An 18-year-old British teen hacker, who posed as a CIA chief and gained access to ‘plans for intelligence operations’ in Afghanistan and Iran has pleaded guilty in a London court on Friday.
The accused, Kane Gamble, hacked into the communications accounts of some very high-ranking US intelligence officials and government employees to gain access to personal information including passwords, security details, contacts lists and some highly classified documents related to military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He then used the personal information to abuse his victims’ online.
Kane Gamble gained access to intelligence head John Brennan’s email account, made hoax calls to his family home and even took control of his wife’s iPad, a court heard. After Brennan, Gamble went on to carry out a series of similar attacks on other top security figures, including the secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, to whom he sent a photo of his daughter and said he would “f*** her”.
His other victims included Mark Giuliano, ex-deputy director of the FBI and James Clapper, director of national intelligence, as well as their families.
Gamble later posted sensitive information on Twitter and Wikileaks and taunted officials about his access, sometimes using the tag #freePalestine and claiming it was because the US Government was “killing innocent people”.
Gamble, the founder of the Crackas With Attitude (CWA) group, was just 15 at the time he carried out his hacking operations from his bedroom in Coalville, central England. He was arrested in February 2016, and in October 2017, he pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to ten charges related to the attempted intrusions that took place between June 2015 and February 2016
The hacks were carried out as part of a campaign of harassment against top US officials motivated by his political views. “It all started by me getting more and more annoyed at how corrupt and cold-blooded the US Government is so I decided to do something about it,” Gamble told a journalist.
Gamble’s defense, William Harbage QC, argued that Gamble was “on the autistic spectrum” and at the time of his offending had the mental development of a 15 or 16-year-old.
Kane Gamble, who is on conditional bail, will be sentenced by Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave at the Old Bailey. The date of the sentence is yet to be fixed.