My Letter to Judge Lindsey

Leniency letter on behalf of Barrett Brown, journalist jailed now for over two years, follows. I sent this via Barrett’s attorneys and don’t know for certain that it was submitted. It did not follow the guidelines set forth as recommended, but then I figured how many people can say that they benefited personally and directly from Barrett Brown’s reporting, especially that which got him into trouble with protectors of the criminal elite?

November 7, 2014

The Honorable Sam A. Lindsay
United States District Judge
1100 Commerce Street
Dallas, Texas 75242

Subject: Sentencing of Journalist Barrett Brown

The Honorable Sam A. Lindsay:

My name is Christopher Clark Knall. I am primarily a fiction writer these days, though I also take the odd computer or other job as they come. From 1991 until 2010, I was a real estate consultant in New York City, working in Rockefeller Center after having moved from Tennessee and Kentucky where my parents live and I went to college respectively. For most of that time, I worked for and later along side my mentor, the late Robert W. Athey. A proud Texan and a brilliant man, I owe a great deal of my success in the field and to understanding how to manage large projects to his tutelage.

It is a long and complicated story as to how I came to learn about Barrett Brown. Mr. Brown and I were contemporaries in Brooklyn during his stay there, though I was unaware of that at the time. More recently, I familiarized myself with Mr. Brown’s writing on a wide range of topics, such as restaurant reviews and engaging citizens in the voting process. This latter is something very much needed; only 1/3 of eligible voters took part in midterms earlier this week. In addition, Mr. Brown discovered that there is a sizable private intelligence contractor industry and that it engages both in practices beyond what the average citizen would deem appropriate and without proper oversight from Congress, being one step further removed as contractors. Additionally, it may engage in operations that are not specifically approved by the government for third parties.

Despite the potentially disturbing nature of this phenomenon, Mr. Brown also serves as a satirist and uses humor to good effect. This provides the “spoonful of sugar” to go down with the “medicine” that every healthy society must have in order to improve itself, in order to have a more informed public. How can we fix broken pieces of our system without someone there to point out those broken pieces? We need someone, like Barrett Brown, to explain the complexities of how such problems occur and how they can best be addressed.

As I stated above, it is a long story about how I came to learn about these things, but it was indeed related to the private, so-called national security, industry. Your Honor would be shocked, as would any American to learn just how far some of the individuals within this industry will go. As a layman where the law is concerned, I am not at all clear as to how such actions are justified legally. I can only tell you that when, because one day the books on this will be laid ope, the American public learn about what happened to me and others like me, they will be outraged that this was allowed to occur and continue on the soil of the United States of America.

In any case, it was in part the reporting and other writing of Barrett Brown that I learned about these private companies and their relationship to the national security sector. Without this key piece, and subsequent reporting by others on this topic by others afterward, I might still be largely scratching my head wondering if anyone got the “license plate of that semi that ran me over.” The result of their (alleged) covert action was the loss of my many personal relationships including my longterm one, my reputation, my home, my career, my health to an extent, my savings, many belongings, and more.

I owe Barrett Brown a debt. In addition, one day it will be firmly established that the American people as a whole do as well. It is my hope that the path to that day will start now, with Your Honor giving Mr. Brown leniency in sentencing, that of time already served.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Chris Knall
[Phone Number – subsequently disconnected]


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