Wired.com: Lamo/Manning Wikileaks chat logs contain no unpublished references to Assange or private servers (Updated)


58 Responses to “Wired.com: Lamo/Manning Wikileaks chat logs contain no unpublished references to Assange or private servers (Updated)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    So is the New York Times now a European newspaper? Because I believe that they too are working “with” Wikileaks to publish the cables. Or have they decided to give up journalism in favor of government propaganda too?

    • Rob Beschizza says:

      “So is the New York Times now a European newspaper? Because I believe that they too are working “with” Wikileaks to publish the cables.”

      The NYT got the cables from the Guardian. Wikileaks worked with them directly on other things, but not cablegate (apparently)

  2. querent says:

    Good on Wired for saying SOMETHING. I’ll be less inclined to deal harshly with the names Poulsen and Hansen in the future (unless this story changes).


    To respond to non-specific apologists:

    Manning is not necessarily “fried.” As far as I know, there is NO (NO) evidence even claimed against him at this point. And we SHOULD NOT be prepared to accept secret evidence against him.

    People ARE going to benefit. Who will not? Unless Poulsen is lying, he will be treated like a journalist. And if he’s lying, fuck him. EVERYONE benefits. If this is the truth. (Except, I guess, Lamo.)


    Hopefully we’ll see properly redacted logs soon. And some serious analysis of the possibility of forgery. This is NOT trivial. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is. The blood of patriots, and all that.

  3. querent says:

    And, of course, the intelligence is unreliable (if he’s being “softened up” [ie tortured] for a testimony). That’s obvious. People will say anything. No justice is done. It’s making an example, to scare others. It’s state terrorism by the most powerful military that has ever existed.

    I’m a citizen. My name is William Felder, Corvallis, OR. The FBI already has a file, so what the fuck? I’d rather end this with my head above water, if I can. I oppose this. I oppose the conditions Bradly Manning is being held in, right now. To me, he’s innocent until proven guilty. And if guilty, he’s a hero. Daniel Ellsberg magnitude hero. Even if guilty, the penalty should be minimal. We need this.

    A supposedly civilian controlled military was lying to the civilian population. It raises the question, “From where do their orders come?”

  4. Anonymous says:

    I know of at least a dozen personages who have canceled their Wired Subscriptions due to their slandering Glenn Green3wal who had only asked politely and astutely for more clarification.

    I bet Wired responded finally on Twitter in a succinct manner
    only to initiate ‘damage control’ and not due to any honest, journalistic ethos. Of course, they must be quite shaken by this

    experience and wake-up call….lol
    Glenn is quite the Moses these days in my book

  5. hopalong says:

    Thanks Sean Bonner, and BoingBoing, and Kevin Poulsen and Evan Hansen and Glenn Greenwald and all who’ve propelled this matter to the current resolution. It’s welcome having the question about the content of the chat logs v Lamo’s various public statements in the NY Times and elsewhere finally answered.

    It is not a surprise that Adrian Lamo, again, shows he is not credible. A con-artist out to make a name for himself is what Lamo’s been about ever since he emerged as a purportedly homeless hacker.

  6. EH says:

    I wonder if the casualties are going down as the military re-edumacates the troops.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sean Bonner: “What could have been a smoking gun now looks more like an empty water pistol.”

    Even if Assange created a ftp account for Manning this should not be espionage. If Assange gets charged for that then all sensitive information from any US government source will stop. Journalists will be threatened with espionage every time they talk to a source within the US government. This was never a smoking gun and to say so encourages those who wish to persecute Assange and limit freedom of information.

  8. Anonymous says:

    kevin and evan both independently verified that in the unpublished portions of the chat logs between adrian lamo and bradly manning there is no further reference to private ftp servers, and no further discussion about the relationship between manning and assange.

    …except what is already public. this doesn’t exclude lamos statements. just as poulsens first tweet in the screenshot at the top of your article doesn’t seem to exclude anything.

    please think twice, sean. i doubt that your deduction is as stringent as you think.


