Posts Tagged ‘Adrian Lamo’

Adrian Lamo Explains His Decision To Expose Bradley Manning

January 4th, 2013 01:35 admin View Comments


ilikenwf writes “Whether you agree with his rationale for doing so or not, Adrian Lamo has come forward to discuss his reasoning for exposing Bradley Manning. Manning, now in federal custody, leaked thousands of U.S. intelligence files and documents. Lamo’s side of the story shows that he was concerned for Manning’s mental health and stability, and for the lives Manning was risking by releasing classified material — Afghan informants, for instance. Either way, this goes to show that if you’re going to release stolen/hacked documents, it’s best you do it anonymously and don’t brag about it.”

Source: Adrian Lamo Explains His Decision To Expose Bradley Manning

Wired Releases Full Manning/Lamo Chat Logs

July 15th, 2011 07:06 admin View Comments

The Media

bill_mcgonigle writes “After more than a year, Wired has finally released the (nearly) full chat logs between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning. Glen Greenwald provides analysis of what Wired previously left out. Greenwald writes: ‘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.” 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.’”

Source: Wired Releases Full Manning/Lamo Chat Logs

25% of US Hackers Are FBI/CIA Informers

June 6th, 2011 06:37 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “The Guardian reports that the FBI and CIA have ‘persuaded’ up to 25% of US hackers to ‘work’ for them. ‘In some cases, popular illegal forums used by cyber criminals as marketplaces for stolen identities and credit card numbers have been run by hacker turncoats acting as FBI moles. In others, undercover FBI agents posing as “carders” – hackers specialising in ID theft – have themselves taken over the management of crime forums, using the intelligence gathered to put dozens of people behind bars. … The best-known example of the phenomenon is Adrian Lamo, a convicted hacker who turned informant on Bradley Manning, who is suspected of passing secret documents to WikiLeaks.’ What implications does this hold for privacy? Or is it just good work by the authorities?” As you may have guessed, the estimate appears to be based only on the number of black hats, rather than all hackers.

Source: 25% of US Hackers Are FBI/CIA Informers

The Guardian’s Wikileaks Book Is This Generation’s “All The President’s Men”

February 12th, 2011 02:56 admin View Comments

Two weeks ago, I reviewed the New York Times’ book: ‘Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War and American Diplomacy‘. It’s a remarkable work of journalism, combining the paper’s collected reporting on Wikileaks, with editor Bill Keller’s personal account of working with Assange.

For my money, Keller’s account was the stand-out highlight of the book – a behind the scenes journalism thriller, punctuated by highlights from the leaked documents themselves.

In fact, as I read through the bulk of the book, I found myself wishing that Keller’s style had continued throughout. Even in edited, compiled form, the revalations from “Cablegate” and the Iraq war logs are a lot to digest and it would have been wonderful to have Keller as narrator to walk the reader through them all. That didn’t affect my review, though. I knew I was asking too much to expect the Times publish that kind of comprehensive narrative so quickly.

You can imagine, then, how delighted I was to receive a copy of the Guardian’s new crash-published Wikileaks book and realise that it was all the things I wanted from the Times book. And more.

Authored by Investigations Editor David Leigh and Moscow Correspondent Luke Harding, ‘Wikileaks – Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy‘ (US, UK) tells the story of the Guardian’s relationship with Wikileaks and Julian Assange, from the moment Assange invited Leigh to a hotel room to show him an astonishing video of a US military helicopter killing ten Iraqis and two Reuters journalists – right up to the present day, with Wikileaks hailed for sparking revolution in Tunisia.

While the Times’ book was largely straight-faced (even po-faced) in its dealings with Assange, the Guardian’s Leigh and Harding don’t shy away from applying a very British sense of humour and irony when their subject demands it. Take, for example, the comic scene that opens the book: a paranoid Assange disguising himself as an old woman – Toad of Toad Hall style – to escape an imagined CIA tail. As British newspaper writers are wont to say – you couldn’t make it up.

The bulk of the narrative, though, is deadly serious, offering page after page of incredible revelations. Those who hail Assange as an unalloyed hero might be given pause by his reaction when Leigh tries to persuade him to redact the names of informants in the Iraq war logs.

“‘Well they’re informants,’ he said. ‘So if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.”

To quote Keanu Reeves — woah.

Then there’s the sordid little twist of Israel Shamir: the Wikileaks collaborator who, we’re told, was paid €2000 by Assange for “services rendered – journalism” and who subsequently wrote articles attacking the two women who have accused Assange of sexual assault. Shamir is now Wikileaks’ official representative in Russia, where Assange has begun to cozy up with the government in order to get back at the American politicians who have called for his head. That story alone is worth the book’s price of admission.

