The Guardian and Glenn Greenwald have the details of a Department of Justice subpoena asking Twitter to turn over account details
and direct (i.e., private) messages of Wikileaks associates, including Icelandic Parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir and programmer (and US Citizen) Jacob Appelbaum.
Jonsdottir was associated with the production of Wikileaks’ collateral murder video, and her role is well-documented in the New Yorker story on Wikileaks and Assange. Appelbaum has been interrogated at border crossings, and his cell phones were confiscated and never returned during a recent three-hour border inspection.
The subpoenas were issued under seal, and Twitter was able to convince a court to allow them to inform users that their information had been revealed. It’s likely that other services, like Google or Facebook, were or will be issued similar subpoenas.
If you look at the history of the legal case in the Pentagon Papers, where the Supreme Court decided that the government couldn’t enjoin newspapers from printing the papers, the rights of journalists in these types of cases are not at all clear. The Espionage Act of 1917, which was passed in one of the ugliest periods of American history, is still on the books and hasn’t really been litigated. This is the act that Lieberman and others want to extend with the “SHIELD Act” to be sure that it covers Wikileaks, and Lieberman has already called for the prosecution of the Times under the Espionage Act for publishing Wikileaks-conveyed secrets.
As this Times article points out, since the Pentagon Papers, there’s been a bit of an unspoken agreement between the press and the Department of Justice that reporters won’t be prosecuted for the possession of government secrets. Those days appear to be over, as the Department of Justice apparently prepares to prosecute Assange using the Espionage Act. Applebaum and Jonsdottir were playing the roles of editor and printer for Wikileaks, and every detail of their personal accounts and private communications during the last 14 months on Twitter, and probably other services, are going to be shared with the Government.
This story just broke, so we’ll see if Villagers — who make their living venerating special privilege and lauding backroom, unspoken gentlemen’s agreements — understand that a group doing exactly what they do are no longer so fucking special, and that the Village is probably next.
Update: After re-reading the subpoena [pdf], I’m pretty sure that the actual direct messages aren’t being requested, just every other thing about the messages (when they happened, what IP they came from, etc.) and every personal detail about the Twitter accounts.
they hate us for our freedoms!
Although I have no love for Assange et al, and don’t approve of his style of leaking secrets carte blanche, especially regarding The State Department cables, I fully agree with the evilness of the Espionage Act of 1917. I vigorously oppose it’s use in any case, as being manifestly un American in the extreme. I hope to gawd Holder and Obama do not use it to prosecute Assange, or anyone else, nor as a legal underpinning to issue search warrants on the media. It needs to be repealed as soon as possible.
Christ, you are worse than the media. Does it ever bother you that you have not the slightest clue what you are talking about?
This works out well for the Villagers. They really don’t want to be in the bigness of having to expose their DC buddies and party circuit hosts.
So , I can hear David Gregory now, “well, I’d really like to discuss the latest case on torture, but, you know. But we do have an exclusive with John McCain after this message fro Oil of Olay.”
You need to flesh this out some. So you are saying that Assange is selective about leaking secrets that show the US government behaving badly. And not just releasing shit because he can. I am aware that most of the cables have not been released yet, but mostly because Wikileaks is falling apart at the seems.
You know Cole, making sweeping allegations without any description is pure Greenwaldian bullshit. And fuck you, also too.
And i’m waiting for your response. I will be here all day.
Heh. Two years ago, who ever thought someone would be writing the phrase “and the Obama administration has just the composition it needs on the SCOTUS to see their plan through?”
Bullshit. It would take far fewer resources for Wikileaks to just push out the whole package. Assange changed tactics on purpose with the release of the cables, letting the media outlets vet them first.
You have Yahtzee. Even if it occurs to the Villagers that they’re getting pansted, they won’t care. Illegal souces of information are icky, and make for awkward moments at the cocktail parties.
I am aware that most of the cables have not been released yet, but mostly because Wikileaks is falling apart at the seems.
