DOJ Subpoena Of Twitter Accounts Of WikiLeaks Supporters Wider Than First Believed
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.
Twitter, which asked for the subpoena to be unsealed so it could me made available to Wikileaks and the others involved, said in a response on Friday:
We’re not going to comment on specific requests, but, to help users protect their rights, it’s our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so. We outline this policy in our law enforcement guidelines.
Greenwald also links to a copy of the subpoena. On Thursday, the Guardian newspaper reported that Birgitta Jónsdóttir -- a former WikiLeaks volunteer and a current member of the Icelandic Parliament -- had announced on Twitter that the DOJ subpoena was seeking a trove of information on her dating back to November 20009. A number of other news outlets, including the BBC, also reported the request for information on the Icelandic MP. But Greenwald reports that the DOJ probe actually has a much wider focus, enmeshing several other WikiLeaks supporters.
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 Gongrijp, and Julian Assange. It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks' Twitter account...
...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 by the 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.
Jónsdóttir, as a member of the Icelandic parliament and as a member of the NATO parliamentary assembly, says she will be resisting the order and will be demanding a meeting with the U.S. Ambassador and other relevant officials.
Jónsdóttir was deeply involved in the release last year of a U.S. military video, revealed by WikiLeaks, which showed an American helicopter firing at two Reuters reporters in Iraq. While she has recently distanced herself from WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange, she remains a driving force behind the Modern Media Initiative which aims at making Iceland a haven for whistlelblowers, according to the Guardian,
"I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone,” Jónsdóttir wrote. “If Twitter hands over my information – then no ones information is save [sic] with Twitter."
UPDATE: Rop Grongrijp, one of those targeted by the subpoena, has now posted a response on his personal blog,