Journalist Barrett Brown was arrested Thursday for “failing to abide by BOP restrictions on interviews” during a regular “check-in”
Brown was arrested in 2012 for reporting on hacked emails showing security firms spying on activists on behalf of corporations
The emails also showed HBGary Federal’s plans to collect information on political opponents of the US Chamber of Commerce and a smear campaign against WikiLeaks and their supporters
Brown was facing 100 years in prison when he plead guilty in 2014 and sentenced to five years and three months
Journalist Barrett Brown has not even been out of prisons for six months, and he is already back behind bars for “failing to abide by BOP restrictions on interviews.”
You read that correct. Brown, who was initially imprisoned for reporting plans for security firms to target activists, is back behind bars for once again using his voice.
Brown is a perfect example of a system that at times fails to protect press and instead chooses to persecute journalists at the government’s discretion.
In 2012, Brown was arrested for his reporting on hacked emails belonging to intelligence contracting firms. In the emails, it was discovered that the firm Stratfor was spying on activists on behalf of corporations.
Brown also helped to reveal documents from HBGary Federal and its parent company HBGary. Those documents included plans to collect information on the family members of political opponents of the US Chamber of Commerce, as well as a proposal to attack WikiLeaks and key supporter Glenn Greenwald utilizing a range of unethical and possibly illegal tactics.
Brown was facing the possibility of 100 years in prison when he decided to plead guilty in 2014. He was sentenced to five years and three months with time served. Brown was released from prison in November of 2016.
The Latest Arrest
On Thursday, Brown went to a routine check-in where he was arrested. In a note to D Magazine from Brown’s mother she explains that Brown has not missed a single routine check-in, or failed a random drug test since his release.
Brown was also placed on home confinement. His mother says that he has not missed one “bed check,” which is where a phone call is made between 1:00 am and 2:00 am to ensure Brown is at his residence.
Brown’s mother spoke with him via a phone call after the arrest. Brown believes the reason for his arrest is not obtaining the proper “permission” to give interviews to media outlets. According to The Intercept, Brown was told by his check-in officer several weeks ago that he needed to fill out permission forms before giving interviews.
Impromptu Media Restrictions
According to Brown’s mother, the Bureau of Prisons never informed Brown about a specific paperwork requirement. Last week Brown was interviewed by VICE for two days, and on Friday, the day after his arrest, he was scheduled to do an interview with PBS. Brown has done a number of other interviews since his release and for the past four months has held a federally approved job at D Magazine where he was “working with media and involved with a range of interviews.”
Jay Leiderman, Brown’s lawyer, told The Intercept that he believed the impromptu media restrictions were “disgusting,” and that the arrest was most likely a reprisal for criticizing the government. Leiderman went on to say that he “would call the people who did this a bunch of chicken-shit assholes that are brutalizing the Constitution.”
Brown’s mother does not know where her son is being held. She believes that they will most likely keep him in prison until May 25, 2017, which is when his original sentence was scheduled to end.