Left-Wing Climate Activists Targeted In Massive Email Hacking Campaign: REPORT

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A group of Indian hackers hired by an Israeli private detective in 2017 allegedly stole emails and other data from several prominent climate groups critical of ExxonMobil, according to The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, citing messages obtained by the outlet.

The groups allegedly included Greenpeace,, Public Citizen, and, most notably, the Rockefeller Family Fund, a charity which has alleged ExxonMobil hid information about climate change from the public, something Exxon denies, according to the WSJ. Rockefeller Family Fund Director Lee Wasserman alleged that the man who hired the hackers, Aviram Azari, was “clearly working for corporate actors” in the U.S., and told the WSJ that he hoped Azari would come clean about the identity of his clients. (RELATED: Citing ‘Outrageous’ Big Oil Profits, Biden Calls For Quadrupling Tax On ‘Corporate Stock Buybacks’)

Wasserman further alleged that Exxon “and its enablers are using likely hacked info to fend off accountability for what is, in my humble opinion, the greatest corp deception of all time. Sorry chapter for civil society,” in a tweet Wednesday.

“Mr. Wasserman’s claims regarding our organization are completely false,” ExxonMobil told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “ExxonMobil has no knowledge of Azari, had no involvement in any hacking activities and has not been accused of any wrongdoing. To be clear, ExxonMobil has done nothing wrong.”

The above environmental groups were all present at a private meeting held on Jan. 8, 2016, to organize a campaign to establish Exxon as a “corrupt institution” in the public’s mind, the WSJ reported. Following the meeting, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news outlet, published a copy of an email detailing the meeting’s agenda, something that recipients of the email told the WSJ they believed had been obtained through hackers.

The Free Beacon’s editor in chief, Eliana Johnson, told the WSJ that the Free Beacon stood by its reporting.

Azari was arrested in 2019 and has been uncooperative with investigators, declining to reveal his clients amid an ongoing investigation, the WSJ reported. While Azari initially pleaded not guilty in 2019, he ultimately pleaded guilty to charges related to wire fraud, identity theft and participation in a hacking conspiracy in April 2022, and is currently awaiting sentencing on June 28, 2023, delayed from March 29 at his request, according to court documents.

Azari provided the hacking group with information related to not only to their primary targets, but also connected individuals, such as family, friends and coworkers, the WSJ reported, citing court documents. Messages viewed by the outlet between Azari and the hackers allegedly included screenshots of illicitly obtained emails and other evidence of successful infiltration of targets.

Azari also allegedly conducted hacking operations on behalf of “Russian oligarchs,” independent journalist Scott Stedman told the New York court overseeing Azari’s trial in May 2022, according to Reuters. Azari admitted to prosecutors that he worked on behalf of now-insolvent German payment processor Wirecard, targeting hedge funds, financial institutions, journalists and other investigators working in connection to the company, the WSJ reported.

The Rockefeller Family Fund and Azari’s attorney did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.

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