Newly revealed court documents from the Justice department's investigation of WikiLeaks show that the government issued a secret search warrant to Google in order to access all of the email belonging to Herbert Snorrason. He had "helped managed WikiLeaks' secure chat room in 2010," Wired reports, and presumably that association is the reason the government demanded his records from Google.
The documents arrived in Snorrason's inbox this past Tuesday after being under seal for nearly two years. As The Nation reports, a gag order on Google was lifted last month which allowed Google to notify Snorrason about the surveillance. The warrant calls for Google to provide "contents of all e-mails associated with the account, including stored or preserved copies of e-mails sent to and from the account, draft e-mails, [and] deleted e-mails" to the US government, along with IP address records, and "all records or other information stored at any time by an individual using the account."
"I’m not allowed to know why they’re asking for this information."
The search warrant was issued in October of 2011. Two months before that, the government had also issued court orders to obtain metadata associated with Snorrason and Smari McCarthy. In all cases, the reasons for the court orders and the search warrant are still under seal. "That’s rather a lot of information," Snorrason noted in a post on his site, "Particularly in light of the fact that I’m not allowed to know why they’re asking for this information" (emphasis his). Snorrason and McCarthy told The Nation that neither used Gmail "for anything remotely sensitive." The two distanced themselves from WikiLeaks in the wake of the Bradley Manning leak.