PR effort launched to cover tracks about TrapWire domestic surveillance system

On Monday, Cubic Corporation, the parent company of the maker of TrapWire, a counter-terrorism domestic surveillance system, denied any affiliation with the technology or its makers.

“Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) acquired Abraxas Corporation on December 20, 2010,” Cubic said in a statement about its acquisition of Abraxas Corporation — a fact corroborated by a 2010 press release available on Cubic’s own website.

TrapWire, developed and managed by federal intelligence contractor Abraxas Corporation, is a counter-terrorism domestic surveillance system used by law enforcement and the U.S. intelligence community. Surveillance cameras attached to the TrapWire network are used to identify pre-attack behavior exhibited by criminals and terrorists.

An alleged email — one of thousands leaked by the embattled WikiLeaks from the 2011 Christmas hack of private intelligence firm Stratfor by hacktivist collective Anonymous — between Stratfor Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton and a company employee deemed political activists more of a threat to key landmarks in San Francisco than terrorists.

The alleged emails also allegedly reveal a potentially close relationship the company and TrapWire — a relationship Stratfor will not comment on, and one that Cubic denies.

“Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc.,” Cubic’s statement read.

“Erroneous reports have linked the company with Trapwire, Inc.,” the company said. “TrapWire, Inc. is a risk mitigation technology and services company that builds and markets software products to prevent terrorist threats and criminal attacks.”

The company’s statement, however, contradicts a 2007 Washington Business Journal report announcing that Abraxas Corporation spun off Abraxas Applications to sell TrapWire. A 2006 filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by Abraxas Applications also confirmed this relationship.

“Abraxas Corporation (through its affiliate Abraxas Applications, Inc., collectively, ‘Abraxas’) has developed the TrapWire counter-terrorism system to provide those responsible for protecting critical infrastructure with the advanced warning necessary to detect and prevent terrorist attacks,” the company said.

A 2005 press release from Abraxas Corporation, available through PR NewsWire, stated, “Abraxas Corporation has developed TrapWire(TM), a proprietary software application designed to prevent terrorist attacks.”

“Abraxas recently concluded a two-year development effort and plans to begin deploying TrapWire this year and throughout 2006 at government and private sector facilities,” the company said.

“The 300 person company has spent millions of dollars developing TrapWire, but won’t say how much,” the Washington Business Journal reported.

Other attempts to hide TrapWire’s history may also include the removal of information on company management from its site: TrapWire, Inc.’s management page on its website leads to a page with a “404 – File directory not found” message.

Barrett Brown, founder of hacktivist group Project PM, told TheDC that the deletion was a move by TrapWire to both cover its tracks and to avoid its board members from being “doxed.” As evidence of the information’s deletion, he pointed to a cached copy of the page from Aug. 9.

Doxing is the gathering of personal information about a target, when the information is then published to humiliate and/or intimidate them.

Brown told TheDC that members of Anonymous Operation TrapWire — which include the People’s Liberation Front, a hacktivist collective not unlike Anonymous, WikiLeaks and Project PM — decided on Monday to intensely dox the firm’s executives and publish the information on Project PM’s site and elsewhere.

“This is a tactic that some of us have pursued before against firms that strip the public of their privacy with support from the state, and of course we have a number of experienced doxers, some with very unusual resources,” Brown said.

Cubic Corporation did not return TheDC’s request for comment by the time of publication.

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