One of the preemptive criticisms of Leigh and Harding’s work (this one from Assange’s new UK publishing partner, the Telegraph) was that it “outs” Private Bradley Manning as the source of the leaked documents. Obviously, the criticism is ludicrous : Manning himself took care of that when he confessed all to hacker Adrian Lamo. What the book in fact does to Manning is humanises him. Like many on both sides of the Wikileaks debate, I had initially been unsympathetic to the plight of a disgruntled soldier who took it upon himself to leak hundreds of thousands of secret documents. But Leigh and Harding’s account of Manning’s upbringing, career and subsequent breakdown persuaded me that the reality is somewhat more nuanced. Yes, Manning acted recklessly, but it’s clear from the evidence offered that Manning had some pretty legitimate concerns about his superiors’ attitude towards Iraqi civilians.

One episode in particular stands out: Manning was ordered to investigate the case of fifteen Iraqis arrested by local police for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature”. Diligently translating the literature, Manning discovered that the material was little more than a scholarly critique against government corruption. But, on reporting that fact to his superiors, he was told to “shut up” and ordered to “explain how to assist the Iraqi police in finding more detainees.”

As the authors put it:

“[Manning's statements] make it clear he was not a thief, not venal, not mad, and not a traitor. He believe that, somehow, he was going a good thing.”

Equally persuasive is the authors’ defense of the leaks themselves, and their contention that the world is a better place for their publication. Furthermore, for all the sound and fury from the American government, it seems pretty clear that – in redacted form at least – none of the documents published has put lives at risk.

When I last wrote about Wikileaks on TechCrunch, a number of commenters demanded to know what business a blog dedicated to technology had writing about Julian Assange. It was a frankly bizarre objection: this is, after all, a story about a disgruntled computer specialist leaking electronic files (some of which concern Google in China) to a hacker who uses encryption and p2p networks to publish documents on the Internet. As tech stories go, it makes the Matrix look like Ben Hur. Hopefully those commenters will be satisfied by the Guardian’s thorough account of the various technologies behind Wikileaks, as explained technology editor Charles Arthur (disclosure: Arthur was my editor at the Guardian). Arthur’s description of how Assange and his collaborators used TOR (and what TOR is) is the best I’ve read. The contrast between that explanation and Leigh’s self-confessed technophobia are wonderful too, particularly the moment where Leigh has to drive across London in the middle of the night so that Assange can show him how to unzip a file.

It’s that same contrast of cultures – between traditional journalism and bleeding-edge hacker culture – that form the backbone of the book. Despite Assange’s  loathing of “the mainstream media”, he soon learns that “citizen journalism” has its limits. By any metric, Wikileaks’ helicopter video was explosive – and yet when traditional news outlets (including Reuters) stubbornly refused to buy into Assange’s “Collateral Murder” narrative, the story quickly faded from public attention.

Likewise it quickly became clear that, when thousands of documents are dumped online without context or explanation, even the combined efforts of a million amateur bloggers can’t begin to make sense of them. Yet, in the hands of a small team of professional reporters, those same documents quickly become coherent narratives and world-changing headlines. Those who believe citizen media, or leak-dumping, or crowd-sourcing is going to kill traditional journalism might ask themselves why, despite Assange having threatened to sue most of his previous media partners, he’s still desperately clamoring for new ones – most recently the Telegraph (UK) and Russia Today (described by Leigh as ‘[an] arm of [the] Russian state’).

Indeed, while ‘Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy’ is many things – a thriller, a story of international diplomacy, a tale of greed and ambition and double-crosses; a comedy, a tragedy – above all it’s a manifesto for the future of professional journalism.

Like lots of kids who ended up as professional writers or reporters, I grew up reading and re-reading Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s All The President’s Men. The tools – and media – might have changed dramatically since Watergate but, as Leigh and Harding show, the thrill and skill of great reporting is just the same. As such, ‘Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy‘ might well prove to be this generation’s All The President’s Men; educating a whole new generation of would-be reporters on the power and importance of the professional press.

Watch My Interview With David Leigh

“They [Assange and Wikileaks] like to see us as the enemy. They like to see themselves as having some God-like virtue which enables them to behave in some pretty reckless and unethical ways”.

On Thursday morning, I spoke to the Guardian’s David Leigh via Skype. I asked him about his relationship with Julian Assange and Wikileaks, whether he stands by some of the more incredible revelations in the book – and how it feels for a liberal Guardian journalist to be described as “the man”. You can watch the whole conversation here.

Source: The Guardian’s Wikileaks Book Is This Generation’s “All The President’s Men”

To Cops At Least, Criminal Oversharing is Caring

February 6th, 2011 02:08 admin View Comments

Sharing – any greetings card poet will tell you – is caring. Which is just one of the many reasons you shouldn’t pay attention to greetings card poets.

Thanks to social media – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instabloodygram – global sharing is at its highest level since records began. If there really were a direct correlation between sharing and caring, even the Care Bears would be lying comatose in the streets, choking on the saccharine benevolence of modern humanity.

And yet, step outside your front door: did anyone hug you? No. Q.E.D.

