Justice Department investigators want to question a hacker connected to WikiLeaks, according to a group of his supporters.
The supporters announced Tuesday that Jeremy Hammond, who participated in the hack of government intelligence contractor Stratfor, has been called in by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Hammond is currently incarcerated, serving a 10-year prison sentence related to his role in the Stratfor hacks. Emails he hacked from Stratfor subsequently went to WikiLeaks.
Last week, authorities removed Hammond from a prison in Memphis where he has been serving his sentence. The statement from his supporters says he is in transit and expected to be incarcerated near Alexandria, Virginia.
“Given the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the nature or scope of the grand jury’s investigation,” the committee said in a statement. Hammond’s supporters say they assume this is the same grand jury that Chelsea Manning refused to testify before, leading to her present incarceration.
The statement also said there is “no way he would ever testify before a grand jury,” and that his sentence—which could have ended as soon as December 2019—may now be prolonged indefinitely.
A spokesperson for the Eastern District of Virginia declined to comment.
Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who served seven years in prison after sharing hundreds of thousands of government documents with WikiLeaks, is currently incarcerated because of her refusal to answer questions from a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia about WikiLeaks.
Hammond’s supporters say they believe he would face questions about the same investigation.
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District have helmed the Justice Department’s investigation and prosecution of WikiLeaks.
In May, the DOJ charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with violating the Espionage Act for revealing government secrets. The move horrified some free-speech advocates, who noted that it was the first time the U.S. government charged anyone under that law just for publishing material.