Of course, Mitnick did break into a security dude's personal computer, and bragged about it. He obtained credit card numbers from 20,000 people - unless they were usedto save lives (they weren't), this was a bad thing.
It's true that Kevin Mitnick was treated like shit by the system. The FBI asked the companies he broke into to decide how much damage he caused. Most of them added up the costs of purchasing all of the machines, plus the cost of hiring people to create all the code he copied. This is pretty greedy and unfair.

It's not true that he was in any way innocent. Maybe copying the Solaris source code was OK, but if Mitnick wanted to argue that, he would have had to share it. He didn't. Regardless, taking credit card numbers is invading people's personal financial information - it's not OK. If the numbers were used for a good cause, one could argue that the end justifies the means. But they weren't.

Opinion nodes are good. Propaganda nodes are bad. Oh, and the right way to get on the NY Times web page is by writing to the editors.