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.



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Comments on “Feds Seeking To Silence The Media Over Barrett Brown, After They Locked Him Up For Posting A Link”

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22 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

Not that I agree, but "Brown and his lawyer" are not "The Media".

Though believe I agree with everything between your title and conclusory sentence (and I’m NOT supporting the gov’t here even if were some cause: I hold that everyone charged with crimes by our servants in gov’t has an absolute right to yell to their peers, the public), you make me nervous, Mike: seems to be your habit to stretch plain facts into false statements.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Not that I agree, but "Brown and his lawyer" are not "The Media".

Not that I agree, but “Brown and his lawyer” are not “The Media”.

Ok, Blue. Fair enough. Put your money where your mouth is then.

Tell us what your definition of “The Media” is, please. Doesn’t a blogger doing journalism classify? Is it only mainstream media? Only print media. What? Do tell.

The Real Michael says:

This whole case is a mockery of due process and a testament to the lack of checks and balances prevalent within government.

Brown’s choice of linking to hacked credit card info may’ve been unethical, but when the banksters defrauded the public and cheated the system, instead of punishing them, the government handed them a multi-billion dollar bailout at the taxpayers’ expense.

Priorities…

sickamore (profile) says:

Am I the only one feeling an impending sense of doom from all of these prosecutorial shenanigans claiming to act on behalf of the United States of America? (among other shenanigans mind you)

Folks are definitely going into information dissemination control overload. 100 years.. he’s facing a century in jail, for a link.?

Copyrights, National Security and Media Capture

Isn’t there a substantial amount of criminal activity that should receive this level of dedication and attention for things that, you know, actually hurt people?

I get the sense that this form of government, in its current incantation (yes, majik), is in its death throes.

Gothenem (profile) says:

Media

“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.””

This is a very interesting statement. When the government want to decide if a person is a journalist, they include internet (including but not limited to bloggers) as media when it suits them, but say “you are only a journalist if you get a paycheck” other times.

If the government keeps speaking out of both sides of their mouth, it’s going to choke.

Anonymous Coward says:

The proper response to this is for every single person on the internet to copy paste the same link. Not for nefarious purposes, and not to mention posting a link to this material could serve to warn people they need to call their bank, but rather as an act of civil disobedience against tyrannical rule. Posting a link is not a crime. Domestic spying is though. Maybe go make some arrests there!

Hephaestus (profile) says:

This is an extension of everything the US government has been doing wrong for the past several years. Every time they get caught with their hand in the over reach cookie jar, they yell “it is a secret and it must remain so”. The gag order is nothing more than an attempt to hide the truth. They harassed a person to the point that he got fed up, and he spoke out inappropriately. Then they went after him just to shut him up. Talk about thin skinned.

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