The hacker collective Anonymous is threatening to release information it describes as the “real reason” former Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird left office last February.
A message posted on Twitter on July 29 claimed the group would soon distribute text messages and video related to the affair.
Anonymous describes its actions as being in retaliation to the July 16 police shooting of James McIntyre, a 46-year-old man who was killed outside of a public meeting about the Site C dam held in Dawson Creek. McIntyre was reportedly wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and allegedly holding a knife when he was shot by the RCMP.
Baird, who was previously the Conservative MP representing Ottawa West-Nepean, told CBC News he was leaving politics following the death of a friend, Canada’s former finance minister Jim Flaherty, which Baird claimed had prompted him to reassess his priorities.
At first, many onlookers assumed the information Anonymous says it had decrypted relates to old and widely circulated rumours Baird might be gay. Just about every journalist in the country has heard those claims but very few have ever cared enough to report on them.
However, later on July 29, another Anonymous message posted on Twitter aimed to dispel that notion.
“To be clear: what John Baird does or did sexually with other consenting adults is none of our concern & no reason for leaving office,” it reads.
Another message claimed the information reveals “illegal activity”.
Matthew Miller, an Ottawa-based journalist who has written for the National Observer and other publications, has posted messages on Twitter related to trips Baird made to Egypt and then allegedly Mexico. The Anonymous Twitter account created in relation to the Dawson Creek shooting, @OpAnonDown, signalled the details Miller discussed might have something to do with what's coming but claimed there would also be more.
If and when Anonymous does release something on Baird, it will be the third such incident since the group threatened retaliation for the death of McIntyre.
On July 28, the National Post reported on documents it described as “hacked by Anonymous” that revealed previously unknown details about the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
Those files stated CSIS operates 25 foreign stations, “many of which are located in developing countries and/or unstable environments”. According to the Post, the government had previously only told the public about the existence of three CSIS stations abroad.
Before that, on July 20, Anonymous claimed responsibility for an attack on RCMP cyber infrastructure.