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Twitter’s Leaks: Company Releases DMs to Intelligence Committee in Violation of Privacy

Twitter appears to have handed over DMs between Wikileaks and its associates to the Senate Judiciary Committee, as per the demand of Senator Dianne Feinstein. The letter called for the release of all content from direct messages and data showing the sender, receiver, date and time of each message, for the following accounts: @wikileaks, @WLTaskForce, @GUCCIFER_2, @JulianAssange_, @JulianAssange, and @granmarga.

As I pointed out in a previous article, one of those accounts, @granmarga, is the account of one of Wikileaks lawyers, Margaret Kunstler. Feinstein’s demand that Twitter divulge Wikileaks’ communication with its lawyer would therefore be in contravention of lawyer-client confidentiality and privilege. Wikileaks has objected to such a release. 

However, when Donald Trump Jr. released his DMs with Wikileaks on Nov. 13, 2017, he is widely thought to have done so in response to the release earlier that day of The Atlantic’s article on the “The Secret Correspondence Between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks.” It has been speculated that the author of that article, Julia Iofee, obtained this information by a leak from someone on the Judiciary or Intelligence Committee, and that leak was only possible, it seems, had Twitter voluntarily handed over these DMs. Ioffe’s information is so detailed that she literally quoted from the DM in her article. 

Which other messages has Twitter leaked? Does that lack of other leaks reflect how Wikileaks has not engaged in meaningful DMs with other entities? Will those defending the constitution oppose Twitter’s violation of privacy?

Contact Steve Cunningham at [email protected]

Editor’s note: The Atlantic article notes that the DMs were obtained from “congressional investigators.”

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