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The U.S. Government Has Amassed Terabytes of Internal WikiLeaks Data

Published: January 13, 2019
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Source: gizmodo

<i>WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/55361146@N08/9260194206'>News Online</a> on <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/55361146@N08/9260194206'>Flickr</a></i>
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by News Online on Flickr

 

Late last year, the U.S. 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 Journal reported that the Department of Justice was optimistic that it would be able to extradite Assange. Soon after, portions of sealed transcripts leakedthat 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 offenses are related to Russian hacking and the DNC emails.

The alleged offenses in the complaint notwithstanding, the government has an abundance of data to work with: over a dozen WikiLeaks’ computers, hard drives, and email accounts, including those of the organization’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 federal government has collected internal WikiLeaks data covering the majority of the organization’s period of operations, from 2009 at least through 2017.

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.

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