No, it’s because WL is working with news organizations, which have the complete cache of cables, to vet them. So John is right about you not knowing what you’re talking about.
Yea right. He grew a conscience and not because the entire world is tired of his nihilistic messianic bullshit and not cooperating with giving him the time of day.
And even if you are right, and Assange has changed his ways, it doesn’t excuse all the other mass releases he has done. I know, it’s all a CIA plot to discredit your’s and Cole’s hero. And I just changed my mind and am all for his prosecution under whatever law.
@General Stuck: HE hasn’t leaked things carte blanche, it has been quite selective and in conjunction with news organizations. You simply have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. Period.
And they are not falling apart at the “seems.” All wikileaks would need to do to release every document they have is press a damned button. The documents would go viral in the time it takes one person to download them. But they aren’t doing that because they are not falling apart at the “seems” nor are they releasing documents “carte blanche.” Which, again, you would know, if you had the first clue what the fuck you are talking about.
And I love how you manage to bring Greenwald into this.
I’m sorry, John, but I’m with Stuck. The absolute freedom of journalists and the right of the public to know what the government is doing make very pretty sounding ideals, but there is no freedom anyone has that doesn’t have limits to it. The question of whether Assange isn’t a journalist, but a criminal guilty of espionage on a massive scale is a real question. Publishing private diplomatic cables? The names of contacts risking their lives in enemy held territories? That shit is espionage, John, and yes, it’s a valid crime that a government has a valid right to want to stop – by punishing it as a crime.
There’s a huge god damn gulf between wanting that investigated and believing the government should punish anyone who embarrasses them. In this case, all Stuck said is that he acknowledges the question but disapproves of manipulating a draconian law that should never have been passed. That’s the most reasonable thing anyone could ever say.
Civil rights aren’t absolute. It is impossible for them to be. Start caring about circumstances and context. There are very few areas where you still go with your gut and ignore the facts, but civil rights is one of them – and you’ve admitted it. Recently.
Exactly. But that doesn’t fit into the narrative of Wikileaks as history’s greatest monster and Obama and his adminstration as the greatest, most pure, most perfect presidency of all time. One which would only do seemingly vile and horrible things as part of their eleven dimensional chess game that will lead to the new American Golden Age.
As I always say, I’m neutral in the war between Obots and Firebaggers, but this shit is outrageous. Especially coming from a Democratic administration, which I hold to a higher standard. Shame on Holder and shame on Obama.
Please help me understand your position here.
It is well known that a crime has been committed. Persons other than the actual thief may have conspired with the thief, or may have aided and abetted the thief. Or they may not have.
Why are you opposed to a thorough investigation? Are you afraid of the truth?
Cole is making an ass out of himself trying to clear his conscience from supporting neo con warmongering he did in a previous life. I have always supported leaks that are directed at government wrongdoing. I do not support left wing anarchists with no other purpose than to wreak as much damage on the US as possible, and Assange was forced to change his style, you fucking idiots.
I don’t practice 1st Amendment law nor do I have experience with the Espionage Act, but it seems to me that, to the extent that WL functioned as a publisher of data that had been leaked, they should be in the clear. The more problematic angle would be if WL had induced Manning and/or others to leak the information. At this point, there does not seem to be much public information that would indicate WL did anything but receive the information and make it available to the public at large. Whether or not this was a good idea is, of course, open to argument*; it does, however, appear to be legal.**
(*) The fact that I find this question open to argument means that I am a “gray,” a cudlip, and possibly a “Jesus humping WEC.” I understand this. I just can’t help myself.
(**) IAAL, but, as noted above, I do not practice in these areas.
I brought Greenwald into this BECAUSE THE THREAD POST DID.
You are this completely gone to actually claim that Assange has been leaking stuff that was selected carefully. Were you smoking crack when they released CARTE BLANCHE 8 years worth of Afghanistan GI’s after action reports without redacting names of Afghans, nor show any concern about releasing this info WITH US TROOPS STILL IN THE FIELD. Get a grip dood, you are acting like a fool on this topic.
