The Justice Department has subpoenaed indymedia.us for its visitor logs for a certain date. While this raises big flags regarding online privacy, something else happened with this action that is very odd. The recipient of the subpoena was told she could not talk about it unless authorized by the Justice Department – an essential gag order.
Of course news like this would send the right into a full frenzy that Obama is trying to silence the media, even a left-leaning site like indymedia. Here’s Hot Air’s take on it:
Did the White House try to open up a two-front war on the media? Before the Obama administration launched an all-out battle with conservative-leaning Fox News Channel, the Department of Justice demanded the records of all visitor information of left-leaning Indymedia.us in an remarkable subpoena of a media outlet, for one specific day. No one can recall any precedent for such a wide-ranging probe into the records of a media website, but it may provide a challenge to a national-security law if the DoJ presses hard enough:
But there’s a problem with this “blame Obama” mentality. The original source of the article is the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and this is what they say about the subpoena:
On January 30th, 2009, Kristina Clair of Philadelphia, PA — one of the system administrators of the server that hosts the indymedia.us site — received in the mail a grand jury subpoena from the Southern District of Indiana federal court. The FBI had sent an email to Ms. Clair a couple of weeks earlier asking where a subpoena directed at the indymedia.us site should be sent. So, we at EFF were ready and waiting to evaluate the subpoena as soon as it arrived. Yet even we were surprised at what we saw. A PDF of the entire subpoena is available here.
And let’s look at when the actual subpoena was signed: