Manning a ‘broken soul, emotionally fractured’

Fort Meade, Maryland: A counterpoint to the enormity of Bradley Manning having dumped 700,000 classified US documents into the public domain is the fractured and confused nature of the young US Army private which surfaced in testimony at his court martial on Tuesday by Adrian Lamo, a convicted computer hacker in whom the army private confided.
Nanjing Night Net

Under cross-examination Mr Lamo revealed a side of the leaker at odds with the prosecution claim that he had deliberately set out to put the top secret files of the US Government in the hands of Osama Bin Laden helping the enemy, as the most severe charge against Private First Class Manning is paraphrased.

The hacker’s account squared with evidence earlier in the day by a forensic digital examiner on contract to the US military, Mark Johnson, who said that none of the material found on PFC Manning’s computer related to terrorism or indicat[ed] a hatred of America.

The hacker Mr Lamo told army prosecutor Major Ashden Fein that PFC Manning had first

contacted him online on May 20, 2010 and that within 24 hours he had reported the soldier

to military intelligence, briefing agents on his dialogue with PFC Manning and in particular, on his references to Julian Assange, whose WikiLeaks anti-secrecy entity was the conduit by which the files became public.

The 30-something Mr Lamo was tight-lipped on the witness-stand, mostly agreeing with or slightly modifying statements put to him by the prosecution and defence lawyers.

Describing himself as a threat analyst and a grey hat, a hacking term, Mr Lamo confirmed that in 2004 he had pleaded guilty to computer fraud charges after he had hacked the networks of The New York Times and Microsoft, among others. On conviction, he had been sentenced to six-months home detention and two years probation.

But in response to questions by David Coombs, PFC Manning’s counsel, Mr Lamo said there had been no suggestion by PFC Manning, whose online identity was Bradass87, that he intended the leaked documents to aid the enemy.

Coombs: At any time, did PFC Manning ever say he wanted to help the enemy?

Lamo: Not in those words, no.

Coombs: At any point, did he say that the American flag doesn’t mean anything to me?

Lamo: No.

Relying on purportedly tamper-proof, real-time recordings of their several chats which were retrieved from Mr Lamo’s computers, Mr Coombs drew out the fragile nature of his client, who had told Lamo he had made a huge mess of his life.

Suggesting he was suicidal, PFC Manning had described himself as a “broken soul emotionally fractured.”

PFC Manning chatted about seeing incredible things, awful things” in classified files, “things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC.” He had told Mr Lamo the files revealed how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective showing diplomatic scandals wherever there was a US mission.

“I don’t believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore,” PFC Manning told him.

“Only a plethora of states acting in self interest.”

Mr Lamo told the court martial that he could appreciate, yes, a claim by PFC Manning that he needed to investigate to find out the truth. He confirmed having asked why PFC Manning was not selling the files to Russia or China to which PFC Manning had replied that the information “belongs in the public domain.”

As Mr Coombs itemised the particulars of PFC Manning’s life, Mr Lamo observed that the irony of the parallel with his own circumstances was not lost on him.

PFC Manning had sought him out because of his hacker’s notoriety, but also because of his activism in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Mr Lamo was 22 when he was arrested in 2004, the same age as PFC Manning at the time of his arrest. And as PFC Manning had, Mr Lamo also had claimed to be motivated by public good.

Both suffered anxiety and depression. PFC Manning had shared with him his gender identity disorder and he — Mr Lamo — had Asperger’s syndrome.

Another irony was that the Manning-Lamo dialogue which led to PFC Manning’s arrest might not have happened.

Explaining that the soldier s initial approaches were a series of encrypted emails from both his personal and US military addresses, Mr Lamo said that he had ignored them because they were just more of the high volume of messages he received from strangers.

He had responded only on registering that one of the addresses was military and Iraq-based.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation