Grand Jury | Witness Profile, David House, June 15, 2011

  • David House Grand Jury Subpoena Letter

    "We advise you that the Grand Jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal law involving, but not necessarily limited to conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defense information in violation of 18 U.S.C. 793(g) and conspiracy to violate the laws of the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 to wit; knowingly accessing a computer without authorization or exceeding authorized access and having obtained information protected from disclosure for reasons of national defense or foreign relations in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030(a) and knowingly stealing or converting any record of thing of value of the United States or any department or agency thereof in violation of 18 U.S.C. 641"

    (The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil MacBride, and Tracy Doherty-McCormick signed the letter for David House's subpoena.)

  • Directions to the Grand Jury for David House

  • David House Grand Jury Subpoena

  • Accounts of David House's Appearance at Grand Jury

    Account of David House receipt of Grand Jury Subpoena, FireDogLake

    David House's statement on the WikiLeaks Grand Jury, chelseamanning.org:

    "The prosecution initially attempted to prevent David House from taking notes. This was the reason for the recess and reconvening at 4:00pm ET. There was no legal basis for this order, and House was ultimately permitted to take notes.

    ...

    House was questioned for approximately one hour, beginning at 4:00pm ET. He invoked his Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent. He read from the below statement at 5:00pm ET in the plaza outside of the United States District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, VA.

    "The Department of Justice (DoJ) is attempting to codify a task it started over 40 years ago: the political regulation of journalism. The same climate of intimidation that surrounded the Pentagon Papers trial persists to this day as the DoJ seeks to limit the freedoms of the Fourth Estate, using the pretense of alleged violations of the Espionage Act.

    The show trial that is now underway in Alexandria VA has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for regulating the media. Using Nixonian fear tactics that were honed during the Pentagon Papers investigation, the DoJ is attempting to dismantle a major media organization--WikiLeaks--and indict its editor, Julian Assange. The DoJ's ever-widening net has now come to encompass academics, students, and journalists in the Cambridge area. The Administration's goal is to force these individuals to testify against this media organization in an attempt to cast its publications and those of its media partners -- the New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and El Pais -- as acts of espionage. The government has also violated my Fourth Amendment rights by executing a warrantless seizure on my laptop in an attempt to identify, target and ensnare Cambridge-based supporters of WikiLeaks.

    It is my conviction that the American people must call for a cessation of the Department of Justice's politically motivated harassment."

    Bloomberg News:

    "House said he wasn't told whether he is a target of the investigation. He said he was questioned about Manning's time in Boston in 2010 and about the activities of Jacob Appelbaum, a WikiLeaks volunteer in Seattle."

    ...

    "I think the government is trying to go after Manning and Julian Assange and casting a wide net to do so," House said.

    ...

    Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, said "this remains an ongoing investigation," and declined further comment."

    David House account of his Grand Jury Testimony on Dylan Ratigan Show

    "David House: Yesterday was avery bizarre experience. I traveled to Alexandria, Virginia. to testify in the WikiLeaks Grand Jury as part of a subpoena that was improperly served to my Cambridge residence. When I arrived at the Alexandria Grand Jury, I was told by the prosecution that no note taking would be allowed inside the Grand Jury room - a commandment that was legally baseless according to the advice of my attorney.

    After much debate, which actually ended up pushing the entire Grand Jury appearance back, I was eventually allowed to go into the Grand Jury. During the process of the Grand Jury, I only gave my name and my date of birth and I pled the firth, fourth, and first amendments to every other question that was asked in the Grand Jury.

    The prosecution was very upset in my note taking and ridiculed me the entire time for taking notes saying things like, "I would like to state for the record that Mr. house is not answering the question and is instead taking notes." And they were very upset and threatened to put my notes under seal until I gave my notes to the attorney afterwards.

    The whole situation was very bizarre. And, I got the impression the prosecution in this case is very tense and very frantic in its desire to link Manning to Julian Assange.

    Ratigan: And that linkage is important why?

    David House: I believe that the prosecution and the DoJ in general is trying to finish the job it started over forty years ago, which is the political regulation of the U.S. media. The WikiLeaks affair provides a very prime opportunity for the DoJ to go after WikiLeaks and its five media partners The New York Times, the Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais, and attempt to embroil these organizations in espionage charges. if the DoJ succeeds in this espionage investigation...if it succeeds in indicting WikiLeaks or its editor Julian Assange we could be looking at a nation very soon that lives under the thumb of a Government censor. And I for one, don't want to wake up every morning to only read about how glorious the U.S. Government is."

