'Abuse of power': Legal experts blast Barr DOJ’s use of secret grand jury to unmask Devin Nunes parody Twitter account
Attorney General Bill Barr's Dept. of Justice, in a possibly illegal move, used used its full weight and power to try to determine the identity of the person behind a Twitter account parodying a top Trump-supporting congressman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
On November 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice, via a secret grand jury, served Twitter, Inc. with not only a subpoena ordering the social media company to reveal the identity of Twitter user "@NunesAlt," but also with a gag order requiring the company to not reveal the existence of the subpoena, The Daily Beast reports.
The Wall Street Journal's Kevin Poulsen shows that Twitter recently tried to quash the subpoena:
This was just unsealed. In the last weeks of the Trump administration, William Barr's Justice Department tried to u… https://t.co/9lBXDSfOfQ— kpoulsen (@kpoulsen) 1621272650.0
It's not that the Twitter account was posting state secrets or classified government intelligence. The account's bio even reads: "Yes, it's parody."
So what does @NunesAlt, aka "Devin Nunes' Alt-Mom," tweet?
A random selection:
I'm going to tell my grandkids that this was Pizzagate. https://t.co/Lp4BP04JKt— Devin Nunes' Alt-Mom (@Devin Nunes' Alt-Mom) 1609134689.0
Translation: I betrayed my country in a desperate late-stage ploy to gain power in the twilight of my lackluster po… https://t.co/SQjzIVqfPd— Devin Nunes' Alt-Mom (@Devin Nunes' Alt-Mom) 1610427060.0
Legal experts are expressing outrage.
NBC News and MSNBC Legal Contributor:
@kpoulsen @NunesAlt All hail @DevinCow and @NunesAlt. Long live @DevinCow and @NunesAlt!— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang) 1621278657.0
Former federal prosecutor Ken White, now a criminal defense, white collar crime and First Amendment litigation attorney:
This is absolutely outrageous. https://t.co/mVBlpfb4mF— EveryKneeShallBowHat (@EveryKneeShallBowHat) 1621278931.0
First Amendment and defamation lawyer, and Free Speech Counsel at TechFreedom, a tech policy think tank:
Let's be clear about this: the DOJ attempting to secretly unmask a social media account that parodies an elected of… https://t.co/Qa3mRhLmP8— Ari Cohn (@Ari Cohn) 1621282211.0
National security lawyer:
Clearly a great use of time and resources by DOJ https://t.co/u7eS2uYBZn— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss) 1621276232.0
Former Federal Prosecutor:
Every day we learn about more corruption in Bill Barr’s DOJ. They actually served a grand jury subpoena on Twitter… https://t.co/TvL4PzSjZ2— Ron Filipkowski (@Ron Filipkowski) 1621279212.0
I repeat, Bill Barr was HANDS DOWN, the worst, most venal, corrupt and immoral Attorney General America has EVER ha… https://t.co/jI5H5bI97D— Pam Keith, Esq. (@Pam Keith, Esq.) 1621281757.0
So while extremist groups were openly talking about their plan to use violence to keep Trump in power, the DOJ—fill… https://t.co/pFyL9fsNND— Max Kennerly (@Max Kennerly) 1621282569.0
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