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“Enemies of the State”: New film on Matt DeHart

Enemies of the State (2020) - IMDb

Sonia Kennebeck, who has made whistleblower documentaries her specialty, from “National Bird,” on drone whistleblowers including Daniel Hale, to “United States vs Reality Winner,” has a new film out today, “Enemies of the State,” on the story of Matt DeHart.

A New York Times Critics’ Pick, the film, produced by veteran documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, is a study in how to investigate the truth in a complex story of competing narratives. Kennebeck told Mother Jones,

“It’s a film about the truth, or how to seek the truth, in a world where we have so much contradicting information and secrets, and narratives that are spreading so quickly over the internet and over social media.”

The result, The Guardian writes, is a

“postmodern documentary in that it shows its own working, like the inside-out Pompidou Centre in Paris or Martin Amis putting a character called Martin Amis in his novel Money. We join Kennebeck in following the trail of crumbs and share her uncertainty about where it will lead.”

The New Republic reviews the film alongside Kennebeck’s “United States vs Reality Winner”: “Sonia Kennebeck’s Grim Documentaries About Whistleblowers Expose the Excesses of the National Security State

While their stories differ in the particulars, Winner and DeHart belong to a growing club of whistleblowers, dissidents, political prisoners, hackers, information activists, former intelligence officers, and other distinctive characters who have come under the withering gaze of the national security state. Some have been prosecuted and jailed; all have suffered materially and personally. The very facts of their stories are sometimes subject to debate, but each story must be told, because each is an outrage, a civil libertarian nightmare that persists long after the camera goes dark.

The somber truth at the heart of Kennebeck’s films is not just that agencies like the FBI or NSA operate according to their own logic of secret governance; it’s that the problems they produce might be insoluble. As Matt DeHart’s father suggests, there is practically  nowhere a person can go to protect himself from the United States—unless he has the bizarre misfortune, as Edward Snowden did, to end up stuck in the Moscow airport, passport canceled, while in flight from American authorities. There is no easy escape from the watchful gaze and political influence of a globe-straddling empire. But no matter how many times the U.S. government makes an example of people like Reality Winner, it’s clear that some insiders will only feel more emboldened to risk their safety to leak information in the public interest. Or as Snowden put it, simply and hopefully, “There will be others.”

Update: Matt DeHart’s release and conditions

Matt is in a transitional program with a scheduled release date to Leann and Paul’s home on October 3rd, 2019.

In some ways the hardest part of his ordeal is yet to come. He will have to live under a list of over 20 onerous federal release conditions for a period of at least 10 years. As just one example, imagine taking classes, applying for a job, or working in any office environment if you were forbidden from using a computer or any other electronic device which could access the Internet. Imagine having to search to find the only mobile telephone carrier still offering 2G service because you are not allowed to have a phone which can access the Internet. Imagine a probation officer coming to inspect your house or your place of employment unannounced any time day or night. Imagine you are not allowed to have a beer or a glass of wine ever because all alcohol is forbidden even though you have never had a substance abuse problem. Imagine having every aspect of your daily life subject to inspection, dissection, and allegorical vivisection by the officials of the government who tortured you. Matt and his family express their deepest appreciation to Courage and to all those around the world who continue to support him.

Matt’s parents have started a fundraiser to help Matt transition out of prison, to help pay for education, dental work, counseling, and other costs. Help Matt with a donation here.

BOP rejects Matt DeHart’s appeal to reinstate time-served

Bureau fails to provide due process; DeHart will legally contest decision

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has rejected Matt DeHart’s administrative appeal to restore his time-served credit that was revoked late last year. When Matt arrived at FCI Ashland in April 2016, his release date was listed as September 2018, meaning that the 14 months he spent detained in a Canadian prison would be credited toward his sentence as time served. Late in 2017, the BOP unilaterally changed Matt’s release date, revoking that credited time and effectively extending his sentence by 14 months.

