CNN screws up interview with Kevin Mitnick

CNN on Friday published an interview with the infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick, and the interview is a fascinating look into what Mitnick is doing now that he’s out of prison and no longer on parole. However, CNN got a few vital facts wrong.

The interview starts off with the obligatory introduction:

To many, the name Kevin Mitnick is synonymous with hacking, the cinematic sort where a snot-nosed kid thumbs his nose at authority. But, Mitnick says, the characterization is a bit overdone and the legend untrue, if not libelous.

It is true, he says, that he broke into corporate computer systems and stole source code to satisfy his curiosity, but he denies the stories that he hacked into NORAD — North American Aerospace Defense Command — or that he wiretapped the FBI.

After a well-publicized pursuit that made him notorious, the FBI arrested Mitnick in 1995. He served five years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of wire and computer fraud. He was released in 2000 and today runs a computer security firm. In a telephone interview with CNN’s Manav Tanneeru, Mitnick talks about his past, the state of online security today, and how he handles what his name has come to mean. — CNN

Mitnick spent five years in jail, but that wasn’t after he was found guilty. In fact, he was held for almost four of those five years without trial. The prosecution and court did everything they could to prevent Mitnick from getting a fair trial, such as denying him and his lawyer access to evidence for months at a time. In the end, they prevented him from getting a trial at all, and forced him to plead guilty to put an end to the suffering.

Yes, this sort of thing happens right here in these United States, whether CNN chooses to report it or not.

I have not forgotten the utter perversion of justice that was perpetrated on Kevin Mitnick, and if you aren’t familiar with it, Free Kevin has a fairly complete chronicle of events.

To be sure, no one denies that Mitnick committed some crimes. Not even he denies it. What has gone ignored by most of the mainstream media is the fact that the feds have made a mockery of our justice system, denying Mitnick both a speedy and fair trial and any semblance of due process.

And he’s not the only one they’ve done this to.

You think you’re living in a free country? Just wait until you have an opinion the government doesn’t like, and try to express it. You could be arrested and herded through a compound with a thousand other people with no contact with the outside world for days, all for speaking your mind.

This isn’t the country I was told I grew up in.

(Via /. who didn’t get it right either.)