Around 8pmest every night
Ok, let's start with this interview with Lamo by the Australian podcast Risky Business from June 10.
I will spend the next few hours doing a transcript(god help me.)
Please, if you see anything wrong with my transcription, let me know. It is now 5:30pmest and I have just transcribed Lamo's first response!! I have been at it for an hour at least so far and have much more to go. The player that pops up does not allow me to just click and slide to where I just was, it "floats" and I have to just accept the closest part of the interview to where I need to listen again to get those next words I needed. Someone please smack me! And if one of you finds a transcription elsewhere, don't tell me. Please. Just let me be.
RB : Now it's time for this week's feature interview with Adrian Lamo. Lamo is best known as a former 'grey-hat' hacker who between around 2001-2003 penetrated the networks of companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL without permission. But he wasn't after information-for-profit. He'd simply contact the company and let them know they have a security problem so that they could fix it. Somehow he managed to avoid prosecution during all of this despite the high-profile nature of his hacks.
That was until he accessed the contributor database of the New York Times. The Times pressed charges and Lamo was sentenced to 6-months home detention and a further 2-years probation. Since then, Lamo has apparently flown straight, working as a threat analyst, and believe it or not, a journalist.
But his past actions mean that Lamo is actually quite well known out there. He enjoys a sort of fame, I guess you could call it. And as a result of that he is often contacted by all sorts of young hackers and miscreants who are keen to ask him for advice or share with him details of their adventures.
One of these young people was 22yr old Specialist Bradley Manning, an Army Intelligence Analyst stationed in Iraq. Manning got in touch with Lamo and the pair forged an online friendship. It was during their online chats that Manning revealed himself as the source of sensitive information that leaked to online whistleblower site Wikileaks.
Among the material he allegedly accessed was explosive footage, shot from a helicopter gunship in Iraq. The footage showed the American chopper firing on a crowd of mostly unarmed men. And that crowd included to Rueters journalists. It also showed, subsequently, the helicopter firing on a van that had turned up to collect the injured and two children were actually in the van and quite seriously injured. That footage was released by Wikileaks under the contentious title 'Collateral Murder.'
Now in addition to that footage, however, Manning alledgedly claimed, in his chats with Lamo, to have downloaded over 260,000 U.S. diplomatic cables that could be highly embarrassing to the U.S. government. They contained, according to Manning, almost criminal political back-dealings. He found 'incredible things', I'm quoting here, 'incredible things, awful things' on Army systems and he believed those things belonged in the public domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington D.C.
So, Lamo decided to turn Manning in as the leaker. He also decided to contact Wired News and pass on the chat logs of his conversations with Manning to journalists there. Adrian Lamo joins us now.
Adrian, why did you decide to turn Manning in?
Adrian Lamo : I made a conscious decision to severely and to diversely affect the life of another human being in order to prevent the lives of other human beings, plural, from being seriously and adversely affected by the leakage of classified material. It was only a matter of time before the information that he was rummaging through turned out to be a little bit too sensitive or a little bit too detailed and it got published and it got somebody killed.
RB : Because it is interesting isn't it, because it seems that the only thing that he has leaked at the moment, the only thing that is widely known that he has leaked, is a bit of footage that looks very very bad for the U.S. military. But I think it would be, at the same time, it would be quite difficult to argue that the leaking of that footage would be dangerous to U.S. national security.
Lamo : I'm not an expert on the military implications from footage shot from a helicopter so I can't speak to that. However he expressed to me in his chats with me that he had unprecedented access to classified information, the way he was smuggling that information out of the secure facility and the way he was mis-handling it, transmitting it to a foreign national. He's fortunate, in that Wikileaks is nominally a non-governmental organization. If it weren't, he could be charged with espionage and face the death penalty. As it is, I like to think that this saved him from more trouble down the road because he was piling up the consequences. Everything that he leaked, every document that he released was making his situation worse later. He was building a house of cards made entirely of consequences and it had to be stopped. The construction had to be stopped before it got high enough for it to come down on him.
