What can investigating leaked documents get you? If you’re Barrett Brown, it might land you 105 years in prison.
This is Barrett Brown’s reporting for The Guardian, where he used information obtained by the now-notorious hacker group Anonymous to report on private intelligence companies collaborating to go after perceived enemies, which included Wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald, now well-known for his own reporting on NSA surveillance using leaked documents.
After using leaked information and the Stratfor files in his work, Brown now faces 17 different charges. Peter Ludlow’s narrative of Brown’s career, reporting on hackers, and sparring with the government at The Nation is an excellent read on this.
Reporters Without Borders is condemning his prosecution and potential jail time. RWB General Secretary Christopher Deloire stated:
Barrett Brown is not a hacker, he is not a criminal. He did not infiltrate any systems, nor did he appear to have the technical expertise to do so. Above all, Barrett was an investigative journalist who was merely doing his professional duty by looking into the Stratfor emails, an affair of public interest. The sentence of 105 years in prison that he is facing is absurd and dangerous, given that Jeremy Hammond who pleaded guilty for the actual hack on Stratfor is only facing a maximum of 10 years in prison. Threatening a journalist with a possible century-long jail sentence is a scary prospect for journalists investigating the intelligence government contractor industry.
Some reading on Barrett Brown’s work from The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and Democracy Now!