U.S. seeks Twitter information on WikiLeaks

Saturday, January 8, 2011; 10:14 PM

WASHINGTON - A U.S. court has ordered Twitter to hand over details of the accounts of WikiLeaks and several supporters as part of a criminal investigation into the release of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents.

The Dec. 14 subpoena obtained by the Department of Justice and published by online magazine Salon.com on Friday said the records were "relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation."

It ordered Twitter to provide account information about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking Pentagon documents made public last year by WikiLeaks.

The information sought by the government includes all connection records and session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, e-mail and residential addresses plus billing records and details of bank accounts and credit cards.

The subpoena included the accounts of WikiLeaks supporters Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp and Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former WikiLeaks volunteer and member of Iceland's parliament.

"WikiLeaks strongly condemns this harassment of individuals by the U.S. government," WikiLeaks said in a statement issued to Reuters by its London lawyer, Mark Stephens.

Iceland's foreign minister, Ossur Skarphedinsson, told Icelandic media Saturday that his government planned to lodge a protest Monday with the U.S. ambassador in Reykjavik.

Speaking on state radio, Skarphedinsson said the U.S. authorities' behavior was unacceptable and his government would do everything in its power to protect Jonsdottir.

The U.S. government is examining whether criminal charges can be brought against Assange for helping to make public hundreds of thousands of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables that embarrassed Washington and several of its allies.

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