Matt has worked for months to appeal that decision, challenging the revocation as well as the BOP’s authority to rescind credited time with no due process whatsoever. Matt was never given a hearing to be officially notified of the extended sentence, let alone an opportunity to defend himself and contest the decision before it was made. Matt’s mother Leann DeHart has recounted the ways in which the BOP has made it incredibly difficult to even lodge a complaint, such as giving Matt documents after the deadline he was given to fill them out. This is the exact type of bureaucratic difficulty that Barrett Brown has documented in his own efforts to appeal BOP decisions. Similarly, fellow Courage beneficiary Jeremy Hammond has recently learned that his prison is implementing new harsh mail restrictions, but he can’t get an answer as to whether it’s an official new policy, let alone any documentation to that effect.

The BOP has finally responded to Matt’s appeal; their response can be found below. The BOP recounts Matt’s ordeal, but their timeline ends in February 2016, meaning it omits Matt’s arrival at FCI Ashland and his then-release date of September 2018. Rather than addressing that release date directly, the BOP simply says, “Credit for prior custody; official detention does not include time spent in custody pursuant to a final determination of deportability. An inmate being held pending a civil deportation determination is not being held in “official” detention pending charges,” citing 18 U.S.C. 3585(b). The BOP says it has the “responsibility to update [Matt’s] federal sentence computation to ensure it has been computed as directed be federal statute.”

But Matt is given no option to contest the BOP’s contention that his detention – in criminal facilities – was “civil.” And nowhere does the BOP explain why Matt was given no due process in this decision, or why it “updated” his sentencing computation when they did, more than a year after his arrival at FCI Ashland.

The BOP is incredibly cavalier about this extremely serious matter. By thwarting Matt’s efforts to merely appeal this new release date, the BOP has added to the mental distress caused by the extended sentence in the first place. Matt is simply expected to live with the fact that he’s to spend more than an extra full year in prison – and who’s to say it won’t be extended again?

Now that Matt has exhausted all administrative avenues for redress, he will challenge the arbitrary decision in court.

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Hundreds sign petition to restore Matt DeHart’s time served credit

Five hundred and seventy-one people have signed a petition to restore Matt DeHart’s credit for time he spent in a Canadian prison. When Matt signed a plea deal back in 2015, he did so with a commitment from the court and the US government that his prison sentence would account for the fourteen months he spent jailed in Canada. The Bureau of Prisons subsequently made the unilateral decision to revoke that time served, effectively extending Matt’s prison term by more than a year.

Matt has been working to appeal the decision, but as his mother noted in a January blog post, the BOP has stymied his efforts at due process. The General Counsel is reviewing Matt’s appeal, and a final decision on the matter is due by 24 March. The petition is now closed so its creator, Kristen Collins, can submit it to the BOP before the ruling.

You can send Matt a letter of support here and donate to his commissary and defense fund here.

Leann DeHart: birthday visitation

Matt DeHart’s mother Leann has committed to write something every day for her son. She blogs at We will cross-post some of her pieces here; see the full archive at her site. This post is from day 94. Matt DeHart turned 32 on 11 June 2016, his fifth birthday in prison.

Day 94 Birthday visitation

12 June 2016

Today is Saturday. Today Paul and I were able to spend 7 hours with Matt on his birthday. We bought him a hamburger and ice cream from the vending machines and we talked about whatever we wanted to talk about.

The visitation room was fairly crowded but that did not impede upon our visit.
Matt said he he was so thankful for all the birthday cards, some books and some magazines. There are 100 guys in his section and he received two thirds of the mail at mail call this past week.:)

He was particularly touched by a supporter from LA who sent him 16 cards! Some of the guys in his section made a card and several signed it wishing him a Happy Birthday.

Today, we spoke about how blessed we all feel to have wonderful people all over supporting us. It makes us feel like we are holding hands across the world.

A very special and heartfelt thanks to the Courage Foundation for retweeting Matt’s birthday, for all the effort and love FreeAnons has done to support my son, AnonymousVideo for the commitment to sharing Matt’s information, and to all of Matt’s and our supporters who constantly check in on us and make us feel like we are all in this together.

