Overview of WikiLeaks internal data collected by the United States Government from 2009 to 2017 at least, including discussions with information to identify certain sources


Photo: Frank Augstein (Grouvy Today)

At the end of last year, the US government had accidentally revealed that a sealed suit had been filed against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Shortly before this was made public, the FBI had reconfirmed that its investigation of WikiLeaks was ongoing and the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department was optimistic that it could extrude Assange. Shortly after, excerpts of sealed transcripts were disclosed, which involves WikiLeaks and Assange in the management of hackers towards governments and target companies. The charges against Assange have not been officially revealed, although it is plausible that these offenses are related to Russian piracy and emails from the DNC.

Despite the alleged violations of the complaint, the government has plenty of data: more than a dozen WikiLeaks computers, hard drives and email accounts, including those of the current and former editors organization, as well as messages. exchanged with suspected Russian hackers about emails from the DNC. Through a series of search warrants, subpoenas, equipment seizures and witnesses to assistance, the federal government has collected internal WikiLeaks data covering most of the organization, from 2009 until at least 2017.

The filing that made a copy-and-paste error revealing the charges against Assange.

In some cases, the captured data was returned and would have been destroyed, as in the case of David House, technologist and friend of Chelsea Manning, when she became a famous source for WikiLeaks. In others, the documents seized include communications between WikiLeaks and their sources. Some of these discussions show that WikiLeaks discusses its other sources and specific identifying details about them.

A copy of a discussion newspaper between Chelsea Manning and a WikiLeaks staffer, named Assange by government attorneys and witnesses.

Other seizures have allowed authorities to better understand the inner workings of WikiLeaks, including one of the oldest known data entries relating to WikiLeaks, executed on December 14, 2010, when messages and user information from several Twitter accounts linked to WikiLeaks have been ordered. This search and seizure order included direct messages associated with WikiLeaks and its founder, Chelsea Manning, former private source of the military and source of WikiLeaks, to WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, Riz Gongrijp, former WikiLeaks associate, and MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, former partner of WikiLeaks. November 1, 2009 and execution of the order.

A quilt order for information about people associated with WikiLeaks.

On January 4, 2011, a sealed order in the East Virginia District requested all e-mail, address book, subscriber information and other account information associated with Appelbaum's email address ioerror@gmail.com, and another order would target his Internet traffic. Appelbaum was a friend and confidant of Assange as well as a WikiLeaks volunteer. In 2010, Appelbaum was known as "American hacker WikiLeaks" and at that time he was designated as the only known American member of WikiLeaks. In a private discussion in 2015, WikiLeaks described Appelbaum as "somehow" part of the group, although after several charges of sexual abuse, the group publicly outpaced himself. Government e-mails have been extended from November 2010 until at least January 2011. The timing of the order to recognize the order, as well as other similar orders, suggests that the follow-up The account could have continued until the end of 2014, while several other orders were made public.

A copy of a court order concerning information relating to Jacob Appelbaum, a hacker who was working with WikiLeaks (now credibly accused of multiple sexual assaults).

Publicly disclosed and disclosed documents Assange and his legal team allege that several laptops and hard drives owned by the organization were intercepted by an intelligence agency during this period. According to Assange's affidavit, "three laptops … matching electronic devices [and] additional encrypted hard disks "were taken with his suitcase at the end of September 2010. Assange's legal team produced several other affidavits and supporting documents detailing the existence and disappearance of the suitcase. The suitcase contained at least five hard drives, all encrypted, according to Assange. However, the government has had eight years to guess or recover passwords or break encryption on hard drives. Several other readers, numerous e-mails and at least one cooperating witness may have contributed to the process.

Affadavit of Julian Assange.

By mid-2011, the FBI had developed a major source that would become at least their second piece of information by keeping an eye on WikiLeaks operations. Shortly after the arrest and cooperation of Hector Xavier Monsegur, al-Sabu, his computer hacking group (LulzSec) made contact with WikiLeaks. Sabu and LulzSec would become one of the most important sources of WikiLeaks. The Syria and LulzSec Global Intelligence files have provided WikiLeaks with 10 times the number of publications and still represent about half of their total number of publications. Communications between Sabu and WikiLeaks have been monitored by the FBI. And some of the group's communications with others were then seized upon arrest or returned by Sigurdur Thordarson, a WikiLeaks volunteer who became an FBI informant in August.

Part of the sentencing document for "Sabu". She was later identified by WikiLeaks.

