Computer underground Digest Mon, Feb 17, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 07 Editors: Jim Thomas and
Computer underground Digest Mon, Feb 17, 1992 Volume 4 : Issue 07
Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET)
Associate Editor: Etaion Shrdlu
CONTENTS, #4.07 ( Feb 17, 1992)
File 1--Craig Neidorf's Status
File 2--Sheldon Zenner's opening statement in the Neidorf Trial
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Date: Sun, 16 Feb 92 19:54:59 PST
From: Moderators (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: File 1--Craig Neidorf's Status
When Federal prosecutor Bill Cook dropped felony charges against Craig
Neidorf in June, 1990, because the government had no case, many
considered it a victory for Craig. For new-comers unfamiliar with the
case, Craig was co-editor of PHRACK magazine, and published documents
that BellSouth and the Secret Service initially claimed were stolen,
worth in excess of $78,000, and were part of a national Legion of Doom
conspiracy that included a scheme to tamper with the E-911 system.
The charges were without substance, and when it became obvious that
the alleged stolen proprietary documents were available to the general
public for under $14, the case was dropped before the prosecution
completed presenting its case. It appeared that Craig had won. "The
system works," some claimed.
It was a Pyrrhic victory. Craig was absolved legally, but the costs of
defending himself were catastrophic. We argued then (and nothing has
changed our minds) that the system did not work. Craig should never
have gone to trial in the first place, and the methods used by the
government were considered inappropriate, federal and private
participants involved in that case are defendants in litigation
challenging their procedures in a related case, and the costs of
Craig's defense to himself and his family, including defense fees, a
disrupted life, and the agony of being stigmatized and demeaned on
national television by Geraldo Rivera and Don Ingraham last year are
part of the costs of the government's actions. Ironically, if the
principle of honor were not so important, Craig arguably would have
been better off to plead guilty rather than defend his honor. It would
have saved him time, money, and bother. When the costs of pleading
guilty to crimes of which one is innocent becomes the best way of
avoiding devastating consequences, we cannot agree that they system
"works." Craig continues to face the consequences of Bill Cook's
action. Bill Cook, whose actions strike us as less than honorable and
many judge as the mark of either an incompetent or a mean-spirited cynic,
has been "rewarded" with a position in private practice (Willian,
Brinks, Olds, Hofer, Gilson & Lione, Ltd., in Chicago).
Craig will eventually graduate from law school, and his experiences
should make him a fine, competent attorney. Unfortunately, the
expenses incurred in his defense, over $100,000, are far beyond his
ability to easily repay. The Electronic Frontier Foundation helped
defray some of the expenses and also provided some legal assistance
that kept the legal bills lower. Unfortunately, there is the
perception that EFF paid for Craig's defense. Although their
contributions were generous and invaluable, Craig was left with a
massive bill, not readily repaid by a 22 year old young man who is
trying to continue his education.
Craig's situation is not simply his own personal problem. He took
considerable risks, for which he incurred massive debt, to defend the
principles in which many of us believe. We are all indebted to him for
his courage, for his concern for justice instead of expediency, and
for the way in which he helped focus the Constitutional and other
issues of cyberspace.
Craig needs our help in defraying the costs of a battle from which we
all benefited. Even $5 would help. Just a 29 cent stamp and a $5
check. That strikes us as a very small gesture on our part to
demonstrate recognition of his sacrifice. And the 3 minutes it would
take to address the check and send it to his attorney:
Katten, Muchin, & Zavis
525 West Monroe Street
Chicago, Illinois 60606-3693
And do not forget to write Craig's name in the memo section or enclose a
letter explaining what the check is for. If you neglect to do that,
KMZ will not credit his account for the amount of the check.
We printed Bill Cook's opening statement to Craig's June, 1990,
trial. As promised, here is Sheldon Zenner's opening comments.
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 92 19:54:59 PST
From: Moderators (email@example.com)
Subject: File 2--Sheldon Zenner's opening statement in the Neidorf Trial
((Opening comments of Sheldon Zenner in U.S. v. Neidorf, June, 1990))
_OPENING STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE DEFENDANT_
MR ZENNER: What I would have written on there if I could is
something I got in a fortune cookie that said:
"To remember is to understand".
I have never forgotten that. To remember what it was to be a
struggling lawyer makes a good judge. To remember what it was to be a
student makes a good teacher. To remember what it was to be a child
makes a good parent.
