(TNS) — Leak-hunting NYPD probers subpoenaed New York Post police bureau chief Tina Moore’s Twitter data in hope of finding out who in the department was giving her scoops.
The subpoena was published on the Post’s web site Thursday, and the NYPD acknowledged it sought the data in hope of finding out who leaked police photos to Moore.
“We are conducting an investigation to identify the person who leaked crime scene photos,” the NYPD’s statement said. “Tina Moore was never the focus of our investigation.”
Moore declined to comment on the case. Twitter also declined comment.
The police department’s lawyer cited the anti-terrorism Patriot Act in demanding that Twitter turn over information connected to Moore’s account from Oct. 9 to 14.
Around that time, Moore tweeted crime scene photos from a triple-murder at a Harlem dice parlor, the Post reported.
The Dec. 9 subpoena — issued a week after Police Commissioner Dermot Shea took over the department — demanded all e-mail accounts, servers and internet protocol addresses associated with her Twitter account, as well info on any devices connected to the account.
It also instructed Twitter not to let anyone know of the subpoena for 90 days after its issuance, contending any such disclosure could impede the investigation.
Twitter apparently ignored the 90-day request and informed Moore of the subpoena by email, the Post said. After hearing from the Post’s lawyers, the NYPD on Wednesday withdrew the subpoena, the newspaper said.
“I think what they were looking to do is identify her cell phone or the number of phones she uses,” said Adam Scott Wandt, a professor at John Jay College who specializes in cybersecurity. “They were looking for all of the devices that are used to connect to that Twitter account.”
Once the NYPD identified Moore’s phones, it could have issued more subpoenas to get phone records, he said.
The subpoena was “very interestingly-crafted,” said Wandt. "They didn’t ask for private messages. They were more interested in the connection that she makes to Twitter.”
Word of the subpoena comes just days after the NYPD placed two officers on modified duty for allegedly leaking video of a shooting inside the 41st Precinct stationhouse.
Said Wandt, “This clearly does raise First Amendment concerns when we talk about the freedom of the press.... Even the word getting out that this happened would make it less likely for police officers to unofficially release information in the future.”
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