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Secret Service Paid Big-Time Hacker $75,000 a Year As Informant, Website Reports

cash2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service was paying big-time hacker Albert Gonzalez $75,000 a year as an informant before he was arrested in 2008 for operating a multi-million dollar credit and debit card hacking operation, the website WIRED reported.

WIRED attributed the information to Gonzalez’s best friend and convicted accomplice Stephen Watt. Gonzalez is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Boston.

The website said “Watt pleaded guilty last year to creating a sniffer program that Gonzalez used to siphon millions of credit and debit card numbers from the TJX corporate network while he was working undercover for the government.”

The Secret Service declined comment, WIRED reported.

“It’s a significant amount of money to pay an informant but it’s not an outrageous amount to pay if the guy was working full time and delivering good results,” former federal prosecutor Mark Rasch told WIRED. “It’s probably the only thing he was doing — other than hacking into TJX and making millions of dollars.”

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