The Department of Justice has served Twitter with a subpoena seeking detiled information on the accounts of Julian Assange and other Wikileaks members and supporters.
Documents obtained by Salon.com show that the subpoena was issued three weeks ago, but sealed until late last week when a judge ruled that Twitter should be allowed to alert the users whose records had been requested.
The DoJ is demanding information dating back to November 1 2009 and covering user names, session times and messages, physical, email and IP addresses as well as credit card and bank account information.
The accounts are those of Assange himself, Iceland parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp and US programer Jacob Appelbaum - who were involved in the release of video footage from the July 12 2007 Baghdad airstrike - and Bradley Manning, the US soldier who is accused of passing the classified cables to Wikileaks.
Assange told reporters that the court order amounted to harassment.
""If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," he said.
He said that the court order had been unsealed following legal action from Twitter.
"The US government is trying to criminalize whistleblowing and publication of whistleblowing material, puts journalists at risk in the future," says Jonsdottir in a tweet.