The plea deal, filed earlier this month, chopped Brown’s charges down to just three counts: transmitting a threat in interstate commerce (the rants against agent Smith), obstructing the execution of a search warrant (allegedly hiding the laptops), and being an accessory after the fact to an unauthorized access to a protected computer. That last count refers to Brown’s efforts to keep Jeremy Hammond, now in prison for hacking Stratfor, from getting caught.
While a plea deal does not set a legal precedent, it raises the chilling question of what the Department of Justice may do to other “hacktivist journos” who report on leaked documents or protect their hacker sources. The files Hammond obtained were ultimately published by WikiLeaks.
“The implications of that count are worrisome in the extreme,” Kevin Gallagher, director of Free Barrett Brown Ltd., told the Daily Dot. “It must be noted that Brown’s lawyers worked painstakingly to avoid setting an undesirable precedent—one that would place other journalists at risk for dealing with hackers as sources. Yet the dangers of this novel legal construction are clear: journalists may be prosecuted for merely speaking to hackers and having knowledge of their breaches.
Gallagher adds that Brown “offered to redact” sensitive documents prior to their publication. “He was very critical of careless releases of data by hackers, but he made efforts to protect his sources; and that’s what he’s being charged for,” said Gallagher.
Now that Brown has pled guilty to the three counts, the final scene of the saga will be his sentencing hearing, scheduled for August 18.
“The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: Enter the Kissinger!
Whether you consider him a war criminal or you’re a war criminal yourself, there are any number of reasons to read White House Years. Regardless of whatever else he may be, Kissinger is certainly a sure hand at characterization:
Nixon’s fear of rebuffs caused him to make proposals in such elliptical ways that it was often difficult to tell what he was driving at, whether in fact he was suggesting anything all. After frequent contact I came to understand his subtle circumlocutions better; I learned that to Nixon words were like billiard balls; what mattered was not the initial impact but the carom.
This is rather poetic for a German. And one has little choice but to respect someone so thoroughly ruthless that he will deploy two semicolons within a single sentence. Quibble with his methods, but here is a man that gets results.
Not all of the book’s gems are provided by Kissinger himself. Here’s a bit of folksy wisdom from Lyndon Johnson:
“Read the columnists,” he said, “and if they call a member of your staff thoughtful, dedicated, or any other friendly adjective, fire him immediately. He is your leaker.”
As much as I enjoyed this magisterial treatise on U.S. foreign policy in the Age of Spiro Agnew, it was nonetheless disturbing to read under my particular, limited circumstances. Not having access to the internet by which I might readily check Kissinger’s claims against the historical record, and my own knowledge of the era being limited largely to the fact that Jefferson Airplane had not yet evolved (suddenly and Pokemon-like) into Jefferson Starship,
I felt myself at the mercy of Kissinger, whose famous advocacy of realpolitik and secret bombings and such things would presumably also entail a not-entirely-thorough commitment to the truth on such occasions as when U.S. national security might be better served by lies, which I gather is often the case…"
Enter the Kissinger! The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail, Front/Burner… “Making Dallas Even Better”
Also see the CIA’s latest media asset’s (the Washington Post) blog, The Switch” (As in “Flip the switch and it’s ‘Turnkey Tyranny’ “, that Ed Snowden spoke of) for “The government is dropping the hyperlink charges against Barrett Brown”