RB : What specific sort of information is it that you feared that he had leaked that would endanger people's lives? Because it seems that he was most interested in exposing information that was embarrassing to the U.S. government and showed us just how brutal and dirty the campaign in Iraq has become and may be how it always has been. So what was it that you feared that he would leak that would put people at risk?
Lamo : That demonstrates a certain amount of naivete on his part, his belief that information was only embarrassing when in fact it could reveal sources and tactics that could result in the deaths of either people in uniform or civilians. He didn't have the training to determine what was embarrassing and what was tactically compromising. (I think he said next "and he was going to try and get caught") As somebody said to me today, those quarter-million State Dept. calbes, if you say that even 1 in 1,000 or 1 in 10,000 has the material that would get somebody killed, that are still alive.
RB : You say to me 1 in 25,000 or however many of these cables could contain specific information that would harm someone, you don't actually know that do you? There was no specific information that you came across that you knew would endanger somebody's life. This is some sort of guess work on your part.
Lamo : And when you play Russian Roulette you don't know that the chamber contains a bullet. The principle is about the same.
RB : Hmmmmm. Now Adrian, plenty of people have expressed quite serious outrage with what you've done, effectively informing on someone. And in some ways a lot of people look at what Bradley Manning has done as the right thing, in many ways people do agree with that, I think it's a political consideration for a lot of people.
Lamo : Can I stop you there and say one thing? Had it only been the helicopter video I would have left it alone because I wouldn't have believed that anyone was in danger. There were issues other than the cables that I can't get into that were very specific and did have significant ramifications in terms of our safety both economic and national.
RB : Look Adrian, a lot of people have expressed a considerable amount of outrage at your actions. In fact I would say the tone floating about the internet is quite threatening. People saying things to you like 'make it to DefCon this summer', you know it's got this kind of threatening undertone to it. Now my question to you, if you decided to turn this guy in, that's one thing. You could have done it very discreetly. You could've spoken to the military, this guy could've been arrested. This could've all gone down very discreet. Question to you: Why did you then go to Wired.com with the chat logs and decide to talk to the media about your involvement in the arrest of Bradley Manning?
Lamo : Wired published it one day earlier than the military would have. I'm not quite sure what your point of contention is there.....
RB : Well, it gives the appearance that you were quite keen to draw attention to yourself for having a role in exposing Bradley Manning as the source. You look like you are publicity hungry.
Lamo : I've never contacted a reporter or a media entity first to develop a relationship that had not contacted me. I have never gone to somebody and said 'Hey, you should write about me' if they did not contact me first.
RB : So how did the story with Wired develop?
Lamo : Please allow me to continue. I went to Kevin because I worked with him for over ten years as a source and I know that he knows how to handle these issues in a way that is fair to the suspect and that he would not sensationalize it. I wanted the first reporting of it to be done right because I genuinely like Bradley and I don't want to see him get more punishment than he deserves. And thus, I wanted to be sure that when the word came out that this happened, as it inevitably would, that it came out in a way that painted him as a human being, not as a terrorist or anything like that. But you do get that don't you? That not all news outlets would have covered it as humanly as Wired.
RB : No I agree and I know Kevin personally. He's been there himself. He himself spent 5 years in a federal prison for fraud and computer hacking related charges. When was that? Like the early 90's. So, you know, he's been on both sides of these sorts of events and he's a skilled journalist and an exceptional writer and an exceptional editor and I have, in fact, done some work for him, many years ago so I do understand that if you wanted someone to sensitively handle that story then he'd be the right guy to do it. None-the-less, I feel that some people will not believe that that was your motivation.
Lamo : Well, that doesn't really matter to me. If I wanted publicity I would've been well aware that this would generate publicity of a negative kind. I could've remained totally anonymous but out of an ongoing desire for transparency, and in a sense of guilt, I...Because I feel guilty that it was necessary to violate Manning's confidence. I wish that he didn't put me in that position. I wanted to out myself as much as I wanted to out him.
RB : What do you think his feeling toward you are now?
Lamo : I suspect he feels betrayed. If he ever listens to this podcast, looking back in some retrospective way years later, I hope that he knows that I genuinely looked upon him as a friend. And it makes me very, very sad to have had to do this. It was a moral dilemma that I would not wish on anybody. I wish I had a Jesuit handy to explain it. I wouldn't hand the choice to my worst enemy of whether to put this young man in jail now or falling asleep wondering if this action puts someone in an even worse one.
