Thursday, July 21, 2011

Full Bradley Manning chat logs reveal broken confidentiality agreement

By Joe Pompeo | The Cutline – Thu, Jul 14, 2011

Last June, the former hacker and sometimes-self-described-journalist
Adrian Lamo spoke with Yahoo! News about his decision to turn in Bradley
Manning, the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst accused of providing a
trove of classified United States military and diplomatic data to the
whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

At the time, Lamo told John Cook (now a reporter at Gawker) that he didn't
employ any subterfuge in getting Manning to discuss his activities:

Lamo says that he spelled out very clearly in his chates [sic] with
Manning that he wasn't affiliated with WikiLeaks or acting as a
journalist. Lamo even offered, he says, to speak to Manning as a reporter
and to protect his identity—and Manning refused.

"I told him, 'Look--I am a journalist, and California [where Lamo lives]
has a shield law,'" Lamo says. "I asked him if he wanted that choice, and
he did not."

The chats Lamo was referring to, in which Manning claimed responsibility
for the blockbuster leak, were excerpted June 10 last year on weeks after Manning was detained by Army authorities.
Wired explained at the time that it had redacted "portions of the chats
that discuss deeply personal information about Manning or that reveal
apparently sensitive military information."

Wired has now published the full chat transcript--because, as the magazine
explains, "the most significant of the unpublished details have now been
publicly established with sufficient authority that we no longer believe
any purpose is served by withholding the logs." However, the fuller record
of the Manning-Lamo chats also supplies a portrait of Mannings' sourcing
agreement that's markedly different from how Lamo had characterized it to

"I'm a journalist and a minister. You can pick either, and treat this as a
confession or an interview (never to be published) & enjoy a modicum of
legal protection," the chat logs reveal Lamo to have said. And later
during the encrypted online conversation:

(1:54:55 PM) bradass87: but im not a source for you… im talking to you as
someone who needs moral and emotional [expletive] support

(1:55:02 PM) bradass87: :'(

(1:55:10 PM) i told you, none of this is for print

(1:55:16 PM) bradass87: ok, ok

These new revelations show that Manning clearly seemed to believe that
Lamo was someone he could trust, and they have some spectators all riled

"So Lamo lied to and manipulated Manning by promising him the legal
protections of a journalist-source and priest-penitent relationship, and
independently assured him that their discussions were 'never to be
published' and were not 'for print,' " writes Salon's Glenn Greenwald,
who's been one of Manning's most aggressive advocates in the press. Nor
did Greenwald let Wired off the hook:

Knowing this, Wired hid from the public this part of their exchange,
published the chat in violation of Lamo's clear not-for-publication
pledges, allowed Lamo to be quoted repeatedly in the media over the next
year as some sort of credible and trustworthy source driving reporting on
the Manning case.

And this from Gawker's Adrian Chen:

Regardless of what you think of Manning's alleged leak, or Lamo's turning
him in—and reasonable people disagree!—Lamo is objectively a scumbag for
having repeatedly reassured a troubled 22-year-old that he was speaking to
a journalist off the record, then turning around giving the scoop to his
buddies at Wired to fulfill his well-documented love of the spotlight. And
luckily for him, Wired left out all the parts that made him look bad when
it went initially to press so he was able to run around lying to pump
himself up as a hero who'd saved the country from a madman bent on
America's destruction.

But there is, of course, a broader digital-age moral to the story: It's
nearly impossible to expect that anything you write or say to someone is
ever truly off the record.

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