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Witness In Secret WikiLeaks Grand Jury Hearing Posts Transcript of Questioning

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the questions-and-answers dept.

Privacy 184

Sparrowvsrevolution writes "A year ago, free information advocate and Bradley Manning supporter David House was subpoenaed to testify in the grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks that's taking place in Alexandria, Virginia. Now he's released a transcript of his interrogation that he produced by taking handwritten notes on a legal pad and handing pages to his lawyer during their consultations. Though House pled the fifth and didn't tell the prosecutors much, the notes show the prosecution attorneys focusing their questions on Boston-area hackers as well as Tor developer and WikiLeaks supporter Jacob Appelbaum."

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Oh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40661907)

oh.

Re:Oh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40661921)

snap!

Re:Oh (0)

Soilworker (795251) | about 2 years ago | (#40661971)

I INVOKE!

Contempt of Court? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40661909)

I'm not a lawyer but from this part of the transcript on pastebin:

Bob Wiechering: Mr. House, I notice you are taking notes. Attempting to create your own transcript is a violation of rule 6(e) of this grand jury. We have brought this to the attention of your counsel, and although he feels differently on the matter, we assert that you must stop taking notes at this time.
David House: Let me consult with my attorney.
[House leaves the grand jury room and returns one minute later]
David House: My lawyer asks that you refer all questions about notes to him.

It would seem that the rule in question [cornell.edu] now puts him in contempt of court? It appears to explicitly mention what is happening here. I wonder what his lawyer told him about taking these notes and then releasing them.

Re:Contempt of Court? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40661965)

My reading of that doesn't seem to include the person actually being questioned.

Re:Contempt of Court? (4, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40662987)

>>>Attempting to create your own transcript is a violation of rule 6(e) of this grand jury

They also claim we're not allowed to camera-record, audio-record, or pen-and-paper record our conversations with police/government officials. (And have arrested people for doing it and/or taking their property and erased them.) But the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August 2011 that the Constitution is a higher law, and it clearly states the People have the inalienable right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press to record/discuss what the cops & government officials are doing to them.

Re:Contempt of Court? (5, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | about 2 years ago | (#40662005)

I wonder what his lawyer told him about taking these notes and then releasing them.

I'm sure the lawyer told him what the law is.. So that he can then make his own decision as to whether to comply with a restriction on his freedom.

I, for one, am glad that he followed what the constitution, and the basic principles of any truly free society, tells him instead.

Re:Contempt of Court? (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#40662007)

I'm sure his lawyer told him not to.

Now as to if he'll get in trouble, well I don't know. Witnesses aren't part of the grand jury secrecy rule. The jurors themselves, the court recorder, the prosecution, they all have to keep their mouths shut (until after it is all done). However the witnesses, not so much.

However, he created a transcript, which may well put hi in violation. Though he wasn't the official recorder/transcriber, he was recording the proceedings. So that may have put him, or at least his notes, under the secrecy ruling.

I don't know if there is any case law on this. They probably could try and get him in trouble for this. If they'd be successful, who knows?

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#40662245)

But if he intends to make a written sworn statement (affidavit), then he could write it all down, sign it, in front of the sworn person, and voila. He has a legal record of his witness heresay.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662403)

"I'm sure his lawyer told him not to."

I would instead be more sure that his lawyer informed him of the law. Precedent supports witnesses informing the public of grand jury proceedings. There is no obligation of a witness to maintain the secrecy of their own testimony.

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#40662613)

The transcript notes are for the purposes of accuracy. Those preventing him from doing so would be personally responsible and liable for any inaccuracy.

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#40662699)

I thought secrecy was required afterwards, too, the reason being that people being investigated shouldn't be smeared by questions asked, should charges not be brought.

Also, just asking questions could tip off some other suspect.

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

noh8rz5 (2674523) | about 2 years ago | (#40662009)

Jail them all, I say. I will not abide people that place this nation's security at risk, in order to prove some abstract nihilistic point. Information wants to be free!

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662455)

Silly troll... Go away!