Which is not to say the recent addition of an “over-sharing needs†bar to Maslow’s pyramid is without benefit to society. To police officers, for example, the irresistible urge felt by dumb criminals to boast of their crimes using social media is the gift that keeps on giving.

The most recent example is Anthony Carleo, the alleged perpetrator of the $1.5 million theft of gaming chips from the Bellagio in Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Sun, not satisfied with pulling off a successful heist, Carleo decided to share details of his accomplishment with members of the poker strategy forum. Using the handle “Oceanspray25″ and signing himself the ‘Biker Banditâ€, Carleo allegedly offered to sell member Matthew Brooks the chips for cents on the dollar. Brooks contacted the authorities who promptly raided Carleo’s hotel room at…. the Bellagio. Yeah, Carleo was staying at the casino he’s accused of robbing. Brilliant.

Regular readers will remember that it was similar cyber-hubris that lead to the arrest of Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking military secrets to Wikileaks. Manning suffers from depression and found comfort sharing his problems and guilt with hacker Adrian Lamo on IRC. Next stop: Quantico.

Or how about Robert Powell, who posted condolences on the MySpace page of his friend Joseph Duprey, moments after the latter was brutally murdered. Literally moments after. Powell was quickly arrested and convicted for the murder.

And those are just the banner examples. There are hundreds more cases where cocky criminals have broadcast their misdeeds on YouTube, foolish fugitives have revealed their location on Facebook and moronic malefactors have brazenly taunted authorities online. Not to mention the thousands of witless workers who call in sick, only to boast of the fact on Twitter or Facebook.

Admittedly there’s more to the alleged cases of Carleo and Manning than pathological over-sharing. For both men there’s also evidence that they actively wanted to be caught. But for Powell and many other younger criminals, the compulsion to share is apparently combined with a mistaken belief that what happens online somehow stays online. That admitting to a crime on a social network has no more consequences than shooting someone on Mafia Wars.

It’s curious, really. It would be reasonable to expect that, as technology becomes more ingrained in our real lives, we’d all become more alert to its real-world consequences. In fact the opposite seems to be the case: in a world where everything is virtual, an increasing number of us seem to believe that consequences too are virtual.

That misapprehension is welcome news to tech-savvy cops and bosses, but something that Messrs. Powell, Carleo, Manning et al might find time to ruminate on, from the comfort of their prison cells.

Image credit: Uncare Bear by Chris Toumanian, used with permission.

Source: To Cops At Least, Criminal Oversharing is Caring

Wired Responds In Manning Chat Log Controversy

December 29th, 2010 12:03 admin View Comments

Hugh Pickens writes “Earlier this week Glenn Greenwald wrote in Salon about the arrest of US Army PFC Bradley Manning for allegedly acting as WikiLeaks’ source and criticized Wired’s failure to disclose the full chat logs between Manning and FBI informant Adrian Lamo. Now Wired’s editor-in-chief Evan Hansen and senior editor Kevin Poulsen have responded to criticisms of the site’s Wikileaks coverage stating that not one single fact has been brought to light suggesting did anything wrong in pursuit of the story. ‘Our position has been and remains that the logs include sensitive personal information with no bearing on Wikileaks, and it would serve no purpose to publish them at this time,’ writes Hansen.”

Source: Wired Responds In Manning Chat Log Controversy

Is Wired Hiding Key Evidence On Bradley Manning?

December 28th, 2010 12:45 admin View Comments

Hugh Pickens writes “Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon that for more than six months, Wired’s Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen has possessed but refuses to publish the key evidence in the arrest of US 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 which WikiLeaks released throughout this year,” writes Greenwald. Wired has only published about 25% of the logs writes Greenwald and Poulsen’s concealment of the chat logs is actively blinding journalists who have been attempting to learn what Manning did and did not do. “Whether by design or effect, Kevin Poulsen and Wired have played a critical role in concealing the truth from the public about the Manning arrest,” concludes Greenwald. “This has long ago left the realm of mere journalistic failure and stands as one of the most egregious examples of active truth-hiding by a ‘journalist’ I’ve ever seen.”"

Source: Is Wired Hiding Key Evidence On Bradley Manning?

Wikileaks Source Outed To Stroke Hacker’s Own Ego

June 18th, 2010 06:17 admin View Comments

Binary Boy writes “Bradley Manning, the US Army private arrested recently by the Pentagon for providing classified documents — including the widely seen Apache helicopter videomay have been duped by wannabe hacker Adrian Lamo, according to Glenn Greenwald at Lamo told Manning he could provide protection under both journalist shield laws, and the clergy-lay confidentiality tradition, and instead immediately turned him in to authorities in an act of apparent shameless self-promotion.”
The article also goes into Wired’s role in the whole situation, the strange, sometimes sensationalist media coverage, and the odd similarity between this case and proposed scenarios in a US Intelligence report from earlier this year aimed at undermining Wikileaks.

Source: Wikileaks Source Outed To Stroke Hacker’s Own Ego