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Witness In Secret WikiLeaks Grand Jury Hearing Posts Transcript of Questioning 184

Posted by samzenpus
from the questions-and-answers dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "A year ago, free information advocate and Bradley Manning supporter David House was subpoenaed to testify in the grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks that's taking place in Alexandria, Virginia. Now he's released a transcript of his interrogation that he produced by taking handwritten notes on a legal pad and handing pages to his lawyer during their consultations. Though House pled the fifth and didn't tell the prosecutors much, the notes show the prosecution attorneys focusing their questions on Boston-area hackers as well as Tor developer and WikiLeaks supporter Jacob Appelbaum."
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Witness In Secret WikiLeaks Grand Jury Hearing Posts Transcript of Questioning

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  • Contempt of Court? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Monday July 16, 2012 @08:49AM (#40661909) Journal
    I'm not a lawyer but from this part of the transcript on pastebin:

    Bob Wiechering: Mr. House, I notice you are taking notes. Attempting to create your own transcript is a violation of rule 6(e) of this grand jury. We have brought this to the attention of your counsel, and although he feels differently on the matter, we assert that you must stop taking notes at this time.
    David House: Let me consult with my attorney.
    [House leaves the grand jury room and returns one minute later]
    David House: My lawyer asks that you refer all questions about notes to him.

    It would seem that the rule in question [cornell.edu] now puts him in contempt of court? It appears to explicitly mention what is happening here. I wonder what his lawyer told him about taking these notes and then releasing them.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2012 @08:55AM (#40661965)

      My reading of that doesn't seem to include the person actually being questioned.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday July 16, 2012 @11:08AM (#40662987)

        >>>Attempting to create your own transcript is a violation of rule 6(e) of this grand jury

        They also claim we're not allowed to camera-record, audio-record, or pen-and-paper record our conversations with police/government officials. (And have arrested people for doing it and/or taking their property and erased them.) But the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August 2011 that the Constitution is a higher law, and it clearly states the People have the inalienable right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press to record/discuss what the cops & government officials are doing to them.

        • by KhabaLox (1906148) on Monday July 16, 2012 @01:12PM (#40664227)

          There is a difference between a public street and a Grand Jury room.

      • by BitterOak (537666)

        My reading of that doesn't seem to include the person actually being questioned.

        Item (v) under Rule 6(E)(2)(b): "a person who transcribes recorded testimony".

        It sounds like that was exactly what he was doing.

    • by EasyTarget (43516) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:02AM (#40662005) Journal

      I wonder what his lawyer told him about taking these notes and then releasing them.

      I'm sure the lawyer told him what the law is.. So that he can then make his own decision as to whether to comply with a restriction on his freedom.

      I, for one, am glad that he followed what the constitution, and the basic principles of any truly free society, tells him instead.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:02AM (#40662007)

      I'm sure his lawyer told him not to.

      Now as to if he'll get in trouble, well I don't know. Witnesses aren't part of the grand jury secrecy rule. The jurors themselves, the court recorder, the prosecution, they all have to keep their mouths shut (until after it is all done). However the witnesses, not so much.

      However, he created a transcript, which may well put hi in violation. Though he wasn't the official recorder/transcriber, he was recording the proceedings. So that may have put him, or at least his notes, under the secrecy ruling.

      I don't know if there is any case law on this. They probably could try and get him in trouble for this. If they'd be successful, who knows?

      • by stanlyb (1839382)
        But if he intends to make a written sworn statement (affidavit), then he could write it all down, sign it, in front of the sworn person, and voila. He has a legal record of his witness heresay.
      • by Skapare (16644)

        The transcript notes are for the purposes of accuracy. Those preventing him from doing so would be personally responsible and liable for any inaccuracy.

      • I thought secrecy was required afterwards, too, the reason being that people being investigated shouldn't be smeared by questions asked, should charges not be brought.

        Also, just asking questions could tip off some other suspect.

    • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:05AM (#40662029)

      IANAL but that seems to fail to name witnesses and defendents.

      (A) No obligation of secrecy may be imposed on any person except in accordance with Rule 6(e)(2)(B).

        Unless these rules provide otherwise, the following persons must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury:

      (i) a grand juror;

      (ii) an interpreter;

      (iii) a court reporter;

      (iv) an operator of a recording device;

      (v) a person who transcribes recorded testimony;

      (vi) an attorney for the government; or

      (vii) a person to whom disclosure is made under Rule 6(e)(3)(A)(ii) or (iii).

      (ii) any government personnelâ"including those of a state, state subdivision, Indian tribe, or foreign governmentâ"that an attorney for the government considers necessary to assist in performing that attorney's duty to enforce federal criminal law; or

      (iii) a person authorized by 18 U.S.C. Â3322.

      is he fall into any of those catagories?

