Raphael G. Satter
LONDON — U.S. officials have issued a subpoena to demand details about WikiLeaks’ Twitter account, the group announced Saturday, adding that it suspected other American Internet companies were also being ordered to hand over information about its activities.
In a statement, WikiLeaks said U.S. investigators had gone to the San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. to demand the private messages, contact information and other personal details of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other supporters, including the U.S. Army intelligence analyst suspected of handing classified information to the site and a high-profile Icelandic parliamentarian.
WikiLeaks blasted the court order, saying it amounted to harassment.
“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,” Assange said in the statement.
A copy of the court order, dated Dec. 14 and posted to Salon.com, said the information sought was “relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation” and ordered Twitter not to disclose its existence to Assange or any of the others targeted.
The order was unsealed “thanks to legal action by Twitter,” WikiLeaks said.
Twitter has declined comment on the claim, saying only that its policy is to notify its users, where possible, of government requests for information.