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Jeremy Hammond (born January 8, 1985) is a political hacktivist and computer hacker from Chicago. He was convicted and sentenced[1] in November 2013 to 10 years in US Federal Prison for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor and releasing the leaks through the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.[2][3] He founded the computer security training website HackThisSite[4] in 2003.[5]

Jeremy Hammond
Born Jeremy Hammond
(1985-01-08) January 8, 1985 (age 33)
Chicago, Illinois
Relatives Jason Hammond (twin brother)




Hammond was raised in the Chicago suburb of Glendale Heights, Illinois, with his twin brother Jason.[4][6] Hammond became interested in computers at an early age, programming video games in QBasic by age eight, and building databases by age thirteen.[4][7] As a student at Glenbard East High School in the nearby suburb of Lombard, Hammond won first place in a district-wide science competition for a computer program he designed.[4] Also in high school, he became a peace activist, organizing a student walkout on the day of the Iraq invasion and starting a student newspaper to oppose the Iraq War. His high school principal described Hammond as "old beyond his years".[4]


Hammond attended the University of Illinois at Chicago on a full scholarship. In the spring of 2004, during his freshman year, he exploited a security flaw on the computer science department's website and went to department administrators, offering to help fix the security flaws on the site and looking to maybe get a job.[5] For inserting the backdoor, Hammond was called before the department chair and ultimately banned from returning for his sophomore year.[4][7]


Jeremy, along with his brother Jason, has had a lifelong interest in music, performing in numerous bands through the years. Before Jeremy's arrests, they were both actively performing in the Chicago ska band Dirty Surgeon Insurgency.[7]


Hammond worked as a Mac technician in Villa Park, Illinois.[5] He also worked as a web developer for Chicago-based Rome & Company. His boss at Rome & Company wrote in 2010 that Hammond is "friendly, courteous and polite and while we suspect he has a low tolerance for corporate posturing, he has never demonstrated any contempt for business in the workplace".[8]


Computer securityEdit

Hammond founded the computer security training website HackThisSite at age 18, during the summer after his high school graduation.[5] The website describes itself as "a non-profit organization that strives to protect a good security culture and learning atmosphere".[9] In its first two years the site got 2.5 million hits and acquired 110,000 members and a volunteer staff of 34.[5] As of September 2013, the website has a user base of over 1,800,000.[10] "Jeremy is one of the best, most helpful guys I have ever talked to", wrote HackThisSite user Brandon Perry of Texas. "He is a good guy that only taught ethical hacking".[5]

During the 2004 DEF CON event in Las Vegas, Hammond delivered a talk that encouraged "electronic civil disobedience" as a means of protest against the annual Republican National Convention and its supporters.[5][11]

Arrests and activist historyEdit

Marijuana arrestsEdit

Hammond was arrested for possessing marijuana in November 2004 and December 2010.[12][13][14]

RNC 2004Edit

During the 2004 Republican National Convention protest activity in New York, Hammond was arrested during a "drum-banging protest".[5][15][16]

Occupy Wicker ParkEdit

During a march initiated by University of Illinois at Chicago students on September 12, 2005, Hammond was arrested when police intervened after twenty marchers occupied Wicker Park's Damen and Milwaukee traffic intersection.[17]

Anti-Nazi protestingEdit

Jeremy was arrested along with 25 others for helping Anti-Fascist groups at the National Socialist Movement's December 10, 2005 rally in Toledo, Ohio.[4][18][19] A total of 25 people were arrested for violations relating to a court injunction that barred public gatherings (meant to protect the Neo-Nazis from protesters).[18][20]

Chicago Pride ParadeEdit

Jeremy pleaded guilty to battery for getting into an altercation with anti-gay protesters and police while marching in a gay pride parade.[21] Jeremy's lawyer, Melinda Power, attributed the melee to "anti-gay protesters" who "attacked her client" at the annual Chicago Pride Parade on June 28, 2004.[21][22]

