Tag Archives: CFAA

Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy Hammond Issues Statement Explaining Why He is Resisting the Grand Jury

Alexandria, VA — Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond was found in contempt yesterday for refusing to cooperate with a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Chelsea Manning was similarly remanded into custody for failure to provide testimony before the same Grand Jury. Hammond, who was already serving his 7th year of a 10 year Federal Prison sentence after pleading guilty for releasing information about the Private Intelligence Firm Strategic Forcasting (Stratfor), has issued the following statement detailing his reasons for resisting the EDVA’s grand jury:

“As many of you know, I was just a few months from my scheduled release from federal prison when I was unexpectedly dragged in chains and planes to this raggedy detention center in Alexandria, Virginia. I am outraged that the government is threatening additional jail time if I do not cooperate with their grand jury investigation. Their draconian intimidation tactics could never coerce me into betraying my comrades or my principles. In the spirit of resistance and with great contempt for their system, I am choosing silence over freedom.

“I am fully prepared for the consequences of my decision just as I had been each and every time I was faced with similar choices before. Long ago when I realized that government and capitalism were too hopelessly corrupt and unjust to be reformed through legal or electoral means, I chose to engage in civil disobedience and direct action. I knew then that my actions could land me behind bars, yet I fought on anyway; after a dozen arrests and even a prior federal prison sentence for hacking, I chose once again to use my computer skills to attack the systems of the rich and powerful as part of the Anonymous federal case I am doing time for today.

“When I pled guilty, I took responsibility for my actions and my actions alone. I never agreed to be debriefed or testify in any way, unlike the government’s informant Hector Monsegur, aka Sabu, whose reward was one year of probation while I received the maximum sentence allowable by law. It was a painful choice, but ten years in their dungeons was the price I was willing to pay so I could maintain my integrity. I have never regretted my choices the entire time I have been incarcerated, and having seen and experienced first-hand the abuses and inherent injustice of the prison industrial complex, my commitment to revolution and abolition has only become more deeply entrenched.

“Now, after seven and a half years of ‘paying my debt to society,’ the government seeks to punish me further with this vindictive, politically-motivated legal maneuver to delay my release, knowing full well that I would never cooperate with their witch hunt. I am opposed to all grand juries, but I am opposed to this one in particular because it is part of the government’s ongoing war on free speech, journalists, and whistleblowers. I am insulted that those in power claim that I have an ‘obligation that every citizen owes his government’ to testify. As an anarchist, I am not part of their social contract, and do not recognize the legitimacy of their laws and courts. Instead, I believe in a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quote I had taped to the wall of my prison cell for years: ‘One has an obligation to disobey unjust laws.’

“It is difficult to view any of this government’s laws as just when they are so selectively enforced, and when the government turns a blind eye to its own misconduct, misconduct that is on display every day that Trump is in the White House. In my case, the government, through its informant, Sabu, instigated numerous hacks, asking me to break into governments and companies all over the world. Nearly a decade later, this misconduct remains ignored. The NSA continues to surveil everyone and launch cyber attacks. Trump and his corrupt cronies continue to hold the world hostage to their megalomaniacal imperialist pig whims while simultaneously refusing to comply with subpoenas and inquiries into their vicious abuses of power. Meanwhile, Chelsea Manning and I are doing hard time in this dump for the ‘crime’ of refusing to allow our spirits to break, after ‘serving’ our sentences for exposing government and corporate corruption.

“This absurd hypocrisy and desperate ruthlessness reveals a crumbling legal system, a system that has robbed me of the majority of my adult life but could never take my humanity. I will continue to do the right thing, no matter how long it takes. I know how to do time, and I will never be intimidated by their threats. Ever!! I refuse!!”

“Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free.”  — Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

Additional Information

Jeremy is being represented by attorneys Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, and local counsel Jeffrey D. Zimmerman.  His legal team also includes Elisa Y. Lee and Beena Ahmad. For information on how you can support Jeremy, and for updates on his case please visit freejeremy.net or follow the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee on twitter @freejeremynet

Jeremy Hammond

Imprisoned Activist Jeremy Hammond Found in Contempt for Failure to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury in the EDVA

Same Virginia Grand Jury Probe Holding Chelsea Manning on Contempt also finds Hammond in Contempt

Alexandria, VA — Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond has been found in contempt today for refusing to answer 7 questions in front of a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Earlier this year Chelsea Manning was remanded into custody for failure to provide testimony before the same Grand Jury.