I read the Guardian article. There are opinions about what DoJ is doing.
DoJ and Twitter haven’t commented.
The Espionge Act of 1917 has been brought up. Until there is evidence that that is being used by the US Government, I will wait and see,
Holder said, a bit after the leaks were published, that he understood the line between leakers and the press who reported the leaks.
I do see, in the Guardian article, agendas by the those who offered their opinions on the DoJ.
The Guardian is a tabloid paper. Sometimes they are great at reporting and sometimes not.
@General Stuck: I said he changed tactics, I didn’t say he had a change of conscience. That’s your gloss.
The reason I think he changed tactics, in my opinion, is because he’s a smart guy, and intelligent people change tactics in order to achieve their goals.
And just so we’re clear Assange is neither a hero nor a villain in my book, because I think that’s an unhelpful and unsophisticated way to think about the actions of people like Assange, Greenwald and others who you’ve decided can do absolutely nothing right and must be disparaged at every opportunity.
I doubt that. Villagers, like Congressmen speaking on the Floor, cannot be called to account for their words or actions in any other place. That’s what it means to be a Villager.
One interesting fact emerges from the fax cover sheet.
The box labeled “grand jury information” is not checked. That strongly suggests that no grand jury has yet been empaneled. That, in turn, should give pause to anyone who is concerned about Assange being railroaded. DOJ is, as nearly as one can tell from publicly available information, going strictly by the book, and conducting a thorough and careful investigation.
Odie Hugh Manatee
Same here. Regardless of how he is conducting himself regarding the diplomatic stuff, I just don’t care much for the way the Afghanistan stuff was released. If there is a scandal, fine, release the info necessary to expose that and keep the rest to yourself unless you find more that needs to be exposed. If the press has the diplomatic info in hand and the government wants to prosecute them for possessing and reading it, then they have that right. Stuff was stolen from the government, people who shouldn’t have it are holding and going through it. The government doesn’t like that and wants to do something about it.
If the press is stupid enough to tell everyone that they are in possession of stolen documents, they have to be really stupid to think that the government won’t do something about it. Since there are no huge scandals coming out of the diplomatic leaks, public sympathy will not be on the side of the press as much as it would be otherwise.
If you want to go poking at a giant then don’t be surprised if he decides to smack you around if you annoy him.
Oh christ with this prog hero whine. I disparage Greenwald with argument that what he writes is in large part bullshit. I once thought he was something of a genius, then Obama got elected and he lost his mind, and set out to find conspiracies and malevolence under every fucking rock to demonstrate Obama is worse than Bush. Why? who knows? But if I had to guess, nothing short of pure unadulterated ego.
The hypocrisy of Cole and others here is truly amazing! They all went total ape shit over the disclosure of Ms. Plame’s CIA background and called for the prosecution, if not execution, of her “leaker.” And yet, that was a totally benign event as compared with the massive disclosures by the Wikishits, and supported by many of the Balloonyshits.
I like how the unwashed one uses “Greenwaldian” as an insult. Me has amusedness.
I really don’t understand what this means, but if it means that I’m defending Greenwald as my hero, you’ve completely missed my point about your reductive, comic book, hero or villain outlook.
The comparison with the Pentagon Papers id faulty.
ZAKARIA: You were in a very different place then, but you don’t see these as comparable?
KERRY: Not in the least. Not in the least and I’ll tell you why. the Pentagon papers revealed government, our government, that had been engaged in a long pattern of deception with the American people. There’s no such thing here.
This statement was what I was talking about. It is standard when any of us try to point out the dishonest methodology GG uses to create misleading narratives in his polemic screes. It is a statement made by folks who have nothing else.
And I am hardly the only one not a GG fan.
The BBC online says that the US District Court in Virginia issued the court order December 14th.
