Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Virginia Woman Charged With ... Talking About Stuff?


The Associated Press version of this story (the only version I've seen, on several mainstream media sites -- here's the Fox News instance) opens with:

A Virginia woman faces a federal charge after being accused of promoting the Islamic State in social media and offering to help an undercover agent get a friend into Syria to join the extremist group.

Later on, the story seems to change the claim to only a single charge being involved: "[M]aking a materially false statement about an offense involving terrorism."

Two things:

  1. Does "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..." ring any bells? If the US Constitution is still operative as "the Supreme Law of the Land" it is not -- it cannot be -- illegal to "promot[e] the Islamic State in social media."
  2. No one has any moral obligation not to lie to a government agent. Nor do government agents recognize any obligation, moral or legal, not to lie to us.
This woman sounds stupid, crazy or both, but being stupid and/or crazy isn't a crime. If it was, Lindsay Graham would spend his days in the Florence, Colorado Supermax rather than on Capitol Hill.

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