Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oh, Really?


Justice Dept. Asked For News Site's Visitor Lists

..."the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day..."

Here are some of the headlines for that day, just to refresh the memory: Link1 Link2 Link3

This administration's Justice Department issued a grand jury subpoena to Indymedia.us. The DOJ also said not to tell anyone about the subpoena without their permission. Not how it works. The DOJ can't subpoena a journalist without express permission of the Attorney General. At the time the subpoena was issued -- 1/23/09 -- there wasn't any Attorney General. They asked for every piece if information Indymedia had about every computer user who logged on to the site on 6/25/2008, from ISP number to SSN to shoe size. The DOJ is only allowed to ask for information that directly pertains to an investigation. The person who had the records was informed of the subpoena by Indymedia. She should have gotten served personally. That means a knock on her door like in the movies (or maybe your personal life, sorry) and a guy leaving a copy of the papers with her. This is something you learn the first minute of the first day of law school, and when Indymedia promptly squawked, the subpoena was withdrawn.

This isn't a case of bad lawyering. This isn't amateur transition-team behavior. This is how an oppressive government operates. We're going to stomp all over your civil rights and don't you tell anybody about it unless you want something worse to happen to you. We won't tell you what that is, but trust us, it will be worse.

Impotent bullies.