The following is a statement from the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee regarding these developments:

“Today, in Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, Jeremy Hammond was found in contempt for refusing to answer questions posed to him by a grand jury. This grand jury is  the same grand jury currently holding Chelsea Manning in contempt for bravely refusing to answer their questions.

“We do not know what questions the grand jury is investigating. Moreover, it is unclear whether or not the federal prison sentence he was serving for which he was due to be released from just two short months from now, will be suspended as the result of being found in civil contempt. 

“By removing him from FCI Memphis before his time in RDAP was completed, the government has added a minimum of six months onto Jeremy’s sentence. Judge Trenga has the option of jailing him indefinitely for contempt. The decision to compel Jeremy to testify despite his outspoken, long-standing anarchist beliefs and support for myriad brave grand jury resistors, only to place him under contempt when he adheres to those same core beliefs should be seen as little more than cruel and punitive.

“Jeremy has held strong to his beliefs over the past seven years. In fact, being subjected to the horrors of the legal system over and over again has been one of the defining factors that has strengthened Jeremy’s beliefs. There is nothing a grand jury could do or say that could compel Jeremy to testify. Jeremy made it clear from the beginning of his case that he had no  intention of cooperating with the government, and that hasn’t, and will never change. Any attempts to try to force him to testify through prolonged incarceration serves to do nothing but further punish Jeremy for his political beliefs. This highlights one of the many problems with grand juries, and one of the many reasons why they should not exist, and why it is the correct and moral stance to resist them.”

Recent Events
In late August Jeremy Hammond was removed from the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis, Tennessee where he was serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges he hacked the private intelligence contractor Stratfor Global Intelligence. At the time of his transfer Hammond was enrolled in the Federal Bureau of Prison’s intensive Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) which upon completion qualifies participating inmates for early release. Hammond’s prison release date was projected to come around mid December of 2019 but because of his removal from the RDAP program and the summons to this grand jury his time incarcerated could be extended by over two years.  Hammond is currently confined at William G. Truesdale Correctional Center in Alexandria, VA and will likely remain there for the duration of these proceedings.

Additional Information
Jeremy is being represented by attorneys Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, and local counsel Jeffrey D. Zimmerman.  His legal team also includes Elisa Y. Lee and Beena Ahmad. For information on how you can support Jeremy, and for updates on his case please visit freejeremy.net or follow the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee on twitter @freejeremynet

Jeremy Hammond

Imprisoned Activist Jeremy Hammond Called Against His Will to Testify Before Federal Grand Jury in the EDVA

Virginia Grand Jury Believed to be the Same Probe that Previously Called on Chelsea Manning, David House

Alexandria, VA — Imprisoned information activist Jeremy Hammond has been called against his will to testify before a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Last week Hammond was removed from the Federal Correctional Institution in Memphis, Tennessee where he was serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges he hacked the private intelligence contractor Stratfor Global Intelligence. At the time of his transfer Hammond was enrolled in the Federal Bureau of Prison’s intensive Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) which upon completion qualifies participating inmates for early release. Hammond’s prison release date was projected to come around mid December of 2019 but because of his removal from the RDAP program and the summons to this grand jury his time incarcerated could be extended by over two years.  Although Hammond is still in transit it is believed he will be detained in or near Alexandria, VA for the duration of his proceedings.

The following is a statement from the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee regarding these developments:

“It’s with great sadness and anger we announce that Jeremy Hammond is being brought to the Eastern District of Virginia in an effort to compel him to testify before a grand jury. Given the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the nature or scope of the grand jury’s investigation. However, our assumption is that this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning is currently being incarcerated for refusing to testify before.

“Jeremy pled guilty in 2013 in the Southern District of New York to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He agreed to plead guilty pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement that granted him immunity from further prosecution in all 94 federal judicial districts. At the time of his guilty plea, Jeremy made a statement that made it clear that he was pleading guilty so that he could speak freely about his actions and move on with his life without putting anyone else in jeopardy:

‘Today I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.

The full statement is available here

“Jeremy pled guilty to put an end to the case against him. He pled guilty because he had no interest in cooperating with the government. He was sentenced to 10 years —the maximum allowed under his plea agreement— and has been serving his time, counting down to the day that he will finally be free. That day was supposed to come in mid-December of 2019.

