Wired Strategies Press Pitch

Email story spin: US Navy vs. AOL, felony or perjury?  - January 10, 1998    

AOL has denied the story, the Navy transcripts say it happened.  Either AOL and the Navy violated federal privacy law in improperly sharing confidential subscriber information on Timothy McVeigh, or AOL never provided the information to the Navy and the Navy perjured itself in 5 pages of sworn testimony.  It is now time to ask the Navy which one is true - felony or perjury - no story has reported on the Navy's response to this question to date.  

1) If the Navy's sworn testimony is true, and AOL provided the Navy with confidential AOL subscriber information, then the Navy has commited a violation of federal law and has in essence spied on an American citizen, putting all Netizens at risk.

2) If the Navy's sworn testimony is false, and AOL did not provide the Navy with confidential AOL subscriber information, then the Navy has perjured itself in order to produce the one piece of key evidence they have in their case against Tim McVeigh.   

Felony or perjury - which is it?   

One final comment: no story to date has asked the Navy about what exact information they got from AOL, and what legal pre-requisites were met first before obtaining that information.  Do not accept the red herring that the Navy already had enough information to discharge McVeigh, or that AOL disclosed "nothing new."  The question isn't whether McVeigh was clearly gay or straight, the QUESTION IS WHETHER THE NAVY VIOLATED FEDERAL LAW IN OBTAINING INFORMATION FROM AOL, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, DID THEY COMMIT PERJURY.  The quality of the information is irrelevant, the law was either broken and the information was shared, or it wasn't.


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