Every night when I get home from work, if I get home early
enough, I take my son for a walk. He puts his hand in mine. We take a
walk to a place called Lighthouse Park. And in Lighthouse Park, he
looks at all the things, and he asks questions. He asks questions
about everything. He wants to know what everything means, what it
does. If it's dark, he wants to know how a lightning bug makes light.
He wants to know how you get up to the lighthouse. He's inquisitive.
It's a wonderful trait. It's a trait we lose as we grow up, I'm
afraid. It's a trait we should value. And it's a trait that being a
parent brings back. You get to watch life through the eyes of a child.
And kids love adventure, especially young boys. They call
them "bad guys". They have a fascination for bad guys and adventure.
I tell my son a "good-night" story, it's got to be cowboys, or
pirates, or, nowadays, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They're
And sometimes I tell him about when I was a boy and when I
grew up, some of the heroes I had, not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,
but maybe, you know, Superman, Magnificent Seven, or something like
that. And he looks at me...he can't believe that I was a kid once.
(Laughter) And I tell him about the bag (sic) guys, bad guys on my
block, the cool guys, guys who might break into a garage without
permission to ride somebody's bike and then put it back. Or who might
climb over a locked fence to get apples off somebody's tree. I
remember those guys. I thought that what they were doing was pretty
cool. When you're a kid, that's how you think. I ended up not doing
that stuff, probably because my parents had conveyed a strong sense of
right and wrong, and a strong sense of property and, "Somebody else's
property isn't your property". My father also conveyed a strong sense
of a strap that he used occasionally. That helped me remember right
>from wrong. (Laughter) But I still thought that what those other guys
on the block did was pretty cool. And sometimes I'd even say that I
had done them, "Yeh, I climbed over, and I got something last night,
too. You weren't around". It wasn't true. They knew it; I knew it.
But I wanted to be one of them. I wasn't. And I tell my son those
stories, and he can't believe it. His eyes, you know, get big.
And this was all brought back to me a number of months ago
when another father walked into my office with the hand of his son
clasped for support and protection. His son had a terrible problem.
His son is Craig Neidorf. And they came to me for legal
representation. They needed help, and they had decided to put his life
in my hands.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, Craig and I have made a
similar serious choice. We have put it in your hands...not at your
request I know.
Mr. Cook has told you that this case involves 911 systems,
and computer technology, and ESS switches, and all of that stuff. And
he's not wrong. He's right about that. You are going to hear a lot of
testimony about that stuff.
But what this case is really about is this young man, and
what he did, and what he knew, and what he believed. Because at the
end of this trial, you're not going to go back into the jury room and
talk about whether the ESS system is guilty or not guilty, or whether
the computer system runs this way, or a bulletin board is that. You
have got to decide HIS future. That's what the case is about.
Let me tell you what I expect the evidence to show about
what Craig Neidorf did and did not do. If you listened carefully to
what Mr. Cook said, you probably realized that Craig Neidorf did not
steal the E911 text file. Mr. Riggs did that. Mr. Riggs is the
government's witness in this case. He has cut a deal with the
government. It is as if Mr. Riggs is sitting at the counsel table.
MR. COOK: Objection, your Honor.
THE COURT: That objection will be sustained. Leave that argument
for the final argument.
MR. ZENNER: Certainly, your honor.
Mr. Riggs will be one of the witnesses testifying on behalf
of the government.
You will also learn that Mr. Neidorf never broke into any
computer system. He never stole any file. He never profited in any way
>from any of this. What Mr. Neidorf did was publish a computer
newsletter called PHRACK.
If you listened carefully, and I know you did, to Mr. Cook,
you may have noticed that Mr. Cook said that the three hacker
witnesses the government will be calling were members of an
organization called the Legion of Doom. Actually, it comes from a
Saturday morning cartoon. I think they're the counterpart to the
Superheroes if I've got it right, 7:30 Saturday morning. They're the
You might have heard if you listened carefully, that Mr Cook
did not say that Mr. Neidorf is a member of the Legion of Doom because
the evidence will show that he is not. He never was. They wouldn't
even let him in if he wanted to get in. He wasn't a hacker. He didn't
break into systems. He wasn't a computer guy in fact. He was a
publisher of a newsletter called PHRACK, often a juvenile newsletter,
often a newsletter that contained articles that you may well not
like, and I don't like. But that's all he was.
That is what the evidence will show in this case.
What you will learn is about Craig Neidorf and what he did.
And I've got the job of telling you about it. Let me reintroduce
myself. My name is Sheldon Zenner. I represent Craig.
