Homeland Security Wants To Subpoena Us Over A Clearly Hyperbolic Techdirt Comment

from the guys,-calm-down dept

Earlier this week, one of our writers, Tim Cushing, had a story about yet another abuse of the civil asset forfeiture procedure. You can read that whole story for the details, but the short version is that US Customs & Border Patrol, along with Hancock County (Indiana) Sheriff's Dept. officers, decided to seize $240,000 in cash from a guy named Najeh Muhana. Muhana sought to get that cash back, but after a series of ridiculous communications, his lawyer was told that Customs and Border Patrol in Ohio was keeping the money, and that Muhana had "waived his rights to the currency." This was not true, and certainly appeared to be pretty sketchy. Because of all of this, Muhana filed a lawsuit against US Customs & Border Patrol asking for his money back.

Not surprisingly, this story of what many would argue is just blatant theft by law enforcement (the people who are supposed to be protecting us from theft) upset a number of folks who expressed their frustrations in the comments -- some using colorful language. That kind of language might not necessarily be considered appropriate in polite company, but isn't entirely out of place in internet forums and discussions where rhetorical hyperbole is not uncommon.

So I have to admit that I was rather surprised yesterday afternoon when we received a phone call from an agent with Homeland Security Investigations (the organization formerly known as ICE for Immigration and Customs Enforcement), asking where they could send a subpoena to identify a commenter on our site. Our lawyer, Paul Levy of Public Citizen Litigation Group, requested more information and we were told that DHS is interested in obtaining user information on the following comment by "Digger."
The only "bonus" these criminals are likely to see could be a bullet to their apparently empty skulls.

The person wronged probably knows people who know people in low places who'd take on the challenge pro-bono, after a proper "cooling-off" period.
Now, that's pretty crude and a bit ridiculous. But it's also pretty obviously not even anything remotely like an actual threat. First off, he's not suggesting that he's looking to do this at all. He's suggesting that "the person wronged" -- by which he likely means Mr. Muhana -- would somehow get some friends to do this. This is pretty ridiculous and almost certainly wrong. Second, he's actually responding to another comment, that reasonably bemoans the likelihood that those involved in all of this will receive no punishment at all.

Now, it's entirely possible that there are more details here involving a legitimate investigation, but it's difficult to believe that's the case given the information we have to date. Also, we have not yet received the subpoena, just the phone calls and emails suggesting that it's on its way. Normally, we'd wait for the details before publishing, but given a very similar situation involving commenters on the site Reason last year, which included a highly questionable and almost certainly unconstitutional gag order preventing Reason from speaking about it, we figured it would be worth posting about it before we've received any such thing.

We have told Homeland Security that we're willing to receive the subpoena and review it, but that based on what we know, we have serious First Amendment concerns about the request itself. Multiple Supreme Court cases, including Rankin v. McPherson and Watts v. United States have made it clear that people have a First Amendment right to say that they hope the President gets shot, let alone a law enforcement agent. It may be rude and uncomfortable, but if it is not an indication of a "true threat," then it is protected. And, as such, the idea of disclosing any information about someone who was clearly engaged in rhetorical hyperbole in an internet forum, likely leading to federal agents showing up at his or her door, is quite troubling to us.

Really, the most ridiculous part of this is why this is what's being investigated, rather than why the government was basically able to just walk away with $240,000 from this guy and ignore his attempts to get his money back.

We will keep you informed... as much as we are able to.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:24am

    Mike,

    Keep fighting the good fight for all of us.

    God bless you.

    God bless TD.

    God bless the First Amendment.

    God bless America!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jon Renaut (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 11:24am

    Warrant canary

    You should put up a statement that says "We are not under a gag order related to this issue" or something so you can let us know if that changes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 12:00pm

      Re: Warrant canary

      Back when Stuart Gibson from the Mills Oakley law firm was making bumptious demands of Techdirt...

      > Our client requires that you give the following undertakings by the 5pm AEST on February 15 2016:

      ...I suggested...

      > This site really needs a bank of countdown timers down the side, one for each such "requirement.

      The warrant canary can go in the same area.

      In any case, there's little evidence that warrant canaries work. A court could issue a secret warrant that includes a prohibition against triggering the warrant canary. A year ago Australia passed a law making it illegal to report on warrant canaries regarding new mandatory data retention laws; the US will inevitably follow. Apple's and Reddit's warrant canaries have already been triggered, which makes them useless for future warrants.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:48pm

        Re: Re: Warrant canary

        "A year ago Australia passed a law making it illegal to report on warrant canaries regarding new mandatory data retention laws; the US will inevitably follow."

        But that just reveals to the public that the government doesn't mind promoting and requiring dishonesty. Such is a hallmark of corruption. Isn't the point of the government to protect us from lies and corruption? If they're actively requiring lies and corruption instead of protecting us from it then it publicly raises the question, and the discussion, why do we even need the government? They're actually making things worse for us. They're promoting the things they're supposed to protect us against. They're being the oppressive, corrupt, dishonest regimes they're supposed to be protecting us against. Why do we need them?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        BostonPilot (profile), 7 May 2016 @ 5:06am

        Re: Re: Warrant canary

        So, what crime would be committed if a person/company was directed not to trigger the warrant canary but did so anyway? What's the possible penalty? And would the government really want multiple cases like that to go to trial?

        Having grown up during the 60s I guess I wonder whether the correct response to these gag attempts (NSL etc) is to ignore them, and then fight them in court? If nothing else it would help to make the issue visible to the common man.

        And really, do we believe the right to tell the truth would not be upheld eventually by the Supreme Court? And, if the answer is no... then I think we've passed the point of no return.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Tanner Andrews (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 7:48pm

        Re: Re: Warrant canary


        A court could issue a secret warrant that includes a prohibition against triggering the warrant canary

        I would have serious doubts on this account. The govt may now have arrogated to itself the power of prior restraint, but the power of compelled speech seems to cross a line that has not yet been entirely cleared.

        The govt may be able to command you to not say that you disapprove of producing ammunition to be used against Russian revolutionaries, Abrams v. U.S., 250 U.S. 616, but it has a harder time compelling you to endorse it. Compare Minersville School Dist. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, with WV State Board of Educaiton v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624.

        A little more recently, Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U.S. 750 largely rejected the idea of compelled state-supplied speech. A requirement to say ``no warrant offensive to owner's principles'', in the case that the person in charge wanted to remove the visible warrant canary, would be hard to distinguish from any other state self-endorsement requirement.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 6 May 2016 @ 11:24am

    Might I recommend an article each day saying, "Hey guys. Know that subpoena they said that's on the way? It's not here yet."

    Then maybe someday, "Yep, we got it and no gag order. Yipee!"

    Or............................
    :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I'm with digger, 6 May 2016 @ 11:25am

    I know in some public libraries, they get around gag orders by leaving a sign out that says "this library's patrons have not been investigated under the patriot act (watch closely for the removal of this sign)". Maybe something similar is in order here?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Aaron (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 11:25am

    I'm amazed you don't see how much you're hurting our national security in just publishing this.

    Nope, sorry, couldn't keep a straight face.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Digger, 6 May 2016 @ 11:26am

    I'm Spartacus!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Quiet Lurcker, 6 May 2016 @ 11:29am

    Sounds like someone, somewhere, screwed up by the numbers. Again.

    And tried to cover it up. And failed, or is failing. Again.

    And are now trying to cover up the cover-up. And failing. Again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Techno, 6 May 2016 @ 11:30am

    Not horrible internet comments!

    Yet over on Fox News they have people actually advocating murder. And conservative talk show hosts inciting people to murder Planned Parenthood non-abortion providers. When are they going to investigate that incitement? Seriously when will people learn that the government is watching everything. They "like" the idea of 1984. It's like that Star Trek episode where the computer tries to control everyone because it thinks it will keep them safe.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 6 May 2016 @ 11:45am

      Re: Not horrible internet comments!

