Two Icelandic former WikiLeaks volunteers revealed this week that a U.S. federal judge ordered Google to turn over private information about their Gmail accounts to prosecutors in 2011.
Smári McCarthy, now the executive director of the International Modern Media Institute, and Herbert Snorrason said that they only received copies of the orders on Tuesday, although the gag order was lifted on May 2.
The judges’s orders from July 2011 concerned metadata—information about the Gmail accounts, but not the contents of communications.
A search warrant was also executed against Herbert in October 2011 for all emails, including included drafts and deleted emails—related to his Gmail account.
While the subpoenas only refer to a vague “criminal investigation,” they are almost certainly related to U.S. authorities investigation of WikiLeaks for disclosing secret information about American diplomacy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The probe, the pair said in a statement, “appears to have been conducted not for the purpose of attributing criminal behavior to those guilty of conducting said war crimes and violations of fundamental human rights, but to punish those who performed the public service of making the world aware of them.”
The two also said that since WikiLeaks has made important disclosures about the U.S. government’s secrets, “we have seen many of our friends, colleagues and allies pestered—for lack of a better term—by overzealous law enforcement, prosecutorial overreach, and misapplication of laws which at one point may have been intended to protect democratic values.”
Read Grapevine contributor Sam Knight’s story on this over at The Nation.