Transcripts of chats with Adrian Lamo give us new insight into the making of Manning's conscience
"hi," he said. "how are you?"
That's how it all started. WikiLeaks' elevation to international geopolitical phenomenon. The State Department's embarrassment. Bradley Manning's detention. Adrian Lamo's public shaming by the hacker community. Julian Assange's assumption of the role of global supervillain. The reevaluation of what journalism is or should be in the age of Big Data.
That greeting was the first thing that supposed WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning said to Adrian Lamo, who turned him in. Manning goes on to confess in quite specific terms what he'd done, which was to exfiltrate hundreds of thousands of documents from an intelligence system known as SIPRNET on rewriteable CDs and send to Julian Assange, who he calls a "crazy white haired aussie who can't seem to stay in one country very long."
There are a lot of interesting tidbits in the chat logs Wired just released from supposed details about a 45 million-strong botnet to the hidden network of queer activists within the military to new details on how Lamo gained Manning's trust. I'm sure other sites will pull out those details.
What I want to focus on is Bradley Manning the person. Throughout the chats, he refers to himself as a "ghost" or "ghostly," and in the WikiLeaks affair, he's been precisely that. While Assange, Lamo, and a host of other figures have gotten top billing, Manning's been held in military detention under rough conditions that even former State Department spokesman PJ Crowley called "counterproductive" and "stupid."