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ATS: Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office Seizes Hard Drives From News Organization

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posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 07:24 PM
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In a case that's gotten little publicity, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania is proceeding with an obscure investigation against a Lancaster newspaper. As a requirement of the investigation, hard drives have been taken by force from a coroner's office and a news organization. The paper tried to contest the seizure on the basis of the first ammendment, but were denied a supreme court hearing on a procedural technicality. The core issue is whether or not the coroner involved gave reporters access to a database restricted to law enforcement officers, and whether or not details from said database found their way into articles printed by the newspaper.
 



www.philly.com
"This is horrifying, an editor's worst nightmare," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington. "For the government to actually physically have those hard drives from a newsroom is amazing. I'm just flabbergasted to hear of this."

Grand-jury investigations are secret. But some details trickled out when a lower-court judge in Harrisburg, Barry Feudale, held hearings last month to consider the newspaper's motion to stop the state from enforcing its subpoena for the hard drives.

Officials said the Internet histories and cached Web-page content retained on the newspaper's computer hard drives could contain evidence of a crime - unauthorized use of a computer. To properly search the computers, state lawyers argued, they needed to haul them to a government lab in Harrisburg.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Oh boy. This is a little odd, to say the least. I'm still trying to gather information and come to some sort of understanding about what happened.

This is something that other news organizations should pay close attention to, I think. Before they know it, it could be their computers being hauled away, and their livelyhood impinged upon.

If anyone has any additional information about the progression of this case, I'd be interested to hear it. So far it looks like the state is flexing its muscles to show the news media who's boss, but that could be all wrong. It could be that there was a hacker using the news org. as a front to gain access to the restricted information, though I can't imagine why. It seems to me that, as of right now, the reporters were just doing their job.




posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 08:29 PM
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I can see people jumping all over this article as an infringment of the 1st Ammendment and to some extent they will be right, but I also think it is about time the media learned they are not immune to U.S. law. This may not be the case to show that, but then again, it might. It bothers me that physical possession of the hard drives was taken because there are probably tons of other things on those drives that are none of the government's business. It would seem to me that a direct court order to turn over all information relevant to the case in question would have been sufficient.

[edit on 14-3-2006 by Astronomer68]



posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 09:38 PM
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Well the point to all these is that as now is nothing private that the government can not have access to it.

While we lose our freedoms in this country our government become more secretive with the American public.

Because when it comes to the government giving reasons as to why they take anything by forces Secrecy will be preserve at all cost

I imagine that the next step will be to put a gag order on the people involve and perhaps we will never be able to find out what was this all about unless a whistle blower decided to leak information at his life expense.


Occurs it could be more than meet the eyes and is a very well and justified reason for this to be happening to the news organization.



posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 09:43 PM
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GOOD GRIEF!

Remember what happened with Indymedia?

...They can't control the net. So they take the hard drives.

Nazi. SSS. Gestapo. Dictatorship. Mussolini. Hitler. 1984. Brave New Worls. Animal Farm. Handmaid's Tale. Eugenics. Genocide.

O'Connor and Feingold need to talk. We need to listen.



posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 10:20 PM
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Nazi. SSS. Gestapo. Dictatorship. Mussolini. Hitler. 1984. Brave New Worls. Animal Farm. Handmaid's Tale. Eugenics. Genocide.


Oh the drama!



This keeps coming up and people use it scaremonger (see above), but it's been settled U.S. law and the law in many states for like ever that, while free, the press has no special rights above any ordinary citizen that allows them to keep information about a crime from the government.

yawn...



posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 11:07 PM
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I'm confused, let me see if I've got this right;

Information from a government coroner's office was leaked.

So the grand jury investigating the leak, then leaked information about the investigation into the leak.

Nope, I'm still confused.



posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 11:39 PM
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This is all spec on spec here, does ANYBODY have a clue why this happened? Or is than annother example of the media playing with us?



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:05 AM
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In a nutshell:

The grand jury is investigating whether the Lancaster County coroner gave reporters for the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal his password to a restricted law enforcement Web site. The site contained nonpublic details of local crimes. The newspaper allegedly used some of those details in articles.
If the reporters used the Web site without authorization, officials say, they may have committed a crime.


I can see where publishing some of these details could compromise justice in criminal cases. And I'm sure you wouldn't like it if a couple of reporters, citing the First Amendment, broke into your home and rifled through you personal filing cabinets and then published what they found, would you?

I'm not sure where all this fits into it, though:
"Nazi. SSS. Gestapo. Dictatorship. Mussolini. Hitler. 1984. Brave New Worls. Animal Farm. Handmaid's Tale. Eugenics. Genocide. " other than to agree with the peson who said, "Oh, the drama!"