  9. Anonymous says:


    I’m a little confused how you can write such a long post and yet completely miss the point of this entire affair. Let me provide you with a timeline:

    1) Wired posts partial chat logs obtained via Lamo

    2) Lamo (who is both the source and Paulsens’ friend) goes around making contradictory statements unsupported by the published portion of the logs; in particular references to Assange providing material support to Manning in the form of a dedicated FTP server.

    3) Greenwald points out that Wired has a journalistic duty to confirm or deny Lamo’s new claims since he is their source and they’re holding the chat logs.

    4) Wired throws a hissy fit but eventually confirms that Lamo has been making things up

    Is that simple enough for you?

    • StiffMittens says:

      Risked his entire future to provide the people with information that they need? Or, at least, allegedly… innocent until proven guilty still, right? Or is that not how it works in the USMJ?

  10. Mike K says:

    The Wired of 1993 would cringe at the Wired of 2010.

  11. Terry5135 says:

    A minor point to Sean Bonner. You wrote:

    Assange, who is neither a U.S. citizen nor resident there, is currently on bail in London, where he faces extradition to Sweden on unrelated charges.

    Actually, as far as I know at least, Assange is not currently facing any charges in Sweden. They requested his detention and extradition so they could interview him. This is what made it so weird and suspect – that Assange would be placed on Interpol’s list of wanted for such a purpose was, according to Greenwald IIRC, unprecedented. But rather unprecedented or not, it seems passing strange to me in any event. Obviously, once he’s in detention, Assange will be vulnerable to extradition to the US. Understandably, this is a frightening prospect – not because of any implied guilt or even crime having been committed, but because at this stage the US has established itself as somewhat of a rogue nation who will detain without due process anyone it wishes to detain, for absurdly long periods of time. Especially foreign nationals and especially in any case tainted with the catch-all word, “terrorism”.

    It wasn’t that long ago that there was a political fight in Britain, in which Blair wished to extend the time a suspect could be held without charges to a month – IIRC, he lost that battle. But even had he succeeded, compare a month to the numbers of years that people have been held in US custody on no more evidence than the characterization of high officials.

    I wouldn’t want to get extradited to the US either, if I had crossed US federal power.

    This reference to Assange facing charges in Sweden is pretty common in the media and, unless things have changed recently and my information is out of date, I think it’s important to set the record straight at every opportunity.

  12. Antonio Malcolm says:

    I know I’m digging up a zombie here, but I had a bit of a debate with Kevin Poulsen over a weekend, about his coverage of Lamo. I’ve documented it here, along with the Lamo/Manning chat log, as well as a log between his friend, Nadim and his ex-wife;


    This all happened about a month after you posted your article here. I’m opening it up a bit, as I was recently contacted by a journalist, and so I’m now digging back into it.

  13. Bulone says:

    I bet this Lamo guy feels great after backstabbing his own friend to death for his insignificant self-righteousness.

  14. Terry5135 says:

    A comment to Mathdemon

    Fuck, man. We’re a country that allowed the Patriot Act to pass. Don’t whine about your burned cookies when your whole house is on fire. You go donate your money to Wikileaks, and I’ll donate mine to EFF and ACLU.

    That’s a very important comment, I believe. Indeed, I was sympathetic to your entire post.

    I didn’t look back to see the comment you were replying to, so I can’t really comment. I do sense a hint, as I do from everybody, virtually all the time, the scent of artificial dichotomy. I think that we are all products of a culture that imbues us with tendencies to think in binary manners (in fact, most of us believe this is how the human mind is constructed, and one could probably date such thinking to relative recent times, mostly the fifties, just post WWII) and I think we are all products of a reactionary culture as well. Thus I personally believe it’s important to catch oneself as often as possible to try to minimize the effects of, well, who we ARE. I think it’s fine to whine about burnt cookies, just as I think it’s fine to whine about the house burning down around one’s ears. Each has a perspective and each perspective can be important – whether important as a damaging element or a critical element vital for improvement. In short, the burnt cookies are very important too.

