Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Your divorce documents are over here!

Vikileaks creator faces challenges committee's authority
Ex-Liberal staffer called to answer questions about how he used Twitter to reveal personal details about Vic Toews

By Laura Payton
Tueaday, April 24, 2012

The former Liberal staffer who set up a Twitter account to publicize details from the divorce filings of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says the documents were available in a filing cabinet in the Liberal Research Bureau.

Adam Carroll resigned from his position in the Liberal Party's research bureau when House of Commons IT staff traced the computer that had been posting to the social media site to him.

The documents are publicly available at a courthouse in Manitoba, Carroll said, but he got them out of a filing cabinet in the party's research office.

The admission led to questioning by Conservative MPs about who runs the research bureau and who would have gone to the courthouse to retrieve the documents.

Carroll kicked off his committee appearance by arguing MPs usurped the authority of the House Speaker and the Committee's Chair by overruling the chair's finding that it falls outside their mandate. Carroll says the Conservative MPs who voted to overrule the Chair are showing disregard for the rules, and that he's appearing voluntarily because he respects Parliament and wants to close the matter.

An account on Twitter under the username vikileaks30 had been sending 140-character quotes from Toews and his ex-wife's divorce filings, noting in the first few tweets that it was in retaliation for Toews' online surveillance Bill. The Bill, C-30, sparked a huge public backlash over provisions that gave police more power to demand customer information from internet service providers, among other problems.

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae apologized to Toews when he announced that one of his party's staffers was behind the tweets, which went on for a few days.

'Acted on my own'

Carroll says he acted on his own and didn't tell Rae what he was doing.

"I was never ordered, nor asked to do it. I never discussed my actions with any member of Parliament, including the interim leader of the Liberal party. I acted on my own," he said.

Carroll says he broke no laws and didn't breach any House of Commons policies.

"All information I posted was already on the public record, obtained from accessible sources."

At least one member of the loosely organized hacker group Anonymous also picked up on the divorce documents and posted videos online threatening to reveal more personal details about Toews' life if he didn't scrap the Bill. Toews raised the issue in a question of privilege in the House of Commons and Speaker Andrew Scheer ruled the videos were a direct threat to him and all MPs. MPs voted to send the matter to the procedure and House Affairs Committee.

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro moved at the Ethics Committee to have Carroll appear over his use of House of Commons resources to make anonymous attacks on an MP. He was due to appear in March but rescheduled due to health reasons.

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