Peace, love, and gobs of gratitude dear souls.

Happy Birthday, Matt. We are so proud of you!

Matt DeHart turns 32 on 11 June: show your support!

Anonymous-affiliated courier and former US Air National Guard intelligence analyst Matt DeHart turns 32 on 11 June 2016 — show him your support by wishing him a happy birthday with a card or letter this week.

Write to Matt at this address:

Matthew Paul DeHart, #06813-036
FCI Ashland
Federal Correctional Instituion
P.O. Box 6001
Ashland, KY 41105

Matt DeHart’s mother Leann has committed to write something every day for her son. She blogs at We have begun cross-posting some of her articles, including this piece on visiting Matt for six hours last month:

Matt looks great! He has a tan. He is dressed in Khakis and as Adrian Humphrey’s once commented on Matt’s smile as being large and goofy…there it was lighting up his whole face.

Six hours. We got to spend six hours and some folks there suggested we get games because one runs out of things to say after an hour. But, as you might imagine, the DeHarts did not run out of things to say. It is the only time we can talk without being monitored. Trust me, we had much to say.

Thank you to all of those who wanted to send wishes and hugs; they were delivered..:)

See the rest of Leann’s blog here, and note important guidelines for how to write Matt here. Donate to Matt’s support fund here.

Leann DeHart: persistence to the truth in the face of extreme risk

Matt DeHart’s mother Leann has committed to write something every day for her son. She blogs at We will cross-post some of her pieces here; see the full archive at her site. This post is from day 79.

Day 79 persistence to the truth in the face of extreme risk

28 May 2016

Today is Friday. Today, I copied part 3 and 4 of Adrian Humphreys epic 5 part series on Matt to send to my son. He has never gotten a chance to read the entire piece in one sitting.

As I was reading through the story, I was struck on how long this battle has been going on and how my son has never wavered from speaking the truth of what he knows and what has happened.

Today, I saw that the Courage Foundation has taken on Chelsea Manning. I salute all of those associated with Courage for supporting those like Chelsea who had the courage to tell truth; to shine a light in darkness at a very very costly price.

Today, I thought about many people through history who have risked their reputations, their possessions, their freedom and their very lives to stand up and against those who are morally and ethically corrupt and those who perpetrate great evil upon others.

Today, I want to recognize some of the people who have made an impact on on me and how I look at the world:

William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833)

Mr.Wilberforce was a English member of parliament and social reformer who was very influential in the abolition of the slave trade and eventually slavery itself in the British empire.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945)

He was involved in the resistance in WW2 against Hitler and the Nazis. Herr Bonhoeffer stood against the churches which had allied themselves with the government under extreme nationalism. He was hung April just before the regime collapsed.

Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

President Mandela was an activist and a revolutionary against apartheid. He served 27 years in prison. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Pete Seeger (1919 – 2014)

He was a social activist. Seeger supported civil and labor rights, racial equality, international understanding, and anti-militarism He believed music and songs were instruments to help change the world.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)

MLK was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement and opposed war. He believed in non violent civil disobedience and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through non violence. He was murdered.

Frank Serpico (1936-

Frank blew the whistle on brutality and corruption within the NYPD. He was the first officer to testify against another officer before the Knapp Commission. He was shot during a drug raid and survived, but no other officers came to his aid.

Thomas Drake (1957-

Mr. Drake is a former senior executive of the NSA, a decorated Air Force and Navy veteran, He is a whistleblower regarding the Trailblazer Project. He has received the Ridenhour Prize for Truthtelling. He still speaks out today against mass surveillance.

John Kiriakou (1964-

A CIA analyst, Mr. Kiriakou blew the whistle on the CIA’s horrible use of waterboarding as a use of torture. He spent 30 months in prison under the Obama administration.

