James Comey: Retweets Equal Material Support For Terrorism, But Don't Worry, We'll Only Prosecute Real Terrorists
from the our-track-record-on-terrorism-prosecutions-is-immaculate! dept
Better add that "RTs ≠ endorsements" line to your Twitter profile. Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly's coverage of the FBI's efforts against ISIS notes that FBI head James Comey considers retweeting to be material support of terrorism. But that's OK, because the FBI's crew of mind-readers will make sure that anyone who didn't "mean it" avoids prosecution.
"Knowing it was wrong, you provided material support for a terrorist organization or some other offense," Comey said, explaining how the FBI sees these suspects in response to Huffington Post questions during a meeting with reporters last month. "That is the bulwark against prosecuting someone for having an idea or having an interest. You have to manifest a criminal intent to further the aims prohibited by the statute."Yay. "Mental state" and "intent." That shouldn't be any problem to disprove in court. Comey says the burden of proof rests on the prosecution -- which it does -- but this "burden" becomes significantly lighter when "national security" is invoked and the onus suddenly shifts to the defendants, who are put in the position of proving a negative.
Asked if reposting materials alone would cross the line, Comey said the answer would be different based on the individual circumstances.
"It would depend upon what your mental state is in doing it," the FBI director said. "I can imagine an academic sharing something with someone as part of research would have a very different mental intent than someone who is sharing that in order to try and get others to join an organization or engage in an act of violence. So it's hard to answer in the abstract like that."
Much like Comey's certainty that secure encryption backdoors exist, the FBI head is also a firm believer that he and his agency will know materially-supportive retweets when they see them.
Comey said it was "pretty darn clear" where the line was.Eye of the beholder and all that. Not exactly reassuring when the "pretty darn clear" line is being determined by an agency that appears to have created more terrorists in the US than any terrorist organization. Comey talks a lot in Reilly's article about "intent" and "mental state" -- two aspects that have been largely ignored in its counter-terrorist sting operations, which have resulted in the arrest of mentally-incompetent dreamers, senior citizens and a handful of easily-flattered bedroom revolutionaries. When the agency has to do everything but perform the terrorist attack itself, it would appear its definition of "intent" is very fluid... and any considerations about "mental states" completely subservient to its War on Terror desires.