      The folks at The Blaze comments would lose 1/2 their posters! =D

      Maybe that would be like handing out speeding tickets at the Indianapolis 500.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:52am

      Re: Not horrible internet comments!

      They probably already have a full list of all those people inciting murder - and their phones are probably already tapped.

      Fox News is precisely the type of organization that would go along with that...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      art guerrilla (profile), 7 May 2016 @ 4:37am

      Re: Not horrible internet comments!

      @techno-
      the lesson to take from that, is that 'approved' violence and threats by the brownshirts are perfectly okay by Empire, it is threats against Empire itself, and by extension, its eee-vil minions of doom which are NOT to be tolerated in the least...

      AND, this is EXACTLY why stupid shit SJW sheeple dickheads should realize that so-called 'anti-hate' laws, etc are fucking slitting their own throats: those laws they are demanding will NOT -ultimately- be used to defend the 99% being wronged, but to prevent and punish ANY/ALL criticism of Empire and its eee-vil minions of doom...
      idiots...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 11:34am

    'We will keep you informed... as much as we are able to.'

    More than the original comment, more than the response to it, I think this line is the most screwed up part to the whole thing. The idea that you can be barred from reporting on legal issues that you're indirectly involved in, barred from even saying that you are involved in a legal issue, just because some agency doesn't want their actions made public.

    Given how the other case went I agree with the others suggesting a 'Gag clause canary' somewhere on the site, just in case, though hopefully it won't be needed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:38pm

      Re:

      This is why the concept of National Security as an excuse to keep secrets from citizens is clearly in breach of the 1st.

      The very reason for people to be able to take their story to the media is so that the "Government" will be cowed into submission when they go overboard and so that fellow American citizens can know that something unjust is happening and do something to show support for the wronged.

      DHS needs to understand that if it keep pushing people like they are are going to incite a riot of the people themselves.

      Maybe they need to subpoena themselves for trying to cause an insurrection!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 6 May 2016 @ 11:34am

    "why this is what's being investigated, rather than why the government was basically able to just walk away with $240,000 from this guy and ignore his attempts to get his money back."
    Because thats the Murhika we live in now. The good ole USSA.

    Remember kids... when it comes to Tyranny... JUST SAY NO!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      Have not seen the USSA term in a while. Good old

      United Secure States of America brought to you by the criminals running our countries security services.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Daniel Audy (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 12:56pm

      Re:

      "Remember kids... when it comes to Tyranny... JUST SAY NO!!!"

      Unless the government tells you that you aren't allowed in which case just roll over.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 5:59pm

        Re: Re:

        Didn't Obama in a speech at a university a few years ago tell the students to ignore and report anyone that talked about the government turning into a police state.

        That such "conspiracies" can only do great harm to America.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 11:35am

    Well I guess we know now that the good folks at Homeland security are reading Techdirt, I guess that is one way for them to find out what is happening in the cases they are in court with.

    And it would also seem that ICE, CBP Homeland Security aren't very big fans of the media doing stories on the asset seizures that happen to involve cash from citizens because they can (no crime needed it would seem)

    Honestly so how much time and money are they going to waste on this so called "investigation" of that comment. Was the comment over the line, to a point yeah, but honestly how many other people post way worse on the internet?

    Seriously there are people posting a heel of a lot worse and more direct threats at other people or groups.

    This seems to me this is someones more butthurt at the story subject, and this is the ICE, CBP, Homeland Security indirect way of trying to throw a little scare at Techdirt by the way of using the comment as leverage to say" Hey, keep this up and we will tie you up in legal fees and make life hell for your company and writers if you want to keep writing and questioning cash seizures we do for fun and profit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:35am

    I'm sure it's got nothing to do with Cushing's obvious hatred of all authority...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:37am

    Nobody can make Homeland Security look as bad as it does

    Its as if they are children who are so use to being the bullies that how dare anyone stand up to them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 8:33am

      Re: Nobody can make Homeland Security look as bad as it does

      that's because it's a jobs program for people who don't even have the IQ to be a cop.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:39am

    How exactly do they determine whether or not it's a true threat unless they investigate it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:43am

      Re:

      Other than the comment itself not even being a threat in the first place?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Andy, 6 May 2016 @ 12:42pm

        Re: Re:

        A threat is when someone says they will be using there weapons to keep there money safe when crossing the border, or will use weapons to regain there money, or even if they say they are going to return to the border control post and bomb them out of existence for there crime against that specific person.

        Saying that someone else might think about doing the above is not a crime it is a mater of fact that there are people out there that could be crazy enough to do so without any input from others on a website comment board.

        Remember we are talking about a gang or border control agents stealing money from a citizen for no reason with no evidence of a crime. That in itself is enough to implement protections ensured by the constitution to respond with weapons to stop a government agency gone wild.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't know, the same way they determine all sorts of random comments on the internet are not true threats? By using common sense?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 6 May 2016 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      Well let's see. I heard on NPR the other day, an interview with a female sports reporter who had email to her declaring violence upon her in graphic terms more than this.

      I don't think a one-time comment on weblog would suffice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:54am

      Re:

      You sound like a trouble-maker... I think I'll be suggesting you get investigated as well, just to make sure there's no true threat in your intentions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 May 2016 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      probably by using that uncommon thing called common sense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:39am

    Is there an actual subpoena, or were they hoping you would say hang on a minute and I will get you that IP address?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:43am

    Homeland security, saving us from the meanies all day everyday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:47am

    I'm betting Masonic rolls over like a happy puppy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anon E. Mous (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 7:07pm

      Re:

      LOL Obviously you dont know that Techdirt and their writers dont pee their pants at the first sign of a legal threat. Must be a Prenda Law fan

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:48am

    I'm betting Masnick rolls over like a happy puppy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:48am

    Thanks Tech Dirt!

    My anonymous donation is in the mail. Sure hope no previous user snorted cocaine with any of the bills. Oh right, the dogs wouldn't find them if they had. Not that it matters..
    .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:51am

    Do we really want people in our law enforcement who are so terrified of everything that a comment on an internet website will have them quaking in their boots? When it comes time for actual danger, I don't have the confidence they'll be up to the task.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      It's called job security... there are way too many people involved in the "omg terrorists!" movement to have them sitting around doing nothing... better keep them busy investigating every possible threat they can find.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:30pm

      Re:

      I'd be willing to bet this has little to nothing to do with being frightened by a tame internet comment, and a lot to everything with throwing a bit of their weight at Techdirt as a critic, as well as it's commenters as a whole.

      It's essentially them swaggering on by to say "We're keeping an eye on you all." in hopes of intimidating people in the comments section, and the site itself, into not talking so much about the sorts of crimes that the DHS and agencies it's friendly with are committing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 11:57pm

        Re: Re:

        Then those agents should be removed from power, as they are clearly unsuited to it.

        Preferably by either water-cannon or napalm.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:01pm

    So how many weeks before children will be taught that the blindfold on Justitia symbolizes that justice is supposed to be carried out away from prying eyes...? Because it's weeks, not decades...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:03pm

    It could be a planted loop.

    Perhaps the post was BY DHS to create the opportunity for the DHS to bully techdirt. Presumably with the hope of getting techdirt to self sensor.