“The government’s effort to try to compel Jeremy to testify is punitive and mean-spirited. Jeremy has spent nearly 10 years in prison because of his commitment to his firmly held beliefs. There is no way that he would ever testify before a grand jury. The government knew this when they gave him immunity in every federal jurisdiction in exchange for his guilty plea. In bringing him against his will to the Eastern District of Virginia, the government has put an end to his participation in the RDAP drug program, effectively adding a year to his sentence. (If Jeremy had been permitted to complete the 9-month program, he would have earned a 12-month sentence reduction.) When he refuses to testify, his sentence will be prolonged indefinitely when he is punished with further incarceration for contempt of a court order to testify.

“Like brave grand jury resisters before him, including Chelsea Manning, Jeremy firmly believes that grand juries are repressive tools of the government, used to investigate and intimidate activist communities and are abused by prosecutors to gain access to intelligence to which they are not entitled.

“The U.S. government’s blatant abuse of the grand jury process in this case continues a clear pattern of targeting, isolating, and punishing outspoken truth-tellers and activists. We must stand up and say that enough is enough. We cannot allow the government to use fascist intimidation tactics to target, imprison, silence, and torture, those who threaten their power. We must not let the government fracture us or our support for those who need us most, no matter how they may try to pit us against one another, and we must not allow them to sow fear and distrust in our communities. We must come together as one, united in our support for truth and transparency, and for those who have paid the ultimate price to bring it to us.”

Note to Editors


Jeremy Hammond is being represented by attorneys Sarah Kunstler and Susan Kellman. You can learn more about the Jeremy Hammond Support Committee by visiting freejeremy.net or following them on Twitter at twitter.com/freejeremynet

Jeremy Hammond on Aaron Swartz & the Criminalization of Digital Dissent

Jeremy Hammond on Aaron Swartz & the Criminalization of Digital Dissent

[New York, NY] The following is a statement released today, February 20th, 2013, by Jeremy Hammond’s lawyers. Supporters and lawyers have announced that they will be holding a press conference and rally at the Federal Courthouse at 9:30am February 21st, 2013 details are available HERE.

The following is Jeremy Hammond in his own words, written from solitary confinement at The Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York City:

The tragic death of internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz reveals the government’s flawed “cyber security strategy” as well as its systematic corruption involving computer crime investigations, intellectual property law, and government/corporate transparency.

In a society supposedly based on principles of democracy and due process, Aaron’s efforts to liberate the internet, including free distribution of JSTOR academic essays, access to public court records on PACER, stopping the passage of SOPA/PIPA, and developing the Creative Commons, make him a hero, not a criminal. It is not the “crimes” Aaron may have committed that made him a target of federal prosecution, but his ideas – elaborated in his “Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto” – that the government has found so dangerous. The United States Attorney’s aggressive prosecution, riddled with abuse and misconduct, is what led to the death of this hero. This sad and angering chapter should serve as a wake up call for all of us to acknowledge the danger inherent in our criminal justice system.

Aaron’s case is part of the recent aggressive, politically-motivated expansion of computer crime law where hackers and activists are increasingly criminalized because of alleged “cyber-terrorist” threats. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, whose office is prosecuting me and my co-defendants in the Lulzsec indictment, has used alarmist rhetoric such as the threat of an imminent “Pearl Harbor like cyber attack” to justify these prosecutions. At the same time the government routinely trains and deploys their own hackers to launch sophisticated cyber attacks against the infrastructure of foreign countries, such as the Stuxnet and Flame viruses, without public knowledge, oversight, declarations of war, or consent from international authorities. DARPA, US Cyber Command, the NSA, and numerous federally-contracted private corporations openly recruit hackers to develop defensive and offensive capabilities and build Orwellian digital surveillance networks, designed not to enhance national security but to advance U.S. imperialism. They even attend and speak at hacker conferences, such as DEFCON, offer to bribe hackerspaces for their research, and created the insulting “National Civic Hacker Day” – efforts which should be boycotted or confronted every step of the way.

Aaron is a hero because he refused to play along with the government’s agenda, instead he used his brilliance and passion to create a more transparent society. Through the free software movement, open publishing and file sharing, and development of cryptography and anonymity technology, digital activists have revealed the poverty of neo-liberalism and intellectual property. Aaron opposed reducing everything to a commodity to be bought or sold for a profit.

The rise in effectiveness of, and public support for, movements like Anonymous and Wikileaks has led to an expansion of computer crime investigations – most importantly enhancements to 18 U.S.C § 1030, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Over the years the CFAA has been amended five times and has gone through a number of important court rulings that have greatly expanded what the act covers concerning “accessing a protected computer without authorization.” It is now difficult to determine exactly what conduct would be considered legal. The definition of a “protected computer” has been incrementally expanded to include any government or corporate computer in or outside the U.S. “Authorization,” not explicitly defined by the CFAA, has also been expanded to be so ambiguous that any use of a website, network, or PC that is outside of the interest, agenda, or contractual obligations of a private or government entity could be criminalized. In Aaron’s case and others the government has defined violating a service’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), Terms of Service (TOS), or End-User License Agreement (EULA) as illegal. Every time you sign up for a service like Gmail, Hotmail, or Facebook and click the “I agree” button that follows a long contract that no one ever reads, you could be prosecuted under the CFAA if you violate any of the terms.