Re:Contempt of Court? (5, Informative)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 2 years ago | (#40662029)

IANAL but that seems to fail to name witnesses and defendents.

(A) No obligation of secrecy may be imposed on any person except in accordance with Rule 6(e)(2)(B).

  Unless these rules provide otherwise, the following persons must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury:

(i) a grand juror;

(ii) an interpreter;

(iii) a court reporter;

(iv) an operator of a recording device;

(v) a person who transcribes recorded testimony;

(vi) an attorney for the government; or

(vii) a person to whom disclosure is made under Rule 6(e)(3)(A)(ii) or (iii).

(ii) any government personnelâ"including those of a state, state subdivision, Indian tribe, or foreign governmentâ"that an attorney for the government considers necessary to assist in performing that attorney's duty to enforce federal criminal law; or

(iii) a person authorized by 18 U.S.C. Â3322.

is he fall into any of those catagories?

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | about 2 years ago | (#40662039)

I pasted that badly:

the section starting "Unless these rules provide otherwise" is

6(e)(2)(B)

the section starting "any government personnel" is 6(e)(3)(A)(ii) and (iii)

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

bersl2 (689221) | about 2 years ago | (#40662053)

They'll argue he's bound by subsection (v).

Of course, as powerful people keep learning: you can ruin a man's life over something he discloses, but there are no take-backsies.

Re:Contempt of Court? (3, Insightful)

ErroneousBee (611028) | about 2 years ago | (#40662101)

He is not transcribing recorded testimony, as in converting the recorders recording into another form.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#40662349)

Unless the notes he took were as detailed as this:

Record of proceedings
As recorded by David House
Grand Jury, Alexandria VA
15 June 2011, 4:10pm to 5pm

Inside the Grand Jury:
DOJ Counterespionage Section: Attorney Patrick Murphy *
DOJ Counterespionage Section: Attorney Deborah Curtis *
Eastern District of Virginia: AUSA Bob Wiechering
Eastern District of Virginia: AUSA Tracy McCormick
Eastern District of Virginia: AUSA Karen Dunn
Unspecified number of Grand Jurors
Court Steganographer
David House

Directly outside the Grand Jury:
Mike Condon, FBI Agent from Washington, D.C. field office
James Farmer, Chief of Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D. Mass
Peter Krupp, David House’s attorney

Record begins: 4:10pm
[David House is sworn in and informed of his rights] ...

(The first couple dozen lines from the transcription pointed to in the article).

Then he transcribed from his notes into the more official transcription above.

The transcription does not have to be from an audio, mechanical or visual recording, it can apply to expanding handwritten notes into a proper transcription.

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

bsane (148894) | about 2 years ago | (#40662111)

And thankfully there are a never ending stream of people willing to do so. When the that stops, we're doomed.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | about 2 years ago | (#40662215)

He's recording, not transcribing from a record, and I'm not sure if anything he wrote could honestly be considered actual "testimony". They might choose to consider writing on paper "operating a recording device" though.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662339)

They might choose to consider writing on paper "operating a recording device" though.

Or maybe they'll consider using your brain "operating a recording device". :(

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

poetmatt (793785) | about 2 years ago | (#40662399)

He's not an official court transcriber, nor is he transcribing the recording. If they try to argue that he is (and prosecute him), then that means anyone can transcribe any case they are simply in the courtroom for. So either they let him go or acknowledge 1st amendment. I don't see any ways around that.

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 2 years ago | (#40662493)

I doubt a judge would uphold that argument if it's based only on semantics. That whole spirit of the law is pretty big nowadays.

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662059)

It would seem the judge was referring to "(iv) an operator of a recording device", the "device" in this case being pen and paper.

Whether it bears any weight remains to be seen.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

wiredog (43288) | about 2 years ago | (#40662261)

I suspect he falls into the category of "a person who transcribes recorded testimony"

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662405)

It's really hard to transcribe something that doesn't exist yet.