Protest WarriorEdit

On December 7, 2006, Hammond was sentenced to two years in federal prison and three years' probation after pleading guilty to charges of breaking into the computer system of Protest Warrior, a group that aggressively targeted anti-Iraq War activists.[4] Based on information and chat logs provided by cooperating witnesses,[5] Hammond was indicted on June 26, 2006, for "hacking into a politically conservative website and stealing its computer database including credit card information".[15] At his sentencing hearing, the court heard that he was motivated by politics and not personal gain. Prosecutor Assistant U.S. attorney Brandon D. Fox said, "While Jeremy Hammond tried to make this about politics, we wanted to make this about what actually occurred, that he stole credit cards". Charges of 2.5 million dollars in damages were assessed based on $500 per credit card, for each of the 5,000 credit card numbers in Hammond's possession, despite the fact that no money had been spent.[4] Hammond served his prison term at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) of Greenville, Illinois, a medium-security facility.

Protesting Holocaust denier David IrvingEdit

On March 25, 2010, Hammond was arrested for taking part in a confrontation with Holocaust denier David Irving. Wearing black masks, five people stormed the Edelweiss restaurant in Norridge, Illinois, and "threw glasses and kicked over chairs" to drive out Irving's guests[23] during which another restaurant patron was struck by a bottle.[24]

Olympic protestEdit

On November 29, 2010, Hammond was sentenced to 18 months probation and 130 hours of community service for mob action, by Cook County Judge Joseph Kazmierski.[25][26] Hammond along with five others had been arrested on September 29, 2009, for tearing down a Chicago 2016 banner at Daley Plaza and burning it to protest the Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Stratfor caseEdit

On March 5, 2012, Hammond was arrested by FBI agents in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago[16][27][28] for actions related to the 2012–13 Stratfor email leak. The indictment was unsealed the following day in the Lower Manhattan federal district court.[29][30] He is one of six individuals from the United States, England and Ireland indicted.[31][32]

The arrests were largely due to the FBI informant known as Sabu.[33][34] Fox News in Manhattan was first to break the story based on "access to Sabu's handlers"[35] of three arrests "on two continents", a sealed federal indictment for six, and a "separate indictment" for Hammond.[36][37][38] The story was later confirmed by other news agencies when the court papers were unsealed.[39][40]

The case was prosecuted by the office of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.[34][41] Hammond was represented by Elizabeth Fink,[42] "a firebrand attorney"[43] with the National Lawyers Guild who won a settlement of $8 million against the Government of New York[44] for ex-inmates of the Attica Prison riot.[45]

In November 2012, after being held for eight months without trial, Hammond was denied bail by Judge Loretta A. Preska, who warned that he could face life imprisonment for the Stratfor leak.[46][47]

In February 2013, the defense filed a motion asking presiding Judge Preska to recuse herself from the case on the basis that Preska's husband, Thomas Kavaler, had an email address released in the Stratfor disclosure and works with Stratfor clients that were affected by the hack. Hammond's legal team stated that Kavaler's status "as both a victim of the alleged crimes of the accused and an attorney to many other victims creates an appearance of partiality too strong to be disregarded, requiring disqualification".[48][49] On February 21, 2013, Judge Preska denied the request for recusal because her husband did not recall subscribing to Stratfor's mailing list and the only information released was his publicly available work e-mail address,[50] and that Hammond's alleged legal strategy was to have every judge recuse themselves until there were no judges left to try the case.[51]

After pleading guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), Hammond was sentenced on November 15, 2013, to the maximum of ten years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.[52] He is currently serving his sentence in FCI Manchester in Manchester, Kentucky.[53]

On November 9, 2017, it was announce that Hammond was being transferred to the FCI Milan in Milan, Michigan to participate in a drug program in exchange for getting a year off of his sentence. [54]

In his sentencing statement, Hammond said he was unaware of Stratfor's vulnerabilities until he was given them by Sabu, who was "under the supervision of the FBI" at the time according to the FBI's sealed complaint filed against Hammond.[55][56]


