Now that it has been successfully established that Americans can be taxed for not engaging in economic activity, I suppose it makes sense that they can be charged with committing crimes by not engaging in it too.
The saga of Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is getting even more ridiculous, as he explains that the government has threatened him with criminal charges for his decision to shut down the business, rather than agree to some mysterious court order. The feds are apparently arguing that the act of shutting down the business, itself, was a violation of the order:
… a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that James Trump, a senior litigation counsel in the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va., sent an email to Levison’s lawyer last Thursday – the day Lavabit was shuttered — stating that Levison may have “violated the court order,” a statement that was interpreted as a possible threat to charge Levison with contempt of court.
That same article suggests that the decision to shut down Lavabit was over something much bigger than just looking at one individual’s information — since it appears that Lavabit has cooperated in the past on such cases. Instead, the suggestion now is that the government was seeking a tap on all accounts
If you do not understand that the USA is now a legally totalitarian country where the law is whatever the government employee claiming jurisdiction declares it to be, you do not understand the difference between the absence of a limit and the observable willingness to exploit that absence. The fact that the absence of limits are not presently being exploited in full should not cause one to imagine that the limits are still in place.
I suspect that only factors presently restraining the federal government from attempting to test how far they can go in the absence of those legal limits is a) the fact that the American people are very well-armed, and, b) the precarious state of the economy.