Feeds

Yahoo! Bows! To! Mum! Of! Jailed! Chinese! Journalist!

'We know we were wrong. But we didn't know it then'

SANS - Survey on application security programs

As US lawmakers continue to probe Yahoo!'s role in the jailing of Chinese journalist Shi Tao, CEO Jerry Yang and chief counsel Michael Callahan have bowed to the journalist's mother. And we mean that literally.

This morning, Yang and Callahan appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is investigating whether Callahan gave false testimony when discussing the Shi Tao case before Congress last year.

Insisting that Callahan's 2006 testimony was "untrue," chairman Tom Lantos excoriated the web company for sharing information about Shi's online activities with the Chinese government. Then he suggested that the two Yahooligans offer an instant apology to the journalist's family.

"When he first appeared before this Committee, I asked Mr. Callahan whether he had reached out to Shi Tao’s family to offer an apology and to provide assistance. The answer was a resounding 'no,'" Lantos said. "Mr. Yang, Mr. Callahan, Shi Tao’s mother is sitting in the first row right behind you – I would urge you to beg the forgiveness of the mother whose son is languishing behind bars due to Yahoo’s actions."

According to The Associated Press, Yang and Cahallan then turned and bowed to Gao Qinsheng. Crying, she bowed back.

In 2005, Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for emailing a Communist Party document to a pro-democracy web site overseas. He used a Yahoo! account to send the document, and the company later gave his IP address to the Chinese government.

Lantos and the House Foreign Affairs Committee are now investigating if Michael Callahan gave false testimony when the committee first mulled the Shi's case in February 2006.

"Mr. Callahan has not been accused of perjury – that would be the willful violation of an oath either by swearing to what is untrue or by deliberately omitting information that is material," Lantos said this morning. "But as General Counsel for Yahoo! he did provide false information to this Committee in this critically-important hearing eighteen months ago."

During his 2006 testimony, Callahan claimed that Yahoo! had "no information about the nature of the investigation" when Chinese officials asked for Shi's information. But according to a bi-partisan committee investigation, this was not the case.

"Yahoo! claims that this is just one big misunderstanding, that Yahoo’s false testimony was really just a matter of an internal miscommunication," Lantos said. "Let me be clear – this was no misunderstanding. This was inexcusably negligent behavior at best, and deliberately deceptive behavior at worst."

And then he said it again.

Callahan admits that before turning over Shi's details, Yahoo! received a missive that said the Chinese government was investigating "a case of suspected illegal provision of state secrets to foreign entities." But he claims that he was not aware of this when he testified 18 months ago.

"I understand that my testimony in 2006 has caused confusion about what Yahoo! knew and didn’t know about the contents of a demand for information that Yahoo! China received from the Chinese government in the Shi Tao case," reads Callahan's latest statement to the committee. "This confusion, and my statements at the 2006 hearing, stem from a lack of information on my part, which I sincerely regret." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.