Why is Assange talking about this today?
I want to see this play out before coming to any conclusion.
Oh, that makes perfect sense, then. Because Mistermix noted that Greenwald has the details on a subpoena, it makes complete sense that anything you disagree with me about is “Greenwaldian bullshit!”
Do me a favor and ponder for a moment how stupid this is.
Um, consistently lying to the American public about the death toll in Iraq–to take but one example–constitutes a “long pattern of deception,” regardless of what John Kerry says. YMMV, of course.
I disagree. The Afghanistan documents didn’t show much we didn’t already know, but they did expose the corruption of the Karzai government and the secret aid the Taliban are receiving from Pakistan. It shows how the whole american foreign policy in the region has been a failure and that all those announcements of “We are winning the war”, “we can turn it around”, “the Taliban are in disorder” and so on, are lies. The truth of the matter is that this war cannot be won, and that winning might not even be the intention of the military, because they’d rather like to see this conflict go on forever with all the promotions and money it brings.
I make no apologies for having the view that when it comes to Greenwald, you are seriously sick in the head and hardly alone in this. And GG is a patent liar by commission but mostly omission. He can go to hell with his Obama worse than Bush mantra. And I think “Greenwaldian bullshit” is a perfect description for it all.
Agreed. And all this bullshit about they deserve what they get because they used “stolen” documents is a joke argument being made by clowns. EVERY leak, including the Pentagon Papers, is usually through “stolen” documents. And Pancake, as usual, makes the stupidest argument of all. The outing of Plame was not because there was any public interest advanced but simply was an act of revenge. The public DOES, however, have an interest in the lies and coverups their government is perpetrating. There is no equivalence between the two. At all.
@Pancake: That’s retarded. There’s no valid analogy between Assange and the officials who leaked Plame’s identity; the analogy would be between Assange and the editors of the papers that printed the leak. And NO ONE called for those editors’ “prosecution, if not execution.”
@geg6: A generally accept principle in civil disobedience is that one must accept the rule of law in general even if a particular law is unjust. Therefore, while one must disobey the unjust law, one must accept that one will be punished for it. Read some Thoreau.
Investigations are fine, but this looks like a fishing expedition. It’s interesting how the DoJ is gung-ho in investigating WikiLeaks, but it won’t do shit about the criminals that were in the White House for eight years. Power begets power.
@Perry Como: How would you investigate the release of classified information if not by investigating those known to have leaked and/or received it?
Wow, interesting thread.
General Stuck has become General Head Stuck up its Ass … maybe he/she always was like this, didn’t know it.
Greenwald may overreact to some stories, but not this one. This was an ugly story to wake up to.
Precious coming from someone with ornery curmudgeon as a handle. Cherry on top of this thread.
In order for Assange, who is not an American citizen, to be tried for espionage will he need to be extradited to the US or will they try him in absentia? I’m assuming we have extradition treaties with the UK, Sweden and Australia. Does anyone know?
As this is primarily political theater designed to show how tough this administration and certain elected officials are, trying him is a joke–they might just as well pass sentence without wasting the money for a trial. I’m rereading The Best and the Brightest right now and am struck by two things: 1.) Human beings are simply incapable of learning from history and 2.) Our current crop of right-wingers make all the nasty crazy that came before pale into insignificance and their poison is spreading and tainting so-called independents and what’s left of the ‘left.’ Honestly I’m not sure even Joe McCarthy himself would have messed with the freedom of the press in the way Senator Joe ‘Asshat’ Lieberman is suggesting.
Mike Kay (Chief of Staff)
funny who lieberman never wanted to prosecute the Times and judith miller for printing leaks that played a role in manufacturing consent to invade iraq.
Come to think of it, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to prosecute the Times. As it stands now, they only print leaks when it serves wingers and neo-cons. For example, they decided not to reveal bush’s domestic spying pgm before the 2004 election, because they knew it would have damaged Bush.