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#40662495)

It seems from the wording used, that they were trying to claim that his notepad and pen were "a recording device". This of course is complete bullshit, and would go nowhere fast if they actually tried such.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

mepperpint (790350) | about 2 years ago | (#40663031)

IANAL. One might argue that he qualifies under section (iv) on the basis that a pen and paper constitutes a 'recording device'. One might further argue that he qualifies under section (v) on the basis that converting his paper notes into electronic text constituted a transcription of the aforementioned recording. I think this is clearly nonsense and not the intent of the law, as these appear to be intended to cover those people employed by the court to perform these roles and not some individual who happened to engage in these practices while playing a role not on the list. I'd also note that (vi) explicitly limits itself to attorneys for the government and fails to gag attorneys for the witnesses. If note taking and posting is found to be illegal, perhaps we'll see a rise in demand for attorneys with eidetic memories.

Constitutional Right (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40663087)

IANAL either, but imagine a proceeding in which anything that the prosecution writes down or records is considered evidence while anything that the defense writes down is considered contempt of court.

If the prosecution revealed secrets to Mr House, he is not under any obligation to keep them. If Mr. House is found to be breaking the law at the level of the Supreme Court by taking notes at his own interrogation, then the US has just passed into the domain of a fascist state. Similarly, the prosecution has no right to coerce Mr. House to keep the interrogation secret as it would set a precedent for future abuse.

I predict that there will be no charges over the transcript, and if there are, they will be thrown out of court. Great work, House. You have wisely set an example for all who are placed into a similar situation.

1) Get an attorney
2) Exercise your 5th amendment rights. Don't respond to any questions.
3) Record everything
4) Make the record public

For those who want the opinion of an actual attorney:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#40662087)

6.e.2.B.v forbids disclosing any transcript of testimony. It would appear the government attorney was correct on the face of it, but if House is charged, it may be found that his record of his own testimony is protected speech.

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662123)

Grand jury secrecy is at least a few hundred years old bro, there is no new revelation about free speech coming to it.

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662639)

The USA is barely 200 years old.

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662341)

It absolutely does not forbid disclosing "any transcript." Those words do not appear and can not be inferred. That rule applies to one who transcribes (tape) recorded testimony.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1, Troll)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#40662099)

Alright - I admire Assange. I despise Manning. House? He's on the positive end of that scale. Anyone with the balls to tell a grand jury to go screw themselves deserves some respect. So - on a scale of 1 to 10, House deserves at least a 4, and probably more.

Re:Contempt of Court? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662161)

Why despise Manning. Sure, he didn't do as he was told and leave all the things in secrecy, but if somebody requests something bad of you, sometimes you really shouldn't do as told. Requesting you keep your mouth shut when you find a whole lot of things that are wrong is wrong. Ignoring something bad is nearly as bad as doing something bad. If we all ignore the wrong things because its our job we are doomed.

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662315)

Why despise Manning[?]

Word. From my point of view, best to hop on the Free Bradley Manning bandwagon in order to meet women [forbes.com] .

Re:Contempt of Court? (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#40662345)

You are assuming Manning was completely aware of the content he was distributing. As in he reviewed it and found things that he felt should not be secret. I cannot imagine this course of action because the volume of material was just too great. What I'm sure he did was grab a huge pile of stuff he had no knowledge about and dumped it on someone else with the thought "there must be something juicy in here".

If, however, he had picked out three or ten or even fifty documents and disclosed them he might have an argument for disclosing bad things that were improperly being kept secret. But millions of items? No, sorry, that was blind malicious behavior.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Thaelon (250687) | about 2 years ago | (#40663055)

How can it be both blind and malicious? The two are mutually exclusive.

Re:Contempt of Court? (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40663071)

You're probably right, but on the flipside if it wasn't for Manning various families would still think their fathers/husbands were "missing" somewhere in Iraq. They would never have known that the U.S. military was covering-up the fact they killed those journalists and were hiding the evidence. I think any person who exposes a coverup of that magnitude deserves to be thanked. Just as we thank the people who exposed Watergate, Irangate, and the government guns being shipped to druglords in Mexico.

