Sunday, January 15, 2012

Virginia Supreme Court Justice Bernard Goodwyn Observes that Attorney General Cuccinelli Wants Carte Blanche

Last Thursday, January 12, 2012, the Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and the University of Virginia in connection with Cuccinelli's allegation that the famous climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann may have committed fraud against Virginia taxpayers. Cuccinelli wants to use a civil investigative demand (CID) to get Dr. Mann's emails. I am not a lawyer, but a civil investigative demand in Virginia to uncover fraud against taxpayers seems to require probable cause, just like any subpoena:

Each civil investigative demand issued under this article shall state the nature of the conduct constituting the alleged violation of a false claims law that is under investigation, and the applicable provision of law alleged to be violated.

Cuccinelli denies global warming, and his father is a lobbyist for the natural gas industry.  Cuccinelli wants the University to hand over Dr. Mann's emails without probable cause so he can mischaracterize what the emails mean and discredit climate science. The tyrant wants to abuse his power to do the same thing as the hacker-criminals who stole scientists' emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU).

The PilotOnline (1-13-2012) reports that Supreme Court Justice S. Bernard Goodwyn told Cuccinelli's underling W. Russell“You want us, I guess, to give you carte blanche.” It seems to me that Justice Goodwyn is alluding to the fact that Cuccinelli lacks probable cause. Cuccinelli was already refused his civil investigative demand from a lower court on the grounds that he lacked probable cause.

Cuccinelli poses as a person who is defending us from a tyrannical federal government, but I think that Cuccinelli is the tyrant. Cuccinelli is so disingenuous that he even claims that his civil investigative demand is not about climate change but only about some alleged fraud. I think the only people misusing our tax dollars are the demagogue Cuccinelli and the fossil-fuel interests he serves.

Climate Crocks (12-22-11) wonders whether the CRU hacking can be "characterized as a simple cybercrime — or are there elements of cyber-terrorism involved?" Climate Crocks observes that cyber-terrorism expert Bruce Schneier notes:

What I’ve been thinking about is whether the hack was intended to intimidate, threaten or bully. Then the crime becomes an effort to stop people from doing legitimate research. So, it is not just a data theft, but has a goal of creating a chilling effect, a threat, an intimidation.

A chilling effect is what the tyrannical bully Ken Cuccinelli is no doubt trying to achieve with his lawless inquisition, but the University of Virginia and Michael Mann are not backing down.

Here is an interesting interview (12-4-09) about cyber-terrorism and cyber-crime with the FBI official Shawn Henry. Mr. Henry was appointed executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch on September 15, 2010. In this position, he is responsible for all FBI criminal and cyber investigations worldwide, as well as international operations and critical incident response.

Network World (12-19-11) reports Shawn Henry's warning to "hacktivists":

"When anybody breaches a network and steals data and then publicizes it--whether they're from a foreign country and they're using the data to help their country's industry, they sell it as an organized crime group, or they just display it because they think the company they stole it from is acting inappropriately--the fact that the data is stolen is a violation of federal law," he says, his voice rising with conviction. "Hacktivism is no different from organized crime groups or foreign governments. It's the exact same activity, perhaps done for a different reason or purpose, and it's all still illegal." 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some reason, I couldn't get the PilotOnline link to work. Maybe this one?

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops it's working now ... never mind!

Anyway, I get the impression that Cuccinelli is going to get very far with this appeal. Judges don't like to give "carte blanche" (a.k.a. fishing expeditions), and Cuccinelli has not even been able to articulate what laws might have been broken, much less show any evidence of it.

5:56 PM  

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