The company says that it fought the warrants and their gag orders, and the reason they weren't able to follow Twitter's suit by disclosing the warrants' existence was that prosecutors were furious over the public backlash when Twitter got to disclose.
"From January 2011 to the present, Google has continued to fight to lift the gag orders on any legal process it has received on WikiLeaks," he said, adding that the firm's policy is to challenge all gag orders that have indefinite time periods.
The affidavits and applications underlying the orders are still sealed. The company said it is seeking to unseal them.
Google's belated disclosure contrasts with the way in which Twitter, the microblogging platform, was able to quickly inform several of its customers in 2011 that the federal government had demanded their subscriber data in the WikiLeaks inquiry.
According to Gidari, whose firm has represented both firms, Google's delay was not the result of foot-dragging but of opposition from prosecutors who were upset by the backlash that followed the disclosure of their court orders to Twitter.
Google says it fought gag orders in WikiLeaks investigation [Ellen Nakashima and Julie Tate/Washington Post]