The sheer number of everyday computer users who could be considered criminals under these broad and ambiguous definitions enables the politically motivated prosecution of anyone who voices dissent. The CFAA should be found unconstitutional under the void-for-vagueness doctrine of the due process clause. Instead, Congress proposed bills last year which would double the statutory maximum sentences and introduce mandatory minimum sentences, similar to the excessive sentences imposed in drug cases which have been widely opposed by many federal and state judges.

The “Operation Payback” case in San Jose, California is another miscarriage of justice where 16 suspected Anonymous members (including a 16 year old boy) allegedly participated in a denial-of-service action against PayPal in protest of it’s financial blockade of Wikileaks. Denial-of-service does not “exceed authorized access,” as it is virtually indistinguishable from standard web requests. It is more akin to an electronic sit-in protest, overloading the website’s servers making it incapable of serving legitimate traffic, than a criminal act involving stolen private information or destruction of servers. PayPal’s website was only slow or unavailable for a matter of hours, yet these digital activists face prison time of more that 10 years, $250,000 in fines, and felony convictions because the government wants to criminalize this form of internet protest and send a warning to would be Wikileaks supporters.

Another recent case is that of Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer, who last November was convicted under the CFAA. Andrew discovered that AT&T was publishing customer names and email addresses on it’s public-facing website, without password protection, encryption, or firewalls. Instead of acknowledging their own mistake in violating customer privacy, AT&T sought prison time for Andrew. Andrew has defended his actions saying, “We have not only a right as Americans to analyze things that corporations publish and make publicly accessible but perhaps a moral obligation to tell people about it.”

I am currently facing multiple computer hacking conspiracy charges due to my alleged involvement with Anonymous, LulzSec, and AntiSec, groups which have targeted and exposed corruption in government institutions and corporations such as Stratfor, The Arizona Department of Public Safety, and HB Gary Federal. My potential sentence is dramatically increased because the Patriot Act expanded the CFAA’s definition of “loss.” This allowed Stratfor to claim over 5 million dollars in damages, including the exorbitant cost of hiring outside credit protection agencies and “infosec” corporations, purchasing new servers, 1.6 million dollars in “lost potential revenue” for the time their website was down, and even the cost of a 1.3 million dollar settlement for a class action lawsuit filed against them. Coupled with use of “sophisticated means” and “affecting critical infrastructure” sentence enhancements, if convicted at trial I am facing a sentence of 30-years-to-life.

Dirty trial tactics and lengthy sentences are not anomalies but are part of a fundamentally flawed and corrupt two-tiered system of “justice” which seeks to reap profits from the mass incarceration of millions, especially people of color and the impoverished. The use of informants who cooperate in exchange for lighter sentences is not just utilized in the repressive prosecutions of protest movements and manufactured “terrorist” Islamophobic witch-hunts, but also in most drug cases, where defendants face some of the harshest sentences in the world.

For Aaron Swartz, himself facing 13 felony CFAA charges, it is likely that it was this intense pressure from relentless and uncompromising prosecutors, who, while being aware of Aaron’s psychological fragility, continued to demand prison time, that led to his untimely death.

Due to widespread public outrage, there is talk of congressional investigations into the CFAA. But since the same Congress had proposed increased penalties not even one year ago, any efforts at reform are unlikely to be more than symbolic. What is needed is not reform but total transformation; not amendments but abolition. Aaron is a hero to me because he did not wait for those in power to realize his vision and change their game, he sought to change the game himself, and he did so without fear of being labeled a criminal and imprisoned by a backwards system of justice.

We the people demand free and equal access to information and technology. We demand transparency and accountability from governments and big corporations, and privacy for the masses from invasive surveillance networks.

The government will never be forgiven. Aaron Swartz will never be forgotten.

Get involved with the Jeremy’s Support Network at http://FreeHammond.org
On Facebook at facebook.com/supporthammond
On Twitter @Free_Hammond

Please consider mailing a letter, book, or postcard of support to Jeremy while in prison:

Jeremy Hammond – #18729-424
Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row,
New York, NY 10007