Jacob Appelbaum, a Seattle-based volunteer hacker for Wikileaks, touched down at Newark Internation Airport in New Jersey on his way back from Holland last Thursday, and was promptly whisked away by U.S. customs officials for a "random" security search.
The hacker told CNET he was interrogated as to the whereabouts of his boss -- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has gone underground since the U.S. government announced it was hunting him -- as well as "his attitudes to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and on the philosophy behind Wikileaks."
Appelbaum's laptop was briefly confiscated, but investigators kept his three cell phones.
Sources told CNET that Appelbaum declined to comment on any Wikileaks-related questions without a lawyer. Still, the investigators managed to briefly confiscate his laptop, and kept his phones.
The three-hour detainment was keeping Appelbaum from the DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas, where he gave a speech Saturday defending Wikileaks' commitment to exposing private government information.
"All governments are on a continuum of tyranny," he said (h/t The Independent). "In the U.S., a cop with a gun can commit the most heinous crime and be given the benefit of the doubt. In the U.S., we don't have censorship, but we do have collaborating news organizations."
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