Craig grew up in St. Louis with his mother, and father and
sister. He went to public schools. He did well in school, played
At around fourth grade, he had a friend named Randy
Tischler. You will hear that name again and again. They've been
friends for a long time. Randy's parents got him a computer. Craig
used to run over to Randy's house to play with the computer. He and
Randy knew this was an Atari videogame. They played videogames. He got
pretty good at it, and liked the computer and kept using it.
High school comes. Around his freshman year, Craig's parents
had a divorce. It was a little bit ugly, as most divorces are. And his
mom gets Craig a computer, too, to give him something to latch onto in
a hard time. He starts using the computer. He gets pretty good at it.
Not long thereafter, he gets what is called a modem. You have heard
this already. A lot of you people understand computers a little better
than I do. I have learned that a modem is something that connects
computers. It's a telephone line. It allows computers to talk. If you
are sitting at your little terminal, you can put something on the
screen, it goes over a telephone line like a phone call, comes down,
goes up, and it is rally just a kind of computer phone call. You don't
hear the voices. It is not voice
activated. It is just there at the terminal.
So he got a modem, and he learned how to use it. He learned
how to communicate. He learned about the billboard which you will hear
about. He learned another thing. He learned that one of the cool
things about using these computers and the modem is that a lot of
people on them, especially kids, use nicknames, cool nicknames. Craig
picked up a nickname. He became Knight Lightning. K-n-i-g-h-t. He was
14 when he became Knight Lightning. He picked it up from the cartoon.
Oh, there was a TV show, Knight Rider. You might remember it. I think
it talked, as I remember. It had a big computer. That was the "knight"
part I think.
And what was so wonderful about that as a 14-year old is you
could sit there and you could be whoever you wanted to be on the
computer. Nobody knows what you look like. They don't know if you're
fat or short, or acne'd or scared to talk to girls. You are
whoever you put down there. Craig became Knight Lightning at 14. And
he used his name, Knight Lightning, when he used the computer. That's
all Knight Lightning is.
At 16, he started a computer newsletter called PHRACK. You
are going to hear a lot about PHRACK. PHRACK, spelled P-h-r-a-c-k.
Why the "p-h"? In the mind of a 16-year old, because it was supposed
to deal with phone freaks and hackers, phone freaks being people who
are interested in electronic communication, and hackers being defined
a little differently than Mr. Cook and probably most of his Bell
witnesses will define it, but the way you will see the
dictionary defines it is:
"People interested in computers. People with a strong
interest in computers and seeing how they work".
So you take people interested in telephone communications, and hackers
are interested in computers, put the names together, "phone freaks"
and "hackers" and you have PHRACK. Not ingenious, but 16. And he
started PHRACK, and it was a publication that targeted those kinds of
And PHRACK, just so you understand when I say "publication",
PHRACK never shows up on paper like the magazines that the judge asked
you about before. It's just all computer generated. He sits at his
little computer terminal. Somebody sends him an article, or file, or
something. He types it up. Puts PHRACK on the heading of it. Puts the
person's hacker handle, which is the phrase these guys used for their,
you know, names, like Knight Lightning, on the file, and he transmits
it through E-mail, as it is called, electronic mail, which is just
computer mail, to whoever is on the mailing list. That's PHRACK. That
is what it was, a computer newsletter. Craig and his old friend,
Randy, were the coeditors.
They went off to college together. They become college
roommates. They continued to edit PHRACK. They were budding computer
journalists, not hackers, computer journalists. And they were proud of
what they were doing, maybe wrongly, but they were.
And PHRACK began to develop a reputation. Well, it developed
a reputation of like, I don't know if you remember
back to those, if you are old enough, in the '60s, underground
newspapers. There were a lot of underground newspapers. Some of them
became full-blown real newspapers years later. Like ROLLING STONE
Magazine started out as an underground newspaper. REAL CUTTING EDGE,
some very rude stuff in it. The READER Magazine here in Chicago used
to be an underground newspaper.
That is what PHRACK was to the computer newsletter world. It
was like an underground computer newsletter. And so it had a lot of
the same characteristics that the underground press had. First of
all, nobody is charged. It is free. You don't have to pay to get an
issue of PHRACK. It is just going out free. Nobody gets paid to write
any articles in PHRACK. If you have an article, you send it in.