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:10 AM
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Well actually by the news sources it said that it’s a part of a statewide grand-jury into leaks to reporters.

That sounds to me like going against the press and trying to silence the media.

Then the sources said that Government is trying to solve an alleged felony-computer- hacking

So the issue should be as under what basis the government can walk into any news base organization and take forcibly their hard drives.

Under the presumption of going after leaks information the government in any state can actually take anything from any news media without any questions ask.

Is that fair? I wonder, then who is to made sure that the rights of the individual news organizations are preserve? When the law in place is taking or allowing these actions.

Now the issue is what was allowed or not or who broke the law or committed a crime when they when into the law enforcement web site.

Now the information leaked was about Local crimes now I though that news medias do get access to information on what goes on in around including Local crimes but not grad jury investigations.

So if the Lancaster County coroner gave his password for the news agency to get into the web site now they are considered criminals when the truth is that a government official gave his approval for it.

While the man said that he didn’t do anything he is under suspicion.

To me this is a whole bunch of BS and the way that for now on the media will be targeted whenever the government seems fit.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:26 AM
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Well actually by the news sources it said that it’s a part of a statewide grand-jury into leaks to reporters.

That sounds to me like going against the press and trying to silence the media.

Then the sources said that Government is trying to solve an alleged felony-computer- hacking

So the issue should be as under what basis the government can walk into any news base organization and take forcibly their hard drives.


You're talking about two separate issues:


  1. A grand jury investigation into leaks
  2. A felony - computer hacking


So it seems fairly obvious that if a newspaper prints details from a site they hacked, it fits into the investigation.


Under the presumption of going after leaks information the government in any state can actually take anything from any news media without any questions ask.

Totally false. It went all the way to the state superior court.


Now the information leaked was about Local crimes now I though that news medias do get access to information on what goes on in around including Local crimes but not grad jury investigations.

Once again, you are confused. The media gets some details, which they publish, but not all details. Certain information that only the perpetrator would know is often withheld. You didn't know that?:shk:


To me this is a whole bunch of BS and the way that for now on the media will be targeted whenever the government seems fit.

When they break the law in order to sell more newspapers, or to win a Pulitzer, they should be punished.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:39 AM
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I am glad that my way of view things is different from you JS because truly is nothing out of the ordinary on what goes on with the media.

But I see how the media when it gets information about what goes on with government issues is been targeted.

Funny but I am glad I don't think like you.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:57 AM
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Once again, instead of debating the facts of the issue, you resort to personal attacks. You're right - we don't think alike.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 09:59 AM
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Way out of line jsobecky. Marg does not attack people.

This is an important and complex issue - IMO, it provides more evidence that our nation is being run as a dictatorship and that NO ONE ever, is allowed to criticize the government, or gawd forbid, find evidence to show government culpability of crimes.

Also IMO - Freedom of the Press is fundamental to the American concept of liberty.


.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 10:14 AM
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Does anyone remember these stories????




Metropolitan News Company Sues Cooley Over Warrant

The company that publishes the Metropolitan News-Enterprise and Roger M. Grace, the paper’s editor and co-publisher, sued Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley yesterday over a May 2 raid by investigators executing a search warrant on the company’s downtown office.

The complaint by the Metropolitan News Company, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks injunctive and declaratory relief and damages and stems from investigators’ quest for documents they said related to a probe of possible government corruption in South Gate.

A group of about 10 investigators closed the company’s offices, located at 210 S. Spring St., for three hours, ordered reporters and other employees out of the building and threatened a search of all company offices, including the newsroom, as they served the warrant. The company, which also publishes several other newspapers, was one of 15 locations across the county where warrants were served in connection with the South Gate investigation.

The warrant, issued by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Pounders, authorized a search of “all rooms, safes, locked boxes, files, desks, and other parts therein, the surrounding grounds, vehicles, storage areas, trash containers, and outbuildings of any kind—any containers including all purses and wallets found in the care/custody and/or control of ADVERTISEMENT, ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE, EDITING and/or ANY OFFICE WHICH CAN PROVIDE INFORMATION ON ALBRIGHT, YEE AND SCHMIDT [sic] PLACING PUBLICATIONS ON RECALL OF SOUTH GATE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS.”

More...



But look at what this article says about the raid:




Cooley’s Raid on Newspaper Premises Stemmed From Investigative Boner

At last it is learned what it was that the Office of District Attorney Steve Cooley was after when 11 armed investigators raided the premises of the Metropolitan News Company on May 2, 2002.

