I have not devoted as much time to the governments persecution of this investigative journalist as I now think is deserved. This current article only roughly summarizes the significance of his victimization by US security agencies.
For a better, more detailed explanation I highly recommend a February 2013 article entitled "Why Is Barrett Brown Facing 100 Years in Prison?" posted on Vice which provides information about some very pernicious types of software that security agencies and their private contractors are using against any grassroots opposition, and Brown's efforts to bring that to our attention. This earlier article dramatically affirms the credibility of the conclusions drawn by Gallagher as reported in this article.
..."Brown's case is a bellwether for press freedoms in the new century, where hacks and leaks provide some of our only glimpses into the technologies and policies of an increasingly privatized national security-and-surveillance state." Indeed. So it's not surprising that the establishment seeks to imprison and silence those intent on using the advances of the information age to expose it. In effect, the FBI has outed itself as ever-so-dutiful servants of the private security companies Brown was researching.