US Attorneys Reveal Online Bullying To Explain Why People Who Helped Them Prosecute Aaron Swartz Should Remain Anonymous
from the counter-productive dept
In my capacity as First Assistant United States Attorney, I have been shown various harassing and potentially threatening email messages directed at United States Attorney Ortiz and the United States Attorney’s Office following Mr. Swartz’s suicide.This is the first postcard they're talking about:
Attached at Tab E are copies of the following articles:a. Swartz case protest at Boston US Attorney’s Home, The Boston Globe, March 12, 2013; andIn my capacity as First Assistant, I have been shown various harassing and threatening messages directed at AUSA Heymann. One such email I have seen states, among other things:
b. Swartz protesters go to prosecutor’s home, The Boston Globe, March 17, 2013.ROFLMAO just saw you were totally dox’d over the weekend by Anonymous. How does it feel to become an enemy of the state? FYI, you might want to move out of the country and change your name . . .That same email copies personal information of AUSA Heymann, including his home address and personal telephone number, among other things. AUSA Heymann has also reported to me that his personal information (including his home address, personal telephone number, and the names of family member and friends) were posted online, and that his Facebook page was hacked.
Attached at Tab F is a redacted copy of a postcard that AUSA Heymann has informed me he received at his home.
Attached at Tab G is a copy of a postcard that Professor Philip Heymann has informed me he received.
Once again, as we've stated numerous times in the past, these kinds of activities, while they may feel like a way to make a statement against those who have done wrong, are incredibly counterproductive and stupid. Rather than making any sort of realistic or helpful point, they just give more ammo to the DOJ to block a full, fair and thorough exploration into what went wrong. Making them into victims is a really pointless move that helps the DOJ continue to cover up the details of what happened by giving them cover.
I recognize that there's tremendous anger towards the US Attorneys' office over this case, and much of that anger is likely justified. But channeling that anger into childish threats doesn't help anyone, least of all Swartz's memory and family. Yes, the prosecution of Swartz was unfair, and I would support a legitimate investigation into what happened and ways to keep the DOJ from such overzealous prosecution in the future (though, I agree with others that this sort of thing is endemic to the DOJ, and wasn't unique to Swartz's situation). But these actions turn the DOJ into victims and give them an excuse to hide behind. These kinds of attacks may make some kids feel better, but they don't help at all.