RB : Now you say Adrian that you believe in Wikileaks, I see on Twitter that you have been urging people to donate to Wikileaks and to support that service. It does seem a contradiction that on one hand you are effectively putting one of their sources in prison because you don't believe that they should be leaking what they were trying to leak and yet you support Wikileaks whose mission is to release that sort of material. How can you be in support of the leaking of that material in terms of donations and at the same time imprisoning one of their sources?
Lamo : My donations aren't intended to support the leaking of that kind of material in particular. I am an American before I am a supporter of Wikileaks, as I suspect that you are an Australian before you are a supporter of Wikileaks.
RB : So you believe, in this case, that your patriotism trumped your desire to see Wikileaks operating a service releasing material damaging to the United States?
Lamo : Let me interject for a moment. The United States is not a monolithic entity. It is made up of people. People on the ground, people on the battlefield. They are what I think of when I think of the United States. I'm not thinking of a flag or a monument or a statue or a political power. I think of the people who make it up and what is it that can be a risk. I just wanted to make that clear because someone made reference earlier, I'm on Twitter, to political jingoism, and I'm not willing to wave the flag and say go U.S.A. as some blind motto.
There is a tad bit more of the interview but it's already 8:35pm and I have a bunch more to get to!!! Sorry guys.......
Now listen to Glenn Greenwald's interview with Lamo from June and see the differences. I refuse to transcribe this hour-long interview. I will stab your thigh if you ask.....
For more than six months, Wired's Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen has possessed -- but refuses to publish -- the key evidence in one of the year's most significant political stories: the arrest of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning for allegedly acting as WikiLeaks' source. In late May, Adrian Lamo -- at the same time he was working with the FBI as a government informant against Manning -- gave Poulsen what he purported to be the full chat logs between Manning and Lamo in which the Army Private allegedly confessed to having been the source for the various cables, documents and video that WikiLeaks released throughout this year. In interviews with me in June, both Poulsen and Lamo confirmed that Lamo placed no substantive restrictions on Poulsen with regard to the chat logs: Wired was and remains free to publish the logs in their entirety.
Despite that, on June 10, Wired published what it said was only "about 25 percent" of those logs, excerpts that it hand-picked. For the last six months, Poulsen has not only steadfastly refused to release any further excerpts, but worse, has refused to answer questions about what those logs do and do not contain. This is easily one of the worst journalistic disgraces of the year: it is just inconceivable that someone who claims to be a "journalist" -- or who wants to be regarded as one -- would actively conceal from the public, for months on end, the key evidence in a political story that has generated headlines around the world.
In June, I examined the long, strange and multi-layered relationship between Poulsen and Lamo, and in that piece raised the issue of Wired's severe journalistic malfeasance in withholding these chat logs. But this matter needs to be revisited now for three reasons:
(1) For the last six months, Adrian Lamo has been allowed to run around making increasingly sensationalistic claims about what Manning told him; journalists then prominently print Lamo's assertions, but Poulsen's refusal to release the logs or even verify Lamo's statements prevents anyone from knowing whether Lamo's claims about what Manning said are actually true.
(2) There are new, previously undisclosed facts about the long relationship between Wired/Poulsen and a key figure in Manning's arrest -- facts that Poulsen inexcusably concealed.
(3) Subsequent events gut Poulsen's rationale for concealing the logs and, in some cases, prove that his claims are false.
Much of the new evidence cited here has been found and compiled by Firedoglake in three valuable indices: the key WikiLeaks-Manning articles, a timeline of the key events and the various excerpts of the Manning/Lamo chat logs published by different parties.
You know now to go and read the whole damned thing.
FireDogLake merges all known Lamo/Manning chats and color codes them just for you! Plus, info learned after. A.MUST.Read.
Also, FDL gives us a handy-dandy article list by date. Now we are cookin!!
Ok. I have tons more but need to publish now. Sorry guys. Tomorrow will be stuffed.