Around a year after Bradley Manning was arrested for allegedly leaking to Wikileaks, Wired has finally published the full chat logs between the Army private and hacker Adrian Lamo, who turned him into authorities. Man, does Lamo come across as a scumbag.
If you remember: Manning reached out to Lamo on May 21, 2010 over encrypted chat. He proceeded to spill his guts, confessing to Lamo that he leaked more than 250,000 State Department cables as well as the "Collateral Murder" video, and another video of an Afghanistan airstrike to Wikileaks. Wired published heavily redacted chat bits of these conversations last June when it broke the story. But the rest were withheld, Wired explained, since Manning was "discussing personal matters that aren't clearly related to his arrest, or apparently sensitive government information..."
Turns out there was no sensitive government information. A big chunk of the chat did reveal Manning's history of cross-dressing and his gender identity crisis—he's apparently transgendered—which Lamo, himself bisexual, played on to win his trust. But other bits showed the depths to which Lamo went to extract information from Manning.
Here's Lamo telling Manning their conversation would be protected because Lamo is "a journalist and a minister":
(10:20:53 AM) bradass87: yes... questioned my gender for several years... sexual orientation was easy to figure out... but i started to come to terms with it during the first few months of my deployment
(10:21:09 AM) email@example.com: May I ask the particulars?
(10:21:34 AM) firstname.lastname@example.org: I'm bi myself, and my ex is MTF.
(10:21:34 AM) bradass87: im fairly open... but careful, so yes..
(10:22:00 AM) bradass87: im aware of your bi part
(10:22:24 AM) bradass87: uhm, trying to keep a low profile for now though, just a warning
(10:23:34 AM) email@example.com: 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.
Later, Manning told Lamo, "im not a source for you… im talking to you as someone who needs moral and emotional fucking support." Lamo reassured Manning, " i told you, none of this is for print."
After Manning's arrest, Lamo would lie to our own John Cook, then working for Yahoo! News, telling him, "I told [Manning], 'Look-I am a journalist, and California [where Lamo lives] has a shield law… I asked him if he wanted that choice, and he did not.'"
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.
As a bonus, here's a bit from the transcript where Manning talks about how Julian Assange stuck a camera up his butt, first noticed by BoingBoing:
bradass87: assange offered me a position at wl... but im not interested right now... too much excess baggage...
(07:33:22 AM) firstname.lastname@example.org: hey
(07:33:56 AM) email@example.com: tell him i'll do opsec for 'em
(07:34:03 AM) firstname.lastname@example.org: is he gay?
(07:34:11 AM) email@example.com: *random*
(07:34:18 AM) bradass87: are you talking to the right person?
(07:34:23 AM) firstname.lastname@example.org: yeah
(07:34:36 AM) bradass87: white haired crazy dude?
(07:34:38 AM) email@example.com: continuing convo where it dropped
(07:34:43 AM) firstname.lastname@example.org: yeah
(07:34:49 AM) bradass87: ah... no...
(07:34:52 AM) bradass87: very str8
(07:35:47 AM) bradass87: had a camera smuggled via rectum once... he commented that he's "definitely not gay"
(07:37:44 AM) bradass87: [long story]
[Image of Adrian Lamo via Facebook]