US, Wikileaks suspect's advocate settle data case
The US government has agreed to destroy all data obtained from a computer and other electronic devices seized from an outspoken advocate of an Army soldier accused of sending more than 700,000 classified US documents to the secrets-spilling website Wikileaks, the American Civil Liberties Union announced.world Updated: May 31, 2013 08:47 IST
The US government has agreed to destroy all data obtained from a computer and other electronic devices seized from an outspoken advocate of an Army soldier accused of sending more than 700,000 classified US documents to the secrets-spilling website Wikileaks, the American Civil Liberties Union announced on Thursday.
David House had filed a lawsuit accusing authorities of violating his constitutional rights when he was stopped at a Chicago airport in 2010 while returning from abroad.
House is a founding member of The Bradley Manning Support Network, which raised money for Manning's legal defense.
"The seizure of David House's computer is a chilling example of the government's overbroad ability to conduct a search at the border that intrudes into a person's political beliefs and associations," said John Reinstein, an ACLU attorney.
"Those rights were vindicated by the settlement we reached."
A spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice, which defended the government in the lawsuit, declined to comment on the settlement.
Manning has been charged with indirectly aiding the enemy by causing classified material to be published on WikiLeaks. His espionage case is headed for trial Monday.
Manning has said he leaked the Afghan and Iraq battlefield reports, State Department cables and video of a US Apache helicopter attack that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver because he wanted the public to know how the U.S. military was fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with little regard for human life.
The ACLU posted a copy of the settlement agreement on its website. It says the government does not admit to any wrongdoing and that House may continue to be subject to lawful searches and inspections.
The ACLU said House's personal information, as well as private documents related to the Manning network, were copied and given to other federal agencies, including military criminal investigators who concluded that they would not use the information.
House said the settlement ensures that people who contributed money to pay for Manning's legal defense would not be met with retaliation and their identities would be reclaimed from authorities who copied the data from his electronic devices.