    I have to admit when I was young and often drunk, I posted some dumbass things like that. I am REALLY glad that those were the good old days when law enforcement thought that the Internet was a piece of fishing equipment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:13pm

    Yeah, might want to start the canary thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:13pm

    Grasping at staws

    Oh, I get it. They're desperately hoping that Mr. Muhana is the one who posted the comment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shilling, 6 May 2016 @ 12:20pm

    I understand that shooting someone in the head can be a tad harsh so I propose, considering Saudi Arabia is head of the human rights council, to chop the agents (and anyone involved in this act of theft) hands of as this is a more acceptable method of dealing with thiefs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Akhmed, 6 May 2016 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      Ya, let's go full Sharia on this whole thing, that'll make it better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        G Thompson (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 10:13pm

        Re: Re:

        You do realise that chopping convicted criminals hands, feet, etc off for punishment is not only Sharia law don't you? In fact that punishment for specific things like stealing, adultery etc has been around for eons and ALL ABRAHAMIC religions used it!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:28pm

    I am finding it increasingly hard to comment here at Techdirt. I don't want an account and would have registered many years ago had I wanted one. I prefer to remain anonymous.

    But it looks more and more like that I am able to comment less and less. Apparently the software or what ever filter is set up doesn't like VPN. I continually from time to time get the 'awaiting moderator' type message. It then shows up sometime later that day or maybe the next, long after the current interest is gone. No one hardly looks anymore as the newest is up.

    With that, I guess I'll wait just a bit before changing home page and seeking somewhere else maybe not as difficult to make posts at.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 12:35pm

      Re:

      I have an account and sometimes some pretty harmless comments get held. They did get better with time. Maybe you should get in touch with them? They actually do a fairly decent job with the filters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 3:05pm

        Re: Re:

        I've used the VPN for over 4 years now. When I first started with it nearly no posts were held for moderation. Now more and more of them get held. I've been here much longer than 4 years though. So it's not like I just showed up.

        As was mentioned in another post in answer here I'm well aware of the wanting to count every head, every move, and an address. I rarely supply them.

        One thing I have never done has been to spam. If I supply a link it is always in relation to the comment as source. Spamming is not something I can control beyond my actions and most likely it is the reason for the filter or it is in the cloud to prevent DDoS attacks. Either way, commenting is becoming increasingly more difficult to do here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      rikuo, 6 May 2016 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      This message is a test. I am posting this using the latest developer version of the Opera Chromium browser, which now comes with VPN built in. If you see this message, then this message was able to get in despite usage of a VPN.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ryuugami, 7 May 2016 @ 3:07am

        Re: Re:

        Opera Chromium browser, which now comes with VPN built in.

        You might want to check on that. As far as I have heard, it calls itself a VPN, but it's just a proxy. The difference is, a proxy doesn't encrypt your communication, so ISPs and the like can still spy on your traffic.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 6 May 2016 @ 12:51pm

      Re:

      It happens from time to time for me too. Its a spam filter no doubt.

      "I continually from time to time" Read that again. :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 1:15pm

      Re:

      With that, I guess I'll wait just a bit before changing home page and seeking somewhere else maybe not as difficult to make posts at.

      Very few sites allow anonymous commenting without at least supplying an email address, and if those that do have any kind of traffic whatsoever, then they will also have filters by necessity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 12:34pm

    And this is one of the reasons TD has a loyal readers base. I for one am sure that TD will mount a defense if needed and TD can be sure that if they need financial backup to keep the defense they can rely on many of us here. I would gladly help.

    I wonder if the thugs will actually try to buy a fight with people that actually know what they are doing and that have an engaged community behind them...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anon E. Mous (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 7:04pm

      Re:

      There are a lot of people in the legal community much like Paul Levy from Public Citizen who assists Techdirt with Legal issues, and I am sure Ken from Popehat as well as numerous other Lawyers who would help Techdirt if they thought Techdirt and it's writers needed them.

      I don't see Homeland Security getting very far with this, I liken this to the Big Bad Wolf who wants to huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down...except the Department of Homeland Security is playing the part of the Big Bad Wolf at the behest of someone from CBP/ICE.

      This whole thing is a farce in my opinion, I think the agent mentioned in the story is a little embarrassed as he is associated to the seizure on the behalf of CBP/ICE who have much egg on their face as well.

      I am sure the good folks over at CBP/ICE are just a little embarrassed that this didnt stay out of the media and their methods and attempt at a legal hold up for fun and profit didnt work out so well.

      I doubt Techdirt is shivering in fear and the staff is plastered to the windows waiting for the dark colored SUV's full of Agent Foster Grannt's piling out and running into the building to seize everything, far from it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andy, 6 May 2016 @ 12:35pm

    HERE YA GO

    Does the constitution not advice people need to be armed to prevent exactly what is happening, Maybe we need more armed people going through the border, damn i am sure if they had 100 people that were armed and carrying multiple weapons and that those people implied violence if the border gangs did not stop this outright theft approved by the courts.

    It is legal for the people to rise up against crime by the police or government and in this case it is doubly right as the courts are colluding with the border gangs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 1:53pm

      Re: HERE YA GO

      Does the constitution not advice people need to be armed to prevent exactly what is happening,

      Yes, "against all enemies foreign and domestic"... and that is not even close to all of the commentary from the founders on the subject. In fact the words of the founders themselves are in fact now considered Terrorist Language.

      An agent of the law in breach of the Constitution should be considering nothing other than a domestic enemy of the state... we typically call them criminals but for some reason people think that because they are from government there is some magical voiding effect on constitutional rights when they "choose" for them not to apply.

      We have to seriously question the motivations of a government that has "in fact" accused the language and actions of the founder of this nation as terrorism.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:41pm

    I'm rolling my eyes on yet another article published on Techdirt. Whether the comment was appropriate or not is besides the point but Mike fails to grasp the common fact that federal law enforcement authorities are duty bound to investigate any threat made against the president of the United States.

    But, I do question why the Department of Homeland Security is investigating this and not the FBI, Secret Service or the Justice Department.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 12:41pm

    I don't want to post here as I don't want homeland security finding me to fix their damn printers again but....Its possible they don't want to return the money because it has already been spent on cool rims for their cruiser.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:42pm

    Common sense, of which I still have, tells me that if people were treated better by their own government in the first place, there wouldn't be responses like that.

    You can't incite something and then think you have the right to get pissed off about the response!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:44pm

    Perhaps you should put up a warrant canary ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 12:47pm

    Sorry to swim against the tide here, but:

    1. I was taken aback by that comment when I first red it. I think the government should investigate people who make death threats against agents, even though those agents are corrupt.

    2. While everyone deserves due process and civil asset forfeiture is blatantly evil, this guy who had his money taken was obviously not some innocent like the better examples we've seen. I don't think we should be rallying around that particular flag.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      I.T. Guy, 6 May 2016 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      "I was taken aback"
      Bent Franklin... Internet, Internet... Bent Franklin. First drink is on me.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 12:57pm

      Re:

      There is a serious problem with what you just said, because this is how tyranny breaks in from the back door.

      The "moral standing" of the person getting screwed has just exactly not a single fucking thing to do with this, and here is why.... perception. Letting the government run all over someones liberty just because everyone agrees they are a dirt bag starts to look more and more like if they were not a dirt bag they would not have had their rights trampled. So the next time a completely innocent person is fucked over, everyone just thinks they deserved it anyways and WHAMMO... TYRANNY with the complete support of people like you!!!

      And trust me, they will come for you. So yes, be very sorry you swam against the tide because in some ways... you are worse than anyone else... because youre logic helps to innocuously, but certainly poison the foundations of liberty so that when everyone finally finds that the foundations of liberty have been rotted away by your logic, the uphill fight will be that much more difficult when we wake up.

      In this case, I can certainly say your name lives up to your ignorance in this case...

      Compared to Ben Franklin, you are Bent!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      NotJimArdis (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      I don't need to agree with speech in order to fight for it to be protected under the First Amendment. If you do, then perhaps you should look inward and discover why you will only fight to protect that which you agree with.