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662357)

I think the key problem here is that he gave his word that he would keep those things marked "secret", well, secret. If he'd agreed to keep secret sensitive documents which didn't perturb his moral compass too much then I'm 100% with you but he agreed to keep it all secret. By leaking those documents he broke his word and, no matter the ends, this is deserving of significant contempt.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#40662505)

Is that a softball pitch for Godwining a thread?

Re:Contempt of Court? (3, Interesting)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#40662347)

I admire Assange. I despise Manning. House? He's on the positive end of that scale.

That seems fairly weird. Manning (allegedly) is the one whose conscience was in play. Manning decided his government was doing evil things and decided they needed to be outed. Assange designed the program that Manning (allegedly) used to do that. Manning (allegedly) did what Assange advocates, yet you admire the latter and despise the former?

Where did you find that moral code of yours? In a box of CrackerJacks?

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662671)

Oh, please. Manning was trying to be Mr. Hax0r. He got caught by bragging. Any "moral conscience" came into play as a defense ploy. OP may have gotten his moral code from Crackerjack, but yours is nothing but bad gas.

Re:Contempt of Court? (2)

squentin (39455) | about 2 years ago | (#40662463)

I like wikileaks, but Assange is a jerk, working with RussiaToday and pretending to fight for the truth, yeah right :(

Re:Contempt of Court? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662719)

Assange is a sociopath. This gets censored VERY quickly around here because so many blindly follow that nutjob like zombies. Regardless, he's on a documentary stating if anyone were to die for his releases, because he refuses to intelligently release materals to protect the innocent, they deserve to die and that in doing so, they dies for a good cause. That's all paraphrasing because it been so long since I've seen it. The sad fact is, according to Assange's own logic, HE is the enemy of the world, exactly as he views the US.

Basically, according to Assange, its evil if the US does something but its good, morale, and justified if HE does the exact same thing. Worse, if people die for his cause, they died a good and justified death. If they die for someone else's cause, they are evil.

Assange is a seriously fucked up sociopath. Anyone who worships Assange, as so many blind slashdotters do, are seriously fucked up in the head like him.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Joe U (443617) | about 2 years ago | (#40663083)

From what I hear, most newspaper editors are jerks. Assange is just a modern editor.

Re:Contempt of Court? (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40662195)

Well, I think that reads like "we disagree with your lawyer on your right to make notes of the proceedings".

because his lawyer(counsel) feels differently on the matter. that means his lawyer was advising that he could take notes. notice how the court didn't actually stop him from making notes, they just made an empty threat - which makes it a pretty fucked up court proceeding worth transcribing. it just means that they weren't comfortable with anyone outside the court actually knowing what's going on and how the tax dollars are at work(tm).

Jacob Appelbaum's lecal recourse? (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40662253)

I'm more curious as to what Jacob Appelbaum's legal recourse in this is. Clearly he is being targeted by the government for persecution/prosecution. But how can he prove it when all he has is (presumably) illegal evidence? Just another example of how insidious these secret courts/investigations/etc. really are. A citizen is being targeted for persecution for presumably legal activities, and for anyone to even REVEAL that he's being targeted is illegal.

Re:Contempt of Court? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662311)

Wiechering was lying in an attempt to gain an upper hand in the questioning. Rule 6(e) places no restrictions on witnesses producing their own transcription, implies that there are those not bound to secrecy, and is explicit in who is bound. The exceptions under 6(e)(3) can only apply to those bound in 6(e)(2)(B), i.e. you can't restrict disclosure unless a condition of 6(e)(3) is met if the person was not already bound by 6(e)(2)(B)

Re:Contempt of Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662771)

Reading the legal reference it mentions towards the end that witnesses are exempt from the compulsion to secrecy and the man was a witness at the time in question. It seems like the state was bluffing the way I read that law and perhaps that is why he continued to make notes. Other portions of that law refer to transcripts. Notes are not transcripts as transcripts are a word for word copy of testimony. As usual the law is written in a complex way that sort of makes it less than what it was intended to be.

This is just... boring (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40661949)

We get it: powerful, corrupt people are annoyed that stuff about them is being revealed to the world, and they want to go through the justice theatre to silence those who leak information.

