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Video: WikiLeaks ‘hactivists’ launch attack on Palin

  1. Transcript of: WikiLeaks ‘hactivists’ launch attack on Palin

    MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: Meanwhile, hackers operating under the label "Operation Payback" are allegedly going after Web sites that have acted against WikiLeaks and its jailed founder. So far MasterCard , Visa and even Sarah Palin 's political action committee have been hit. NBC 's Peter Alexander is in London with more details. Peter , good morning to you.

    PETER ALEXANDER reporting: Meredith , good morning to you. You can think of this as a declaration of cyberwar, and this morning there are no signs that those computer hackers are letting up. The latest apparent victim is the Swedish government 's Web site , reportedly hit overnight. There's where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange , of course, is wanted for questioning. This is all part of a new offensive on what's become a virtual battlefield.

    Ms. SARAH PALIN: Pull!

    ALEXANDER: She's the self-described mama grizzly.

    Ms. PALIN: Dang it!

    ALEXANDER: But now it's Sarah Palin in the sights of WikiLeaks loyalists. Palin says Internet "hacktivists," as they're called, attacked her political action committee Web site Wednesday and Palin 's personal credit card information, retaliating for her recent Facebook post, calling WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands." Palin e-mailed NBC News last night. "No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange 's antics. This is what happens when you experience your First Amendment rights and speak up against Assange 's sick, un-American espionage efforts." Other targets include Web sites of some of the most familiar corporate names in the world. MasterCard and Visa , as well as PayPal and this Swiss Bank that have all recently pulled the plug on WikiLeaks .

    BOB SULLIVAN reporting: This clearly is a David vs. Goliath battle and they could amass enough strength to knock over a big Web site for a big company, at least temporarily.

    ALEXANDER: One hacker group calling itself "Anonymous" shut down Visa 's Web site Wednesday, tweeting " fire fire fire!!! Weapons." They call it Operation Payback . The Web site for the Swedish prosecutor's office that issued Assange 's arrest warrant was apparently hit, as was the lawyer for the two women accusing Assange of sexual misconduct.

    SULLIVAN: If these hackers are clever they can't be found.

    ALEXANDER: Assange 's lawyer insists the WikiLeaks founder, locked behind bars, did not orchestrate the attack.

    Ms. JENNIFER ROBINSON (Julian Assange's Attorney): Mr. Assange doesn't have contact with WikiLeaks employees at all, let alone the outside world.

    ALEXANDER: WikiLeaks tweeted, "we will not be gagged," and their release of sensitive diplomatic cables continues. Among the latest embarrassing documents published in a British newspaper revealing details of what a US diplomat described as wild sex and drug parties, hosted by members of the Saudi royal family . Still, despite international efforts to choke off funds to WikiLeaks , the controversial site is mushrooming with hundreds of identical mirror sites keeping them viable online. And both MasterCard and Visa 's Web sites are back on line this morning. The companies insist that people's ability to use their cards securely was never affected. But hackers are now warning that Twitter , the very social media outlet they often use to post their threats, is now itself a target, Meredith , because they claim Twitter is censoring their community of supporters.

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