On Christmas Eve, as the National Security Agency was releasing a report on NSA employees’ abuses of surveillance technology, Google was telling WikiLeaks about another sort of surveillance. According to a statement by WikiLeaks on Twitter, Google informed the organization on December 24 that the Gmail mailboxes and account metadata of a WikiLeaks employee had been turned over to law enforcement under a US federal warrant.
Update: WikiLeaks did not respond to initial requests for more details on the notification. However, WikiLeaks journalist and Courage Foundation acting director Sarah Harrison displayed a redacted copy of the warrant during her presentation on source protection at the Chaos Communications Congress yesterday in Hamburg, Germany. The warrant was dated for execution by April 5, 2012 by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and was apparently part of the continuing investigation by the Justice Department into criminal charges against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.
Details on whose email was searched were not provided; the organization does not share information about most of its employees; according to a statement on the organization’s website, “Given the high level assassination threats against WikiLeaks staff, we cannot disclose exact details about our team members.”
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