If you play them at their game, they win.

Re:This is just... boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662051)

Wow. I'm sorry that the violation of people's rights is not sufficiently entertaining to you.

By all means, go back to watching whatever action movie you paused in order to come here and complain about how the world has wasted your time with its boring, complicated, real-life events.

Re:This is just... boring (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#40662691)

So what have *you* done about it?

Re:This is just... boring (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#40662057)

You have to play by their rules or you get the worst possible outcome.

Rule #1 - If they can do nasty things to you, NEVER EVER attach your name to things you do.
Rule #2 - Never EVER talk about what you have done to anyone that can attach it to you. Talk anonomously via a secure and untraceable comms channel and for very BRIEF moments. I.E. you are trying to get the information to WikiLeaks, you spend less than 60 seconds asking questions and then go OFFLINE and do not use that path or even made up handle again.
Rule #3 - Your computer is spying on you, Paranoia is key here even silly levels of paranoia. Better safe than sorry. USE a live CD on a laptop and spoof a MAC address just in case.

Rule #4 - I don't care what anyone else calls it, It's espionage in their eyes. The people running the game have guns, they can point them at you and scream traitor. Keep this in mine every single second of the day.

Bradley Manning was incredibly stupid. He was trying to get street cred in the Hax0r scene by bragging to a known Government Informant. Stupid him, epic stupid him.

I don't care what others tell you, the guys that don't get caught use the above formula. The ones that get lazy or sloppy get caught. Ask Mitnick how he got caught.... he became complacent and lazy.

If you cant live the lifestyle or walk the walk for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, then just dont do it.

Re:This is just... boring (1)

Instine (963303) | about 2 years ago | (#40662299)

only those who get caught, get heard.

Re:This is just... boring (4, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#40662325)

If they (the State, in this case acting as Prosecutor) want to fuck you up the arse, there is NOTHING you can do to prevent it.

What you CAN do is not make their job easy. What you CAN do is make them spend money, because THAT is the limiting factor in their activities. What you CAN do is tell them to fuck off and that you will record what they say and obeying the maxim that for justice to be done it must be seen to be done, publish and be damned.

Re:This is just... boring (1)

bug1 (96678) | about 2 years ago | (#40662381)

Bradley Manning was incredibly stupid. He was trying to get street cred in the Hax0r scene by bragging to a known Government Informant.

He certainly got global "street cred" for what he alegedly did for transparency.

I think a lot of honerable people would rather go down fighting the good fight, "lound and proud", rather then hiding in the shadows sinking to tactics of the enemy.

Re:This is just... boring (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#40662725)

There are no "tactics of the enemy". There is only ethical behavior and unethical behavior.

Acquiring secret information and passing it on is espionage, whether in the service of a government or the public good. There is nothing inherently dishonorable or unethical about espionage - unlike, for example, acts of violence against civilians - particularly when the information may help to save lives or end corruption. It is more honorable to do good while hiding in the shadows than to get caught and killed (or the bloodless equivalent thereof that Manning suffers). We need heroes, not martyrs.

Re:This is just... boring (4, Insightful)

Shinobi (19308) | about 2 years ago | (#40662947)

And by following those rules, you have given them exactly what they want. You have given in to fear and oppression.

As history teaches us, successful resistance comes not from anonymous cowards, it comes from people who stand up and say "I will not tolerate this anymore".

Arab spring, Gandhi, workers rights fights, USA independence... All of them would have failed if the people involved had been anonymous cowards.

A right way and a wrong way (0, Flamebait)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#40662003)

Investigative journalism is the right way to make public information that you think the should be known. Being a smart ass at a grand jury investigation is the wrong way.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

mynamestolen (2566945) | about 2 years ago | (#40662023)

don't be a fuckwit

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662681)

Typical childish response. Disagree with someone? Throw a temper tantrum and swear at them. The only opinion that counts is yours, end of discussion.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

jez9999 (618189) | about 2 years ago | (#40662073)

And how exactly is an investigative journalist supposed to get a transcript of the court hearing? Sleep with the judge?