The raid coincided with those taking place throughout the county in connection with a probe of possible political corruption in the City of South Gate.

The immediate purpose conveyed at the time of the raid was to gain evidence as to the identity of the law firm that had placed a notice of intent to recall a South Gate official that was published in this newspaper. The ultimate purpose of gaining that information is now bared.

...

It is now seen that no actual investigative purpose existed in connection with the raid.

Read more to learn why...



See what the Metropolitan News says about the raid.



[edit on 15-3-2006 by loam]



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 11:40 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Way out of line jsobecky. Marg does not attack people.


Thanks for the laugh, soficrow!


This is an important and complex issue - IMO, it provides more evidence that our nation is being run as a dictatorship and that NO ONE ever, is allowed to criticize the government, or gawd forbid, find evidence to show government culpability of crimes.

In other words, you are willing to close your eyes to the fact that the media may have commited a felony in this case, i.e., hacking into a government computer and publishing sensitive details.

It would be funny if it weren't so pathetic that you are so willing to ignore the true facts of the case. :shk:



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 11:52 AM
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Felony Schmelomy.....this stinks....Perhaps its a start....

Others will follow suit. Its ova.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:01 PM
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we have the war on terror and now the war on the press. seems to me that some govt is getting sick and tired of its dirty laundry becoming public knowledge and is trying to send a message to the press.......



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by loam
Does anyone remember these stories????


Just wanted to let you know, I read the articles (all by the angry news company, by the way). I don't see how they relate, other than to show an example where a search warrant was served and acted upon at a news outlet. I am not surprised to see a newspaper's angry response to its newsroom being searched, and I am not surprised to see them eschew all responsibility and suggest that the government was sending in the shock troops to shut down the heroic newsroom.

But, I also realize that the articles were written by the angry newspaper itself, seriously impugning the “journalistic integrity” of the articles. Furthermore, I also realize that the warrant was legally obtained and legally served, regardless of the editors objections and citations to case law. It is a shame that he didn’t like how the D.A. chose to conduct his business, but the D.A. doesn’t answer to him and doesn’t have to play by his rules. It is also a shame that he feels the warrant was illegal (again, based on the case law he cited), but if it were, where is the judgment against the D.A., and more importantly, where is the reversal of the original judge’s granting of the warrant.

As for this PA case, I think journalists have forgotten that they are not above the law. Surprise! The wake up call may not be pleasant, but they need to wake up nevertheless.

The facts here have NOTHING to do with government trying to cover up anything. The facts here have EVERYTHING to do with a news agency possibly committing a felony. Some people just see the words “warrant” and “newspaper” and automatically assume that some poor, defenseless, innocent journalist is being harassed for his heroic work in spotlighting corruption. Well, guess what? The corruption appears to have been at the newspaper this time.

If you want to poop on the government for doing its job by going after CRIMINALS, maybe we should just disband the police altogether. If that happens, can you guess who’s houses I’m gonna rob first?

Oh, and sofi, I thought marg was making a personal attack too.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:28 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77


Nazi. SSS. Gestapo. Dictatorship. Mussolini. Hitler. 1984. Brave New Worls. Animal Farm. Handmaid's Tale. Eugenics. Genocide.


Oh the drama!



This keeps coming up and people use it scaremonger (see above), but it's been settled U.S. law and the law in many states for like ever that, while free, the press has no special rights above any ordinary citizen that allows them to keep information about a crime from the government.

yawn...


But what IF that crime involves the government itself? What then? You can keep on yawning all you want to but this is truely sadding.



posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 03:14 PM
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Are police telling truths when speaking to the public and media when reporting crime, or keeping special dossiers on various criminals and crimes secret from the public?

Is this a secret police tactic? Are the police just smashing and grabbing whenever anyone whistleblows? Those actions would actually be criminal. Withholding evidence, keeping databases of phony crimes and information?

Who knows? But anytime i hear about hard drives being just stolen form somebody becuase they might contain a crime, I think of confiscation of guns becuase they might be used in crimes, or hammers or kitchen knives(England actually proposed this). Hey a gun might have been used to kill somebody, does that mean we confiscate all guns within one zipcode? Sounds very draconian and agressive. I guess in Pennsylvania people just roll over whenever the cops wnat to monitor their lives or news media. I would think an internal investigation by the police and the paper would be more appropriate, not a hand over of the papers livelihood. Plus with massive storage and technology I'm surprised they didn't just ghost the drive, what does the media think people don't understand this stuff and they have to take a hard drive, sounds like a phising expedition.

If i think you might be a criminal do I get to rifle through you closets and file cabinets? I suppose they had a warrant? Sounds more like Harrisburg, China to me.




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