As Dell Cameron writes:
A leaked document originating from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) reveals that Hammond was considered a “possible terrorist organization member,” and indicates that he was placed on the multi-agency Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), alongside individuals suspected of ties to Al Qaeda, Somalia-based extremists al-Shabaab, and Colombia’s leftist FARC guerilla movement.
The documents also show that law enforcement officials were instructed not to notify Jeremy of his placement in the database if they were to encounter or arrest him.
In November 2014, the AP reported on Jeremy’s motives:
Asked about the larger danger posed by cybercriminals, he laughed at the idea that some consider such attacks as threatening to national security as terrorism.
“I mean, I didn’t kill anybody,” he said.
In an op-ed for the Guardian in December 2014, Jeremy wrote that hacktivists are “hyped as cyber-terrorists to justify the expanding surveillance state.”
Cameron notes that the “TSC redefined terrorism by combining ‘elements from various federal definitions.’ Unlike U.S. law, the TSC’s definition excludes a threat to human life as a prerequisite for terrorist activity.” This expansion coincides with the Obama Administration’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers and journalism, as the US government increasingly equates truthtelling with terrorism and national security threats, charging Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden with “espionage” for releasing documents in the public interest.
Mainstream media outlets have adopted this view uncritically. FAIR observes a telling comparison:
Manning and Snowden were conscientious whistleblowers who risked their lives in order to expose official wrongdoing. Journalists around the world have used the information they shared in order to inform citizens about things the government would prefer to keep quiet about. Hassan and Alexis are known because of senseless, deadly acts of violence.
The idea that exposing secret abuses is tantamount to terrorism is designed to instill fear in those who would otherwise seek to make this type of information known.