Feds Seeking To Silence The Media Over Barrett Brown, After They Locked Him Up For Posting A Link
from the prosecutorial-overreach dept
We’ve covered the immensely troubling case against Barrett Brown a few times here. Brown is the journalist and activist who was arrested on a series of highly questionable charges, mostly focused on taking the astounding step of copying a URL pointing to a bunch of Stratfor emails that people in Anonymous had hacked, and placing it in a chat room that Brown managed, to try to crowdsource information about intelligence community contractors, known as Project PM. No one has accused Brown of being responsible for the hack — but rather just posting the link to the hacked contents, which the feds are claiming is a federal crime, in part because the data it pointed to contained credit card info. There are two other charges, including concealing evidence (he put his laptop in his mother’s dish cabinet) and “threatening a federal agent” based on a rambling video he had posted to YouTube, which was probably inappropriate, but was in response to being constantly harassed and threatened himself for merely reporting on the various information that had been leaked. Glenn Greenwald’s summary from earlier this year is well worth reading.
The incredible thing is that the linking to leaked materials, including those that reveal hacked documents and things like passwords is fairly common. As the EFF pointed out a few weeks back, if what Brown did with the link to Stratfor emails was a crime then plenty of other publications are guilty of the same thing, including The Daily Beast and Buzzfeed, who both posted links to what some claimed were passwords for email accounts of Congressional staffers.
Even more ridiculous, however, is that the government is seeking to silence the media from reporting on the case, claiming, ridiculously that press coverage related to the case is something it can blame on Brown himself because various publications are reporting on the ridiculous details of his arrest and the charges against him.
Today, there is the latest hearing in his case, in which the US government is asking the court to issue a gag order barring both Brown and his lawyer from “making any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, Internet (including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than matters of public record.”
Think about this for a second. Not only is the main charge against him for the “crime” of copying a URL from one place on the internet to another, but now the government is actively seeking to silence the media coverage about this case.