      Second, I don't care if the man from whom the money was stolen was a child molester leaving the home of one victim and on his way to another victim's house - the blatant theft of money by the State from anyone, regardless of their "innocence", should anger you.

      "The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."

      - H.L. Mencken

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      1. It wasn't a threat, at most I'd say it was a lurid bit of daydreaming of what the poster thought should happen. Was it excessive and over the top? Perhaps, but a threat it was not.

      The commenter wasn't saying 'I would...' or even 'If it was up to me I would...', they were posting without evidence about how the one who had his money stolen might know people who are in the violence for money business who would be willing to commit some of that violence on their behalf.

      2. Doesn't matter. Defending the rights of everyone often requires that you defend the rights of people that might be or even are guilty(in the sense that they've done the action, not necessarily that they've been found guilty of such) of various crimes or unpleasant actions, because if they don't have the protections afforded by those rights neither do you should it ever be your turn as the accused.

      Doesn't matter if every last dollar they stole from him was directly related to the most heinous of crimes(rather than what I believe was the unlicensed sale of cigarettes that had him on their radar), the theft was wrong and the stonewalling followed by the claim that time was up the money was theirs was worse.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 1:09pm

      Re:

      I think the government should investigate people who make death threats against agents, even though those agents are corrupt.


      Me too. But that wasn't a death threat. It was speculation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 1:11pm

      Re:

      While everyone deserves due process and civil asset forfeiture is blatantly evil, this guy who had his money taken was obviously not some innocent like the better examples we've seen. I don't think we should be rallying around that particular flag.

      Like free speech, you have to support those who you disagree with, or even think guilty, less you find that your assets are no longer safe from from forfeiture.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      pixelpusher220 (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 1:20pm

      Re:

      This is EXACTLY the flag to rally around. We don't protect only those we agree with.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Christopher Best (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 1:29pm

      Re:

      2. While everyone deserves due process and civil asset forfeiture is blatantly evil, this guy who had his money taken was obviously not some innocent like the better examples we've seen. I don't think we should be rallying around that particular flag.


      Innocence is not a requirement for due process.

      Besides, we're all guilty of something.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 1:43pm

      Re:

      > 1. I was taken aback by that comment when I first red it.

      I'm just glad you didn't blue it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Robert Beckman (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 1:44pm

      Re:

      Your analysis is flawed.

      The post under investigation didn't threaten anyone with death, let along a government agent. The comment stated that it would be good if someone else were to conspire to commit a crime - a completely protected form of speech. Speech supporting general crime, or even a specific crime is protected, unless it's likely to lead to imminent lawless action (i.e. inciting a riot) or directly threatening lawless action, even if surreptitiously (awfully nice store you have, pity if something happened to it. This post was neither, even setting aside the hyperbole expected in the forum.

      We should absolutely rally around the worst offenders, otherwise we're supporting through inaction the erosion of our liberties. If it's ok to seize the bad guys assets, and the assertion of bad guy status is all that's needed as in this example, then we're all only an assertion away from having our assets seized. There's a classic story about a man in an elevator asking a beautiful woman if she'll have sex with him for a million dollars..... the same analogy applies here if we don't protect even the unsavory in our society.

      Additionally, how is this guy obviously not innocent? Many immigrants carry very large amounts of cash as their original culture/country may not have had adequate banking to allow them to be accustomed to EFTs. What else in the story made you think the victim was not only not innocent, but "obviously not ... innocent"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 3:19pm

      Re:

      While everyone deserves due process and civil asset forfeiture is blatantly evil, this guy who had his money taken was obviously not some innocent like the better examples we've seen. I don't think we should be rallying around that particular flag.

      Sounds a bit like "I'm not a racist but..."

      The WHOLE POINT of due process, rule of law etc etc is that it protects the good and the bad (and even the ugly) equally. You don't get to choosewhich flag to rally around - because once the bad precedent is set it affects everyone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Shilling, 6 May 2016 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      @ bent Franklin

      Point number 2 is mute because if the agent just followed the rules they would not even find the small amount of marijuana nor the concealed gun. So how do you know that this person is not so innocent based on paying for a trainticket with another persons creditcard because last time I checked this is not illegal?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 5:05pm

      Re:

      You either defend everyone's rights equally or no one has any rights.

      Picking and choosing which people to defend means no one is defended.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      morganwick (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 5:28pm

      Re:

      I find it interesting that this post is flagged as the "first word" yet basically every response to it, disagreeing with it, is flagged as insightful. Normally a first word/last word comment would also be flagged as funny or insightful, not the comments disagreeing with it. Not making any accusations, just curious, because having it flagged as the first word would seem to imply that it's the most important comment for someone to see, but the Techdirt hive mind doesn't seem to actually agree.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 5:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Single individuals can make a comment the first/last word. The group as a whole has nothing to say about it, so it's a mistake to assume that such comments are reflective of the majority here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 7 May 2016 @ 5:27am

        Re: Re:

        He paid to be able to press the first/last word button. Probably the only way he'd ever get the coveted slot, given how utterly wrong he is.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 10:01pm

        Re: Re:

        because having it flagged as the first word would seem to imply that it's the most important comment for someone to see
        It is the most important comment, because it's a perfect example of something that sounds reasonable in an intuitive, superficial way. Intuition, common sense, and simple heuristics are extraordinarily useful in day to day life, but they can seriously fuck up a complex formal system.

        I didn't need a FW pointing to counterarguments to Bent's statement. I needed this one to highlight the fact that someone like Bent (whose comments have always seemed sensible and insightful as far as I can remember) made the statement in the first place. I could've easily missed it otherwise.

        I'm still wondering if it isn't just the most understated, Atacama-dry, more-British-than-the-Queen-throwing-scones-at-a-Dalek, dead-pan sarcasm ever posted in the history of TD.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 5:42pm

      Re:

      "I don't think we should be rallying around that particular flag."

      Indeed. We should only advocate for justice and the rule of law when it benefits saints. What could possibly go wrong?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 7 May 2016 @ 5:21am

      Re:

      So, how do you know he was obviously not innocent?

      Any chance you could use your amazing psychic powers and tell us next week's lotto numbers?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2016 @ 7:05am

      Re: Swim against the tide

      1. It wasn't a threat against an agent, it was a suggestion that the person whose money was seized arrange for something bad to happen to the agent. A small difference, but a difference.

      2.Just because someone MAY BE a scumbag doesn't mean that his rights shouldn't be fully supported, if for no more reason than to not allow law enforcement to set a precedence for future cases.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2016 @ 4:03pm

      Re:

      @Bent Franklin 55:
      I agree with item 1., as long as the investigators investigate the REASON the threat was made. The agent could be a rogue and operating outside his job description or authority.

      As for item 2, IMHO, "asset forfeiture", as now employed, is simply Government sanctioned grand theft. There needs to be a conviction or some other due process to enable it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ThatOneOtherGuy, 13 May 2016 @ 8:03pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm still trying to figure out what "threat" people are talking about, when clearly, no threat was made.

        It was clearly and purely speculation on Digger's part.

        Comparing the poster's "they'll probably get a bonus or promotion" to saying that it would be more likely that something negative would come of it, exaggerated ridiculously of course, and I'd choose different wording, but I think I can see what Digger meant, and threat it was not, at least in my opinion.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, 6 May 2016 @ 12:52pm

    Probably someone knows someone who would be willing to take the Agent that called you about this affair out

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Not Digger, 6 May 2016 @ 1:06pm

    Dig this

    When bringing criminal behavior to attention
    Is treated as criminal behavior
    You live in a nation run by criminals

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 10:27pm

      Re: Dig this

      Nation of criminals... hm. Maybe this is a deep game, and what they really want is for all of us to demand a return to the good ol' days of "a nation run by greedy, duplicitous, sociopathic assholes who bend and mutilate the law, but don't break it this blatantly, this frequently".