Everything is free. Everything is done on a shoestring. they don't
come out, first of all, every month. They come out when anybody sends
any articles in. When somebody sends an article in, there's an issue
of PHRACK. That is how it worked. Written primarily by kids with views
that were pretty juvenile, much of it terrible, downright offensive.
Much of the time, those articles he didn't write, but he was the
publisher, or coeditor, or something. So he is being held in the
prosecution responsible for what other people wrote. You'll see that.
The one thing that this newsletter PHRACK had in common with all
the other newsletters I'm talking about is this: Craig believed that
it was protected by the First Amendment, perhaps wrongly, maybe,
indeed, wrong, but that was his belief. That is no
different than any other publication.
In fact, Craig knew from classes he took in college a fair
amount about the First Amendment because as I told you Craig was not a
computer-computer-computer guy. His classes weren't: Introduction to
Computers, Secondary Introduction to Computers, and Introduction to
the Computer Investigators. No offense to those who took those
classes. He was a Political Science major. He still is. In pre-law. So
he took classes in American Government and Politics. He took classes
in Constitutional Law. He took a class in Civil Rights. He took a
class in Civil Liberties. He took a class in The Sixties. He even
thought of teaching the class. But those were the kinds of classes
that he was taking. That was his interest.
He was a a budding journalist. His goal was the free exchange
of information, not a budding hacker. And you will learn that within
the hacker community, that is, within the community of the kinds of
people that the government is going to call to the stand, Mr. Riggs,
Mr. Darden, and Mr. Grant, Craig was never accepted as one of the
group because he wasn't a hacker. He was a journalist. In fact, what
he was, he was a guy who wrote about hackers.
I have got to show you something. It will just take me a
second. I apologize.
(Chart) I don't know if you can see this. I hope you can.
Robert Riggs is going to be their witness. He is the guy who broke in
and got the 911. In July of 1989, the Secret Service went to
Robert Riggs and confronted him about what he had done, and obtained
>from him a fully statement about his illegal activities. They asked
Mr. Riggs about all the hackers he knew, what they had done, who he
had traded passwords and information with, and he told them. He had
been deeply involved. He told them how he traded passwords with Grant
and Darden, the other guys. He gave them lots of information for
At the end of his debriefing by the Secret Service, the
agents asked him about Knight Lightning. That's what he said about
"Knight Lightning is a guy who wrote PHRACK World News.
His name is Craig, but he doesn't do any hacking."
That's all he had to say about him. And it's true. What he said that
first time was exactly right. That's who Craig was.
Within PHRACK, the part of PHRACK that was Craig--other
people might send files or articles and he published them under those
other people's names or handles--Craig's thing was something called
PHRACK World News which was to write about all the things that were
happening in the electronic communication and hacker community. He
would get clippings from people, and he would put them in and tell
people what was going on across the country in that community. That
was PHRACK World News. It had nothing to do with passing off access
codes, or passwords, or anything like that.
But one of the things that was going on in that community
around this time was the emergence of illegal hackers, okay, the
kinds of hackers that Mr. Cook was referring to, people who had no
respect for property lines, people who broke into other systems or
computers and copied things or took things, like the guys on my block
who would break into a garage to ride a bike that somebody else had
and then put it back.
And those hackers, their interest was as much in kind of
showing the world how good they were, how tough they were, how much
they could show up the establishment system, show that they could get
through security, and things like that. But they had become big news.
Police were starting to arrest some of them. Undercover security
people had begun to infiltrate some of those organizations. And
Craig, who was not a hacker, but a publisher, wrote about it. It was
his beat, and he wrote about it from the perspective of his readers,
the computer kids primarily who make up the hacking community. Those
weren't the only ones who were his readers, but they were a lot of
In around the summer of '87, because of some of the
arrests, that group drew inward and kind of disbanded, and PHRACK
disbanded. There was another reason. Craig was going off to college in
'87, and he wanted to get ready for it. So for a year between the
summer of 1987 and the summer of 1988, no PHRACK. No great loss to the
world. Journalism did not weep bitter tears because PHRACK was down
for a year. But there was no PHRACK until the summer of the next year
because even though maybe the world at large didn't weep for PHRACK,
it had become part of Craig's identity. It made him
important. It made him different. It gave him another world to be a
part of. He wasn't just one of thousands of college students at the
University of Missouri. He was special. He was somebody when he was
So he decided to bring back PHRACK. The way he did it was he
put out an announcement:
"PHRACK...return. Compiled by Knight
Lightning. Written by Knight Lightning.
Edited by Knight Lightning."