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) | about 2 years ago | (#40662221)

Sleep with the judge?

If s/he catches you, s/he can cite you for contempt.

But isn't a grand jury hearing supposed to be in secret anyway? And merely one of the first steps in the prosecution of an alleged crime? I mean it's practically like demanding a transcript of the prosecutor's preparation for a case.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#40662337)

in keeping with the process of natural justice, then yes, why not? It's part and parcel of the whole level playing field thing, full disclosure and all that. If disclosure is partial, then there is no justice.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (5, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40662085)

Investigative journalism is the right way to make public information that you think the should be known.

Nobody invited a journalist to visit and record the proceedings, so this is the only way for the public's interest to be served. Another way would be to eliminate secret courts, and secret court proceedings, which is an absolute requirement if we want people to believe we're a democracy.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#40662155)

Another way would be to eliminate secret courts, and secret court proceedings, which is an absolute requirement if we want people to believe we're a democracy.

Be careful here. If, say, you are in a divorce with your wife, do you want the world to know the gory details?

However, if the prosecutor is the public one, and the defendant agrees to an open court, then you might have a case.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40662235)

Be careful here. If, say, you are in a divorce with your wife, do you want the world to know the gory details?

Marriage is a legal institution and the details aren't a secret in some states. Why should the details of the divorce be? If there is no public interest in marriage, why does it even exist as a legal institution at all?

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

Glarimore (1795666) | about 2 years ago | (#40663133)

"Marriage is a legal institution and the details aren't a secret in some states. Why should the details of the divorce be?"

Because it's your personal life, no crimes were committed, it and doesn't have anything to do with anyone other than your spouse and you.
"If there is no public interest in marriage, why does it even exist as a legal institution at all?"

Good point, and exactly why married people shouldn't receive any benefits not afforded to an unmarried individual. The government shouldn't be incentivizing lifestyle choices. Besides, "marriage" is historically a religious institution. Quite frankly, I don't understand why the government is involved in it at all or why things like "marriage certificates" even exist. The government shouldn't be involved in marrying people or keeping them from being married. The whole thing is stupid.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40662257)

..maybe divorce court proceedings shouldn't include gory details. why do you need proof of infidelity etc crap for getting a divorce? it should just need the person saying that he/she wants it - it's not a slavery contract.

court proceedings possibly meaningful on national political level should of course be public, public like the sessions to discuss the laws to be made should be.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#40662425)

In most states in the US there is such a thing as "no fault divorce". The problem is, if one person wants to screw over the other and get as much money and assets as possible "no fault" doesn't really accomplish that goal. What you need is dirt and plenty of it to threaten to drag out - or even actually drag out - to make the other person look as bad as possible. The reward for doing this is perhaps getting enough as a settlement to never have to work again, ever.

Sure, it would be nice if people could just walk away, but after devoting years of their life to a failed relationship a lot of times someone wants something out of it. Or just wants to make the other person suffer as much as possible.

This doesn't really work if there are no assets or cash because there isn't anything to go after. Unless there are children. Then things get really nasty because unless you want your child to be raised by someone you hate you have to prove in court they are unfit. So, plenty of time the "child molester" card gets brought up as in "if you contest my having full custody you will be shown in court to be a child molester." Often this is enough to make the husband go away. But there is always the defense of showing the drug habits of the wife and how much she sleeps around and how this makes her unfit.

End result is of course that in many cases both parents end up proving they should never have had children in the first place and the world would be better off if the children were sent to a foreign country and told their parents died.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 2 years ago | (#40662457)

..maybe divorce court proceedings shouldn't include gory details. why do you need proof of infidelity etc crap for getting a divorce? it should just need the person saying that he/she wants it - it's not a slavery contract.

I think the details are not for the divorce itself, but to decide related matters such as alimony/palimony and custody of children. If one spouse has cheated, causing the divorce, I think they are less likely to receive alimony or custody. IANAL so this may be completely wrong.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (5, Informative)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 2 years ago | (#40662327)

Be careful here. If, say, you are in a divorce with your wife, do you want the world to know the gory details?