      • I pasted that badly:

        the section starting "Unless these rules provide otherwise" is

        6(e)(2)(B)

        the section starting "any government personnel" is 6(e)(3)(A)(ii) and (iii)

      • by bersl2 (689221)

        They'll argue he's bound by subsection (v).

        Of course, as powerful people keep learning: you can ruin a man's life over something he discloses, but there are no take-backsies.

        • by ErroneousBee (611028) <neil:[ ]lhancock.co.uk ['nei' in gap]> on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:19AM (#40662101) Homepage
          He is not transcribing recorded testimony, as in converting the recorders recording into another form.
          • Unless the notes he took were as detailed as this:

            Record of proceedings
            As recorded by David House
            Grand Jury, Alexandria VA
            15 June 2011, 4:10pm to 5pm

            Inside the Grand Jury:
            DOJ Counterespionage Section: Attorney Patrick Murphy *
            DOJ Counterespionage Section: Attorney Deborah Curtis *
            Eastern District of Virginia: AUSA Bob Wiechering
            Eastern District of Virginia: AUSA Tracy McCormick
            Eastern District of Virginia: AUSA Karen Dunn
            Unspecified number of Grand Jurors
            Court Steganographer
            David House

            Directly outside the G

        • by bsane (148894)

          And thankfully there are a never ending stream of people willing to do so. When the that stops, we're doomed.

        • He's recording, not transcribing from a record, and I'm not sure if anything he wrote could honestly be considered actual "testimony". They might choose to consider writing on paper "operating a recording device" though.

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          He's not an official court transcriber, nor is he transcribing the recording. If they try to argue that he is (and prosecute him), then that means anyone can transcribe any case they are simply in the courtroom for. So either they let him go or acknowledge 1st amendment. I don't see any ways around that.

        • I doubt a judge would uphold that argument if it's based only on semantics. That whole spirit of the law is pretty big nowadays.

          • by greggem (1044620) on Monday July 16, 2012 @01:57PM (#40664777)

            This is correct. I used to be a court reporter. The section regarding "a person who transcribes recorded testimony" exists to cover the independent contractors who take audio recordings from the court reporter and do all the boring typing stuff for us. We have to proofread it against the audio again when we get it back before it can be certified as an official transcript.

            The contention that a witness can't take notes or can't share them afterwards is pretty remarkable.

      • by wiredog (43288)

        I suspect he falls into the category of "a person who transcribes recorded testimony"

      • by sribe (304414)

        It seems from the wording used, that they were trying to claim that his notepad and pen were "a recording device". This of course is complete bullshit, and would go nowhere fast if they actually tried such.

        • by BBTaeKwonDo (1540945) on Monday July 16, 2012 @01:24PM (#40664359)
          Right, especially given the description in 6(e)(1)

          Recording the Proceedings. Except while the grand jury is deliberating or voting, all proceedings must be recorded by a court reporter or by a suitable recording device...

          Seeing as how subsection iv uses the same language:

          (iv) an operator of a recording device;

          Clearly the "recording device" in 6(e)(2)(B)(iv) mentioned is the same as the one in 6(e)(1). It should be pretty clear that (iv) was meant to apply to the person running the audio or video recorder when the proceedings are recorded instead of (or in addition to) using a court reporter.

      • IANAL. One might argue that he qualifies under section (iv) on the basis that a pen and paper constitutes a 'recording device'. One might further argue that he qualifies under section (v) on the basis that converting his paper notes into electronic text constituted a transcription of the aforementioned recording. I think this is clearly nonsense and not the intent of the law, as these appear to be intended to cover those people employed by the court to perform these roles and not some individual who happene
      • Constitutional Right (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        IANAL either, but imagine a proceeding in which anything that the prosecution writes down or records is considered evidence while anything that the defense writes down is considered contempt of court.

        If the prosecution revealed secrets to Mr House, he is not under any obligation to keep them. If Mr. House is found to be breaking the law at the level of the Supreme Court by taking notes at his own interrogation, then the US has just passed into the domain of a fascist state. Similarly, the prosecution has

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      6.e.2.B.v forbids disclosing any transcript of testimony. It would appear the government attorney was correct on the face of it, but if House is charged, it may be found that his record of his own testimony is protected speech.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      Alright - I admire Assange. I despise Manning. House? He's on the positive end of that scale. Anyone with the balls to tell a grand jury to go screw themselves deserves some respect. So - on a scale of 1 to 10, House deserves at least a 4, and probably more.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:30AM (#40662161)

        Why despise Manning. Sure, he didn't do as he was told and leave all the things in secrecy, but if somebody requests something bad of you, sometimes you really shouldn't do as told. Requesting you keep your mouth shut when you find a whole lot of things that are wrong is wrong. Ignoring something bad is nearly as bad as doing something bad. If we all ignore the wrong things because its our job we are doomed.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by cdrguru (88047)

          You are assuming Manning was completely aware of the content he was distributing. As in he reviewed it and found things that he felt should not be secret. I cannot imagine this course of action because the volume of material was just too great. What I'm sure he did was grab a huge pile of stuff he had no knowledge about and dumped it on someone else with the thought "there must be something juicy in here".

