On April 16, 2014, Justice Department Senior Counsel Albert Rees Jr. sent a fax to Cyber War News' privacy service provider, Domains By Proxy, requesting that the company preserve "all stored communications, records, and other evidence in your possession" regarding a post on Cyber War News titled "#OpIndependence. Vitali Klitschko’s UDAR party hacked. Confidential data leaked."
Oddly, that post was simply a reprint of an Anonymous Ukraine press release that remains on Pastebin, with no additional information or editorial commentary by site publisher Lee Johnstone.
And while the fax also stated, "I request that you not disclose the existence of this request to the subscriber or any other person," Domains By Proxy did notify Johnstone of the request.
"Some days, it’s not easy being a data breach researcher and citizen journalist," DataBreaches.net noted at the time. "In time, you somewhat get used to legal threats because you published something a company took exception to ... But when the U.S. Department of Justice gets involved, that’s a whole other level of worry. And that’s what has happened to the researcher/breach blogger who publishes cyberwarnews.info."
On April 20, 2014, Johnstone tweeted, "Site n email contacts all gone for good. Was fun while lasted but now time to move on n away :) cheers all."
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.