It’s been about a week since the world learned of Broadband Research analyst John Kinnucan and his lovely October evening that was so rudely interrupted by federal agents. Since then, Mr. Kinnucan has bravely and repeatedly thrust himself onto the national stage to tell the tale of his courage in the face of government interrogators and his loyalty to his monied, paying clients.
There is no rest for this weary warrior, who today takes to The New York Times to explain why he responded to a visit by the FBI by sending a snide email to his employers warning them that the heat was on. First, Mr. Kinnucan says, the feds did not ask him politely to cooperate. Instead, they threatened him with arrest.
I had to decide between committing a wrong – agreeing to try to entrap someone whom, based on our mutual dealings, I believe to be innocent – or standing up to fight for what I believe is right. I chose the latter.
Sounds like a pretty clear-cut case of boldness in the face of wrongheaded authorities. Mr. Kinnucan continues:
Research providers are constantly struggling with the question of what constitutes appropriate information for our clients. Most of the picture here is gray, with a thin margin of black and white on either side.
In deciding the propriety of our inputs, we look for cues in the marketplace. If major banks, whose compliance departments are presumably staffed with former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers, regularly publish industry data like iPhone build and Dell motherboard production changes, the rest of us can reasonably conclude that this must have regulators’ blessing. Otherwise, why would it have been allowed to proceed unchecked for years?
So here we have it. Mr. Kinnucan outlines a straightforward case — of protecting his clients from law enforcement officials who’re investigating what Mr. Kinnucan knows is legally questionable behavior. And then he bravely stands up and asks, essentially, “If this is so illegal, why has hardly anyone ever been busted for it?” Should readers have any questions about Mr. Kinnucan’s reasoning, he’ll probably be appearing in some other major media outlet tomorrow or the day after. What we want to know is why so many editors are letting this guy have such a massive platform.
mtaylor [at] observer.com | @mbrookstaylor