John Cornyn Asks Eric Holder if Aaron Swartz Prosecuted because of FOIA Requests

John Cornyn just sent a letter to Eric Holder asking a series of questions about the Aaron Swartz prosecution. (h/t Julian Sanchez) Many of them are utterly appropriate coming from a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee: why Carmen Ortiz said the prosecution was “appropriate,” whether DOJ’s prior investigations, plural, of Swartz had had an influence on their conduct, why Ortiz filed the superseding indictment. Kudos to Cornyn for conducting oversight, as intended.

But here’s a question I didn’t expect, the second of seven questions.

Second, was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act? If so, I recommend that you refer the matter immediately to the Inspector General.

It’s one thing to ask whether Swartz was targeted–and he appears to have been–for his advocacy on Open Access and Internet freedom.

But to ask whether this was retaliation for his use of FOIA? As far as I know, only Jason Leopold and I have even looked at his FOIAs in relation to his prosecution, and only for insight onto how he responded to it.

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bmaz RT @emptywheel: @bmaz How come no one is counting all the Jewish SCOTUS justices who are ALSO blowing off Bibi?
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emptywheel @bmaz How come no one is counting all the Jewish SCOTUS justices who are ALSO blowing off Bibi?
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bmaz @emptywheel The big drinking party is at RBG's pad.
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bmaz RT @ScottGreenfield: Politics Aside, Statutory Interpretation Matters http://t.co/0hm8PEE2WG
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JimWhiteGNV Another day, another hot-headed war monger spouting lies in Congress. Only difference is this one not elected by misinformed Americans.
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emptywheel RT @csoghoian: Compare and contrast what China wants of US tech co's to what the US demands of foreign telcos http://t.co/WgBcMUjWdS http:/…
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emptywheel Other part of Clapper's speech that is precious. He talks abt losing tools in our toolkit. As if the IC has EVER lost a surveillance tool.
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emptywheel One thing Clapper admitted yesterday at CFP is "moderate [in Syria] is anyone who's not affiliated w/ISIL." http://t.co/aO5y1KF2MX
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emptywheel @nickmanes1 Best part is this is the NICE part of the day, weather wise.
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emptywheel @georgecolombo Yes. Perhaps I wouldn't be so annoyed if Cole hadn't started by accusing others of not doing their reading. @froomkin
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emptywheel @froomkin Betcha a dollar that Cole doesn't even know what those "underlying discussions" refer to. Sort of critical to doc. @Thomas_Drake1
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emptywheel @froomkin You did. Cole did not. @Thomas_Drake1
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