Google disclosed secret search warrants six months after judge’s unsealing order.

Public docketing and confirmations to the clerks in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia by the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, who was responsible for filing all three search warrants for WikiLeaks staffer's email content in March 2012, reveal that Google waited six months to disclose the existence of the search warrants by the U.S. Department of Justice, despite a May 15, 2014 ruling by Magistrate Judge John F. Anderson to unseal the search warrants for the limited purpose of informing the three WikiLeaks staffers.

Search Warrants for WikiLeaks Staffers were unsealed for limited purposes on May 15, 2014.

Search Warrants for WikiLeaks Staffers were unsealed for limited purposes on May 15, 2014.

On December 23, 2014, Google's Legal Investigation Support notified three WikiLeaks staffers that search warrants had been issued for the content of their email accounts in March 2012.

Google also stated that it had been subject to a nondisclosure or "gag" order, which prohibited the Internet Service Provider from disclosing the existence of the search warrants to the three WikiLeaks staffers until late December 2014.

According to Ellen Nakashima and Julie Tate at the Washington Post, Google says it fought gag orders in the WikiLeaks investigation since January 2011.

What is not clear is why Google waited six months to notify Sarah Harrison, Joseph Farrell, and Kristinn Hrafnsson of the existence of the search warrants.

I asked Albert Gidari, a partner at Perkins Coie, a law firm which represents the tech giant for comment. He directed me to Google's corporate headquarters, adding that he is limited from making comments because he is bound by a gag order. Google did not responded to my request for comment by the time of publication.

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.