    Having said that, I meant no part of it to be construed as negatively critical. I very much appreciate your post in its entirety and in particular, as I mentioned, the highlighted statement is a very important one. One must never forget the broad picture in the pursuit of detail. And man, I think you are so dead on about the Patriot Act and its important, that we should all be reminded of it on a regular basis, even if those reminders continue for a hundred years. It’s too easy to become dulled to such transformative events as time goes on, to eventually assimilate them, and that is the point at which we are lost – history is a succession of such ‘losses’ it seems.

    The house is most definitely burning down. So I thank you for the comment.

  15. matunos says:

    The only way to know the truth here is to see all the personal conversations between Lamo and Manning, no matter what the topic, or how personal the discussion was. Because Glenn Greenwald, as self-appointed adjudicator of public opinion, is entitled to it. And since Greenwald has apparently personally injected himself into organizing a legal defense for Assange, we know he’s an objective judge on these matters. (However, if you reveal the details of the charges against Assange, which involve potentially embarrassing personal info about his alleged behavior, then you’re running a smear campaign on behalf of the government.)

    I usually value Greenwald’s opinion, moral absolutist though he is, but on this he appears to be little more than a blowhard (not unlike Andrew Sullivan on all matters Trig Palin). He’s made an emotional investment into defending Assange (with whom I personally sympathize) and Manning (less so, though his treatment seems abhorrent), and has now gone on tilt with personal assaults against Kevin Paulson. Maybe he’s just angry that Lamo didn’t come to him with the juicy story on Manning.

    Look, I’m sure if the government thinks they can build a case on the complete text of these logs, they’ll supoena them, and likewise if it comes to trial, Assange’s lawyers will do the same if they think it has exculpatory evidence. Greenwald, his readers, and those of you here, lack such subpoena powers, and for good reason. Assange’s and Manning’s legal issues are not going to be resolved in the pages of Wired or Salon. The government hasn’t even charged Assange with anything yet, and Greenwald’s intent on having a grudge match over details that may or may not inform a hypothetical legal case.

    I know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but neither is it evidence of coverup. Unless you have some actual evidence that Wired is withholding details germane to the story, you’re just embarrassing yourself with your ever-widening conspiracy theories.

  16. Rob Beschizza says:

    I’ve fixed the line about Swedish ‘charges’ to ‘allegations,’ given that prosecutors haven’t actually charged him with anything. (And that was my mistake, not Sean’s)

  17. Beefmalone says:

    I don’t think “whistleblower” is anywhere near the correct adjective for Manning. That would imply some higher moral motivations behind his actions when there are none despite the desperate wishes of those who support his actions.

    • Sean Bonner says:

      So now we know that Beefmalone hasn’t read the chat logs…

    • Owen says:

      Wanting to show people what their government does in their name is a higher moral motivation. Read the logs – that’s why he said he did it.

      No, our desperate wishes are directed at the American people, or at least the portion of the country that wants their government to lie to them and is upset by the truth. I desperately wish they’d face up to reality.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Let’s remember that this is just one of many claims made by Lamo that needed to be either confirmed or denied by Wired. It may be one of the most important points in regards to the case against Manning and Assange, but there are other significant claims made by Lamo that still require verification.

  19. Anonymous says:

    This is cut and dry. Wired needs to either release the full, unedited information or simply get used to the fact that people who censor on behalf of the government are going to get a lot of righteous, and in this case entirely correct, flack from people seeking out the truth. Asking us to take them at their word is unreasonable, especially in one of the most important free speech/free press moments in decades. I expect Glenn will not let up, and may soon be joined by more and more voices in the civil liberties community.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Why was this so damned hard for Poulsen to just state before this mess?

  21. ericmartinex1 says:

    Why did Julian call Manning a “hero” in his gushing Guardian interview? What did Manning do that was so heroic?

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is not exactly the first example of Poulsen carrying water for government interests. He has a long record of being a mouthpiece for the established authorities and simply regurgitating government press releases under the guise of journalism.

    The transition from “hacker” to “hack” is not a stretch, it seems.

  23. blissfulight says:

    So there is no case? Now what, exactly, can the feds charge Assange with? Possessing a water pistol with intent to squirt?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not forget that this was ostensibly the basis for the pressure being applied to Bradley Manning. Now we have a strong basis on which to insist that Manning be treated humanely, not confined in solitary indefinitely without charge.

