Hacking group Anonymous has claimed it has grabbed 1.7 GB of data belonging to the US Justice Department, although the US organisation has played down the sensitivity of the haul that was taken from one of its websites.

In the latest move against the DoJ, the hacktivist collective says that the information in its control includes “internals emails” and “the entire database dump” from the website, which the it says the DoJ subsequently took offline.

The leak was announced alongside a torrent with the data and a statement, which included:

Today we are releaseing [sic] 1.7GB of data that used to belong to the United States Bureau of Justice, until now. Within the booty you may find lots of shiny things such as internal emails, and the entire database dump. We Lulzed as they took the website down after being owned, clearly showing they were scared of what inevitably happened.

It is not entirely clear what prompted the latest action against the DoJ, but Anonymous says it is releasing the data to “spread information, to allow the people to be heard and to know the corruption in their government.”

A DoJ spokesperson played down the claims, telling ZDNet that a website with public information had been accessed, and confirming that it is looking into the matter in more depth:

The department is looking into the unauthorized access of a website server operated by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that contained data from their public website. The Bureau of Justice Statistics website has remained operational throughout this time. The department’s main website, justice.gov, was not affected.

The announcement is an interesting one, as you would expect Anonymous to pick out specific details within the data if it were significant. The fact that it has dumped it all in a torrent and played on the significance of the size of the information — 1.7GB — rather than the content, suggests that there is nothing hugely controversial contained within.

Anonymous first targeted the DoJ in January after US authorites made moves to takedown file-sharing site Megaupload.

A series of initiatives against US authorities, largely in response to the Megaupload case, has seen attacks made on websites belonging to the FTC and the CIA.

We’ve reached out to the DoJ to see if it has any further update on the situation, and will update the post with any new details that we are given.