He is released in time to have an impact against the threats to civil liberties that have emerged lately.
Today, investigative journalist Barrett Brown has been released from FCI Three Rivers to a halfway house outside Dallas, earlier than initially scheduled. His parents picked him up from the federal prison to drive him six hours to his new residence. Brown’s release comes with several post-imprisonment restrictions, including a “computer and internet monitoring program”, a ban on firearms, and forced drug tests and participation in a drug treatment programme. It is as yet unknown how long Barrett will spend at the halfway house.
WikiLeaks is celebrating Barrett’s release from prison by publishing a searchable archive of more than 60,000 HBGary emails, which Barrett’s Project PM was investigating before he was arrested. In 2011, Project PM reported on Romas/COIN, a secret surveillance programme. Barrett announced the report at the Guardian: “For at least two years, the U.S. has been conducting a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once.”
You can search through the emails by keyword or category here: https://www.wikileaks.org/hbgary-emails/
Barrett has been an acerbic, invaluable investigative journalist for years. He’s written books on the modern creationist movement and the failure of elite media figures. He’s written dozens of articles on contemporary politics and the shadowy world of private and cyber intelligence. He even produced some of the best writing on his own trial and sentence.
Rather than stay quiet as surely the government hoped he would, Barrett continued his work in prison, with a column for D Magazine and then for the Intercept. He reviewed books, reported on life in solitary confinement, and exposed the systematic malfeasance of Bureau of Prison officials. Barrett has been honoured with a National Magazine Award and a New York Press Club journalism award for his column.
This vital work is one of many reasons why the world is a better place with Barrett out of prison. We need his journalism more than ever, and what better way to honour his (relative) freedom than with source documents from a shady private firm that once outlined plans to demonise and take down supporters of WikiLeaks.