Knight Lightning was coming back big time into the journalism world of
PHRACK. He announced it in his computer newsletter of July of '87.
(Chart) And what's interesting, kind of, about that is that
that announcement is the first charge against Craig. In Count One
here, Craig is not a defendant. It's Riggs who is a defendant.
Count Two is the first one where Craig is a defendant. He
announced in his newsletter his return. And to hype it, which is what
he wanted to do, because he wanted to be important again, he announced
a summer convention and called it:
He decided to hold it in St. Louis because that's where he lived, and
to try to hype it some more and to get people interested in it, he
gave a name to all of this. He called it:
"The Phoenix Project".
taken from "Lethal Weapon", one point in the movie. Two main
characters talk about things that happened back in Vietnam when they
were there. One says to the other:
"Were you in the Phoenix Project?"
That's where the name comes from.
And all that the Phoenix Project is, and you will see it
because you will see that issue of PHRACK, is an announcement of a
summer convention. The return of Knight Lightning. The return of
Phrack. And the announcement of a summer convention. And let me
read to you and quote what was said in that. This is the Phoenix
"The new age is here, and with the use
of every LEGAL..."
and "legal was all caps.
"...means available, the youth of today
will be able to teach the youth of
tomorrow. SummerCon '88 is a celebration
of a new beginning. No one is
directly excluded from the festivities.
The practice of passing illegal information
and I will repeat "not".
"...a part of this convention.
"Any security consultants or members of
law enforcement agencies who wish to
attend should contact the organizing
committee as soon as possible to obtain
an invitation to the actual convention
And what is most remarkable is that that statement, that announcement,
requiring and demanding only legal acts at that convention, the
government says that's a crime. That's what Count Two is. They
say that's a crime.
Let me change the scene. July '88, SummerCon going on in St.
Louis. So hundreds of miles away in Atlanta, Georgia, months before
SummerCon, before the announcement of the Phoenix Project, Robert
Riggs has decided to nose around in BellSouth's computer. And, again,
he's just sitting in his room at his terminal. He doesn't physically
go to BellSouth's computer. He noses around their files looking for
access codes and looking for passwords that he can share with his
Legion of Doomster friends, because that's who he shares that stuff
with, certainly not with Craig. Craig doesn't do any hacking. He just
does PHRACK World News.
As he is wandering through the files of BellSouth, he sees
this 911 text file which is fancy terminology for a document. It's a
document. He sees it. And he decides, "Well, it could be interesting".
So he what is called downloads, which just means he gets a copy.
Mr. Cook refers to stealing it. There is an important
distinction. He doesn't steal it. BellSouth still has it. They have it
to this day. They have had it for the last two years. He didn't
"take" it from BellSouth. He copied it...without permission...and
downloaded it. Because once he looked at it and realized, "Well, this
isn't a password, this isn't an access code. This isn't something
good that my Legion of Doom guys would like. This is just some
bureaucratic document", he throws it, in effect, into a storage
facility. What I mean by that is that he shoots it to a computer
bulletin board that he was on called Jolnet as Mr. Cook has described
to you, and he stores it, in effect, on his account at the computer
bulletin board in Jolnet. He just throws it there. And it is there on
the bulletin board open, available, accessible by others. Anybody can
read it. And it's there. And it's there for a long time before he
bothers to do anything with it.
In fact, Bell Security finds out that it's there. Bell
Security finds out it's there before Craig ever finds out about it,
before Craig ever receives it. Bell Security knew where it was, had a
copy of it. And it was so meaningless, it was so innocuous, it was so
"not secret" and so nondangerous that they just let it sit there.
MR. COOK: I object, your Honor. This is an argument instead
of an opening statement.
THE COURT: Yes, only what you expect the evidence to show in
the case. Leave the final argument for the proper time.
MR. ZENNER: Thank you, Judge.
THE COURT: Thank you.
MR. ZENNER: That is what I expect the evidence to show, and
you will have a few witnesses and you will see the documents to prove
it. You will se that it sat there unattended for months, and that Bell
let it sit there.
When Riggs finally got around to it, he thought, "Well, I've
got nothing better to do with this thing, so I'll send it to Craig,
and maybe he can put it in PHRACK". And that is what he does.
He sends it to Craig. And Craig edits it, and he puts it in PHRACK.
Now, this document that Mr. Cook just referred to as a road
map to a life line, you're going to see this document. Let me read
you this document so you see how dangerous it is.
