National Security

What's in the Manning/Lamo WikiLeaks Chat Logs?

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Glenn Greenwald has been warring with Wired over Wired's supposed responsibility to release more of the chat logs between arrested-but-not-convicted alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo, the man to whom he supposedly confessed his crime and who turned him in.

Here is Wired explaining why they have released all they ought, and why Greenwald is a hypocrite, a bad journalist, and any number of other yucky things. Here is Greenwald's response to Wired (including suggestive accusations of long-time collusion between Lamo and Wired's lead reporter on the matter, ex-hacker Kevin Poulsen).

Here's Greenwald's latest on the matter, explaining the nub of why he thinks Wired is holding back stuff of likely enormous relevance, after reporting in great detail on many contradictions in Lamo's own public statements on what Manning said to him and why:

I could spend the rest of the day—literally—documenting bizarre facts in this story and contradictory assertions from Lamo about the most serious of matters.  Just by herself, Marcy Wheeler—who has repeatedly proven herself to be one of the most thorough forensic examiners of raw data in the country—has raised all kinds of serious questions aboutwhen Lamo really began working with federal authoritiesunexplained discrepancies in the Wired chat logs, and whether Lamo received actual classified information from Manning beyond the chats….

Wired's principal goal in responding to what I wrote was to raise all sorts of questions about my motives.  My motive could not be any clearer or more obvious.  Bradley Manning is being incarcerated in extremely oppressive conditions and charged with crimes that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.  The DOJ is threatening to do the same with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, based largely on statements they want to extract from Manning. 

The chat logs that Wired has but is withholding—and about which they are refusing to comment—are newsworthy in the extreme.  They cannot but shed substantial light on what really happened here, on the bizarre series of events and claims for which there is little evidence and much cause for doubt. 

At FireDogLake, they have conveniently gathered together the statements from various officially released portions of the original chats (from Wired, Washington Post, and BoingBoing), which Wired holds all of. They also list the various things that Lamo has said publicly that do not seem to be supported by the released portions of the chats–including such matters of great relevance to the case as:

Wired, 6/10/2010: "He said that Julian Assange had offered him a position at Wikileaks. But he said, 'I'm not interested right now. Too much excess baggage.'"….

AOL, 7/21/2010: "Their [Army counterintelligence's] immediate response when I related the code name for one of the operations was 'Never say those words again,' " Lamo told me. "Literally, 'Forget you ever heard those words.' And when I met with two federal agents to discuss them, they had me write it down on a piece of paper rather than say it aloud."…

CNN.com, 7/30/2010"[Lamo] also said that the logs contained personal information that he does not want exposed. And that there's information that he has that no one has seen, that could compromise National Security…..

Boston Globe, 8/1/2010: "Adrian Lamo, a former computer hacker who traded instant messages with Manning and later turned him in to authorities, said he knew of five people whom Army officials have interviewed over the past few months in the Boston area…Lamo said he doubts Manning had the technical savvy to copy all the data on his own. He thinks Manning received help from hackers in the area who provided him with encryption software to send the classified information to WikiLeaks, and who helped him ensure those leaks were featured prominently on the website….Lamo said he thinks the group in Boston provided Manning with software that allowed him to download thousands of documents without alerting network monitors at the Defense Department. He added that Manning had one of his associates in Boston physically provide WikiLeaks with documents he downloaded on CDs."

CNN.com, 8/4/2010"Lamo confirmed he told Manning the soldier's online conversations could be protected under the California shield law because it could be seen as a conversation with a journalist.  Lamo says he does consider himself a journalist and that he made the offer in good faith."