Jan 14, 2019, 12:00pm⋅
Photo: Frank Augstein, AP
Late last year, the US government accidentally revealed that a sealed complaint had been filed against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Shortly before this was made public, the FBI reconfirmed its investigation of WikiLeaks was ongoing, and The Wall Street Journalreported that the US Department of Justice was optimistic that it would be able to extradite Assange.
Soon after, portions of sealed transcripts leaked that implicate WikiLeaks and Assange in directing hackers to target governments and corporations. The charges against Assange have not been officially revealed, though it’s plausible that the offences are related to Russian hacking and the DNC emails.
The alleged offences in the complaint notwithstanding, the US government has an abundance of data to work with: Over a dozen WikiLeaks’ computers, hard drives and email accounts, including those of the organisation’s current and former editors-in-chief, along with messages exchanged with alleged Russian hackers about DNC emails.
Through a series of search warrants, subpoenas, equipment seizures and cooperating witnesses, the US federal government has collected internal WikiLeaks data covering the majority of the organisation’s period of operations, from 2009 at least through 2017.
The filing that committed a copy and paste error revealing charges against Assange.
In some instances, the seized data has been returned and allegedly destroyed, such as in the case of David House, a technologist and friend of Chelsea Manning when she famously became a source for WikiLeaks.
In others, the seized materials include communications between WikiLeaks and their sources. Some of these discussions show WikiLeaks discussing their other sources and specific identifying details about them.
A copy of a chat log between Chelsea Manning and a WikiLeaks staff member IDed as Assange by government prosecutors and witnesses.
Other seizures gave authorities a deeper view of the internal workings of WikiLeaks, including one of the earliest known seizures of WikiLeaks-related data, executed on 14 December 2010, when the messages and user information of several WikiLeaks-linked Twitter accounts were ordered.
This search-and-seizure order included direct messages associated with WikiLeaks and its founder, former Army private first class and WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, WikiLeaks editor Rop Gongrijp, former WikiLeaks associate Jacob Appelbaum, and former WikiLeaks associate and Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, between 1 November 2009, and the order’s execution.
A court order for information relating to people associated with WikiLeaks. Click on the link for the rest.