  25. Art Brennan says:

    Thank you so much for this. What a shame that this question dragged on for so long. There is so much at stake for all of us who believe in the existence and the purpose of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Was Lamo talking about this exchange?

    (02:49:25 PM) Manning: it was uploaded
    (02:50:04 PM) Lamo: uploaded where? how would i transmit something if i had similarly damning data
    (02:51:49 PM) Manning: uhm… preferably openssl the file with aes-256… then use sftp at prearranged drop ip addresses

    It was published here, http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-chat/

  27. Anonymous says:

    Greenwald 1, Wired 0.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Looks like Greenwald was right. Way to stay classy Wired. Defiantly makes you look even worse after your vehement attack on Greenwald’s questions.

    • Portmanteur says:

      Wired looks way better for finally revealing that Adrian Lamo’s claims are (mostly) false. Evan Hansen just admitted that Lamo has been spouting blatant falsehoods about a connection between Manning and Assange that never existed. Wired had the ability to verify those claims, and after a heated debate, which they initially took as a personal attack, they realized that it was a simple request, and they complied.

      I think where Glenn Greenwald might have gone wrong is that he started off with “This has been an open question for six months!” Perhaps to him it felt like that, but perhaps to Hansen and Poulsen it felt like he asked them on Christmas morning to verify some random claim that Lamo made. I am often incredulous at how Greenwald is able to be so passionate while maintaining reason. However, a few times I have seen him go on the offensive with righteous indignation from the get-go, which leads people to get super defensive. I say “a few times”, because it truly has only happened maybe three or four times that I can remember in the three years I’ve been following him.

      • hopalong says:

        p.s. Portmanteur does a good, concise, job of explaining, imo, how folks ended up at loggerheads – and now, the dam clears.

  29. awjtawjt says:

    Think like a wikileaker for a minute. You’ve set up a system whereby anonymous donors may submit their warez without trace-back. So when you catch wind of a possible big leaker, do you circumvent your own anonymization system and contact the big leaker personally?

    C’mahn. Let’s just think logically here. Why set up a system if you aren’t going to use it? Julian and the rest of the wikileakers aren’t THAT dumb.

  30. mathdemon says:

    What could have been a smoking gun now looks more like an empty water pistol.

    Assuming that the Lamo-Manning chat was the only collected evidence. Or that Lamo shared all logs he had with Poulsen. Lamo was obviously cooperating with the Feds for some time and I haven’t heard, seen or read about any action taken against Lamo for sharing “evidence” with WIRED and Washington Post. It could even have been encouraged. A small gesture of goodwill. Why, I don’t know… The Feds move in mysterious ways.

    I don’t think evidence is the problem, but the fact that Assange is not a US citizen. But Manning is fried. The USMJ is enough for that.

    • mdh says:

      Maybe all those things are true. And maybe Lamo is a self-aggrandizing maker up of convenient details to drive forward his own narrative.

      The one piece of evidence I have for sure is Lamo just got thrown under the bus by his editor, and that’s no small business.

      • exiledsurfer says:

        You inspired me to remix the cover of WIRED magazine once again in this meta-saga – slugfest:

        thanks :)

      • Anonymous says:

        Lamo didn’t get thrown under the bus–he’s been telling conflicting stories, i.e., lying. He made his own bed, and now he’s got to lie in it.

      • mathdemon says:

        Well, Lamo got thrown under the bus *IF* he shared everything he had with WIRED. We won’t know. Mainly because most of the evidence brought up against Manning will be kept secret. I’d be surprised if the US military decides to share the details with the public.

        But sure, the Lamo-WIRED relationship is going to be strained (if it hasn’t for a while). No matter how much evidence was collected and how much was shared with WIRED, Lamo is going to be a headache for WIRED. His mental state, the uncertainty and confusion about what WIRED has, the possible gagging of WIRED, and WIRED not knowing how much Lamo shared with them, and everybody treating Poulsen as the US Attorney General who doesn’t want to participate in a discovery process, it all really adds up to a mess. Very few participants are going to come out of this as a winner.

