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US Attorney's Office Granted Access to Wikileaks' Twitter Accounts

The U.S. Attorney's office has been granted a judge's order dated December 14 to acquire information dating back to November 2009 for information sent from the Twitter accounts of Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange, Pfc. Bradley Manning, and other individuals. The intent is to source IP addresses (that identify individual computers) of the Twitter users to help prosecutors build a conspiracy case against Pfc. Manning, Assange, and various Wikileaks' supporters and collaborators.

Assange has rendered the move "harassment" and reported to the AP: "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 has promised to fight back though Pfc. Manning, the Marine who reportedly supplied Wikileaks with the diplomatic cables that sparked probe by the U.S. Attorney's Office, has not been as fortunate. Manning is being held in a maximum security military brig in Quantico, Virginia, for his connection to the leak of a 2007 U.S. Apache helicopter attack in Baghdag which killed a news photographer and his driver.

Mark Rasch, former Justice Department prosecutor and expert on computer crime and espionage told the AP: "[The U.S. officials] are trying to show that Manning was more than a source of information to a reporter and rather that Assange and Manning were trying to jointly steal information from the U.S. government." Rasch also stated that if the case was an information "theft case and not just a journalist publishing information case" Assange and his team could be prosecuted.

The Office has also demanded Twitter account details for Wikileaks' collaborator Birgitta Jonsdottir of the Iceland Parliament, Dutch Hacker Rop gongrijp, and U.S. programmer Jacob Appelbaum.

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