      That'd give them carte blanch to engage in the most mindbogglingly egregious political fuckery ever seen by man, all without the slightest fear of repercussions. Hey, we're the ones that asked for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 1:14pm

    Just curious

    Where is Techdirt's warrant canary located?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Pronounce (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 1:16pm

    Typical Behavior by the Government

    The business of government is to keep the government in business. As a former government employee I saw this first hand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Alex Pine, 6 May 2016 @ 1:43pm

    Seriously

    North Americunt policy enforcers at their best.
    Attempting to challenge the right to free speech!
    Now they are not only thieves, they are impeaching the constitution as well.
    I feel sorry for you North America, I really do.
    I am also very concerned that our government in Australia is following your footsteps, they love chugging on that big old North American dick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    wth, 6 May 2016 @ 2:21pm

    Holding my comment for moderation?

    when did this start?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Digger, 6 May 2016 @ 2:22pm

    Or is it Digger you'r holding for moderation

    ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 6 May 2016 @ 2:47pm

    People blame the liberals for big government, but please remember it was a republican president that overnight created one of the world's largest and most unaccountable bureaucracies with the stroke of his pen.

    What does the DHS actually do, and to whom is it accountable to? I suspect the answers are a) whatever the fuck it wants and b) no one. I ask these questions on an account with my real name and a sincere interest in knowing the truth.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hans, 6 May 2016 @ 2:52pm

    Woodchipper?

    Perhaps this wouldn't have been a problem if he'd suggested using a woodchipper?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    tracyanne, 6 May 2016 @ 3:16pm

    Dear Homeland Security

    An Internet threat: I will write nasty things about you, and if that doesn't stop you I will turn the caps lock on. So there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 6 May 2016 @ 3:21pm

    Cheater

    Mike,

    I'm so very upset with you. It's not fair for you to cheat the system. the government should not have to require a gag order on you you should just automatically gag yourself. What next are you going to let the commenter no that his comment is the one that was suspect. Are you also going to broadcast it out so that way then his friends can warn him or her. Shame on you Mike. This is not the United States that your daddy grew up in

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stan (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 4:04pm

    An un-checked government...

    As James Madison wrote: “Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected."

    The people of this country have ignored the government's granting unto itself more and more powers over the people. And when occasional voices object the heavy hand of authoritarianism descends to squelch the voices, even when it is clear that protected free speech is the target.

    Ans when the powers that be in Homeland Security oppress the people, they should be aware that it has been foretold that the release of Cthulhu is at hand ("In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming") and when he escapes, the many tentacles of his face shall rip out the spleens of the DHS oppressors - then Cthulhu will pluck out the eyeballs of their DHS cohorts . There will be wailing and nashing of teeth by many government agents on that day. Furthurmore, gkjkjerg x$ln3*h @bhb$%kz@#prsh...

    EXCUSE ME, THIS IS HIS MOM - I'M COMPLETEING HIS TYPING. PLEASE IGNORE WHAT HE JUST WROTE ABOUT SPLEENS BEING RIPPED OUT. IT WASN'T HIS FAULT. I MADE HOME-MADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE WHEN I FOUND OUT I DIDN'T HAVE ANY MUSHROOMS. SO I USED SOME FROM THE JAR HE KEEPS HIDDEN IN HIS DESK (WHICH I DIDN'T TELL HIM). HE LOVED THE TASTE BUT NOW HE'S ACTING REAL STRANGE-LIKE. I HAD TO HIT HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH MY ROLLING PIN. HE'S NAPPING NOW. HE'LL BE OKAY COME MORNING.

    AND THAT PART ABOUT PLUCKING OUT DHS EYEBALLS?

    NEVER MIND.

    HIS MOM.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 4:23pm

    Digger....Liberal

    At first, I didn't understand the big deal about the comment. I mean, Tea party zealots, free-staters, and other conservative idiots threaten murder and open rebellion all the time and you don't see DHS sending subpoenas for those comments.

    I think what's got DHS in a twist is that they suspect Digger is a commie pinko liberal. Those are vastly more dangerous, you know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Digger....Liberal

      Turds like you need to go away.

      This is hardly a liberal vs conservative problem, so try to avoid making it out like it is one.

      Multiple agencies have put out more than enough literature to piss off all sides and reveal that they give just exactly no fucks when it comes to abusing the American People's liberty.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 4:30pm

    On the part of DHS, this is more than likely an attempt at the standard things, getting you to self police, intimidation by showing they are listening, overreacting, etc.

    Mike, I wonder if they looked you up before they made the request for this information ...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

    ROFLMAO David

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 6 May 2016 @ 4:41pm

    Defund DHS and TSA

    Homeland Security Wants To Subpoena Us Over A Clearly Hyperbolic Techdirt Comment

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a multiply redundant $55 billion dollar (2010) a year quasi secret police and bureaucratic boondoggle of an abomination that in a sane nation, which held true to it's founding republican principals, would be defunded and it's constituent agencies (eg Coast Guard, Secret Service, etal) returned to their department(s) of origin.

    The worthless DHS agency known as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which is in part responsible for helping to condition US citizens into accepting intrusive, humiliating and liberty denying security theater checkpoints as normal and would be defunded as well.

    TSA screens roughly 600 million persons at US airports per year (not including the persons TSA screens at concert/sporting venues, train/bus stations etal) over a 15 year period that amounts to 9 billion persons screened all without uncovering a single terrorist.

    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2012/01/the_tsa_proves.html

    http://politicaloutcast.com/tsa-st ill-hasnt-caught-terrorist/

    If congress had half a spine it would smash the giant "rice bowl" known by the acronym DHS and scatter it's political appointees and worthless security theater bureaucrats to the wind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 9:22am

      Re: Defund DHS and TSA

      Agree, we are saving no lives and wasting loads of financial resources paying for this enormously Anti-American, Anti-Liberty, and Pro-Tyranny agency.

      You can be certain of who the real enemy of the American People are by seeing what kind of trouble you get into when you joke about or insult them.

      Go ahead, stand in line at the TSA and crack a joke or insult them! You will be quickly introduced to the biggest terrorists in America!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 4:51pm

    When you take an oath to support and defend the constitution do you have to have actually read the constitution?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 5:01pm

    If criminals are let off the hook solely because they work for the state, is it any surprise people eventually stop trying to resolve things peacefully. When they know perfectly well of any regular citizen did the exact same crime they would not be treated as being above the law like the badge wielding scum are.

    I agree with Digger. If the state refuses to punish those they employ who commit crimes against the citizenry. Then people will start actively fighting back instead of being passive about having their rights violated so casually.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 9:03am

      Re:

      I've tried explaining this to a few police types that don't think it's their job to police themselves. They take it as a threat.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    soillodge (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 5:03pm

    Art Imitating Reality

    What I do not like about this situation, is that our security and law enforcement agencies have been known to use propaganda and direct our mass media through films and TV shows so we understand there are nefarious groups out there that will do horrible things to us unless they protect us.

    Then when someone mentions that these nefarious groups could possible be in someones employ, quite easily doing nefarious things to law enforcement persons, it suddenly becomes a red flag. They want to have their cake, and eat it too...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 5:41pm

    these things have been happening many years. Its why when I comment here or anywhere I use TOR, please feel free to give the feds my IP address

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Whatever (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 6:26pm

    Well, ain't this fun?

    I think that Digger's comments make much more sense if you take his two comments (6 minuntes apart) together to get a complete thought. Then it looks a little more ominious:

    "Everyone on the government side of this should have grand theft and / or larceny charges filed against them, and double the jail time as it is a slam dunk case.

    They did not follow proper procedures, they no longer have the protection or immunity to prosecution normally afforded to government agents.

    By failing to follow procedure, they've shown their true colors and should be treated as the criminals that they are."

