Supporters of Army Private Bradley Manning rallied outside the courthouse where a federal grand jury has convened to investigate WikiLeaks.
The Associated Press reported that supporters of the Army private, who is accused of supplying classified documents to WikiLeaks, gathered outside the courthouse in northern Virginia on Wednesday.
Activist David House, one of the founders of the Bradley Manning Support Network, was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury this morning. Manning’s ex-boyfriend Tyler Watkins and cryptography expert Nadia Heninger have also received subpoenas.
The grand jury is investigating the publication of classified government documents by WikiLeaks and violations of the 1917 Espionage Act and other laws.
“This harassment only increases our resolve to defend our fundamental constitutional freedoms,” said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “By conducting the people’s business in secret and persecuting transparency advocates, government decision-makers have abandoned core American values.”
One witness who previously appeared before the grand jury invoked their Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer any questions beyond basic biographical ones, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald reported.
“It is heartening to see that some witnesses are refusing to cooperate with this campaign to conceal the truth,” Kevin Zeese, an attorney with the Bradley Manning Support Network who attended the rally, said.
Last month, House filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the seizure of his laptop and other electronic equipment by federal agents. He was returning to the U.S. on Nov. 23, 2010, after a vacation to Mexico, when all of his electronics were seized by agents acting without a warrant.
House claimed they questioned him for hours about Manning and WikiLeaks, then refused to return his equipment.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in December 2010 that the Department of Justice would take “significant” actions related to a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks, but would not elaborate.