Washington, DC — The U.K. government is seeking a warrant to obtain data on an American suspect’s computer in the United States, a move that could complicate a search warrant that was issued to the FBI on May 6, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.
The letter, dated May 8, outlines a request from U.k.
Attorney General Jeremy Wright, a lawyer representing the U, for a warrant for data about the suspect’s computers, including search history and information about his activities.
Wright wrote that the warrant is a “credible, serious threat” to privacy and could violate a constitutional prohibition on warrants for “any information that would give rise to a conviction for a crime or provide information that may lead to a charge or indictment for a criminal offense.”
The warrant was issued on May 7.
A judge on Thursday ordered the FBI to return the data.
The Justice Department and FBI have not responded to the AP’s requests for comment.
The FBI has not provided any evidence to back up the warrant.
Wrights letter states that the information could help identify the computer’s owner or “other person” responsible for the data breach, and that the suspect is likely to be identified by a third party.
The government could also use the warrant to investigate the suspect for crimes unrelated to the breach.
The warrant is not unique to the U., as other U.s. law enforcement agencies have used warrants issued under the U’s national security letter law, which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and expanded in 2001 to allow government agencies to request data from private companies in the name of national security.
But the Justice Department said the warrant in the U.’s case could violate the law, and would have a chilling effect on other citizens using information to investigate or prosecute crimes.
Wiesers letter was signed under seal by a Justice Department lawyer, and it was not immediately available for comment Friday.