"When a contract for an E911 system has
been signed, it is the responsibility of
Network Marketing to establish an
MR. COOK: Objection. Objection. This is an argument again.
The jury is going to have the document in its entirety.
THE COURT: Is this document going in evidence?
MR. COOK: The document will be going in evidence.
THE COURT: You may proceed, Mr. Zenner.
MR. ZENNER: Thank you.
"...to establish and implementation/cutover
committee which should include a representative
from the SSC/MAC. Duties of the E911
implementation team include coordination of
all phases of the E911 system deployment
and the formation of an ongoing E911
"In accordance with the basic SSC/MAC
strategy for provisioning, the SSC/MAC will
be over-all control office for all Node to
PSAP circuits and other services for this
"Training must be scheduled for all SSC/MAC
involved personnel during the preservice
stage of the project".
I could go on. You will have the document. If you read it in its
entirety without falling asleep, I will be surprised. It is a
bureaucratic document about administrative procedures. That's all it
When Rober Riggs breaks into the computer in BellSouth and
copies the document without permission, Craig Neidorf knows nothing
about it. He participates in no way in the theft, and not a single
witness from the government will tell you otherwise.
In September or so of 1988, Robert Riggs, who is the
coschemer supposedly with Craig--and, by the way, Craig Neidorf has
never met him in person. Craig has never seen Robert Riggs, wouldn't
know him if he were sitting her in this courtroom--Robert Riggs starts
communicating with Craig. They had been on a bulletin board together
back a couple of years earlier when they were in high school. Riggs
started communicating with him, asking questions. And Craig is trying
to build a network of people again who could be subscribers or on the
mailing list of PHRACK, people in the hacking community. And they
exchange names of people and they exchange information. Craig tells
Riggs, "I'm in college". And, you know, you get that E-mail
communication. Those are crimes. Count Three, Count Four. The
government says those are crimes.
And then when Riggs shoots the 911 article to Craig through
the Jolnet system, Craig never having seen it, not knowing what's in
it, not knowing whether it has a proprietary tag or not, when Craig
opens his mail, in effect, and sees it, that's a crime. And it's a
crime, the way they have charged it here, not to Riggs, who stole it
and sent it, they've charged Craig with the crime. He received it; he
opened his mail.
The reason that it's sent to Craig is that Craig and
PHRACK can only exist if people send him articles. And if nobody
sends him anything, then there's no PHRACK. So he is constantly
bugging people to send him something, send him articles, "Send me
articles," Send me articles," Send me something," because if people
don't send him articles, no PHRACK; no PHRACK, no Knight Lightning,
just one of thousands of faceless college students. So, "Send me
stuff". And he is constantly asking most everybody to send him stuff,
and he bugs Riggs to send him stuff too.
But I suggest to you ladies and gentlemen, the evidence will
show, and Mr. Riggs, I suspect, will testify, that Craig Neidorf never
told him to steal anything, never asked him to steal anything, never
suggested to him to him (sic) to break into a computer. All Craig did
was say, "Send me an article," "Send me something". "If you got a
file, send me an article". Okay? "I want to put our PHRACK". That's
The budding publisher was looking for articles. When he saw
the 911 article, it had a stamp, the stamp that Mr. Cook refers to as
a proprietary stamp. I'm not sure that's entirely right. What it said
"This document should not be disseminated
outside of BellSouth without the written
permission of BellSouth."
Okay. So maybe BellSouth employees have got to get written
permission if they want to disseminate it. He wasn't a BellSouth
employee. He had gotten it for publication in his newsletter. And
it reminded im of another article that he had put in PHRACK, which
was, again, just a bell document that he had gotten when he took a
tour of Southwestern Bell's Telephone facilities with Randy Tischler
and Randy's dad, and they had given him a document about how those
switching systems worked or how one of the things worked. Craig
published that in PHRACK. Now, that didn't have a stamp, but it read
like the same kind of document that he was seeing here. And he thinks,
"Oh, this is probably the same kind of Bell document here," and it had
"Southern Bell" all over it, so he knew it was from Southern Bell. But
he thinks, "Perhaps maybe they didn't take the stamp off that. Maybe
they should have". And when he sends it back to Riggs to show him how
he had edited it, he leaves the proprietary part in it. He leaves
that, you know:
"Don't distribute it outside BellSouth
without written permission".
He leaves that in there. He could have just deleted it, you know,
hit the delete button on the computer, and it's gone. He leaves it
in. He thinks there is nothing wrong with it. And that's when he
in parentheses, as if to say, "Ah, they forgot to take that out, those
Bell people". No big deal.
