Is former Attorney General Jeff Sessions being erased right out of history? Conservative pundits at TechDirt uncovered something even spookier than usual buried in a Department of Justice press release and it has them wondering what the Secret Service is up to.
Erased from a public press release
The Secret Service may not really consider Jeff Sessions to be so radioactive that they edited him out of existence, but his display of disloyalty is as good a reason as any, since the Secret Service isn’t saying why they would bother to black out a public press release in a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Secret Service appears to consider him a persona non grata. No matter what reason Sessions was erased for, being “unwanted” isn’t a good enough reason to black him out of existence. Unless there is some special reason why they don’t want one researcher to know that Sessions was involved in a take-down of darknet giants Hansa and Alpha Bay, after they already told everybody else.
The federal government considers national security advocate Emma Best a “vexatious” FOIA filer. She may be “annoying” but when she saw some obviously stupid redactions from the Secret Service, she had to call them out about it.
A pending challenge to the criminal stupidity
Ms. Best isn’t simply laughing this off. She’s holding hard evidence that proves that the integrity of the redaction process is “grossly inappropriate.” Even that is a total understatement, Best argues. That’s why “she’s appealing the integrity of the redactions.”
Even if it was some sort of “clerical error,” it is still “so bad it’s insulting.” That’s exactly why you can’t trust the government, she declares, “when it’s not being malicious, it’s being stupid.” Stupid enough to have someone erased.
While digging into the busts of Hansa and Alpha Bay, Best filed a typical set of FOIA requests. She wasn’t surprised to see redactions in what they sent back. They always take out the black magic marker and go over anything that is “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.” That would not include a press release that was already wide open to the public.
What they covered up.
There is no sense at all as to why the Secret service would try to have Jeff Sessions totally erased unless it was because they are afraid that Ms. Best will notice something in this notice which is damaging to them.
The notice in its entirety reads as follows:
“This is likely one of the most important criminal investigations of the year – taking down the largest dark net marketplace in history,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Make no mistake, the forces of law and justice face a new challenge from the criminals and transnational criminal organizations who think they can commit their crimes with impunity using the dark net.
The dark net is not a place to hide. The Department will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate criminals, drug traffickers and their enablers wherever they are.
We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting vulnerable people and sending so many Americans to an early grave.
I believe that because of this operation, the American people are safer – safer from the threat of identity fraud and malware, and safer from deadly drugs.”
But, Emma Best wants to know, “are you any safer from being erased?”