    David House account on Democracy Now speaks about his experience before the "Secret WikiLeaks Grand Jury" and U.S. Government Surveillance, (VIDEO) and (TRANSCRIPT)

    "MY GOODMAN: That was Julian Assange critiquing the whole grand jury system. You went before the grand jury. Can you talk about it, David?

    DAVID HOUSE: So, the grand jury, as I understand it, is investigating the associations between Julian Assange and Manning, the alleged associations between them. As I understand it, it was convened around November of last year and has been running ever since. Recently, subpoenas have been issued to members of the Manning Support Network and others in the Boston area. I, myself, have been among these people that had a subpoena issued. And so, I had to go to the grand jury on June 15, 2011, just a few weeks ago, because they--

    AMY GOODMAN: In Alexandria?

    DAVID HOUSE: Right. And I was commanded to testify before the grand jury everything I knew about Manning and WikiLeaks, even Jacob Appelbaum, people of that sort. During the grand jury, I refused to answer any questions aside from my name and address, pleading the Fifth Amendment--well, the Fifth, First and Fourth Amendments, to whichever the question that was asked during the grand jury. And it was quite a controversy, actually, because despite the fact that the six AUSAs, assistant U.S. attorneys, that were present were very upset by this, they were also very upset at my note taking and tried to get me to stop taking notes the entire time, saying things such as, "I would like to state for the record Mr. House is not answering the questions and is instead taking notes," and kind of ridiculing me openly for doing that, saying, you know, "Oh, did you get the last question? Did you get everything down?" da-da-da-da-da, right?

    So, a very odd, very frantic atmosphere within the grand jury. And adding to the franticness was the fact that outside the windows of the grand jury you could see the WikiLeaks truck driving by every 15 minutes or so. This artistic van that had the giant WikiLeaks logo on the side and said, "WikiLeaks Mobile Information Collection Unit," would drive by, and the grand jury would kind of crack up a little bit. So, a very odd atmosphere, but I felt pretty good about it, because I had given no information away, and I had gotten a list of questions that they were trying to [inaudible].

    AMY GOODMAN: What were the questions that they were asking you?

    DAVID HOUSE The questions centered around Manning's time in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in January 2010, who he had associated with there. And then questions about Jacob Appelbaum, oddly enough, and other security researchers in the U.S. And I have worked with my attorney to provide these questions with the attorneys of other individuals being investigated in this case.

    AMY GOODMAN: So you're not cooperating?

    DAVID HOUSE Oh, of course not, no, no. It was unconscionable to cooperate with this grand jury. The grand jury is obviously politically motivated, and it's--I can't imagine a principled activist for Manning or for WikiLeaks cooperating with this investigation in any way. And it's been said by others in the Boston area that they will not cooperate, even if they are compelled to testify before the grand jury. So it seems to be this is like a commonly held belief in the Boston area.

    In fact, the day that I was actually called to testify, there was a protest happening outside the Alexandria court house and also in Boston against the grand jury and the politically motivated investigation of WikiLeaks currently happening in the States. And in my mind, this kind of reeks of the Pentagon Papers investigation. I mean, Richard Nixon's DOJ 40 years ago attempted to kind of curtail the freedoms of the press and politically regulate the press through the use of policy created around the espionage investigation of the New York Times. I feel the WikiLeaks case we have going on now provides Obama's DOJ ample opportunity to kind of continue this attempt to politically regulate the U.S. media, and so I'm very worried about this happening. And I think this grand jury is a step in the process."

Timeline

  • January 10, 2010, Manning attends open software event in Boston, MA where David House was also in attendance.

  • Early June, soon after Manning is arrested in Baghdad, Iraq, David House is questioned both at his home and place of work in Cambridge, by investigators for the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. House says agents interview 4 or 5 individuals in Boston area.

  • August 2010, Unidentified friend of Manning invites David House to join him on a visit to Manning at Quantico that occurs in early September.

  • September 2010, David House makes first visit to Manning at Quantico with unidentified friend.

  • Beginning in September 2010, David House is detained for questioning at the border on each of seven occasions he reenters the United States after foreign travel and is routinely questioned on those occasions about his work with the Support Network or his political beliefs and activities.