He sends it to Riggs. Riggs looks at it and says, "No, take
that out". Craig decides, "Okay, I'll edit it. I'll take it out". He
edits the thing, and he publishes it in PHRACK. And that's that.
That's the crime. That's why we're here.
Ten counts...eleven counts. Ho many have we got? Ten
against him. The first one is against riggs. That's all it
is...publication in PHRACK.
Not much happens a long time later...except remember Mr.
Cook told you about this AT&T source code Trojan horse thing? It
sounded like a serious thing. Craig got that. Somebody sent it to him.
Again, somebody shoots him an article, a guy named Len Rose. He sends
him this AT&T thing.
But in contrast to the E911 document, this AT&T thing has a
copyright stamp, not just on the front, but on every page or
thereabouts, "Copyright". Okay? And then some serious language--I
don't have it memorized--showing that this is a serious document,
okay, all that. Now, what does Craig do with that one? He sends a
message to a guy at Bellcore, somebody in security at Bell, and says,
"What should I do about this? It has got a 'copyright' on it, and it
was submitted to me to publish in PHRACK. You know, can I publish it
or can't I? Give me some legal advice". What's wrong with that? And he
never did publish it, and that is what the evidence will show.
Time passes...lots of time. All the time, Bell knows about
this 911 article sitting around. Finally, in January, 1990, almost a
year since it has been sitting there with Bell knowing about it, they
do something. They contact the Secret Service or Secret Service
contacts them or whatever. They decide, "We had better do something
about this secret document being available to the public." They go
after Craig. They go to his frat dorm at the University of Missouri.
Two Secret Service agents, a Southwestern Bell police
officer and a security officer from the University of Missouri
converge upon Craig in his dorm, and for four hours they interrogate
him...four hours. They start asking him questions about this
publication of his. And they read him his rights. They do all of the
right things. And he talked to them. He's a guy who's taken
Constitutional Law, and he's taken Judicial Process, he's taken
American Government and Politics. He knows he has got a right to a
lawyer. He knows he doesn't have to say anything. He talks to them and
he explains. And they say:
"Do you publish PHRACK?"
They say: "Did you publish this article?"
and show him the article?
"Who did you get it from?"
and he tells them:
which is the name that Riggs goes by.
He tells them. They have questions...he answers. They
ask for documents:
"Show me. Have you got copies of PHRACK?""
He goes up to his room and brings back file folders. Okay.
Nice organized three-ring file folders of PHRACK.
"Here, take them. Take them,
Mr. Agent. What else to you want?
"We want a phone list. We want a mailing
list of all your people on your mailing
And he goes to his room and gets the mailing list.
"What else do you want?
Whatever they asked for, he gave them. For four hours, he talked to
them. And for four hours, or thereabouts, he kept denying that he knew
that this thing was stolen when he had gotten it, the 911. And the
agents kept pushing him on it. That seemed to be their point: To get
him to agree with them that he knew it was stolen. And they pushed him
on it. But, eventually, at the end, eventually, he thought, "Well, I
don't know that there is anything wrong with what I've done".
MR. COOK: I'm going to object, Judge. He's going into the area of
argument again. I object on that basis.
THE COURT: You expect the evidence to show that?
MR. ZENNER: I expect the evidence to show that at the conclusion
of that time, the agents had Mr. Neidorf write a statement, and it is
part his words and part the agents' words, but they have it done in
Mr. Neidorf's handwriting, in Craig's handwriting. And here's what
they get him to write:
"In the back of my mind, I guess I knew
the file was stolen and probably
shouldn't be in my possession. I just
never really thought about it and never
once believed the information could be
used to hurt anyone. I thought it was a
Freedom of Information situation, and by
deleting enough of the file, no one could
use what was left to bring forth any harm
"Randy and I never meant to hurt anyone or
cause them trouble. We always believed
the newsletter was legal and covered under
Freedom of Information.
"I am willing to cooperate."
and cooperate he did. He gave them everything they asked for.
Then they wanted him to place a call to Randy, his oldest
friend, to tell Randy that they were there, and to have him come over
and cooperate, too. And he agreed to do that. He called Randy. Randy
wasn't home. Not his fault. And finally the agents leave.
He hadn't broken into any system. He hadn't stolen anything.
He hadn't profited from the publication in anyway. He wasn't even a
hacker, the evidence will show. He was just the publisher of PHRACK.
