Timothy R. McVeigh was a member of the United States Navy, best known as the first person to ever win a case against the U.S. military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. The Navy alleged that he declared his homosexuality on his publicly-available America Online email account with screen name "boysrch". The Navy contacted AOL and requested the subscriber profile of screen name "boysrch" through a paralegal. AOL confirmed that his profile indicated his marital status as homosexual.
McVeigh challenged the Navy's decision to discharge him on the grounds that his AOL profile did not amount to a declaration of homosexuality, and furthermore that the Navy acted improperly by investigating the AOL account without a court order or a warrant. Activist John Aravosis launched an online campaign to raise awareness of the case. After the resulting publicity, attorney Christopher Wolf took McVeigh's case. The federal court held that the government violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and issued a preliminary injunction preventing the government from discharging McVeigh. The court also determined that the Navy violated its own Don't Tell, Don't Pursue policy.
Ultimately, the case was settled, allowing McVeigh to retire at the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, with the Navy paying all legal fees. In a separate settlement, AOL agreed to pay damages to McVeigh for having improperly disclosed his identity.