    "The only "bonus" these criminals are likely to see could be a bullet to their apparently empty skulls.

    The person wronged probably knows people who know people in low places who'd take on the challenge pro-bono, after a proper "cooling-off" period."

    He calls everyone on the government side criminals, and then says that criminals should get a bullet to their apparently empty skulls.

    When you put the two together, there is a clear threat, and one that suggests action against government agents. Phrased like that, you get a little domestic terrorist at work.

    This is one of those cases where Techdirt could stand on their narrow first amendment rights and claim it's about protecting speech, but that would then be forgetting to protect the people who work at the government agencies. Do you know for a fact (absolute) that this guys comments are NOT the first step in doing something really bad?

    Sometimes your first amendment rights are meaningless in the bigger picture.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 6:50pm

      Re:

      but that would then be forgetting to protect the people who work at the government agencies

      You make it sound as if said group of people don't already get more protection than the average person.

      A policeman could gun down a street full of orphanages and you'd still be scrambling to your feet, foaming at your mouth and flailing your arms to call reasonable doubt. Hey, maybe the orphanages were being staffed by a suspected murderer, or there's a cache of marijuana buried under the foundations that turns out to be sausage and cheese. You don't know for a fact (absolute), after all!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 6:52pm

      Re:

      To my eyes, his comments are certainly hyperbolic -- but nothing in them implies the he is personally thinking about going out to shoot up any cops. My read of it is that he's saying that the behavior of the cops will encourage someone, sooner or later, to engage in an act of vigilante "justice".

      However, I do completely understand why the cops would be concerned and want to take a closer look. And I don't have a problem with that, so long as they behave well while they're doing it.

      But I do wonder how many resources they are burning doing this kind of thing. I see comments of a similar sort all the time across the internet -- they can't possibly spend time and money investigating them all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 7 May 2016 @ 10:26am

        Re: Re:

        "However, I do completely understand why the cops would be concerned and want to take a closer look. And I don't have a problem with that, so long as they behave well while they're doing it."

        The problem they face is that Techdirt will very likely stand on 230 rules and say that they will absolutely not help in any manner to identify the guy or otherwise provide any information regarding the user, IP, or any other information that might help to identify him.

        While I can understand that Mike is probably foaming at the mouth for the chance to push said rights, it points out the complexity of the legal process for law enforcement. They can see something that probably should be at least lightly investigated, but they will run into a Masnick brick wall when it comes to helpful information.

        Its a case like this that makes it clear that 230 protections and protections for anonymous posters may be every so slightly too great.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 10:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Do you really wish the US to go down the same road as ISIS is trying to take the middle east, as that is what happens when those in authority have too much power, and the citizens have all protections removed.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          you can happily give up your rights but don't expect other people to be just as willing to put their own slave collars around their necks.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 10:34pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The problem they face is that Techdirt will very likely stand on 230 rules and say that they will absolutely not help in any manner to identify the guy or otherwise provide any information regarding the user, IP, or any other information that might help to identify him.

          You really are clueless. Section 230 has nothing to do with any of this. It only applies to questions of liability and no one is arguing that Techdirt is liable. Just whether or not they should reveal the info.

          While I can understand that Mike is probably foaming at the mouth for the chance to push said rights, it points out the complexity of the legal process for law enforcement. They can see something that probably should be at least lightly investigated, but they will run into a Masnick brick wall when it comes to helpful information.

          "Helpful information" that may be illegally sought. That's the issue.

          Its a case like this that makes it clear that 230 protections and protections for anonymous posters may be every so slightly too great.

          Again, this has nothing to do with Section 230 and Section 230 is completely irrelevant to anything discussed here. Nice to see that you're so confused and obsessed with it though that you'd insert it here.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 7:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The problem they face is that Techdirt will very likely stand on 230 rules"

          As well it should.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2016 @ 8:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, damn those pesky rules that you have to follow and challenge through legal channels instead of breaking them when you feel like it. Just like you always say. Oh, wait...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Whatever (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 11:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Snide comments don't mean much.

            My point isn't that they should or should not stand on them (it's the law, they should) rather that it's cases like this that show how the law ends up creating a legal blockage that should not be acceptable. The guy can spout off with impunity, threaten anyone, and suddenly it's up to Techdirt if he should or should not be investigated?

            It's not right.

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            • icon
              Coyne Tibbets (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 5:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I get the impression you think that that Digger should simply be found--over Techdirt's unconscious body if needed--and then murdered summarily in a hail of DHS gunfire. With DHS making up the answers to any silly questions afterward.

              Because, "It's not right," that DHS be impeded from dealing with Digger straightly: not by lawyers, trial, due process or any of that other law BS; and certainly not by that aggravating First Amendment.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2016 @ 6:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You mean just like when your side threatens people just because they disagree with how copyright law handles things? I can still find comments where your side demands that other people get shoved into wood chippers or get brutalized by a mob. Would you like them to be investigated?

              Thought so.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 8:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "my side"

                Damn, you are a bad troll. "Your side" drove drunk last week, so you should go to jail for them.

                Idiot.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 1:39am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Way to not answer the question as usual. Where it troubles somebody else you'll go to the end of the earth to demand that the law throw the book at them to the fullest possible degree (and if they can't, you start screaming about how the law is outdated and shouldn't be followed). But the moment that copyright or authority might be mildly inconvenienced you backpedal like a drowning man.

                  I don't need to "troll", unlike you. Anyone who does a cursory search of this website's comments can see for themselves.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 6:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "it's cases like this that show how the law ends up creating a legal blockage that should not be acceptable."

              And here's where we disagree. I'm not seeing a legal blockage that should not be acceptable.

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              • icon
                Whatever (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 8:55pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                So John, if (and only if) I said "everyone should put a bullet in the head of John" you would not only find that acceptable, but support me doing it?

                Would you find it acceptable that the information that may lead to my arrest be withheld by Techdirt because, well, they feel like it?

                We aren't talking about some civil "he said bad things about how I smell" lawsuits, we are talking about a direct and fairly well articulated threat to human life.

                Would you have a different opinion if someone was to act?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 6:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "I said "everyone should put a bullet in the head of John" you would not only find that acceptable, but support me doing it?"

                  Yes, depending on context.

                  "Would you find it acceptable that the information that may lead to my arrest be withheld by Techdirt because, well, they feel like it?"

                  Arrest for what? In the case being discussed here, nobody is talking about arresting anybody. Also, Techdirt isn't withholding information just because they feel like it.

                  "we are talking about a direct and fairly well articulated threat to human life."

                  We are? Where? Neither your hypothetical comment or the comment under discussion are a well-articulated threat (although yours comes closer than the original).

                  "Would you have a different opinion if someone was to act?"

                  No.

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                  • icon
                    Ninja (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 10:44am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    That. I've made comments as aggressive as this one, mostly offline. I mean "That dude deserves a bullet in his head." is fairly common when applied to obnoxious people. I actually would say that about Whatever on a few occasions. But it doesn't mean I would actually do it or like if somebody did it. Deserving is quite different from actually getting it.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Whatever (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 10:56am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Alas, in the online world, the tone and attitude generally are not transmitted, so it's up to the individual reader to take it as they want. Perhaps for some, it's an off the cuff remarket, but to me it seems like a much more bitter and much more dark set of comments. Any one of them taken alone might not add up, but when you group his thoughts together, well, it appears that he might just have the intention.

                      Put another way, he sounds like he would blend nicely with the idiots that took over the national park building a couple of months ago.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Ninja (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:15pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        Alas, in the online world, the tone and attitude generally are not transmitted

                        But where there are real threats there are 'offline world' evidence that such 'threats' will come true. Nobody doubts that a threat from ISIS or whatever u call it may be carried out. But a random dude on a tech blog foaming in rage over politicians being assholes or something? Hardly. That's the issue here.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Whatever (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 11:02am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "Arrest for what? In the case being discussed here, nobody is talking about arresting anybody. Also, Techdirt isn't withholding information just because they feel like it."

