The Secret Service is VERY touchy these days about things like political protests, potentially possibly implied threats, and the like. Have you seen this flapdoodle about Indymedia publishing the "Phone numbers, addresses, and e-mails of over 1600 RNC delegates"?
Apparently the Secret Service perceives some kind of threat in this publication and has issued a grand jury subpoena against the site and the site hosting company. The ACLU objects:
- In a letter sent today in response to a grand jury subpoena issued by the Secret Service, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union said they are representing a web hosting service and administrators of an independent media website regarding the anonymous posting of publicly available information about delegates to the Republican National Convention.
The groups said the investigation is but the latest example of government agencies using law enforcement powers to chill free speech and intimidate protesters.
"This type of investigation is really a form of intimidation and a message to activists that they will pay a price for speaking out," said ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson. "The posting of publicly available information about people who are in the news should not trigger an investigation. Indeed, if the mere posting of the delegates' name is cause for alarm, then the Secret Service should be investigating the many Republican websites where the same kind of information is available."
Beeson added that the posting did not include anything remotely threatening, but involved political speech fully protected by the First Amendment. Indymedia.org is the website of the Independent Media Center, a collective of independent media organizations and journalists.
....In its letter to the Secret Service today, the ACLU provided the e-mail addresses of the four Indymedia administrators --- Matt Toups, Brian Szymanski, Micah Anderson and one man who prefers not to be named publicly — and advised the agency that they are representing them in any formal or informal questioning of them or Merrill.
In a statement issued today, Toups, a 22-year-old undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University, said: “The right of an author to choose anonymity is an important part of what Indymedia stands for because we work to create a safe space for dissenting views. Unfortunately, the United States is becoming an increasingly repressive and chilling environment for free speech, thanks to government harassment like the recent attempts to question Indymedia and other activist groups in New York for the Republican National Convention.”