        I think everybody should stop assuming that the Lamo-Manning chatlog is the only evidence collected. Lamo might be lying, but then again he might not. If Lamo is not lying, and Poulsen can’t corroborate what new information Lamo has been sharing with other media organizations, this would indicate at least two things:

        1) Lamo and Poulsen’s relationship is not as tight as people have come to believe.

        2) There is more evidence.

        The whole issue is extremely frustrating, as we won’t know unless we can somehow find out what the government really knows. And they’re not going to share that information with us. I guess Assange needs to recruit somebody who can leak that information out. :)

        • mdh says:

          I appreciate that those are two things that would have to be true to continue trying to tie Assange to Manning in a public debate in the terms of the Espionage Act, but the verifiability of them just went out the window.

          The only reason anyone even considered that there was some special relationship – the only reason it was even IN the conversation – was at Lamo’s word.

          Lamo told a story and cannot back it up. It may be true, but without proof it’s hearsay.

  31. InsertFingerHere says:

    Is it possible Manning called ‘Assange’ by name, to make what he was doing sound more impressive? Name dropping? I’m sure after the first few dozen files Manning ‘may’ have sent, Assange didn’t care WHO this was coming from, these were obviously the real deal… and hot.

    I’m going to assume Wikileaks is on the up & up, because anyone with even limited access to these files could sell nuggets of info to the highest bidders. An Assange-type could be the next Bond villain.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I’m a bit late to this party, but are the Lamo/Manning logs held by Wired considered to be the complete and unabridged record of all communications between the two of them? If Lamo makes a claim that isn’t supported (but isn’t refuted either) by the Wired logs, should that claim be considered false or just unverifiable?

    • Sean Bonner says:

      Yes, it’s been reported and Lamo has stated that his only contact with Manning was over IM and the logs are the complete documentation of that, so if it’s not in the logs it didn’t happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        But remember that in his interview with Greenwald Lamo also claimed that the IM convos were preceded by encrypted emails which Lamo claims to never have opened.

  33. direwolff says:

    Given that the evolving and at times contradictory or misleading responses, this might also be making things hard on any prosecutor wanting to use Lamo as the star witness, given his lack of credibility.

    • mathdemon says:

      Given that the evolving and at times contradictory or misleading responses, this might also be making things hard on any prosecutor wanting to use Lamo as the star witness, given his lack of credibility.

      I assume that you mean for Manning’s Court Martial? I don’t know about that. Manning is going to be judged by his “peers”, which means that the jury will comprise of service members. Manning is fried, even if Lamo shows up to court high on acid and masturbating all the way to the stand.

      The reason they’ve kept Manning under such harsh conditions is most likely to soften him up for a plea deal. Which means that Manning (and not Lamo) will be used as a “star witness” in a possible case against Assange.

      • querent says:

        “The reason they’ve kept Manning under such harsh conditions is most likely to soften him up …”

        I agree, but that’s straight up torture.

        Anytime anyone says, “You ready to talk?”

        The answer is: No.

        “You ready to talk now?”

        …that’s torture. That’s my working fucking definition. If it’s _relatively_ mild over a long period…it’s still torture.

        When I say he’s NOT fried, I’m placing that burden on us Americans (with a capital “A”). You with me?

      • mdh says:

        “soften him up”

        you sound proud that someone who is presumed innocent until said judgement of his peers should be so harshly treated. That’s straight up sociopathic, and yes, that was ad hominem.

        I already gave you a reason to discount my opinion, when I was right.

        • mathdemon says:

          No mdh, I’m not proud. I stated it as a fact. That is the only reason they would put Manning under harsh conditions. His prison experience after the trial will probably be better than what the current SUPERMAX prisoners are experiencing. Solitary confinement is nothing new and it’s more prevalent in the civilian prison sector.

          Am I a fascist? Far from it. Am I desensitized? Probably. Blame my background as a political refugee and member of an oppressed people who don’t have their own country, and who have never benefited from the different generations’ flamboyant declarations of love for the [insert a color] Revolutions(tm), obscure Chinese dissidents (with pseudo-fascistic tendencies), Darfur (a place 99% of its Western supporters don’t even know the location of), and all the other “causes” Western mass media decide is important to you. I’ve given all ideologies my middle finger and I say that I’ve earned my independence, and the mountains are our only friends.

