Hackers launched a denial of service (DDOS) attack on TPM on Friday, knocking the site off-line. TPM had posted mugshots of 14 individuals the FBI said are connected to the 'hactivist' group Anonymous earlier in the day.
While there was no direct evidence that tied Anonymous to the attack, the group has launched similar attacks against media websites and law enforcement agencies in the past.
The photos were received from federal officials on Thursday evening and posted in a slideshow and accompanying story on talkingpointsmemo.com on Friday morning. The website first went down around 4:43PM eastern time, but was back up at 5:19PM. By 5:23PM it was back down, and at time of writing has remained down since. [Update: the site was restored early Saturday morning]
TPM obtained the photos, taken by the U.S. Marshals Service after 16 alleged hackers were arrested in July, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Due to differing federal appeals court decisions on whether mugshots are subject to FOIA, the photos were requested by an individual residing in the Sixth Circuit (covering Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) on TPM's behalf. Individuals who live or work in the Sixth Circuit are able to request mugshots taken in any part of the country.
TPM has used FOIA requests to obtain mugshots of individuals arrested for federal crimes in the past, including photos of those arrested in the FBI's massive mob bust earlier this year, and those arrested in a corruption sting in Prince George's County, Md. We've posted mugshots of numerous other individuals arrested for various crimes from threatening President Barack Obama to biting an FBI agent to working with Jack Abramoff to bribe public officials.
[Disclosure: The author of this post, Ryan J. Reilly, submitted the FOIA request in question.]