United States vs. Manning

A timeline of the U.S. investigation between 2006 to 2013

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MS. JENSEN: Our next question comes IDG News Service, Raffaella Menichini: Can you comment on the recent decision by the Virginia District Court that allows the Justice Department to access records of the Twitter accounts used by WikiLeaks associates? Isn't that a form of violation of privacy on social media, something that the State Department maintains as a basic value?

MR. ROSS: Yeah. No. There's ' absolutely not. In the United States, we have rules for what we call lawful intercept. If there is reason to believe that somebody is committing a crime, for the last decades there is a legal process, a transparent legal process, through which the Justice Department can get, for example, phone records. The news that's been made where the Justice Department can do the same thing, for example, with Twitter records is no different than that which happens hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of time a year and has been happening for decades with the phone.

So the only difference is that we're talking about digital communications versus traditional telephone, but the transparent rule of law and the due process in the United States is the same. So what applies to the telephone applies to social media. And so if you are planning a crime or conducting a crime using the phone, it's not okay, and if you are planning a crime and conducting a crime using social media, similarly it's not okay.

The difference in the United States versus other places is that we do this without sacrificing universal rights. So people have freedom of expression. They have the ability to exercise peaceful, political dissent. They have the ability to communicate however they see fit. What these laws for what we call lawful intercept apply to specifically is investigations regarding the conduct of a crime.

MS. JENSEN: I just want to make a quick correction. The last question came from the Repubblica.
  Name(s:) Alec Ross
  Title: Senior Advisor for Innovation
  Agency(ies): Department of State
Concerning: Twitter 2703(d), 2703(d) Orders, Grand Jury
Url: Url Link
Archive: http://archive.is/TVvKq
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