced genitalia forever on public display. Don't make your "mum" lose her house or her life savings (mothers are genetically disposed to do that for their kids; they can't help themselves and will give up everything).

When you come out the other side, you'll have the street cred to get anything you want out of life. You'll be famous, and have a public platform to bring about the kind of change you thought you could achieve by sneaking around the Internet. Then you can use the law that you have heretofore disregarded with youthful impunity. Heck, you might even decide to get behind legalizing cyber privateering. And in the process, you'll earn that most valuable commodity: a get-out-of-jail-free card. Oh yeah! Also, you'll get rich. Legally.

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Implementation suggestions for THE MORGAN DOCTRINE are most welcome. What are the "Got'chas!"? What questions would some future Cyber Privateering Czar have to answer about this in a Senate confirmation hearing?