In addition to having informed the FBI of a series of meetings, Thordarson would have provided them with thousands of pages of WikiLeaks discussion papers. In addition, in March 2012, Thordarson allegedly provided the FBI with eight WikiLeaks hard drives containing up to 1020 GB of data, according to a so-called FBI document. Managers did not confirm the authenticity of the document, although the amount of data provided is corroborated by additional sources. In an interview with Ars TechnicaThordarson claimed that the Icelandic authorities had seized 2 other WikiLeaks data related to WikiLeaks, which he then assumed to be shared with US and US authorities. The Icelandic authorities had already cooperated in the case of Thordarson and part of the WikiLeaks investigation. According to letters from the WikiLeaks legal team, at least some of the hard drives allegedly belonged to Assange. Thordarson debriefings and hard disks containing up to 3TB of data could contain the decryption keys or passwords needed to decrypt Assange's alleged hard drives that had already been seized.

A receipt given to Sigurdur Thordarson of the FBI for WikiLeaks hard drives.

There are several indications on the content of these readers. According to Assange's affidavit, the information on the hard drives included, in addition to any emails from staff, "online communications … copies of passports". [and] video sequences taken in secret. "Following an Associated Press article based on a cache of" emails, newsletters, financial records, secret registrations and other WikiLeaks documents "from the organization, WikiLeaks alleged that the cache was the same was provided to the FBI.

In October 2011, among the witnesses who cooperated between Thordarson and Sabu, the US authorities issued a search warrant for the content of the Gmail account of Herbert Snorrason, a WikiLeaks volunteer. The order requested all account information, "including stored or retained copies of e-mails sent to and from the account, draft e-mails, deleted e-mails, e-mails held in accordance with a request. made under 18 United States of America. § 2703 (f), the source and destination addresses associated with each e-mail, the date and time each e-mail was sent, and the size and length of each e-mail. "The volunteer had helped WikiLeaks with minor technical problems and after learning that the US government had seized the contents of his account, Snorrason told Mother Jones that he thought" almost everyone with a Google account and a WikiLeaks login will get one of these reviews afterwards. "Snorrason was right in this other Google Accounts associated with WikiLeaks have seen their information entered by the government.

Six months after issuing Snorrason's e-mail receipt order, three search orders were issued for the WikiLeaks senior staff e-mail accounts. On April 5, 2012, sealed warrants were executed against the Google accounts of WikiLeaks editors Sarah Harrison and Joseph Farrell, as well as the spokesperson and future editor Kristinn Hrafnsson, who were suspected espionage and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. as well as conspiracy and theft of government property. Warrants appear to have covered all accounts and were disclosed by Google at the end of 2014.

Court order regarding information about Kristinn Hrafnsson, current editor of WikiLeaks, on suspicion whether the charges included espionage.

In late October 2017, a new government request was issued for parts of WikiLeaks' communications. Diane Feinstein, Senator, asked Twitter to provide a copy of all the over 180-day direct messages to the WikiLeaks-owned accounts, the WikiLeaks Working Group, "Guccifer 2.0", Assange and Margaret Ratner Kunstler. As written, the application would include some of my communications with WikiLeaks and "Guccifer 2.0". In the end, at least some messages between WikiLeaks and "Guccifer 2.0" were obtained by the US government, although the method of communication of these messages remains unconfirmed. .

WikiLeaks sent a message to Guccifer 2.0 on June 22, 2016. According to the informal message, Guccifer 2.0, a character that the US government believes to be used by Russian agents, to send them new documents would have a much greater impact. On July 6th, the organization sent another encouraging Guccifer 2.0 message to send [H]illary related "in time for the Democratic National Convention, which Wikileaks thought Clinton would use to strengthen his support. The quoted portion of the exchange ends with WikiLeaks, claiming that a conflict between Senator Bernie Sanders and Clinton would be "interesting." These exchanges, concerning the optimization of the impacts and the damages, are relevant for one of the theories of Assange's potential prosecutions exposed by national notables. security journalist Marcy Wheeler.

An excerpt from an indictment of Mueller.

If the accusations against Assange are linked to Russian piracy and the e-mail leak of the National Democratic Committee, this exchange could be one of the most likely evidence to directly relate to the initial charges against him. However, all of the government's evidence, including the seized documents of Joshua Schulte, the alleged fugitive of Vault 7, and the alleged recordings that he transferred additional files to WikiLeaks regarding the organization, could be used to plead the cause. Past statements and communications can be used to help establish a operating mode, a model or an intention. As indicated by the PA, some documents could indicate the beginning of relations announced between Assange and Russia. Excavated copies of sealed records, statements by people familiar with the grand juries, and FOIA's documents by independent journalist Alexa O'Brien – who also identified a number of sealed search orders – indicate that investigations have converged and gathered evidence at times. The government's information could be supplemented by Assange's recent surveillance in the Ecuadorian Embassy, ​​where he has been living under asylum since 2012, and whose fruits may have been shared with the United States. United.

Regardless of the charges against Assange, the government has terabytes of data to try to argue its case, which comes from supporters of WikiLeaks, sources, key personnel and Assange himself. The depth of government sources has not yet been revealed.

Emma Best is a national security journalist and transparency activist. She has published millions of pages of government documents and is a member of the leaked collective Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets).