WikiLeaks probe subpoenas revealed
Investigative documents in the WikiLeaks probe have spilled out into the public domain for the first time, pointing to the Obama administration's determination to assemble a criminal case and how far afield authorities have to go.
Backed by a magistrate judge's court order from December 14, the newly-disclosed documents sent to Twitter by the US attorney's office in Alexandria, Virginia, demand details about the accounts of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Pfc Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst in custody suspected of supplying WikiLeaks with classified information.
The others whose Twitter accounts are targeted in the prosecutors' demand are Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic parliamentarian and one-time WikiLeaks collaborator, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp and US programmer Jacob Appelbaum. Mr Gonggrijp and Mr Appelbaum have worked with WikiLeaks in the past.
US Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller declined to comment on the disclosure in the case, which intensified following WikiLeaks' latest round of revelations with the posting of classified State Department diplomatic cables.
Mr Assange said the US move amounted to harassment and pledged to fight it.
"If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," he said.
Legal experts have said one possible avenue for prosecutors would be to establish a conspiracy to steal classified information.
"They are trying to show that Manning was more than a source of the information to a reporter and rather that Assange and Manning were trying to jointly steal information from the US government," said Mark Rasch, a former prosecutor on computer crime and espionage cases in the Justice Department.
The problem was distinguishing between WikiLeaks as a news organisation and those who re-published the same classified information, like The New York Times, said Mr Rasch, director of cybersecurity and privacy consulting at CSC, a Falls Church, Virginia, technology company.
The demand by prosecutors sought information dating to November 1 2009, several months before an earlier WikiLeaks release.