  • November 3, 2010, David House and his girlfriend are met and examined in the concourse of Chicago O'Hara by customs agents, who extensively search their bags. They are detained for questioning by two men, Marcial Santiago and Darin Louck, who identified themselves as Homeland Security Agents. House subsequently learned from Agent Santiago that although Agent Louck identified himself as a Homeland Security agent, he is, in fact, with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. House's electronic products were seized at a "border search" see image below. Acceptance/CHAIN of CUSTODY includes Special Agent, R. Hart,of Chicago, ICE.

  • December 21, 2010, ACLU faxes DHS, CBP, and ICE requesting David House's electronic devices be returned to him immediately. The letter also requests that House be provided with documentation of the chain of custody of any copies made of the information contained on his devices and documentation of their destruction

  • December 22, 2010, David House has his electronic devices returned to him by DHS CIS New York District, even though they were seized by R. Hart, SAC CHI ICE.

  • December 30, 2010, General counsel for ICE [WHO WAS THIS?] sends letter to David House noting his electronic devices have been returned but not indicating whether any information derived from those electronic devices had been copied, or what agencies or individuals were given copies, or whether such copies were destroyed.

  • November 13, 2011, David House sues government over Nov 3, 2010 laptop seizure.

  • May 25, 2011Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Assistant U.S. Attorney and US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia send Davis House a Subpoena to appear June 15, 2011 at the WikiLeaks Grand Jury.

  • June 15, 2011, US Secret Grand Jury Investigation meets in Alexandria, VA David House is called to testify at the secret grand jury in Alexandria, VA. According to his public account, he pleads 5th and refuses to testify.

David House WikiLeaks Grand Jury Subpoena & Testimony in the Press

  • "WikiLeaks grand jury witness David House refuses to testify," invokes Fifth Amendment, Raw Story

  • Alyona Show, RT

  • "WikiLeaks Grand Jury investigation widens," Glenn Greenwald, Salon

  • "WikiLeaks Grand Jury Witness Says He Declined To Answer Queries On Manning," Bloomberg

  • "WikiLeaks witness takes the Fifth," CNN

  • "Boston Protest in Support of David House/ Manning/Wikileaks Tomorrow," Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake

  • "Grand Jury Meets to Question WikiLeaks Supporters: 'Do You or Have You Ever Worked for WikiLeaks?'" Kevin Gosztola, FiredogLake

  • Time for Those Subpoenaed in WikiLeaks Grand Jury Investigation to Setup Support Committee?, Kevin Gosztola, FireDogLake

  • "US WikiLeaks probe gathers pace with new hearing,"AFP

  • "Protesters Blow Whistles Over Wikileaks Subpoenas," The Epoch Times

  • "More subpoenas in WikiLeaks probe," Politico

  • "Rallies planned to protest WikiLeaks Grand Jury subpoenas Wednesday," manning.org

  • "Lynndie England Testifying Before Grand Jury Today," Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake

  • "Manning's friend won't testify," RT News

  • "Civic Counsel Protests Grand Jury Investigation of Boston Supporters of WikiLeaks," openmediaboston.org

  • "FBI issues Grand Jury subpoena presumed to relate to Wikileaks, Espionage Act charges,"Boing Boing

  • "Supporter of Leak Suspect Is Called Before Grand Jury," New York Times

  • " Manning supporters rally at WikiLeaks federal grand jury," Raw Story

  • "Supporters to rally as WikiLeaks grand jury meets," AP and AP Picture of David House leaving the Alexandria Court House

  • "Witness raps WikiLeaks grand jury proceedings, evokes Pentagon Papers," Government Security News

  • "WikiLeaks grand jury sparks protests," Government Security News

  • "WikiLeaks grand jury witness refuses to testify," AP

Alexa O'Brien Alexa O'Brien researches and writes about national security and law enforcement. Her work has been published in The New York Times, VICE News, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian (UK), The Daily Beast, NY Daily News, and featured on the BBC, PBS, NPR, Democracy Now!, and Public Radio International. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in the United Kingdom and listed in The Verge 50. In 2016, she worked at The Constitution Project in Washington, D.C. as a staff researcher and writer on an independent commission studying Oklahoma's death penalty. She also provided research support to scholars of the first cost study conducted on that state's capital punishment system.