                    Please learn to read. I said " information that may lead to my arrest". I didn't say it as an absolute, rather as a step in the process. Clearly, if Techdirt doesn't provide certain information, it's unlikely they would ever have a hope of tracking the guy down otherwise. Thus, Techdirt gets to decide who gets a free pass. Seems like "due process" got all blown out.

                    "We are? Where? Neither your hypothetical comment or the comment under discussion are a well-articulated threat (although yours comes closer than the original).
                    "

                    The original is a clear enough threat to me. It reads like the words of someone who is comtemplating something more than just being a keyboard warrior. I could be wrong (and I hope I am) but honestly, would it hurt for the police to door knock him and see if he's living with an arsenal of weapons?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Ninja (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:22pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Thus, Techdirt gets to decide who gets a free pass.

                      Where is that written? There's no such thing. The concerns expressed are pretty clear. One: the comment is clearly hyperbolic and fits the subject of the article. Second: they are worried that such thing comes with needless gag orders that currently plague the justice system and against which many companies are pushing back. What seems somewhat clear to me is that TD will not comply blindly and will stand up to the user (appeal any decision to get the data about him to law enforcement) because they believe the comments are clearly not threats thus invalidating any order but that's how due process work.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Ninja (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 12:27pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      The original is a clear enough threat to me.

                      And clearly not for a whole lot of other people. But it's Techdirt that owns the platform and if they think an eventual subpoena is wrong then they should challenge it yes. And they should be able to do without excessive gag orders.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 6:06pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        What Whatever is saying is that if someone reads his comments and considers it a clear enough threat, it doesn't matter what he or anyone else feels - it's something that merits police intervention and investigation. Hm.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      John Fenderson (profile), 11 May 2016 @ 9:26am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "but honestly, would it hurt for the police to door knock him and see if he's living with an arsenal of weapons?"

                      As I've already said, assuming that the police behave in a reasonable and professional manner, no, it wouldn't hurt. But that's not what we're talking about here.

                      What we're talking about here is due process. You seem to be taking issue with Techdirt for not only requiring a subpoena in order to disclose information but also for publicly discussing the issue.

                      I simply don't see the problem with that stance -- even if the comment at issue was actually a clearly articulated threat.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2016 @ 5:51pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        As I've already said, assuming that the police behave in a reasonable and professional manner, no, it wouldn't hurt. But that's not what we're talking about here.

                        Looking at Whatever's behavioral history, if the above hypothetical scenario does actually happen, you can bet that not only will the police storm the fuck out of the location and shoot everyone in sight, but Whatever will be right there screaming his head off and flailing his dick in support, even if it turns out the police gunned down the wrong house.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      That one other guy, 6 May 2016 @ 8:44pm

      Re:

      I'm not sure you stitched things together there correctly.

      I went back and looked at the comments myself, and found this interesting.

      Quoting "That one guy"
      I imagine after a stunt like this they'll be looking not at demotion but promotion or a bonus.

      Quoting "Digger"
      The only "bonus" these criminals are likely to see ....

      I could be wrong, but it sure looks like the bonus was directed at that one guy's sarcasm.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ryuugami, 7 May 2016 @ 3:15am

        Re: Re:

        I could be wrong, but it sure looks like the bonus was directed at that one guy's sarcasm.

        I think you are wrong. That be no sarcasm... that be cynicism.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 9:00pm

      Re:

      Honestly so you ever get tired of tap dancing around the actual issues, or are you the Fred Astaire of bullshit artists?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Whatever (profile), 7 May 2016 @ 10:30am

        Re: Re:

        What issue do you think I am tap dancing around? The actions of the cops in the other story, perhaps? I am not going there because it is absolute, totally, and completely irrelevant to the discussion here. It doesn't matter if the cops are more crooked than a mountain road, threatening to put a bullet in their heads, even somewhat in jest, is truly not a good place to go.

        So rather than tapdancing around the issue, perhaps you would want to add something to the discussion rather than just more ad hom attacks?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 12:14am

      Re:

      Personally I think anyone that defends cops and government agents committing crimes and being allowed to get away with it as someone that should be sent to gitmo to experience what that sort of thinking leads to.

      Or we could hang every dirty and corrupt state official along with their sympathizers by the lampposts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl (profile), 7 May 2016 @ 5:40pm

      Re:

      He calls everyone on the government side criminals, and then says that criminals should get a bullet to their apparently empty skulls.

      When you put the two together, there is a clear threat, and one that suggests action against government agents.

      This is simply not true. The first quote said that people on the government side "should have grand theft and / or larceny charges filed against them," which is not a threat of violence.

      The second quote said that "a bullet to their apparently empty skulls" could be the consequence of their actions - by someone who is not the poster.

      This is clearly hyperbole (and pretty ridiculous IMHO), and is clearly not a direct threat to the agents involved by the commenter.

      No reasonable person would conclude that this poster was about to go out and shoot any of the agents involved.

      Even if it could be interpreted as such, it does not rise to the level of a "true threat." For example, here's a quote that is much more of a "clear threat," this one against the President:
      They always holler at us to get an education. And now I have already received my draft classification as 1-A and I have got to report for my physical this Monday morning. I am not going. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L.B.J.

      Yet this statement is not a "true threat," it is protected speech. The Supreme Court reached that decision in Watts v. United States.

      Here's another example:
      If we catch any of you going in any of them racist stores, we’re gonna break your damn neck.

      This, again, is protected speech. See NAACP. v. Claiborne Hardware.

      Do you know for a fact (absolute) that this guys comments are NOT the first step in doing something really bad?

      Luckily for every single human in the U.S., this is not even close to the standard for investigating anyone. There is no way for anyone to know if any speech is "NOT the first step in doing something really bad."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re:

        Reminds me when we were discussing about who we would bite if we ever got rabies or got bitten by a zombie. I'd bite a lot of politicians for sure nowadays not my teachers. Fun times.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gumnos (profile), 9 May 2016 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re: speech as the first step to doing something really bad

        There is no way for anyone to know if any speech is "NOT the first step in doing something really bad."
        Oh, I know of at least one phrase that nigh guarantees subsequent malfeasance. “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DHS Watcher, 6 May 2016 @ 6:27pm

    CBP Agents are Criminals

    Why is it that CBP Agents of the DHS violate the very laws they enforce on the rest of us? Do they believe that they are above the law? And now The DHS is threatening to issue a subpoena to Techdirt for a ridiculous comment just because they don't like Techdirt reporting on their abuse of asset forfeiture procedures?

    Instead of attempting to silence commenters and perhaps Techdirt itself, I suggest the DHS seriously needs to clean up their act and stop stealing American's hard earned cash from them at traffic stops. In short, the CBP Agents need to obey the same laws against theft that they enforce on everyone else.

    I especially suggest that the DHS immediately cease and desist from issuing bogus subpoenas in order to silence commenters they don't like. First of all, it will never ever work and second it will always result in the streisand effect with many many more comments the DHS doesn't like.

    You yellow bellies at the DHS/CBP Agents need to man up so you can take an insult or two and most of all, stop stealing American's money at traffic stops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 6:32pm

    Robery Charges

    AFAIK, Armed robbery (the agents were armed, weren't they?) and grand theft are both state-level crimes. I don't believe there are Federal statutes, except robbing a Federally insured institution. The state agencies know where their Federal funding comes from, and how quickly that will disappear if the Feds are charged. So, it ain't likely to happen any time soon. I believe this is called blackmail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 6:39pm

    Why DHS?