And he believed that the First Amendment, or, as he put it, Freedom of
Information protected publishers of information. He didn't think he
had done anything wrong. He didn't think he had deceived anybody. But
it wasn't enough.
Inspite of his offers to cooperate, the Secret Service came
back the next day with a search warrant this time, went through all
his drawers, went through is closets, looking for something, looking
for passwords or something. They never found any.
Craig again cooperated. They take more stuff. He thinks, "It's
over". It's not. They tell him when they leave his room, the Secret
Service agents tell him, this is a Friday afternoon, they tell him:
"Craig, either you will call Assistant United
States Attorney William Cook on Monday
or you're getting indicted on Tuesday."
Well, he gets himself a lawyer in St. Louis, a guy named
Arthur Margoulis, a former FBI agent. And they decide, "We'll send
Craig to meet with this Mr. Cook and to meet with the Secret Service
and try to explain all of this."
And, indeed, on Monday, the following Monday, up Craig
comes. No immunity letters, nothing. He just comes up, and for hours,
he answers questions posed to him by the Secret Service.
They ask him about other publications. They ask him about
subscribers. They ask him about everything in the world they can think
of to ask him for hours and hours, and he answers their questions.
They never asked him that Monday about the 911 file. They
never asked him about what the Phoenix Project is. They never asked
him any of that stuff. But he answers their questions. And he goes
home and he thinks, "I've done it. I have at least explained this, and
maybe this nightmare will end".
A week later he is indicted. That's how we got here. The
government said they would get back to him, and they did...they
indicted him. And that's where Craig stands today...indicted, on
trial, with his fate in your hands.
The evidence will show, ladies and gentlemen, he didn't
steal the 911 article, he didn't break into any computer system, he
didn't "screw around" with any computers. He was not a member of the
Legion of Doom. He was not a trespasser. He was not even a hacker. He
was a publisher of a juvenile computer newsletter named PHRACK, and he
believed in the First Amendment. Nineteen-year old Craig Neidorf did
nothing wrong. He believed he had done nothing illegal. He published a
document. He opened his mail. He believed in the First Amendment.
The only crime on that list of the government was on Count
One, crime committed by Robert Riggs who broke into the computer
system, who will be testifying on behalf of the government. That's the
only crime you'll hear about.
To remember is to understand. To remember what it's like to
be 14, or 15, or 16, or 17, or 18, or 19. To remember what it's like
to do some stupid things. But stupid things, doing stupid things isn't
illegal...and a good thing for all of us, I suspect.
People make mistakes. It is possible that Craig Neidorf made
a mistake about the First Amendment and its protection of him if he
had stolen information in PHRACK. In fact, I expect the judge will
instruct you at the appropriate time that the First Amendment does not
protect that kind of conduct. And Craig was wrong about that. He made
a mistake. What you will learn through this case is that lots of
people make mistakes. You will learn that Mr. Foley
trying to do his job, trying to do the best job he can, has made a
number of mistakes. You will learn that the Bell employees, trying to
do the best job they can, have made a number of mistakes. Take a look
at this (chart). Neidorf, N-e-i-d-o-r-f. Niedorf, N-i-e-d-o-r-f.
N-i-e-d-o-r-f. He spells it N-e-i-d-o-r-f. He pronounces it "Ny-dorf",
not "Ne-dorf". They made mistakes. Big deal! It doesn't make the
chart wrong. But they made mistakes.
When Mr. Cook makes a mistake, it's okay. When Mr. Foley
makes a mistake, it's okay. And when Bell people make a mistake and let
the thing sit there for a year unattended, it's okay. But when this
young man makes a mistake, he's indicted, he's on trial today before
you, and it's not funny.
Mr. Cook told you riddles. I have no stomach for riddles. I
have no stomach for jokes about this. This is a serious thing, as serious
a thing as can happen to anyone.
At the end of this case, we can only pray that you will find
that the things that Craig Neidorf did were no crime. And when you
hear the evidence and you go back to the jury room, you will return a
verdict. When you come back here and the foreperson, whoever it is who
delivers that verdict, says the words, they will be the most important
words that young man has ever heard in his life or is likely to ever
hear again. God willing, when the foreperson says those words, he will
be able to leave this courtroom with his hand in his parent's hand.
THE COURT: Thank you, Mr. Zenner.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to break for lunch. I will
ask you to return at one o'clock. Have a nice luncheon, and see you
back here then.
End of Computer Underground Digest #4.07
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank