Our coverage of Barrett Brown

Government Drops Charges Related to Link-Sharing Against Barrett Brown

On March 5, federal prosecutors filed a motion to drop 11 of the 17 counts against ‘hacktivist’ journalist Barrett Brown, who has spent the last year-and-a-half in pre-trial detention waiting for his case to be heard later this spring.

United States Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas asked the judge overseeing the case to throw out count one and counts three through twelve from two of the three criminal indictments unsealed against Brown in 2012.


UPDATE: In Case You Missed It: Barrett Brown Strikes Plea Deal with the Feds

“Hacktivist” journalist Barrett Brown pled guilty to three charges on April 29, after striking an agreement with federal prosecutors that cut the possible prison time he faced from 105 years to eight-and-a-half years. His sentencing is set for Aug. 18. Take a look here for more details on the case, which had been under a gag order.

Take a look here and here and here for WhoWhatWhy’s earlier in-depth coverage of this case.

WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind View article …

What Was Hastings Working On?


At the time of his death in a mysterious one-car crash and explosion, journalist Michael Hastings was researching a story that threatened to expose powerful entities and government-connected figures. That story intersected with the work of two controversial government critics—the hacktivist Barrett Brown and the on-the-run surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Any probe into Hastings’s untimely death needs to take into account this complex but essential background.

But First, the Raw Facts

A little over 12 hours before his car was incinerated on an LA straightaway on June 18, 2013, Hastings sent out a short email View article …

Barrett Brown, Barry Eisler

Is Anybody Running the Deep State?

Barry Eisler has had many jobs. He was a covert operative for the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, an attorney in an international law firm, in-house counsel at the Osaka headquarters of Panasonic, an executive in a Silicon Valley technology startup, and a best-selling author.


This week Barrett Brown talks to Eisler about the future of the United States, whether the CIA is relevant anymore, and whether the US even has a future as a representative democracy, given the way politics, especially participation in local government, has changed.


In Brown’s commentary, he looks back at an old Tom Friedman column and its View article …

Godzilla, US Capitol

How Trump’s Controversies Distract from America’s Real Problems

In this wide-ranging podcast, Barrett Brown and actor and documentary filmmaker Alex Winter talk about the complacency that ails so much of American society.


They also discuss how, instead of fixing the systemic problems that plague the US, people across the political spectrum are focusing on the sideshow that President Donald Trump provides. In the meantime, however, all the institutions that are in dire need of reform are neglected — making the job of fixing them in the future even more difficult.


Yet because we are now relying on some of those same institutions — like the FBI and the national View article …

Hurricane Katrina, Astrodome

Corruption and Contempt: The Hidden Story of Hurricane Katrina

This article was originally assigned, accepted, and paid for in full by Vanity Fair — which never got around to publishing it, and graciously released it to the author. It tells the story of the cronyism, corruption, ineptness, contempt for the public and utter shamelessness of the Bush family apparatus and its extensive network. With yet another Bush now contesting the White House, and with the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina upon us, we would do well to study this closely. It documents unequivocally how greed and self-interest in high places can tear apart the very fabric of American View article …

Confederacy of Scoundrels: Katrina Exposed, Part 2 of 5


In the first part of this series, which you can read here, we learned about Michael Brown’s incompetence and how it manifested itself in the days after Katrina. But Brown’s incompetence, it turns out, was not something that bothered the Bush Administration. By all appearances, it was in fact Brown’s stunning lack of qualifications that made him the perfect person to help “downsize” government and outsource. The consequences of this ideological play would be catastrophic.  




Why exactly would Michael Brown, an apparent incompetent, be tapped for a particularly sensitive, critical, top-level emergency services position in View article …

More “Not in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum”: The Cronyism

bushFive U.S. presidents gathered this week at Southern Methodist University in Dallas for the dedication of George W. Bush’s presidential library. Events like this always come with a media flash. After all, it’s the first time the five living presidents have been in one place together since 2009, and the 43rd president himself has largely kept out of the public eye since Barack Obama moved into the Oval Office.

Beyond the initial public spectacle and carefully stage-managed press statements, presidential library openings have a deeper significance for the American people. They View article …

cyber investigators

FBI Sat Back While Snitch Directed Cyber-Attacks and Potentially Entrapped Others

The FBI sat back and watched a hacker they’d compromised instigate and commit a host of cyber-crimes in an operation that netted eight more arrests, according to newly leaked documents. But the revelations raise questions about where law enforcement ends and law-breaking inducement begins.

Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online as Sabu, facilitated some of the biggest hacking exploits of recent years. And his FBI handlers were watching over his virtual and physical shoulders the whole time. In the process, View article …

Sherrod Brown, NDAA

Up Close and Personal with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown

Sherrod Brown still dreams of the time when America’s great debates were actually aired on the floor of the United States Senate. Because senators only had to face voters every six years, the founders viewed it as a vessel to cool passions, to try out ideas, and to accomplish big things.


Today’s reality is, as we see every day, entirely different. Still, there are those like Brown, Ohio’s senior senator (D) — and our guest on this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast — who rely on history as a springboard for what they hope View article …