The Strange Case of Barrett Brown

Friday, September 13, 2013

Transcript

Barrett Brown is a journalist and activist who has been in jail for a year awaiting trial on a number of charges - chief among them copying and pasting a link to leaked documents into an IRC chat room. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian talks to Bob about Brown's case, and the implications it has for other journalists.

Guests:

Ed Pilkington

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [13]

ashad hossain from USA

chief among them copying and pasting a link to leaked documents into an IRC chat room. Ed Pilkington of

Jan. 23 2014 10:46 PM
ashad hossain from USA

Brown is a journalist and activist who has been in jail for a year awaiting trial on a number of charges - chief among them copying and pasting a link to leaked

Jan. 22 2014 10:38 PM
ashad hossain from USA

IRC chat room. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian talks to Bob about Brown's case, and the implications it has for other journalists.

Dec. 12 2013 08:34 AM
ashad hosain from USA

chief among them copying and pasting a link to leaked documents into an IRC chat room. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian talks to Bob about Brown's case, and the

Nov. 23 2013 10:16 PM
Orlando Bodyguard from USA

We can all understand your anger that this crime affected the two of you and hundreds of others, however, that anger may be somewhat misdirected since Barrett Brown was

Nov. 14 2013 09:13 AM
Orlando security guards from USA

chief among them copying and pasting a link to leaked documents into an IRC chat room. Ed Pilkington of The

Oct. 30 2013 10:43 AM
'Bodyguard|bodyguards' from USA

The gag order on the defendants where the main information in the public sphere is from the government promoting his guilt. Finally, the incredibly long

Oct. 27 2013 12:06 AM
Dennis Fischman from Somerville, MA

I have to agree with Michael Hastings of The Nation: "Considering that the person who carried out the actual Stratfor hack had several priors and is facing a maximum of ten years, the inescapable conclusion is that the problem is not with the hack itself but with Brown’s journalism." http://www.thenation.com/article/174851/strange-case-barrett-brown#axzz2fkIMfagY

I feel bad for anyone whose credit card information was exposed, but the Boston Globe did that to people where I live, and they are not facing time in prison. Brown's "crime" was exposing the crimes of our government.

Sep. 23 2013 04:00 PM
derek from round lake, il

Well, nothing is new under the sun. It is to send a message a lais Wikileaks, Manning, Greenwald etc. Even the CCCP, Soviet Union had a constitution.
USSA?

Sep. 15 2013 05:57 PM
Joe from CA

Anthony and Anne are completely wrong. The information linked was not just credit card numbers alone. It was Stratfor's client and subscriber list. Names and e-mail addresses of people paying to receive Stratfor's intelligence and doing business with them. In the sector that Brown was researching, that has definite journalistic import. It shows who they are connected to.

Sep. 15 2013 11:22 AM
John Rothgeb from The Net

Anne and Anthony, you seem to presume guilt before a trial and before all the facts are out in the court transscript or before a jury. Guilt also requires intent and even if he actually did all the things alleged by the government, you and they do not know what was in his mind do you? I abhore incarcerating someone before they are convicted especially when they don't appear to pose a physical threat to people or society. He isn't/wasn't a hacker and posting (he is alleged to have linked to info not posted it himself) people's personal information doesn't seem to be his profession so how does he pose an ongoing threat to society to warrant punishment before the trial?

The four things that Bob and Ed are completely correct about are that this is definitely a strange case, the aggressive way that this is prosecuted, a very complex non-violent crime (and with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty) where the defendant is incarcerated without bail (punished basically) for a year now is disturbing. He may be incarcerated without bail for potentially several years seemingly to punish for association or before conviction or possibly to put a chill on all activist journalism. The gag order on the defendants where the main information in the public sphere is from the government promoting his guilt. Finally, the incredibly long potential penalty, over 100 years, for the charges against someone who is at most an accessory after the fact, possibly unwitting (and innocent until proven guilty of course). As Ed and Bob correctly noted, this person is not a perfect person, in fact far from it, but he has done some important journalism as well so what is the government's real motive here and is this aggressive prosecution gone wild? I might equate the way this is being prosecuted with charging a fence with a crime for a crime for every item that he took from a jewelry store heist (when the theif hasn't been caught). Yes, technically it might be proper, but does it serve the interests of justice and society?

There are many grey areas here Anne and Anthony. We can all understand your anger that this crime affected the two of you and hundreds of others, however, that anger may be somewhat misdirected since Barrett Brown was not the actual perpetrator of the crime that affected you. It is not evident that what he did actually affected you directly at all.

Sep. 15 2013 11:11 AM
Anne Alexander from Laramie, WY

No, Bob - you and your guest are absolutely, completely wrong on this. Barrett Brown posted a link to information that did not belong to him - it belongs to *me*. Not government secrets, not sources and methods - my personal credit card information. I'm not a bigwig security executive - I'm a working stiff who needs to keep track of security conditions for my students studying abroad. There is not a gray line being crossed by a journalist in this case - this man linked to my credit card info, stolen from me and hundreds of other private citizens by hacktivists whose agenda has *nothing at all* to do with me. Journalists do not post stolen information. Journalists do not ruin people's credit ratings. Thieves do. Please do not treat this case as some sort of journalistic First Amendment fight. It's a case of a person who distributed stolen information, pure and simple.

Sep. 14 2013 08:57 PM
Anthony Pirtle from Washington, DC

When Mister Brown posted a link to stolen information including security codes and thousands of credit card numbers and authentication data, he committed a serious crime. Whether or not Brown wants to call that journalism is irrelevant. It's possible that he wasn't aware of what he was linking to, but I don't see how that helps his argument. If anything it makes his actions seem less journalistic.

If you are worried about the line this draws, whether for actual journalists, self-proclaimed journalists, or anyone else for that matter, I can clear it up for you. Don't distribute stolen personal security and financial information, or you will be participating in identity theft. That doesn't seem hard to understand, nor does it sound like a terribly Orwellian standard.

Sep. 14 2013 02:09 PM

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