A top Senate Republican is suggesting the federal government harshly prosecuted Aaron Swartz because the Internet activist asked for too much information.After Swartz killed himself last week in his New York apartment, his family said prosecutors’ criminal hacking case spurred the 26-year-old to take his own life.
But Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, has a totally different take.
In a letter sent Friday to Attorney General Eric Holder, Cornyn is questioning whether prosecutors were too overzealous in the case, The Washington Times reported Friday.
Cornyn wonders if the government was trying to get back at Swartz for making too many Freedom of Information Act requests.
“Was the prosecution of Mr. Swartz in any way retaliation for his exercise of his rights as a citizen under the Freedom of Information Act?” Cornyn said in the letter. “If so, I recommend that you refer the matter immediately to the Inspector General.”
Swartz has a long history of questioning the government.
The activist filed his first FOIA request in 2010, reportedly looking for information about himself.
Just two months before he died Swartz asked the US Mint for copies of its 2005 survey that found 147 million adults still collect state quarters, The Public Record reported Friday.
Cornyn’s suggestion that Swartz’s FOIA requests led to his prosecution comes following fringe conspiracy theories about how his death had something to do with his political stance towards The White House.
Iran’s Press TV said Swartz was openly critical of President Barack Obama’s supposed “kill list” and bashed the administration for launching cyber attacks against Iran.
And blogger Sorcha Faal has cited a report from the Kremlin that states Swartz was “‘in all probability’ suicided by forces loyal to the Obama regime seeking to ‘set an example’ for other dissident forces opposed to the American government’s continued crackdown on leakers of US secrets.”
Bottom line: The implication that the prosecution had anything to do with DC politics, and not choices made by the DA, is far outside of what anyone in the mainstream is suggesting.
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