Julian Assange (1971-

Mr. Assange is an computer programmer from Australia. He is a publisher, journalist and the editor in chief of WikiLeaks. He has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy for 5 years now as a result of seeking asylum for bogus charges in Sweden. His fear is that of being extradited to the US. He is being persecuted for exposing corruption and lies that governments work to hide.

Chelsea Manning (1987-

She is a soldier who was convicted in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act after disclosing to WikiLeaks a trove of classified or unclassified but sensitive military and diplomatic documents. The “Collateral Murder” video she released showed the murder of Reuters journalists and civilians by US military personnel. Chelsea was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison.

And I would like to recognize a few people others who inspire me to live courageously:

Stanley Cohen (1953-

An attorney, an activist, a writer and my friend. Stanley has represented hackers, occupiers, anti-war protesters, clerics, the homeless and he is a ardent believer in human rights. He spent 18 months in prison (drummed up tax charges).

Jesselyn Radack (1970-

A whistleblower exposing ethical violations against the FBI. She is an amazing lawyer who sticks her neck out for whistleblowers, hactivists and journalists.

My friend, Ray, who I will keep his identity unknown, is an activist, a lover of humanity. He risks his own life and health to aid journalists, activists, and whistleblowers. He works tirelessly with his influence and resources to secure freedom for , bring world attention to, and supports those he feels impassioned to help.

Matthew DeHart (1984-

Anonymous hactivist, pacifist, and defender of the weak, Matthew came across information that implicated the three letter agencies in criminal activity and coverup. He was tortured, smeared with CP allegations, forced into a plea and sentenced to 90 months in prison for which he has served a majority of the time in pretrial detention.

There is a persistence with integrity. There is a commitment to the truth. There is sacrifice for the welfare of others. There is a rare kind of courage that stands alone from the millions of foot soldiers. And when some of us see this courage and hear the truth, we are moved, we are awakened from the fog of propaganda, ignorance, fear, and apathy, and thus, we are moved to live courageously.

Leann DeHart: Visitation

Matt DeHart’s mother Leann has committed to write something every day for her son. She blogs at We will cross-post some of her pieces here; see the full archive at her site. This post is from day 73.

Day 73 Visitation

22 May 2016

Today is Saturday. Today, I had the privilege of seeing my son, Matt, and hugging him (more than once).

Today, Paul and I started at 8:00 am trying to get through security prior to seeing Matt. After filling out forms and making sure ID’s, ones and fives adding up to less than $20 and our car key was placed in a plastic bag, we were directed to walk through the metal detector.

As usual, I did not pass. I always set off metal detectors. Maybe it’s my magnetic personality. The two guards looked at me and asked me to remove my glasses. Nope, didn’t work. Now they asked me to remove the metal buttons on the pockets of my jeans. You mean I had to rip my buttons off?

“If you don’t get rid of the metal, you can’t go through,” one guard informed me.

Okay. I have to admit I was getting upset thinking I would not be able to see my son. I stood out in the parking lot and had a bit of a 2 year old style tantrum.

Paul, who is infinitely more calm about these things, suggested I change my jeans and anything else that might have metal. So, I pulled my other pants out of the laundry which in no way matched what I was wearing and yes, I ditched the bra.

So, bra-less and wearing pants that should have gone into the wash, I tossed my glasses in a plastic container as well as my shoes and I strode through that damn detector daring it to make one little beep. I am the kid’s mother and no way was one stinking metal detector and two guards going to keep me from seeing my kid.

As, you guessed, I made it through no beeps. Even the guards breathed a sigh of relief. Do you think they could tell by the look in my eyes that things would not go well for anyone if I did not get to go through?

Matt looks great! He has a tan. He is dressed in Khakis and as Adrian Humphrey’s once commented on Matt’s smile as being large and goofy…there it was lighting up his whole face.

Six hours. We got to spend six hours and some folks there suggested we get games because one runs out of things to say after an hour. But, as you might imagine, the DeHarts did not run out of things to say. It is the only time we can talk without being monitored. Trust me, we had much to say.

Thank you to all of those who wanted to send wishes and hugs; they were delivered..:)