Perhaps there's reason for MIT to fear disclosures because they may reveal embarrassing policies or events that were routinely applied far more broadly than just the persecution of Aaron Swartz.
Since when is the right to not be embarrassed by the revelation of your own actions part of the US Constitution?
that would be the 28th amendment section b:
"whosoever contributes substantially, or pledges to contribute substantially, to the reelection or one(1) or more congressmen shall have veto power over articles released under the Freedom of Information Act(FOIA)"
it's right below the section preventing major corporations with strong lobbies from being prosecuted under any law.
It's difficult to imagine the pyroclastic shit-storm the administration thinks they are avoiding by pursuing this course of action.
The worst thing that I can think of is that they were going to say "nevermind", but let the prosecutor pressure them into proceeding so the prosecutors could make an example of Aaron. Maybe some big benefactor leaned on them on behalf of the prosecutors. A quid pro quo with a dollar sign in front of it would be worth hiding.
They're trying to prevent loss of funding from a major player in the MIT monetization scheme they keep their campus afloat with... said major player is entirely culpable in hounding a young genius to his death and they don't want hoi polloi to know who said shitbird is.
Maybe the pressure came from the Three-Letter Agencies, which are major research funders. "Nice Lincoln Labs you have there. Shame if anything happened to them." Just maybe.
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