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   AFP investigation into The Realm hackers--an investigation which had

   led to Electron's bust and current legal problems. The Secret Service

   was after the hackers who broke into Citibank.

  

   As it happened, Electron had never touched Citibank. Credit cards

   couldn't interest him less. He found banks boring and, the way he

   looked at it, their computers were full of mundane numbers belonging

   to the world of accounting. He had already suffered through enough of

   those tedious types of numbers in his university course. Unless he

   wanted to steal from banks--something he would not do--there was no

   point in breaking into their computers.

  

   But the US Secret Service was very interested in banks--and in

   Phoenix. For they didn't just believe that Phoenix had been inside

   Citibank's computers. They believed he had masterminded the Citibank

   attack.

  

   And why did the US Secret Service think that? Because, Electron was

   told, Phoenix had gone around bragging about it in the underground. He

   hadn't just told people he had hacked into Citibank computers, he

   reportedly boasted that he had stolen some $50000 from the bank.

  

   Going through his legal brief, Electron had discovered something which

   seemed to confirm what he was being told. The warrant for the

   telephone tap on both of Phoenix's home phones mentioned a potential

   `serious loss to Citibank' as a justification for the warrant.

   Strangely, the typed words had been crossed out in the handwritten

   scrawl of the judge who approved the warrant. But they were still

   legible. No wonder the US Secret Service began chasing the case,

   Electron thought. Banks get upset when they think people have found a

   way to rip them off anonymously.

  

   Electron knew that Phoenix hadn't stolen any money from Citibank.

   Rather, he had been circulating fantastic stories about himself to

   puff up his image in the underground, and in the process had managed

   to get them all busted.

  

   In September 1992, Phoenix rang Electron suggesting they get together

   to discuss the case. Electron wondered why. Maybe he suspected

   something, sensing that the links binding them were weak, and becoming

   weaker by the month. That Electron's mental illness had changed his

   perception of the world. That his increasingly remote attitude to

   Phoenix suggested an underlying anger about the continual bragging.

   Whatever the reason, Phoenix's gnawing worry must have been confirmed

   when Electron put off meeting with him.

  

   Electron didn't want to meet with Phoenix because he didn't like him,

   and because he thought Phoenix was largely responsible for getting the

   Australian hackers into their current predicament.

  

   With these thoughts fermenting in his mind, Electron listened with

   interest a few months later when his solicitor, John McLoughlin,

   proposed an idea. In legal circles, it was nothing new. But it was new

   to Electron. He resolved to take up McLoughlin's advice.

  

   Electron decided to testify as a Crown witness against Phoenix.