          (Funny, not even Firefox recognizes “Darfur”.)

          So, if I see torture, I will speak out against it. If I see an asshole who doesn’t have respect for women and can’t keep his dick in his pants, I will speak out against him. If it hurts his little baby project, so be fucking it. I don’t agree with his baby project because I don’t agree with his stupid choice of leaks when there are leaks much more meaningful (and he claims to have some of those, but where are they?). There is no thoughtfulness behind his actions, it’s all “FOR THE LULZ” (my independent opinion). Sterling came out and said it, and everybody started to run around like confused chickens trying to think of an ideology to stamp on Assange’s forehead. I mean, we can’t just do it for the sake of “crushing bastards”, can we? My god, that would be unethical…….

          Well, and poor Manning. But he made a choice, nobody forced him into the military. He sat in front of an Army recruiter and signed a contract. He’s under the UCMJ now. Are they treating him harshly? What else did you expect of a military? You think the US military is the only military that does THAT to its own soldiers? Buddy, you should save your tears for the North Korean soldier who might spill some coffee on Kim Jong-Il’s new pants when it is his turn to serve The Great Leader.

          Fuck, man. We’re a country that allowed the Patriot Act to pass. Don’t whine about your burned cookies when your whole house is on fire. You go donate your money to Wikileaks, and I’ll donate mine to EFF and ACLU.

          (We’ve gone off-topic AGAIN, under yet another post. Some of you pro-Wikileakers like to bump into me, and some of you can obviously pull up old comments, so I’m not going to go into another “I think you suck because you think I suck”-discussion unless it’s the topic. Whenever you feel the urge, come back and read my reply again.)

  34. Della Street says:

    Anon #7:

    You’re missing the point. It was asserted that *not only* did Manning send the files using ftp, but that wikileaks set up a separate server just for his use…and that somehow Assange was directly involved in setting up this server (either promising it to Manning or doing the IP work himself, we don’t know).

    The quote you cite actually contradicts the story, because Manning is implying that the ftp server is not solely for his use but that others can/should use it as well.

    To the extent that the quote *doesn’t* cite the story, it doesn’t support it either. Lamo has publicly said that **all his communication w/ Manning** took place on chat and was included in the logs. While it’s possible that he didn’t send all the logs to Wired, he says that he did and *Wired* says that he did. For him to say publicly that Manning told him Assange set up a private server is the same as saying Manning used Chat to tell him that Assange set up a private server. There simply was no other type of contact about this issue, according to Lamo himself.

    Since Lamo has said that
    1) a special, private server was set up by Assange for Manning, and
    2) he learned of this through the chat recorded in the logs

    then there must be a mention of Assange’s name in the logs and it must be in a passage about setting up a personal, private, Manning-only server.

    Wired says that there is no such mention. Your quote doesn’t provide evidence or mention of a new ftp server being set up (for anyone, by anyone) and even shows Manning saying that Lamo can use the same, existing ftp resource (it does not discuss the creation of the resource or in any way link the resource to communication w/ Assange), which would deny that it was special to Manning.

    So… Wired now is confirming that Lamo either
    Lied when he said that he knows that a special, private server was set up by Assange & for Manning

    Lied about how he knows.

    Either way, he lied and that sheds tremendous doubt on the case against Assange…and, since he is a witness against Manning, the case against Manning himself.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Lamo through himself under the bus when he started saying things he couldn’t back up with proof.

  36. anwaya says:

    There’s still the question of Lamo’s claim to Glenn that he offered Manning immunity, and Manning refused: did Lamo make that up, too?

    It’s an important question, one that could be easily answered by a log snippet – but there aren’t any on the subject.

    In my opinion, Hansen and Poulsen have blown their credibility as journalists in this affair. Manning has spent seven months in solitary to date because of their cowardice: what price have they paid?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this and breaking it down so it makes sense. I really think the behavior of the folks at Wired is disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful. They seem more concerned with coddling a friend than acting as journalists and providing truthful info to their readers. It’s mind boggling. Like I said, disgraceful.

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