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WikiLeaks Supporters Fight Twitter Data Request

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

The Justice Department has turned to social networking sites to advance a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. But NPR's Carrie Johnson reports WikiLeaks supporters are, once again, putting up a fight.

CARRIE JOHNSON: Privacy advocate Cindy Cohn, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the government is going too far in a case that could have implications across the Internet.

CINDY COHN: Well, I think it's a tremendously important case because it demonstrates that as more and more people are using services like Twitter and other Internet-based services, the government is voraciously seeking that information, and it reveals more and more about our everyday life.

JOHNSON: National security prosecutors in Virginia say their request for Twitter information is routine. The only difference is international interest in WikiLeaks and its founder. Attorney General Eric Holder makes no secret of his desire to charge Assange with a crime. Here's Holder, talking to reporters a few months ago.

ERIC HOLDER: I authorized a number of things to be done so that we can hopefully get to the bottom of this and hold people accountable, as they should be.

JOHNSON: Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.