You can’t fight city hall, and you better not try.
As I fight on with my computer intrusion lawsuit against the U.S. government, it seems to intersect more clearly with current events every day. And it points to an even larger story.
How widespread is improper government surveillance of journalists, politicians and other U.S. citizens in the name of the fight against terrorism? A few of us found out we were targeted only because we were lucky enough to be alerted by inside sources or other unique ways. How many others were targeted, monitored and watched by government officials but still have no idea it happened?
Who is behind the move to use government surveillance tools against innocent Americans? Do some of these officials still work inside the government? Were some of them the very same officials now implicated in alleged surveillance abuses during Campaign 2016?
Oh, I think those questions pretty much answer themselves, thanks. That we have such a high-handed, abusive government that such questions must come up at all is the deeper outrage. That we’re meek, intimidated enough little lambs to tolerate it with no more vociferous complaint than a little quiet muttering among ourselves is even worse.
This case is further complicated by the fact that the Department of Justice would normally be expected to launch a national security or criminal probe into an unlawful computer intrusion of a journalist. A civil suit wouldn’t be necessary to obtain accountability, it would be handled by government prosecutors. But in this case, the Department of Justice is also “the accused.” And they’ve shown no desire to seriously investigate themselves; quite the opposite.
When the would-be investigators are the ones who are accused, how does an alleged victim get justice?
The civil suit is a costly alternative. The person filing it is required to self-finance his own pursuit of justice.
In my case, not only are there ongoing forensics fees, as we continue to uncover evidence; and not only are there legal fees, even with lawyers providing a generous discount and donating much of their own time; but there are also arcane fees that tell their own outrageous story.
It may be interesting to look at some of the numbers.
For example, when it came time to print our brief to submit to the U.S. Court of Appeals, I figured I could have printed it at home for about a $20 cost in terms of ink and paper. I could have had it printed at a professional printing center for about $40.
But in our legal system, those aren’t options. The procedures require us to have the brief professionally printed and bound in a book format. And only certain companies may be used for this service.
So how much was it to print the briefing in the required format?
Instead of $20, it was $4,367.70.
Just to print a brief.
As for attorney’s fees, my appellate attorney was kind enough to offer a deep discount, and his law students generously donated some of their time. But the cost of the work just for the appeal alone — a few months of the four years of legal work to date — totaled over $100,000.
You can see how justice quickly becomes cost-prohibitive and simply out of reach.
Yep. That’s the whole idea. Although it’s not out of reach for all of us; the rich, influential, or connected can still buy some for themselves, as much as they need.
That’s Last Real Journalist Sharyl Attkisson recounting her process-is-the-punishment ordeal above—an ordeal which will likely bankrupt her, ruin her life, and drag on for many years. Fortunately, she’s being assisted by a group organized on her behalf by some good, dauntless folks unafraid to beard the dragon in its very lair; their GoFundMe donation page is here, so consider kicking in a little if you can. These valiant souls are fighting the good fight against a relentless foe with boundless power, resources, guile, and evil intent at its disposal, and are deserving of the support.