The Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell was a private initiative proposed by several U.S. companies as a private intelligence business that could help track and counter groups, like WikiLeaks, which “are leveraging networks, platforms, and/or applications to conduct criminal and/or unethical activities.” The companies involved in the effort, Palantir, Berico and HBGary Federal, described the spy outfit as a way to collect information about these groups and individuals, and then come up with strategies to counter them. The companies proposed the Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell based on Palantir’s analytical platform, which is used by the defense and intelligence communities to track terrorist networks. The data sources, according to a briefing on the effort, would include e-mails, Twitter, Facebook and blogs, among other sources. “The most effective way to limit the capability of individuals and/or groups is to develop a comprehensive picture of the entities involved through focused collection, conduct rapid analysis to identify key nodes within the network, and determine the most effective method for influencing/limiting these entities,” the document states. The plan came to light early in 2011 when the hacker group Anonymous leaked documents stolen from HBGary Federal. The released documents revealed details of the companies’ plans for “influence operations, social media exploitation, and new media development,” which were offered to the law firm of Hunton & Williams. The idea was to offer the services to corporate clients, like Bank of America, which believed that WikiLeaks was on the verge of leaking internal bank documents. Since many of the documents released were theoretical proposals, it’s impossible to know what work, if any, the Corporate Information Reconnaissance Cell actually performed. After the disclosure, Palantir publicly cut ties with HBGary Federal and denounced the effort.