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WikiLeaks Latest: US Department of Justice Subpoenas Twitter Records of Volunteers (Greenwald)

Glen Greenwald reports on Salon:

Last night, Birgitta Jónsdóttir -- a former WikiLeaks volunteer and current member of the Icelandic Parliament -- announced (on Twitter) that she had been notified by Twitter that the DOJ had served a Subpoena demanding information "about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009."  Several news outlets, including The Guardianwrote about Jónsdóttir's announcement.   

What hasn't been reported is that the Subpoena served on Twitter -- which is actually an Order from a federal court that the DOJ requested -- seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp, and Julian Assange.  It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks' Twitter account.

The information demanded by the DOJ is sweeping in scope.  It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the "means and source of payment," including banking records and credit cards.  It seeks all of that information for the period beginning November 1, 2009, through the present.  A copy of the Order served on Twitter, obtained exclusively by Salon, is here.

The Order was signed by a federal Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, Theresa Buchanan, and served on Twitter by the DOJ division for that district.  It states that there is "reasonable ground to believe that the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation," the language required bythe relevant statute.  It was issued on December 14 and ordered sealed --i.e., kept secret from the targets of the Order.  It gave Twitter three days to respond and barred the company from notifying anyone, including the users, of the existence of the Order.  On January 5, the same judge directed that the Order be unsealed at Twitter's request in order to inform the users and give them 10 days to object; had Twitter not so requested, it would have been compelled to turn over this information without the knowledge of its users.  A copy of the unsealing order is here.

Jónsdóttir told me that as "a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee [of Iceland's Parliament] and the NATO parliamentary assembly," she intends to "call for a meeting at the Committee early next week and ask for the ambassador to meet" her to protest the DOJ's subpoena for her records.  The other individuals named in the subpoena were unwilling to publicly comment until speaking with their lawyer.  

I'll have much more on the implications of this tomorrow.  Suffice to say, this is a serious escalation of the DOJ's efforts to probe, harass and intimidate anyone having to do with WikiLeaks.

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