You're missing the difference between a civil suit and a criminal one.

In a civil suit, two civilian (hence "civil") parties are in dispute and require the court's assistance in reaching a resolution. A divorce is a good example. (I will add as a footnote that, at least here in Canada, ALL court proceedings are a matter of public record, divorces included. Therefore if you seek the court's assistance in resolving your divorce it will become a matter of public record. Whether or not that ought to be the case is something I won't get into since it would take me into a long editorializing rant full of my personal opinions and that's quite OT).

In a criminal suit it's the government (presumably the "public") against a citizen who has committed a crime.

In a free and open society all criminal suits ought to be a matter of public record and be open because it's one of the best tools we have for keeping the government honest and fair. That's why we have jury trials and public records and transcriptions etc. It's also a powerful tool to aid in proving someone's innocence after they were falsely convicted (by proving mistrials etc.)

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#40662379)

And it is very powerful tool for discrimination, as after you have a criminal case, even without conviction, it will in the public record forever, for any future employer to find out, and to put your resume in the garbage bin.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 2 years ago | (#40662475)

Indeed. At least the defendant should have a say in whether the records should be open or not.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662685)

Then every case will involve awkward questions, implied nastiness, and other goodies to motivate the defended to keep the records secret.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 2 years ago | (#40662485)

If the court proceeding is a matter of public record, and you were found innocent, it's the employer's problem if they want to lose out on your services because of irrational biases and fear. Besides, do you really want to work at such a place ?

Not to mention, with that kind of stain associated with someone who was simply accused of a crime, it's more incentive for the public to hold their government accountable, and provide severe repercussions for falsely convicting and accusing someone.

How to go about "fixing" the system would take us into a huge debate. I just don't see the point you bring up as a valid point against having open trials. Government is supposed to be by and for the people. Thus everything government does, and everything people do involving government, needs to be open since it affects every individual citizen.

For what it's worth, I do think people who are falsely accused, tried and found innocent or convicted and later exonerated ought to be taken care of for their trouble. You can't get a piece of your life back once it's been lost, and if government is "by the people" then the people should pay a price when they take an innocent person's freedom and wealth. The purely social implications, though ? It's individuals who make and form a society, not government. So if you want to change something there (like ending unfair discrimination) then your battle is on a totally different front. It's not fair to point the finger at government or look to government as a tool to solve that problem, and doing so will create all sorts of other injustices (I could name countless examples but I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader to avoid being flamebait).

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40663149)

In a criminal suit

Criminal trials are public. You can attend them, take whatever notes you want, even obtain a copy of the transcript. But that has nothing to do with this article, which is about testimony at a grand jury investigation.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662415)

In at least one state, you can go down to the courthouse and request whatever documents they have for any divorce and, after redacting SSNs and birthdays, they'll give it to you.

Somebody in IT at a firm I left long ago was annoyed at delays in meetings caused by the head of advertising being on the phone with her lawyer during work hours. Whomever it was asked for, received, and posted her alimony request of 250k/year, her husband's salary of 300k, and her salary of 80k, as well as the "gory details"(he was a VP and on the road 3 weeks per month, which apparently caused her to go out drinking and come into work with bits of jello shots still in her hair, which was interfering with her performance at work).

Re: An interested public is not public interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40663141)

Be careful here. If, say, you are in a divorce with your wife, do you want the world to know the gory details?

This does not hold water. The marriage of two private people is a private matter. If it's celebrities there might be an interested public. That's not public interest. The decisions made in court about that divorce does not affect the public. If a court case affects the public, then there is public interest.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#40662205)

Actually, grand juries are on circumstance where secrecy makes sense. Grand juries don't convict people, they are responsible for deciding if there's sufficient evidence of a crime to go ahead with the prosecution. Keeping such hearing secret means that people are more willing to give information they might not want to give in open court if it is personally embarrassing or if it has a negative aspect to people they don't want to piss off. It also means that a prosecutor can't just use the threat of bringing someone in front of a jury where they'll air all the person's dirty laundry. Overall, the secrecy of grand juries helps the little guy.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40662775)

Overall, the secrecy of grand juries helps the little guy.