J. Michael Neal
I largely agree with Stuck. (Which I think means that I totally agree with the burnspbesq and Omnes.) The DoJ should be conducting an investigation on this. As said above, if Assange and/or Wikileaks induced Manning to steal documents, that would be a crime. I don’t think that that’s terribly far-fetched, if not for the first round of thefts then at least for later ones.
Gah. I’m agreeing with a Kentucky fan and a Dookie in the same thread.
@J. Michael Neal: If it make you feel better, I am a Wisconsin fan.
The US doesn’t try people in absentia. We have extradition treaties with all of those countries.
Well, duh. I am educated and have read Thoreau. I would suggest that you read some court cases regarding the First Amendment. This idea that a journalist should expect to go to jail for printing information in the public interest is so out of bounds that I’m appalled that a so-called liberal would make it. Though I may be mischaracterizing your political leanings, perhaps you’re an authoritarian and I hasn’t noticed until now. The Thoreau more accurately applies to Manning, since he’s the one who allegedly indulged in civil disobedience. Wikileaks is only the media outlet that published it.
Given that all the information requested is available without subpoena under Nat’l Security cases and would have already been gathered, the DoJ is going through the motions to build the best case they can. Anyone with a real brain in the gov’t would be looking for a way to mitigate or have a lever of control over WL or the primary members, but I’m all for litigating all these unlitigated elephant-in-the-room laws.
We need to know if we live in a democracy or not, and not be debating items like this and the basics of Article II powers 200+ years after they were written.
@geg6: It was Manning to whom I was referring. I would guess that I have read more 1st Amendment court cases than you have. And finally, fuck off.
J. Michael Neal
Of course, none of us are making that argument. What we are saying is that, if Assange induced Manning to steal documents that he could publish, then he might deserve prosecution. That that is what the government thinks is at least somewhat supported by the subpoena. If the DoJ just wanted to prosecute Assange for *publishing* the documents, then they wouldn’t need the information being requested.
So, it was a nice strawman you threw out, but it’s still made of straw. Oh, and I’m still waiting for that big press conference in State College that you promised us.
You really are a Justin Bieber broken record. I’ve asked you before to explain your hateful obsession with and your only response was worse than Bush. . You have nothing.
Now he is a ‘patent liar’. You are a fucking joke who is unable to back up your lies. If it is not a t man-crush, then I can only assume you are intimidated by his superior intellect.
Regardless, it does get very old.
I request again, please direct somewhere, anywhere, that show all of these patent lies.
And I will be waiting right here all day for your reply.
@J. Michael Neal:
So then you must want investigations into every single instance of any reporting of leaked documents?
It is scary how some of you are so cowed into giving into this bullshit. The DOJ is not investigating any crime. They are trying to invent a crime to intimidate others from doing the right thing as Manning and Assange did.
And seriously, do you really give a fuck if Wikileaks ‘induced’ Manning to provide these documents? If so, why?
We should be spending our energy on revealing more government lies and stopping the US sanctioned torture of Manning and the witch hunt of Assange and Wikileaks.
@El Tiburon: I agree completely. But prepare to be disappointed: I’ve never seen a Greenwald-hater show his hand when called.
DOJ has a valid fishing license, granted by Congress. That’s what subpoena power is.
” I’m assuming we have extradition treaties with the UK, Sweden and Australia. Does anyone know?”
Yes as to the UK and Sweden. DK re Australia.
” I would suggest that you read some court cases regarding the First Amendment. ”
I’m tempted to play the “what law school did you graduate from” card, but I already know the answer, so I will just say “got cites?”
“Given that all the information requested is available without subpoena under Nat’l Security cases and would have already been gathered, the DoJ is going through the motions to build the best case they can.”
What facts do you know that cause you to believe that any NSLs have been issued?
Isn’t it just as likely that DOJ has refrained from using NSLs because the current President and AG think that part of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional?