Journalist Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months in prison


This falls in line with some of the things I’ve heard from DoD infosec types, that they were warned that talking about the various leaks could land them in serious trouble for transmitting classified information.

Our national security apparatus is becoming so big, bloated, and stupid that reform may very well be impossible. The fact is, though, that if we didn’t have a threat, it would collapse in on itself.

Small wonder, then, that we’re bombing countries with brown people - gotta inspire more terrorists to replace the ones we just blew up in order to keep the threat valid. We can’t de-escalate. Or leave people alone. We have to be faster, more intrusive, and crueler, until we find even the terrorist living within each person. After all, being against this hunt for terrorists means you are providing support to terrorists! Any interference with destroying the terrorists means the people responsible for that interference are terrorists too!

And this is how you get a fundamentally decent people to support progroms, purges, and disapperings.


Barrett was not a Journalist. He was involved in anonymous, he threatened a federal agent and is a recovering addict. At his worst he allegedly beat his girlfriend , he killed his mom’s cat and stuffed it. This is not a case of journalist freedom. Barrett is not a journalist, he is a published writer that had a very unhealthy obsession with Hunter Thompson. He is a disturbed man. I spent hours of my life in his Tiny Chat as he ranted, raved, and shot up.


Nice Ad Hominem that you have there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it…


“Barrett was not a Journalist. He was involved in anonymous, he threatened a federal agent and is a recovering addict.”

Oh! Look! You are a first-time, single-post troll, with no history on the BBS forum and bring only an Ad Hominem attack without citation, against someone who’s prosecution represents an abuse of state power and the suppression of First Amendment speech rights.

Well done!


Anyone attempting to show that the Emperor is in fact naked will be summarily arrested, tried, and convicted of whatever charges we want to persecute you with. That is all. Please enjoy the Emperor’s procession.


And his cool swagger.

I heard he also assassinated Kennedy, caused global warming, and is an agent of the lizardmen who are trying to take over the world. Citations? Nah, you should just trust me!


Aaron Swartz decided this sick planet with its government power hungry overlords wasn’t worth his time any more. I don’t know if Barrett Brown shares his attitude or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.

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The U.S. government every so often sends a clear message to the populace at large:

If you are effective in threatening our power in anyway we’ll react to your threat in a decisive and forceful manner where which it will be potently evident we will not tolerate any scrutiny of our actions.


Unfortunately, Brown did threaten a Fed, and Feds really don’t like that.

The Fed’s investigation’s legal theory was ridiculous and wrong, and the $890K “restitution” in the sentence also seems wrong, but if you threaten a Fed you’re going to get the book thrown at you (even if it’s just some spare book that was lying around, because they couldn’t use the book they wanted to.) They’re unhappy enough when you use the official do-nothing channels to file complaints against them.


I’d be disturbed by anyone who didn’t have an obsession with Hunter S. Thompson.


Jeremiah, did it not occur to you that your criticism of Tawnie’s post is itself pretty much entirely ad hominem? “You are a first-time, single-post troll…”

Man breaks law; willingly obstructs lawful investigation; threatens violence against innocent civilians; goes to jail for a long time. My surprised face --> :expressionless:

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Citing the lack of a citation for Tawnie’s claims rules out the “entirely” part.

“Ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, for example, when it relates to the credibility of statements of fact…” -

If Tawnie would like to cite her sources for the claims she made and Jeremiah continues his ad hominem with more personal attacks in response, then you might have a point.


Well while I don’t like the sentence, I am not surprised that he pled.

He wasn’t just reporting on the HBGary hack. He was emailing the CEO acting as a go-between for Anonymous which made him an accessory, and he worked to obstruct the investigation. That was what he was nailed for, not the reporting.

His threats on YouTube were seriously deranged. He tried to justify this by explaining that he was coming down from his drug addiction, and the meds he was on messed with his judgment, but he still did direct threats at a specific FBI agent and her kids, and claimed to be armed and willing to respond with violence.

He worked with his mom to conceal two computers from the FBI during a search pursuant to a valid warrant.

It’s a hideous story, and I certainly have no sympathy for HBGary, but the guy wasn’t merely a journalist. He wasn’t tried for his journalism, but for his engagement in criminal activities.


Jeez Tawnie, you look a little tweaked. Try and get some rest.

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May you both become faster, lighter reads we’d more like to keep up with. He, scarcely able to believe the resounding depth of both journalism and data science, or that animatronic stuffed cats are keeping things amicably on the level without much jurisprudence meted through; you, cheered and vetted by your concern passim.

Let me get this straight…
Some one did or did not do something bad. No one was hurt.

So he gets charged and threatened with a century in prison. That is five times the maximum penalty for treason in Austria.

And then he is allowed to “admit” that he did a few small things wrong.

After being blackmailed into admitting that, the court no longer has to verify the facts?

Anyway, so he is sentenced to a little over five years in prison.

That’s not too bad. It’s not even twice what he’d have gotten in Austria if he had “transmitted a threat” to kill, maim or completely destroy the existence of somebody else, and had committed “unauthorized access to a protected computer” as part of an organized crime syndicate. Assuming there were no mitigating circumstances at all. And assuming he wasn’t a first-time offender.

So, my proposal for reforming the American justice system:

  1. Ban plea bargaining
  2. Have all sentences served concurrently
  3. Divide by ten.

There’s just one problem with your suggestions. Convicted murderers are often sentenced to less time than Barrett Brown was just handed. 2 years is not uncommon. Maybe we could take those suggestions under consideration for cases where the government’s precious feelings have been hurt.

I pretty much agree with banning plea bargaining. It’s a practice that subverts and perverts justice, usually at the expense of our more vulnerable citizens (poor, visible minority, etc.).