What is so disturbing about this aspect of the Aaron Swartz tragedy is the fact that the Secret Service had thousands of pages on Aaron Swartz to begin with. Considering he was known to all as a kind and gentle soul, what was the Secret Service so worried about?
Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is now inescapably clear. When the U.S. government refers to “national security,” what it actually means is the wealth and power of the status quo, the 0.01%. That is why a genius such as Aaron Swartz was considered an enemy of the state, and why the government amassed thousands of pages on him and drove him to his death. His genius and kindness was a threat to the corrupt establishment. As I’ve noted before: All My Heroes Have FBI Files. From Wired:
A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Friday ordered the government to promptly start releasing thousands of pages of Secret Service documents about the late activist and coder Aaron Swartz, following months of roadblocks and delays.
The order was issued in my ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security – the Secret Service’s parent agency.
It was Secret Service agents who, in 2011, investigated Swartz’ bulk downloads from the JSTOR academic database, leading to the computer hacking and wire fraud case that loomed over Swartz at the time he committed suicide in January.
That criminal case was formally dismissed after Swartz’s death. Yet in February, the Secret Service denied in full my request for any files it held on Swartz, citing a FOIA exemption that covers sensitive law enforcement records that are part of an ongoing proceeding.
Judge Kollar-Kotelly is giving the government until August 5 to answer the lawsuit and produce a timetable for releasing all the responsive documents. In the meantime, the government has to start releasing the files it’s already processed. You’ll see them here when I get them.
Full article here.
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