Anonymous says no plans, now, to attack Westboro

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The hacking collective known as Anonymous apparently does not plan to next target the hate-mongering Westboro Baptist Church.

At least not right now.

In a news release posted to its website on Sunday, the group said that an open letter posted to AnonNews.org last week, which called for the controversial church to end its protests and shut down its websites, was not the work of Anonymous.

A representative of the Kansas-based church, known for its hateful rants against gays and attention-seeking protests, responded in a tweet, asking Anonymous to "Bring it."

That tweet likely didn't scare off Anonymous, known most recently for its attack on security firms HBGary and HBGary Federal over belief that a company executive was planning to sell information about the organization to the FBI. Anonymous ultimately published tens of thousands of HBGary emails, which revealed a number of questionable actions, including plans to silence pro-WikiLeaks supporters.

In its latest news release, however, Anonymous seemed to suggest that Westboro actually planted the original note on AnonNews in hopes that fellow Anonymous members would take the bait and launch distributed denial-of-service attacks against the church. If they did, Westboro would "harvest" IP addresses and sue the offenders as a means of making money for the church.

"While Anonymous thanks you for your interest, and would certainly like to take a break and have fun with you guys, we have more pressing matters to deal with at the moment," the release said. "But, we will keep this application on file, and will certainly contact you if any openings become available in [the] future. Next time, don't call us. We'll call you."

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