Monday, June 14, 2010

'I Can’t Believe What I’m Confessing to You’: The Wikileaks Chats

By Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zitter

On May 21, 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning initiated a series of online chats with former hacker Adrian Lamo after a story on Lamo was published at

The chats continued over several days, during which Manning claimed that he was responsible for leaking classified material to the whistleblower site Wikileaks.

Lamo tipped off the FBI and the Army about Manning’s claims, and on May 26, Manning was seized by Army authorities and put into pre-trial detention in Kuwait. He remains in Kuwait while the Army Criminal Investigation Division and other agencies investigate whether he leaked classified information and determine if he should be charged with any crime.

Below are excerpts from the chat logs, which Lamo provided to As received by Wired, the logs contained timestamps but not dates, so the dates below are approximate. We have substituted the instant messenger screen names with real names. The excerpts represent about 25 percent of the logs. Portions of the chats that discuss deeply personal information about Manning or that reveal apparently sensitive military information are not included.

Read the rest here.


  1. I've got to agree with some of the posters on the article's thread - this kid is a borderline sociopath. How he was given access to confidential information is beyond me. He clearly needed 15 minutes of fame, and when given access to 'valuable' information, it made him look far more dangerous than he actually was.

    The ineptitude of our military to give someone so mentally sick access to SIPRNET and JWICS (which the government uses to transmit classified info) is beyond me. This guy was unfit to monitor an infantry media server, let alone have SIPRNET access. What were they thinking?

  2. Silver Bully,

    You're funny. You seem surprised that the military would recruit a sociopath, when it is in fact the characteristics of a sociopath (wanton disregard for common sympathy of the plight and pain of other human beings) that are deemed most desirable for the hired killers of the military.

    Or is there some kind of ethical/moral dividing line between people who can bring themselves to assault, invade and destroy another country and its people and places, such as happened recently in Iraq and Afghanistan... and a person who would leak "military intelligence" to people outside the military?

  3. The guy has issues, for sure, but that's one of the things that made him susceptible to recruitment, the need to be more than he is. However, any blame for the release of secret information should be placed firmly on the military. If you have information that is supposedly so vital that lives are at stake, then you have to take care who has access to that data and control *anyone's* ability to reproduce or distribute that material. Top Secret material should be sociopath-proof.

  4. I'm just glad that this doofus turned himself in, and it wasn't a flaw in the Wikileaks system that'll deter future people.

    And while this kid's motives may have been questionable, to call him a traitor like some on the original thread have is frankly disgusting.