Among the public figures who have spoken in support of Hammond's release are Yes Men activist Andy Bichlbaum, journalist John Knefel,[57] free software activist Richard Stallman,[58] Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges,[59][60][61] Center for Constitutional Rights President Emeritus Michael Ratner,[62] journalist Alexa O'Brien, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian[63] Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir,[64][65] and former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Education (ret.) at University of Illinois at Chicago, and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University, as well as Northwestern University philosophy professor Peter Ludlow.[66] Also in solidarity are Julian Assange, editor of WikiLeaks; Larry Lessig, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University; and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Poulson, Kevin. Wired, November 15, 2013. "Anonymous Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison"
  2. ^ Free Jeremy.Net
  3. ^ Perlroth, Nicole. New York Times, March 12, 2012. "Inside the Stratfor Attack"
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Luman, Stuart. Chicago Magazine, July 2007. "The Hacktivist"
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hayes, Christopher. Chicago Reader, August 15, 2005. "But Can He Hack Prison?"
  6. ^ "The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond: Enemy of the State". 
  7. ^ a b c "Chicago hacking suspect a genius without wisdom, mom says", March 7, 2012, Chicago Tribune
  8. ^ "Chicago man accused in international hacking bust", March 6, 2012, Chicago Sun-Times
  9. ^ HackThisSite.Org Bill of Rights
  10. ^ HackThisSite.Org
  11. ^ Hammond, Jeremy. DEF CON 2004, Las Vegas. "Electronic Civil Disobedience"[dead link]
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Chicago man accused in international hacking bust". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b Patel, Milan. Federal Bureau of Investigation, March 06, 2012. Archived at the Chicago Tribune. "Jeremy Hammond federal hacking complaint"
  16. ^ a b Anderson, Nate. March 2012. "Stakeout: how the FBI tracked and busted a Chicago Anon"
  17. ^ Chicago Independent Media Center. September 13, 2005. "9/12 Pirate Parade turns into a spontaneous Reclaim the Streets action with an Arrest" Archived 2012-07-17 at
  18. ^ a b Toledo Blade, December 12, 2005. "Court date delayed for 25 suspects"
  19. ^ Brooks, Michael. Cleveland Independent Media Center, December 21, 2005. "Arrested Protesters Speak Out About Toledo Police"
  20. ^ National Press Photographers Association, December 11, 2005. "Three Photojournalists Arrested Covering Nazi Rally" Archived 2008-02-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ a b Coen, Jeff. Chicago Tribune, June 29, 2004. "3 people are charged in clash at gay parade"
  22. ^ Baim, Tracy. Windy City Media Group, June 30, 2004. "400,000 at Pride, Anti-Gays Spark Protests, Arrests"
  23. ^ Norridge Sun-Times, December 7, 2009. Archived from Norridge Harwood Heights News at "Holocaust denier sparks tension at Edelweiss"
  24. ^ Jarvis, Greg. December 23, 2010. "Masked Men Storm Restaurant Hosting Neo-Nazi Author, Patron Hit in Face"
  25. ^ CBS Chicago, November 29, 2010. "Protesters Who Burned Olympic Banner Get Probation"
  26. ^ ABC Chicago, November 29, 2010. "Chicago Olympic protestors sentenced for mob action"
  27. ^ Goudie, Chuck. ABC7 Chicago, March 6, 2012. "Chicagoan charged in international cyber attacks"
  28. ^ Lighty, Todd and Wailin Wong. Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2012. "Chicago man, 27, charged in cyber attack"
  29. ^ Docket Report - "U.S.A. v. Ackroyd et al."
  30. ^ Esposito, Richard, Aaron Katersky and Pierre Thomas. ABC News, March 6, 2012. "LulzSec 'Leader' Turns on Fellow Hacktivists"
