A senior volunteer for Wikileaks in the US has been detained, questioned and had his phones seized when he returned to the country from Europe, as the FBI steps up its investigation into the leak of thousands of Afghanistan war secrets to the whistleblower website.
Jacob Appelbaum, who has stood in for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange since he was advised not to travel to the US, spent three hours at a New York airport while customs officers photocopied receipts and searched his laptop, and he was again approached and questioned by FBI officers at a computer hackers conference in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Two officers approached Mr Appelbaum after he had given a talk on how to subvert Chinese government internet surveillance at the annual DefCon conference. He declined to talk to them.
The internet security researcher had returned to the US for the conference from the Netherlands on Thursday when he was detained. Border officials quizzed him on the whereabouts of Mr Assange, on his attitudes to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the philosophy behind Wikileaks.
Mr Assange has not been to the US since Wikileaks published a secret video showing US military personnel in Iraq celebrating a helicopter attack in which 12 civilians were killed, including Reuters journalists. The controversy has escalated further since the site additionally published 90,000 field reports and other military documents from the war in Afghanistan, including some that contained the names of Afghan informants.