    What has the DHS got to do with this anyway. If a robbery is suspected them State Police or the FBI should be involved. If drugs are suspected, then DEA gets a shot at it. In no way does CBP even have jurisdiction, especially 250 miles from a border. What's going on??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 7:08pm

    God Complex

    Back in the day ('20s thru the '40s when J. Edgar was in charge, he instilled in his clean cut, college educated troops the idea that they were a cut above the average citizen, and taught them to act accordingly, but within the law.

    Apparently the DOJ as a whole has adopted this philosophy - without the prerequisites - and expanded it to "We're better than everyone else, can do NO wrong, and, even if we do, we're above the law and untouchable." Where they got this concept, I have no idea, but it needs to change - fast. They're just asking for trouble when the general citizenry gets totally fed up with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 12:19am

      Re: God Complex

      the stazi, gestapo. Take your pick of any heavy handed authoritarian regime that has it's own secret police.

      They murder, harass and intimidate anyone that tries to stand up to them. All while being protected by the state.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Beau Phillips, 6 May 2016 @ 7:22pm

    Homeland Security

    Don't feel bad. Homeland Security could have sent THIS to your neighborhood like it did to mine: http://gawker.com/federal-security-officer-arrested-in-connection-with-fa-1775177301

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 6 May 2016 @ 9:52pm

    the organization formerly known as ICE for Immigration and Customs Enforcemen

    You should have taken the opportunity to bug those assclowns about their illegal domain seizures.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2016 @ 9:52pm

    I feel so much better knowing that DHS is monitoring Techdirt to keep us all safe .
    Before they launch an attack they should check down the barrel of their guns , give it a good eyeball look and then pull the trigger ,you know to be sure it was loaded ....
    if it was... Problem solved and oh job well done DHS

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  • identicon
    come n get me, 6 May 2016 @ 10:12pm

    or how bout

    Putting a bullet in every DHS management skull? fTFY

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zero Nullset, 7 May 2016 @ 12:07am

    I try not to cheer on the idea of senseless violence that doesn't produce results, and killing a fed or killing 10 feds won't change anything.

    Still part of my wanted to cheer on the original comment, on some gut level it struck me as karmically just for that to happen.

    And I then the thought flashed in my brain: "I better not write that comment, because I don't want to risk being investigated by federal law enforcement. It would be a huge ordeal that could easily cause massive problems, even ruin my life, and there's an outside chance they could actually get an indictment or even a conviction! I shouldn't leave that comment."

    That's a horrible thought. I was actually afraid to speak out about an important issue of public policy because of the threat of being targeted by law enforcement. That's evil. This is how democracies die.

    So, as a gesture of faith in what is great about the American experiment: I also think it would be great if someone shot that scumbag cop in the head. It would be a blow for the both the fourth and first amendment.

    How dare you make me have to think about that, DHS. How dare you turn simply expressing a political opinion into an act of courage. How dare you profane the most fundamental values of the very nation you swore to serve and protect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 12:20am

      Re:

      better to die on your feet than live on your knees eh.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 9:32am

      Re:

      how about we just blame them for the problems.

      It was "ALREADY" illegal for the government to remove 1st and 4th amendment rights.

      Why in the fuck should we consider it a bad thing when someone says we need to violently fight back?

      Everything, and I mean everything the Government does is a threat of violence itself. If you do not do what a cop says... you are threatened, if you do not follow the law, there is a threat of violence, if you do not pay your taxes there is a threat of violence.

      So as citizens, there must also be a threat of violence when the Government breaks the laws as well.

      So we really need to stop calling the people that retaliate against InJustice as the wrong doers here, those that breach "The People's" rights are the actual wrong doers!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 9:18am

    See Something, Say Something

    "Something!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    foonami, 7 May 2016 @ 12:10pm

    HackerNews brought me here

    But why am I here?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justme, 7 May 2016 @ 2:43pm

    Well . . .

    Clearly the DHS is overfunded!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 4:46pm

    The proper response.

    "Aw, c'mon, guys! You don't need a subpoena! It's us! We're buds, right? Okay, got a pen? Here it is: 192.168.SUCK.IT."

    But seriously, if a subpoena is served (and I'm skeptical that one will be), it's a slam-dunk case of abuse of process for the reasons stated in the article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 5:07pm

    This is the same crew that helped to make patriot and freedom dirty words. We are willing to fight to protect our property. The next victim might not lay down and take it, get used to it. Thou shalt not steal. G.D. hypocrites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 May 2016 @ 5:32pm

    Inevitable Result

    This whole mess can only go one of two ways. After The Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Germany was a wartorn disaster. How they went from that to the Third Reich and ultimately to WWII is an interesting study in Human psychology.

    At the rate the U.S. Government is going, we will either end up like Germany in the 30's or we will be in the middle of the equivalent of the "French Revolution". Considering what I see in Idaho and Montana, the latter is far more likely. DC needs to wake up. Besides, I look terrible in brown.

    We, as a nation, have survived based on a 240 year old document that has remained intact since the beginning. Somehow, WE THE PEOPLE have allowed that document to become distorted and insignificant. Yes, WE THE PEOPLE have ALLOWED this to happen. WHY?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2016 @ 12:22am

      Re: Inevitable Result

      Yes, WE THE PEOPLE have ALLOWED this to happen. WHY?
      Because WE THE PEOPLE are real Americans, but THEY THE OTHER SO CALLED PEOPLE don't understand how things should work. They have the same rights as the rest of us, but some of their rights must be denied if they might be misused to deny the rights of others. And don't even get me started on THOSE OTHER GUYS WHO THINK THEY'RE PEOPLE, because they're the worst: while we have chosen to grant them freedom as their birthright, they haven't yet done enough to earn it (let alone exercise it).

      Damn it, we've all got to get past our differences and unite under a common banner. To this end, I declare that we shall be known as the United People's Front of American States.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bubba, 8 May 2016 @ 8:09am

    Could it be that someone at DHS is suffering from small pénis anxiety and a concomitant need to prove he's a "real man" by going after Internet commenters? Has Kimjong-il secretly taken over DHS?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2016 @ 9:24am

    At what point does a comment become "less like a threat?"

    For example:

    The only "bonus" these criminals are likely to see could be a an AIDS ridden dick jammed down their throat.

    Or is that too outlandish to actually happen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 6:19pm

    Could I also suggest...

    That TD ask some other like-minded sites, EmptyWheel, Popehat, etc, to COPY this story to their sites so that if a supoena with a gag order and a requirement to remove this story arrives...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    M. Alan Thomas II (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 10:16pm

    In the short run, if we don't see another story about this within a reasonable amount of time (even just to say that no subpoena has been received), we will have to assume that future reporting has been gagged.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 8 May 2016 @ 11:20pm

      Re:

      In the short run, if we don't see another story about this within a reasonable amount of time (even just to say that no subpoena has been received), we will have to assume that future reporting has been gagged.

      That would perhaps be a reasonable assumption. I intend to post an update by the end of *next* week at the latest (would be this week, but it's a really busy week...). If there is nothing in the next two weeks... start asking. :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2016 @ 6:36am

    I just had a terrible thought.

    Perhaps this whole thing was just bait.

    What if they decided to get aggressive with a predetermined list of moderntarian forums to create a Strizand effect intentionally. Perhaps as a means of inciting a response that they could later use to paint everyone supporting alternative candidates as fruit loops?

    It would be consistent with some of the counter punch political strategy we've seen lately. Maybe DHS cut a deal with Hillary Antionette? I wonder what she promised them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ken White, 9 May 2016 @ 10:26am

    mmmmmmm

    I . . . hunger.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 May 2016 @ 7:55am

    Anybody else experiencing a downgraded HTTPS cert for techdirt today?

    Just wondering if it the whole board or just me. Thanks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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