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Hacker offers advice to prosecutor in AT&T-iPad case

Member of the hacker group being investigated for a data leak at AT&T's iPad site sends bizarre e-mail to assistant U.S. attorney.

Andrew Auernheimer, aka "Weev" of Goatse Security, the group behind the disclosure of the weakness in the AT&T Web site that exposed iPad user data Andrew Auernheimer

Showing real chutzpah, or delusion, a member of the hacker group being investigated for exposing a hole in AT&T's iPad customer Web site says he will forgive the federal prosecutor if the probe is dropped and offered to work with him to fight cybercrime.

In an open letter to Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vartan that was also sent to journalists and the Full Disclosure security e-mail list," Andrew Auernheimer begins with "Howdy Lee" and offers some "friendly advice."

"I'm writing you to help clarify this situation we continue to find ourselves in," he writes. "You seem to still be investigating me for some sort of criminal act."

Auernheimer quotes Thomas Paine in the message and says he decided to write to Vartan while visiting the law library, where he goes for "ethical guidance."

If Vartan continues to hold grand jury sessions he may be forced to resign for targeting an innocent man, Auernheimer argues. AT&T was negligent in securing its site and Auernheimer's hacker group, Goatse Security, did nothing more than point that out, he claims.

"Social responsibility has always been at the core of everything we do at Goatse Security," writes Auernheimer, a self-acknowledged Internet troll. "We should work together for a common goal, instead of fighting each other," he continues.

"I pray for you Lee," he writes, adding as his send off "Hugs and Courage To You."

Auernheimer, whose hacker name is "weev" and who also uses the first name "Escher," was arrested in June when federal agents found drugs in his home while seizing his computer equipment as part of an investigation into the AT&T case. E-mail addresses and SIM card serial numbers of about 114,000 iPad users were exposed when Auernheimer's group found a way to exploit a flaw in the AT&T site.

No charges have been filed and authorities have declined to discuss the case.