Famous hacker Adrian Lamo has been summoned to Washington to go over details on his testimony in the case against Bradley Manning, who allegedly provided WikiLeaks with materials including the quarter-million State Department Cables and the “Collateral Murder” video.
In an interview with Wired, Lamo said he is going to meet with the JAG officer to go over the preliminaries for his testimony. Although they have spoken almost weekly over the last year, this will be the first time they’ve met in person.
Manning’s upcoming trial will be one of the highest profile cases of the century, tying into the legalities of WikiLeaks and possibly acting as a precursor to a trial of Julian Assange.
WikiLeaks is responsible for a lot of discussion currently taking place among governments—highlighting a need to secure networks and root out the “insider threat.” WikiLeaks, meanwhile, has become an icon of digital freedom, with Manning becoming a symbol of the movement.
Manning’s actions started a butterfly affect of events causing major shifts in today’s world.
Manning allegedly provided files to Assange while stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq in May 2010. The files put WikiLeaks on the map, and led to International pressure against Assange and WikiLeaks. The pressure caught the attention of hacker group Anonymous Operations who began launching large-scale, targeted cyberattacks against various networks. Anonymous Operations was then credited with spurring the revolutions now sweeping through the Middle East in the “Arab Spring.”
Lamo, who spent time in prison himself after he hacked the networks of The New York Times in 2004, decided to turn in Manning following a series of online discussions between the two.
When I interviewed Lamo in December 2010, he told me he initially wrote off what Manning was telling him “because he wasn’t entirely clear with what he wanted to say … It was a while before I really started to take him seriously,”
The shift took place after Lamo inquired with a friend in counterintelligence about a secret operation Manning told him about. He was told to never mention the name of the operation again.
“I knew that the information that I was getting was serious, and that the rest of it, by virtue of that, was probably credible,” said Lamo.
Lamo said he turned in Manning as he was concerned the information he was leaking could cost lives.
At the time, however, Assange had only released one file that could be pinned to Manning—the “Collateral Murder” video.
Given that WikiLeaks claims to protect its sources, Lamo said he did not think Assange would go ahead and release the other files tacked to Manning until after the case was over. Assange did release the files, however, and now Manning is facing much larger charges than he would have initially.