Recently I have been hearing a lot about gag orders given by the United States, such as Lavabit, etc. What are the actual repercussions for still talking out about the gagged subject?

  • Are you asking about court-imposed gag order,or the National Security gag order (e.g. Lavabit's)?
    – user4012
    Sep 21 '13 at 0:23

Gag orders are created by courts. Violating a judicial order is Contempt of Court.

The phrase gag order is slang, not a judicial term, so you can't easily find this definition on a court website. But here's some sources:

  1. Revealing classified information or disobeying an order from the FISA Court would most likely fall under the espionage act, Opsahl said. They could be found in contempt of court and there would be a fine

  2. The gag order applies to attorneys and their staffs, potential witnesses, law enforcement officers and court employees. Violators would be held in contempt of court.

  3. saying that she should be cited for contempt of court for violating a gag order that was instituted last week

  • What about national security ones? Are they created by courts too?
    – user4012
    Sep 22 '13 at 15:42
  • Yes. The first link is an NSA case handled by the FISA court.
    – dcaswell
    Sep 22 '13 at 15:43
  • Within a company, I'd expect quite a few people to be informed about the gag order. I'd also expect that within a company people would be able to "conspire" to make a leak which can't be linked to a specific person. However, this doesn't seem to happen. Why? Oh, and what about a public statement (on the company website) that says "We didn't receive any gag orders." that is removed when it's no longer true.
    – Thomas
    Feb 24 '17 at 10:32

Reading up the stories on Lavabit, the federal prosecutor has the court order demanding cooperation. There is no difference between an NSA gag order and a court gag order. The government has the option to put anyone violating a gag order in jail immediately. This gets interesting for something like this, are they further placed in solitary confinement?

  • I disagree. Violating a court gag order is a contempt of court issue that would get you a few days in jail. Violating a security clearance or otherwise release classified NSA info can get you treason or even the death penalty. They fall under different statutes and have drastically different penalties. Sep 24 '13 at 3:24

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