As Army Private First Class Bradley Manning is being tried for leaking classified documents, the person who turned him into authorities has testified about instant message conversations he had with the accused. The former army intelligence analyst is charged with indirectly aiding the enemy and violations of the Espionage Act.
Adrian Lamo is a hacker Manning emailed in May 2010. The two chatted using instant messenger for about a week just before Manning was arrested in Iraq for being the source of classified US government information provided to WikiLeaks.
Prosecutor Ashden Fein asked about the timeline of interactions he had with Manning and if he computers he used for the chats were secure. Lamo said his computers couldn’t have been tampered with because “computer geeks don’t always leave the house much”.
Lamo was asked about his conviction in 2004 for hacking large corporations to expose holes in their security. Manning’s lead defence attorney David Coombs said Manning was the same age as Lamo, 22, when they both got in trouble and desired to do something for the public good. Lamo said that wasn’t lost on him.
Coombs asked about Manning’s admission to Lamo that he was emotionally unstable and had access to information that the world should see about the US government’s dealings with other countries. Coombs asked if Manning told him he wanted to help the enemy. After a short pause, Lamo replied “Not in those words, no.”
Lamo was dressed in dark colours, wearing a gold cross necklace, and sporting a cropped beard. He kept his eyes on the lawyer asking him questions.
Manning has admitted to downloading and transmitting hundreds of thousands of US government reports, diplomatic cables and videos and sending them to WikiLeaks. The trial at Fort Meade Army base outside Washington, DC, is expected to last three months.