          If, however, he had picked out three or ten or even fifty documents and disclosed them he might have

          • by Thaelon (250687)

            How can it be both blind and malicious? The two are mutually exclusive.

          • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday July 16, 2012 @11:17AM (#40663071)

            You're probably right, but on the flipside if it wasn't for Manning various families would still think their fathers/husbands were "missing" somewhere in Iraq. They would never have known that the U.S. military was covering-up the fact they killed those journalists and were hiding the evidence. I think any person who exposes a coverup of that magnitude deserves to be thanked. Just as we thank the people who exposed Watergate, Irangate, and the government guns being shipped to druglords in Mexico.

            • Uhhhh - let's just check in with reality, alright? How many "journalists" were "disappeared"?

              I'm aware of only one. That one dude, the subject of the helicopter attack, who was EMBEDDED in an insurgent unit.

              If you have a list of journalists, I'd sure like to see that list.

          • by Nadaka (224565)

            The most likely scenario is that Manning HAD seen a few things of note in the small % of the data that he did review. And released the whole thing assuming there was more to be found in a pile of data that one man could not review himself in any reasonable time frame. The amount of data involved was huge. It would literally have taken months or years for 1 man to review it all in his spare time.

          • Exactly.

            I'll expand on that, a little.

            Given a half dozen incidents that indicated a trend on the government's part, Manning could have (and should have) contacted a congress critter. If Congress gave him no satisfaction, a "whistle blower" would have taken his facts outside of government, and exposed that trend. Such a person would be deserving of respect.

            As you rightfully point out, Manning had little, if any idea what those millions of pages of documents were all about. He maliciously distributed all t

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            Sorry but you shoot yourself in the foot right there, millions of items. On the Assumption that one Manning did as he was accused he with his brief perusal found criminal activity being hidden and, denied, blatant attempts by the government to pervert the course of justice and the more documents he reviewed the more incidents he came across. To make the idiotically childish claim that he can review millions of documents and then only release the ones that he believes contain evidence of the intent of vario

      • by tqk (413719) <s.keeling@mail.com> on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:56AM (#40662347)

        I admire Assange. I despise Manning. House? He's on the positive end of that scale.

        That seems fairly weird. Manning (allegedly) is the one whose conscience was in play. Manning decided his government was doing evil things and decided they needed to be outed. Assange designed the program that Manning (allegedly) used to do that. Manning (allegedly) did what Assange advocates, yet you admire the latter and despise the former?

        Where did you find that moral code of yours? In a box of CrackerJacks?

        • by GregNorc (801858)
          <blockquote>That seems fairly weird. Manning (allegedly) is the one whose conscience was in play</blockquote>

          One could argue Manning simply wanted to screw over his employer. His employer happened to be the US army. If Manning had worked at McDonalds, maybe he'd just have taken some money from the till.
      • by squentin (39455)

        I like wikileaks, but Assange is a jerk, working with RussiaToday and pretending to fight for the truth, yeah right :(

        • by Joe U (443617)

          From what I hear, most newspaper editors are jerks. Assange is just a modern editor.

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Monday July 16, 2012 @09:35AM (#40662195) Homepage Journal

      Well, I think that reads like "we disagree with your lawyer on your right to make notes of the proceedings".

      because his lawyer(counsel) feels differently on the matter. that means his lawyer was advising that he could take notes. notice how the court didn't actually stop him from making notes, they just made an empty threat - which makes it a pretty fucked up court proceeding worth transcribing. it just means that they weren't comfortable with anyone outside the court actually knowing what's going on and how the tax dollars are at work(tm).

    • I'm more curious as to what Jacob Appelbaum's legal recourse in this is. Clearly he is being targeted by the government for persecution/prosecution. But how can he prove it when all he has is (presumably) illegal evidence? Just another example of how insidious these secret courts/investigations/etc. really are. A citizen is being targeted for persecution for presumably legal activities, and for anyone to even REVEAL that he's being targeted is illegal.

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Monday July 16, 2012 @10:45AM (#40662763) Homepage

    Since he didn't answer anything.

    When I asked House how he might be incriminated by testifying, as he claims by invoking the fifth amendment, he gave me a predictable response: “I invoke.”

    Which is awesome, needless to say - here is clearly someone who doesn't take crap from anyone, and gives not an inch more to authority than he is legally obligated.

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