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Comments by YACCS
Monday, August 30, 2004

No names, it's against the law

Go home, hick

Subpoena Seeks Records About Delegate Lists on Web

Published: August 30, 2004

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 - The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation and is demanding records regarding Internet postings by critics of the Bush administration that list the names of Republican delegates and urge protesters to give them an unwelcome reception in New York City.

Federal prosecutors said in a grand jury subpoena that the information was needed as part of an investigation into possible voter intimidation. Protesters and civil rights advocates argued that the Web postings were legitimate political dissent, not threats or intimidation.

The investigation, conducted by the Secret Service, comes at a time when federal officials have begun an aggressive effort to prevent what they say could be violence by demonstrators at the convention this week and at other major political events. Large-scale demonstrations in New York began over the weekend.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has questioned at least several dozen would-be protesters about whether they knew of any plans for violent demonstrations, and it has directed agents nationwide to identify possible criminal plots. Some Democrats in Congress and civil rights advocates have criticized the efforts, saying the inquiries have had a chilling effect on free speech.The accusations are likely to intensify with the disclosure of the subpoena regarding the Republican delegates.

"People have a right to be heard politically, and the names of a lot of these delegates are already public anyway," said Matt Toups, 22, a system administrator for the Web site under federal investigation. "This is just part of the government's campaign to intimidate people into not saying things."

A senior Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the department was sensitive to First Amendment concerns. But when officials were alerted to the posting of the names and identifying information for delegates, they were concerned about the prospect that delegates could be harassed or become victims of identity theft, and they wanted to know why the information was posted, the official said.

"When you're confronted with something like this, you can't just ignore it," the official said. "I think people would expect us to look into it and find out whether there is anything going on here that goes beyond the bounds of free speech."

The Justice Department issued the subpoena on Aug. 19 to Calyx Internet Access, an Internet service provider in New York City, after a Secret Service agent asked the company to turn over information about postings on a client's site, Calyx refused to turn over the information, citing privacy concerns, and a subpoena was issued.

The subpoena seeks subscriber information, and contacts and billing records for the Indy Media site. It says the information is needed to investigate possible violations of the federal criminal code barring efforts to intimidate, threaten or coerce voters.

So if voter intimidation is the issue, when is Jeb Bush going before a grand jury?

Isn't this public information anyway?

So why the scare tactics? Doing Bush's dirty work?

posted by Steve @ 1:58:00 AM

1:58:00 AM

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