  31. ^ "Superseding Indictment (May 2, 2012)"
  32. ^ Bright, Arthur. Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2012. "Jeremy Hammond, alleged to be 'Anarchaos'"
  33. ^ Sengupta, Somini. New York Times, March 6, 2012. "Arrests Sow Mistrust Inside a Clan of Hackers"
  34. ^ a b United States Department of Justice, March 6, 2012. "Six Hackers in the United States and Abroad Charged for Crimes Affecting Over One Million Victims" Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ Anderson, Nate. Ars Technica, March 6, 2012. "LulzSec leader "Sabu" worked with FBI since last summer"
  36. ^ Winter, Jana., March 6, 2012. "EXCLUSIVE: Infamous international hacking group LulzSec brought down by own leader"
  37. ^ Winter, Jana., March 6, 2012. EXCLUSIVE: Inside LulzSec, a mastermind turns on his minions"
  38. ^ Winter, Jana., March 6, 2012. "EXCLUSIVE: Unmasking the world's most wanted hacker"
  39. ^ Estes, Adam Clark. The Atlantic Wire, March 6, 2012. "FBI Says LulzSec Hacker Kingpin Was an Informant"
  40. ^ Ball, James. The Guardian (UK), March 6, 2012. "LulzSec court papers reveal extensive FBI co-operation with hackers"
  41. ^ Hurtado, Patricia and Michael Riley. Bloomberg, March 6, 2012. "Hackers Charged in Crackdown on LulzSec, Anonymous Groups"
  42. ^ Winter, Jana., March 15, 2012. "LulzSec-linked hacker who threatened to burn White House appears in court"
  43. ^ The Economist, September 23, 2011. "A bloody day in New York: The Attica prison uprising"
  44. ^ Tully, Tracey. New York Daily News, January 5, 2000."Ex-attica Inmates Get $8m In Riot Suit"
  45. ^ Ratner, Michael. The Nation, September 12, 2011. "From Attica to Pelican Bay"
  46. ^ "Anonymous hacker behind Stratfor attack faces life in prison" Archived 2012-11-24 at the Wayback Machine., 23 November 2012,
  47. ^ "Chicago man denied bail before NYC hacking trial" Archived 2012-11-24 at the Wayback Machine., November 21, 2012, Chicago Tribune
  48. ^ "Jeremy Hammond's legal team seeks judge's recusal"
  49. ^ "Judge Rules No Evidence to Disqualify Her from Hearing Case of Alleged Stratfor Hacker Jeremy Hammond"
  50. ^ Tim Phillips, "Anarchist Hacker Jeremy Hammond's Sentencing Postponed Until Mid-November", Activist Defense, July 26, 2013.
  51. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03. 
  52. ^ Ed Pilkington, "Jailed Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond: 'My days of hacking are done'", The Guardian, November 15, 2013.
  53. ^ FreeJeremy.Net Archived 2014-04-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  54. ^
  55. ^ "Sealed Complaint, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. JEREMY HAMMOND" (PDF). 
  56. ^ "The Stratfor Case". Free Jeremy. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  57. ^ "Jeremy Hammond support rally at Judge Preska's recusal hearing"
  58. ^ Richard Stallman (January 2015). "My letter asking the judge not to sentence Jeremy Hammond to prison" (PDF) (pdf). Retrieved December 24, 2015. 
  59. ^ "Hedges: Jeremy Hammond Exposed State's Plan to Criminalize Democratic Dissent". The Real News, 16 November 2013.
  60. ^ Chris Hedges (17 November 2013). Feeding the Flame of Revolt. Truthdig. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  61. ^ "Jeremy HammoEduca Conference", November 29, 2012, NYC
  62. ^ "Michael Ratner statement of support (edited transcript)" Archived 2013-05-07 at the Wayback Machine.
  63. ^ "National Lawyer's Guild Press Release" Archived 2013-05-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  64. ^ "April 10, 2013 court date recap"
  65. ^ "Icelandic Lawmaker Birgitta Jónsdóttir on Challenging Gov't Secrecy from Twitter to Bradley Manning" April 8, 2013,
  66. ^ "The Real War on Reality"

External linksEdit