DOJ Subpoena Of Twitter For WikiLeaks Info Is Odd

Posted by | January 8, 2011 13:01 | Filed under: Top Stories

Glenn Greenwald at Salon has a good take on the DOJ subpoena ordering Twitter to give information about Birgitta Jónsdóttir (pictured), a former WikiLeaks volunteer and member of the Icelandic Parliament.

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 request is for all used IP addresses, credit card information, email addresses, and “means and source of payment.  The requested names are those involved in the collateral murder video involving the Apache helicopter attack that first brought WikiLeaks to international prominence. WikiLeaks and Assange will contest the Order.

It’s worth recalling — and I hope journalists writing about this story remind themselves — that all of this extraordinary probing and “criminal” investigating is stemming from WikiLeaks’ doing nothing more than publishing classified information showing what the U.S. Government is doing: something investigative journalists, by definition, do all the time.

And the key question now is this: did other Internet and social network companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) receive similar Orders and then quietly comply? It’s difficult to imagine why the DOJ would want information only from Twitter; if anything, given the limited information it has about users, Twitter would seem one of the least fruitful avenues to pursue.

So, asking for Twitter info is odd, as it requires so little of its users; and investigating a member of Iceland’s Parliament is also odd.

The DOJ’s investigation of a member of Iceland’s Parliament — as part of an effort to intimidate anyone supporting WikiLeaks and to criminalize journalism that exposes what the U.S. Government does — is one of the most extreme acts yet in the Obama administration’s always-escalating war on whistleblowers, and shows how just excessive and paranoid the administration is when it comes to transparency: all this from a President who ran on a vow to have the “most transparent administration in history” and to “Protect Whistleblowers.”

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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Alan

Alan Colmes is the publisher of Liberaland.

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