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January 27, 2015

WikiLeaks Berates Google for Submitting E-Mails to U.S. Government

A truck, driven by artist Clark Stoeckley, that purports to be the 'WikiLeaks Top Secret Information Collection Unit' parked at the protest event Occupy Wall Street in New York on Sept. 25, 2011. Photo by David Shankbone

Google received a tongue-lashing Monday for the tech giant’s failure to inform WikiLeaks that it handed over the e-mails as well as other data from three of the organization’s employees to the U.S. government.

WikiLeaks is not just angry with Google for handing over data to the FBI, but for waiting two-and-a-half years to tell the agency about complying with a federal warrant. The March 2012 warrants requested the contents of sent, received and draft e-mails, the recipients of the messages, IP addresses and the credit cards linked to the accounts.

Google has not indicated how much of that data it handed over — and that is what WikiLeaks is determined to find out.

“Investigations editor Sarah Harrison, Section Editor Joseph Farrell and senior journalist and spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson have received notice that Google had handed over all their e-mails and metadata to the United States government on the back of alleged ‘conspiracy’ and ‘espionage’ warrants carrying up to 45 years in prison,” WikiLeaks says in a post. “WikiLeaks’ legal team has written to Google expressing its dismay that Google failed to notify the warrants’ targets immediately. The failure to notify has prevented the three journalists from ‘protect[ing] their interests including their rights to privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches.

“Although Google claims that it was at some stage under a gag order from the US government, there is no indication that Google fought the gag and it is unlikely that the gag just happened to expire the day before Christmas. Similar gags for warrants against WikiLeaks journalists have been successfully fought by Twitter in much shorter time-frames.”

WikiLeaks lawyers have penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, asking for more information on the investigation.

WikiLeaks’ council is claiming the warrants were issued in violation of the Privacy Protection Act, which protects journalists and publishers from being strong-armed into handing over any work product or documentary materials to the authorities.

“The warrants reveal for the first time a clear list of the alleged offences the U.S. government is trying to apply in its attempts to build a prosecution against Julian Assange and other WikiLeaks staff,” the post reads.

Assange, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, was also quoted in the post. He accused U.S. President Barack Obama of setting a terrifying precedent for freedom of the press across the globe.

“I call on president Obama to do the right thing and call off his dogs — for his own sake,” the quote reads. “President Obama is set to go down in history as the president who brought more bogus ‘espionage’ cases against the press than all previous presidents combined.”


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.