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Hacker Adrian Lamo Wins, Won't Have to Give the FBI his Blood


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For ex-hacker Adrian Lamo, victory over federal prosecutors comes in the form of eight cheek swabs.

Last year, Lamo earned the disapproval of his probation officer in the closing months of his two year probation term when he refused to provide a blood sample for the FBI's DNA database.

The  Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, was created to catalog violent criminals and sexual predators, but the 2004 Justice for All Act expanded the system to include samples from all newly convicted federal felons, including drug offenders and white-collar criminals.

Lamo objected, not to the FBI having his DNA, but to the government drawing his blood. He claimed in a June 2006 court filing that he held deep religious objections to having his blood drawn, based on the biblical book of Genesis. From his declaration (the King James Version):

The Book of Genesis leaves unambiguous this matter. Therein, those who would spill the blood of man are rebuked as follows: "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." Genesis 9:6 (New International Version). Under this admonition, not only would I be blinding myself to the direct instructions of scripture by shedding blood, but I would similarly be casting whomever facilitated this act into sin, multiplying my culpability.

Neither is this a sole warning, though a lone warning in scripture would carry no less weight than a multitude. When Cain slew Abel, the first words the Lord gave to him were "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." Cain had not only killed, but he had spilled blood, and done so in sin, and this was first and foremost in the Lord's rebuke to Cain.

To the contrary, the scripture is replete with references to the Lord calling for blood to be put to use for His own purposes. Clearly, while blood may flow, this is reserved for the Lord to decree, and not for His servants.

Lamo offered to give a hair sample or cheek swab instead of blood, but federal  probation officer Michael Sipe filed a notice of violation in U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Northern California asking the judge to put Lamo in jail.  Lamo's two year probation term -- for famously hacking the New York Times in 2002 --  expired while the DNA case was pending, but he's still faced the prospect of jail time for refusing the blood draw.

No longer. On Wednesday, the Justice Department formally settled the case, filing a joint stipulation (.pdf) along with Lamo's federal public defender dropping the demand for blood, and accepting cheek swabs instead. The filing cites a March decision in the same jurisdiction that came down on the defendant's side in a nearly identical case.

Accordingly, the parties seek an order requiring Mr. Lamo to submit to buccal sample collection within 30 days -- on a date to be arranged through his counsel, the prosecutor and the probation officer -- by reporting to the United States Probation Office in Sacramento, where eight (8) buccal swabs will be collected from Mr. Lamo by an authorized representative of the FBI, who will take custody of the swabs and make arrangements to have them transported to the FBI laboratory or its authorized representative. The eight samples will be taken to ensure that enough DNA material is collected to effectuate analysis and storage of the DNA sample and to obviate the need to keep the violation petition open while the analysis and uploading to CODIS takes place -- a process that will not happen immediately.

THREAT LEVEL would never question the sincerity of someone's religious beliefs. And even a skeptical mind would would have to concede that there's a kind of Biblical irony in the fact that some poor FBI clerk now has to pick up and carry away a packet of Adrian Lamo's cheek scrapings like it was the Ark of the Covenant.

"I intend to vigorously comply with the proposed court order," Lamo said in a telephone call Wednesday night. "They've requested eight samples, but I've never been one to do the minimum. I'm willing to give up 16, or 32. Any other power of two that they want."

http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/06/h...r-adrian-l.html

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/05/70869

I have no idea about this whole thing but reading up on how slick he likes to appear...I smell some tainted cheese. Not to dis him of course, anyone that finds tons of security flaws in shit, reports it and not abuse it gets a stamp in my book.  8-)

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To me, that prosecuter was full of shit. Lamo clearly stated the motivation for his refusal, and offered full cooperation to an alternative method that would yield the same results at arguably similar costs. It also sets a nice precedent to others that prefer not dealing with needles, and on the whole it seems like a considerably cleaner way of getting the job done.

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To me, that prosecuter was full of shit. Lamo clearly stated the motivation for his refusal, and offered full cooperation to an alternative method that would yield the same results at arguably similar costs. It also sets a nice precedent to others that prefer not dealing with needles, and on the whole it seems like a considerably cleaner way of getting the job done.

I read the article quickly and I was preoccupied and now I will have to agree with you. He was still offring DNA evidence that is still as good as blood, just not blood. Dicks.

Then again, it would be a very crafty way of obtaining house arrest...to a homeless hacker.  :-o

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