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Why You Should Care About Barrett Brown’s Prison Sentence

Thursday, January 22, 2015 17:35
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▶ Why You Should Care About Barrett Brown’s Prison Sentence – YouTube


Barrett Brown, the independent journalist who covered the 2011 Stratfor hack by Anonymous, was sentenced to 63 months in prison Thursday.

The journalist was sentenced after pleading guilty to charges of
“accessory to hacking,” “transmitting threats,” and “interfering with
the execution of a search warrant” as part of a plea deal he made with
prosecutors in April.

“This breaks down to uploading YouTube videos that contained
unfortunate statements, efforts to redact sensitive e-mails that had
been procured by hackers, and hiding laptops in a kitchen cabinet,”
Brown’s legal team said about the charges prior to sentencing.

Brown closely followed Anonymous as it leaked internal e-mails from
the global intelligence firm Stratfor, which has close ties to the CIA.

He drew the attention of law enforcement after he revealed an
Internet Relay Chat channel where members of Anonymous were distributing
e-mails and other documents from the hack.

The Department of Justice claimed that by sharing a hyperlink to
the IRC channel, “Brown caused the data to be made available to other
persons online, without the knowledge and authorization of Stratfor and
the card holders.”

Critics, however, argued that sharing a link to an IRC channel was not identity theft and called the case “prosecutorial overreach.”

“Brown’s prosecution is yet another transgression against media
freedom in the land of the First Amendment,” WikiLeaks said in a
statement. “It chills investigative reporting of national security
issues and provides cover for the unholy alliance between government
agencies and the security industry.”

Brown said the “novel, and sometimes even radical” claims the
government made during his sentencing threatens “every journalist in the
United States.”

“The government asserts that I am not a journalist and thus
unable to claim the First Amendment protections guaranteed to those
engaged in information-gathering activities,” he said in a statement to the court.
“Your Honor, I’ve been employed as a journalist for much of my adult
life, I’ve written for dozens of magazines and newspapers, and I’m the
author of two published and critically-acclaimed books of expository

“If I am not a journalist, then there are many, many people out
there who are also not journalists, without being aware of it, and who
are thus as much at risk as I am.”


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