That might be true, I'm not an expert and I haven't built any statistics on the subject. But in this case we're dealing with a political issue and we need to know what is being said on our behalf.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662833)

Or at least the little guy who can muster a "phalanx of lawyers". The real little guy tends to just get railroaded into a plea deal based on whatever they could dream up to threaten charging him with.

If he doesn't want to play ball on that, they can usually find reasons to delay any bail, and lock him up 23 hours a day for a few days until he is ready to accept any out.

Not that its happened to anyone I know, and certainly not multiple people....nope....

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40662213)

The only thing a REAL American distrusts the government on is taxes. Only commies don't unquestioningly trust the government on every matter except raising taxes on the wealthy or corporations. Otherwise you should not ask any questions and let the government do anything it wants in secret. Only citizens should not be allowed any secrecy or privacy.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662723)

No one cares, jj. We get it. You think there's people out there actually saying stuff like that or something. Find a new hobby.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (2)

228e2 (934443) | about 2 years ago | (#40662243)

. . . Another way would be to eliminate secret courts, and secret court proceedings, which is an absolute requirement if we want people to believe we're a democracy.

But . . . we arent a democracy . . . .

Re:A right way and a wrong way (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40662631)

But . . . we arent a democracy . . . .

On one hand, I agree with you. We are a corporatocracy masquerading as a republic. However, that republic often pays lip service to the idea of democracy. I do think that before we go trying to spread it to other nations, we should try it here...

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 years ago | (#40663005)

But the main Amendment that tipped the scales from the national government of the United States being a mere republic to being a true representative democracy was the often-overlooked Seventeenth Amendment, which took effect in 1913. Since 1913 the U.S. Senate has been elected directly by the voters, rather than being appointed by the state legislatures. That makes the national government democratic in form, as well as being a republic.

From http://www.williampmeyers.org/republic.html [williampmeyers.org]

Re:A right way and a wrong way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40663163)

Democratic in form for sufficiently weak definitions of democracy.

Representation in the Senate is not based on representation of the people. A tiny population as that for Wyoming, has as much influence (therefore _much more_ influence, per person, as a state with _many_ times the population, like California.

Strange definition of democracy you have there.

The Senate was created, and exists for the sole purpose of preventing democracy.

Re:A right way and a wrong way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662129)

"being a smart ass" - that is a favorite phrase used by all uniformed thugs with badges any time their victims try to protect their rights by invoking the law.

spin is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662017)

Articles are about the people who ran the infrastructure, not what was leaked.

AWSOME (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662063)

Great move House. That's one for the good guys, and not for the globalist.

Internets street cred (1)

Fosterocalypse (2650263) | about 2 years ago | (#40662137)

I think he did this just to get his name clear .....i'd be willing to bet he has probably been the gorilla in the room at their hacker club or collective whatever the kids call it these days.

Deja Vu (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | about 2 years ago | (#40662147)

A group of leaders who are corrupt and stick-to-the-rules, versus House? I think I've seen this somewhere before.... [wikipedia.org]

U$A (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662153)

Retarded country.

agelesshookup (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662343)

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Grand Jury being secret is ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40662437)

I'm gonna go on a limb here, Grand Jury Proceedings being secret is ok. All a Grand Jury can do is get you indicted. It isn't a conviction, it isn't a secret trial. I don't think this process is violative of our civil rights.

There was a saying "a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich". Meaning the burden of proof is so low, its not usually hard to get an indictment. Think of it like a pre-charge discovery process, where only the prosecutor gets to participate, and the Jury is there to make sure he doesn't go too far.

Very one-sided transcript (4, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#40662763)

Since he didn't answer anything.

When I asked House how he might be incriminated by testifying, as he claims by invoking the fifth amendment, he gave me a predictable response: “I invoke.”

Which is awesome, needless to say - here is clearly someone who doesn't take crap from anyone, and gives not an inch more to authority than he is legally obligated.

and the USA govt wants to hire hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40663113)

again i say it
from hackers go fuck yourself

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