NBC News reports that documents [PDF] released by Edward Snowden show that a unit of the U.K.'s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) used DDoS attacks to take down Anonymous chat rooms (h/t InformationWeek).

The unit, called the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), launched a DDoS attack, which it called "Rolling Thunder," against irc.anonops, after which it said 80 percent of those affected were not seen in Anonymous' IRC channels one month later.

As NBC News notes, that DDoS attack would also have taken down any other unrelated sites that were hosted on the same servers.

In response, F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen tweeted, "This makes British Government the only Western government known to have launched DDoS attacks."

And hacker Jake Davis, who was jailed for launching DDoS attacks as part of Anonymous, tweeted, "I plead guilty to two counts of DDoS conspiracy and to my face these GCHQ bastards were doing the exact same thing."

Similarly, hacker Christopher Weatherhead, who received an 18-month prison sentence for launching DDoS attacks, tweeted, "My Government used a DDoS attack against servers I owned, and then convicted me of conducted DDoS attacks. Seriously what the f***ing f***?"

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