Wired Strategies Press Release

Email Press Release January 19, 1998      

FYI - NPR's Talk of the Nation is focusing on the Senior Chief McVeigh's case at 2PM EST. 

Contact Information: 
John Aravosis, 202/328-5707
Barbara Bode, 202/588-9598

January 19, 1998 
Navy Admits Insufficient Evidence Against Cyber-Sailor
Advocates Charge Cover-up

Newly-available testimony shows that Navy officials feared they did not have enough evidence against Senior Chief McVeigh, and that is why they decided to seek his confidential account information from America Online (AOL).  Internet advocates familiar with the McVeigh case charge the Navy with orchestrating an elaborate cover-up of its wrong-doing.

In a CNet exclusive, Janet Kornblum reported on Friday, January 16, (http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,18203,00.html) that newly released sworn testimony shows a second Navy investigator admitting she "didn't know" if the AOL email account under investigation was really McVeigh's, contradicting all Navy public statements to date. 

Kornblum quotes the Navy investigator: "'I planned to establish by whatever means I could think of whether or not this profile belonged to the screen name or not and whether or not the screen name belonged to Senior Chief McVeigh,' said Lt. Karen Morean.  'I didn't know what it was going to take.  I didn't know if AOL was going to give me the information that I was looking for or if it was going to take some other kind of research.  I didn't know at that point what it was going to involve, but I suggested obviously that the first step was to call AOL, and that's obviously as far as I needed to go.'"

"The Navy's been caught with their hand in the cyber cookie jar." said John Aravosis, a lawyer and Internet consulting assisting McVeigh on the case.  "They've now admitted they could not prove if the email account was Tim's without illegally going to AOL." 

Internet legal experts say the Navy and AOL violated the federal Electronic Communications Project Act (ECPA) by requesting and receiving McVeigh's confidential AOL account information.  "It is probably the most clear-cut example we have of a violation of this statute on the part of the government," said David Sobel, general counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, to the New York Times (Saturday, January 17).

"This is the Internet version of illegal search and seizure," said Bob Hattoy, gay Clinton appointee.  "The evidence should be thrown out, this patriot should be set free, and AOL and the Navy should be investigated because it's the fourth amendment that's being threatened, not national security."

"This entire affair has been about lies, cover-ups and official denials," charged Aravosis.  "It's high time the Navy came clean with the American people -- what did they know, and when did they know it?"


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