Today, Sam Knight at The Nation reported on a 2703(d) order and search warrant served to Google for all the metadata and content associated with the account of an Icelandic citizen and information activist, Herbert Snorrason.
Snorrason is known for inviting WikiLeaks to speak at the Icelandic Digital Freedom Society, after the organization published a confidential exposure analysis of 205 companies each owing above EUR45M to the Icelandic bank Kaupthing in July 2009. Snorrason was associated with WikiLeaks in late 2009 and subsequently OpenLeaks.
The 'electronic communication', In Re Application of the U.S.A. for An Order Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2703(d) issued to Google, Inc., was assigned Case No. 1:11 EC 139 and dated August 12, 2011. The 'ec' order was unsealed on May 2, 2013, and disclosed to Snorrason on June 18, 2013.
A 2703(d) or 'ec' order requires "specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of a wire or electronic communication, or the records or other information sought, are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."
WikiLeaks Grand Jury and U.S. v. Pfc. Manning
The criminal investigation into WikiLeaks is a joint partnership between the Departments of Defense, State, and Justice.
On November 29, 2010 and December 6, 2010 the U.S. Attorney General at the Department of Justice Eric Holder publicly confirmed an "active, ongoing criminal investigation" and grand jury probe of WikiLeaks. The criminal investigation was confirmed to be ongoing on March 26, 2013.
An agent for Army CID testified at Manning's pretrial hearing in December 2011 that seven civilians were investigated by the FBI, including the "founders, owners, or managers of WikiLeaks." The FBI file, lead military prosecutor, Major Fein said, was "42,135 pages or 3,475 documents"-- the entirety of which is classified at the Secret level. In November 2012, Fein, stated in court that the Army CID investigation into WikiLeaks is ongoing because the media organization continues to publish classified information.
In January 2013, military prosecutors filed for judicial notice of news reports they intend to use to try to 'substantiate' the identity of an individual Manning allegedly chatted with, who military prosecutors allege is Julian Assange. The news reports were published by New Yorker Magazine, The New York Times, and the BBC.
The military prosecution has casts Manning as a traitor-- indiscriminately harvesting information for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in willful disregard of the safety of military personnel and the national security of the United States. Manning will faces 149 154 years plus life as maximum punishment if convicted on all charges.
Each of the 21 offenses against Manning builds into the U.S.G.'s magnum theory of its case, culminating in the maximum offense of aiding the enemy-- which could put Manning away for life. Manning's defense strategy is as much about mitigating prosecutorial overreach with charges like the Garani video-- with a nexus to the federal criminal investigation of WikiLeaks-- as it is about reducing the 20 years of confinement he is already exposed to by his current plea to 10 LIO's.
2703(d) "Orders" and Search Warrant, Case No. 1:11-ec-139
According to the August 12, 2011 'ec' order, U.S Magistrate Judge John Anderson compelled Google to turn over the metadata including the names, alias, addresses, telephone numbers, session times, durations, length of service, IP addresses, and banking and business related information of Snorrason's Google account between November 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011.
Anderson also ordered Google to turn over logs files, user activity records-- including source and destination IP addresses-- as well as methods and modes of communication, times, dates, durations; and the source and destination email and IP addresses of any communications by the account for the same time period.
In a 76 page list of every electronic communication 'ec' orders under seal for criminal cases in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia between May 2011 and April 2013 are found two entires for Case No. 1:11-ec-139.
The first entry contains information that matches the original August 12, 2011 2703(d) order to Google. The entry notes plural "orders" and that a search warrant was issued. The entry was assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge John Anderson on August 12, 2011 with a term date of March 25, 2013. The entry also notes it can be found in the criminal 'ec' deck.
The second entry notes that Case No. 1:11-ec-139 was subsequently assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan on March 25, 2013 and referred to District Judge Liam O'Grady. The second entry notes that the case can be found in the criminal 'ec' deck as well as the 'magistrate appeals' deck.
The time line of the Snorrason 2703(d) Order (November 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011) dovetails with the start date of other 2703(d) orders filed under seal for Sonic, Google, Dynadot, and Twitter to turn over information about civilians under investigation by the Department of Justice secret grand jury empanelled in Alexandria, Virginia. The start date of the Snorrason 2703(d) Order also dovetails with the U.S.G.'s charge against Manning for the Garani Video (Manning pled not guilty). The Garani Video (the only charge under the Espionage Act that Manning did not plead to a lesser included offense) is central to the U.S.G.'s theory or uncharged conspiracy case against Manning at Fort Meade.
A search of the Pacer system shows that Case No. 1:11-ec-139 is still "Under Seal".
Search Warrant, Case No. 1:11-sw-594
With a higher standard than an 'ec' order, a search warrant, or 'sw' must specifically describe probable cause for evidence of a crime.
According to the search warrant dated October 14, 2011, filed under Case No. 1:11-sw-594, Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan ordered Google to turn over all the content of Snorrason's Google account, to include: emails associated with the account (both to and from) draft emails, and deleted emails. Buchanan also compelled Google to turn over all the metadata and content related to the Snorrason's Google account, user activity, and communications.
In a soon to be published list of approximately 2548 search warrants filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia between May 3, 2010 and April 11, 2013 on entry is found pertaining to Case No. 1:11-sw-594.
The entry notes that Case No. 1:11-sw-594 was assigned to Liam O'Grady on March 26, 2013. The unsealing order notes that the non disclosure order had expired.
A search of the Pacer system shows that Case No. 1:11-sw-594 was also still "Under Seal".
In the appeal of the Twitter 2703(d) ruling, the Government represented to the Fourth Circuit, "that, once charges are filed or the investigation is closed, it will move to unseal any other Section 2703(d) orders issued during the [WikiLeaks] investigation.
Reporter Matt Sledge at the Huffington Post reported that Julian Assange has been referenced 22 times in the court-martial underway at Fort Meade. Lawyers have advised Assange he should not leave the embassy because of an expected US indictment for espionage.
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