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Adrian Lamo On The Stand: 'Did Manning Ever Say He Wanted To Help The Enemy?' 'Not In Those Words, No.'

from the 20-years-for-attempting-to-upset-the-status-quo dept

Bradley Manning is currently on trial, charged with “aiding an enemy” (including “classified” enemies) for turning over sensitive documents to Wikileaks. As Mike pointed out earlier, this latter charge doesn’t add up. Manning never handed over anything directly to any enemies of America, classified or otherwise, and any documents these unnamed enemies had in their possession were already publicly available.

Adrian Lamo, the ex-hacker who turned Manning over to the feds (or rather, the Dept. of Defense with some assistance from the FBI), was on the stand on June 4th. Under cross examination by David Coombs of Manning’s defense team, Lamo is unable to say Manning intended to “aid the enemy” by releasing these documents. In fact, Coombs exchange with Lamo depicts Manning as someone with idealistic aims who hoped that bringing governmental and military wrongdoing into the light would help change both entities for the better.

Q. At one point you asked him what his end game was, correct?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. And he told you, hopefully worldwide discussions, debates and reforms?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. And he said he wanted people to see the truth?
A. Correct.
Q. He said without information you can’t make informed decision as a whole?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. And he told you to, he was hoping that people would actually change if they saw the information?
A. Correct.

At one point, the discussion turned to the possibility of aiding US enemies, but Manning still refused to view the information he had acquired as anything other than a contribution to public knowledge.

Q. And at one point you asked him why he didn’t just sell the information to Russia or China?
A. Correct.
Q. And he told you that the information belonged in the public domain?
A. Yes, he did.
Q. He believed that information was in the public domain and should be for the public good?
A. Yes.

And when the questions became more direct, Lamo’s answers became correspondingly vague.

Q. At anytime did he say he had no loyalty to America?
A. Not in those words, no.
Q. At anytime did he say the American flag didn’t mean anything to him?
A. No.
Q. At anytime did he say he wanted to help the enemy?
A. Not in those words, no.

In what words, then? The transcripts of the chats between Lamo and Manning are public. There’s no indication Manning wished to aid the enemy. There was the potential for harm to exposed operatives and sources, but that was greatly mitigated by the delay between delivery and publication of the documents, not to mention Lamo bringing this to the FBI’s attention after the initial chat session. But the military has chosen to view the embarrassment and inconvenience caused by the documents’ release as “aiding the enemy” — whatever hurts us makes them stronger.

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Comments on “Adrian Lamo On The Stand: 'Did Manning Ever Say He Wanted To Help The Enemy?' 'Not In Those Words, No.'”

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horse with no name says:


In what words, then?

Well, here’s the thing. “he told you that the information belonged in the public domain”. In putting the information in the public domain, by it’s very nature it helps the enemy. The enemy can read what is in the public domain, and adjust their strategies and such. They can put pressure on certain people named, or stop dealing with others who were working both sides, and so on.

So his desire to put this stuff in the public domain aids the enemy, even if he doesn’t want to accept that responsibility it is the end result, no different from shooting a gun into a crowd because you want to hear the noise of the gun, and not caring about who might get hit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: aid

Which enemies? Who is ‘aided’ by the release of those documents? What was in them that is so damaging to the defense of our nation, not our image, which didn’t take that big a hit as far as the world is concerned? If you cannot point out EXACTLY what is harmful or who was aided, then you’re just yelling about the darkness because BOGEYMAN!

Anonymous Coward says:

For Each Individual disgusted by the scope of the CIA & NSA contempt of the constitution, by their willingness to blow the whistle, How many rats remain in those Organizations using the information flow for their own personal benefit.
I would expect at least a Dozen or more rats for each whistle-blower.

Liz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

My only source for numbers came from a recent episode of Rachel Maddow show. So take that for what it’s worth. But she presented a few figures that state that there are 483,263 non-military, non-governmental contractors who work for the intelligence services that are granted high level Top Secret security clearance. This being a staggering number in itself. However as the article states there are around 4,900,000 individuals who have access to the information with lower levels of security clearance.

NSA leaks: Who has clearance for top secret information?

Their source as linked in the article: 2012 Report on Security Clearance Determinations (Warning: PDF)

That looks like about 10% of contractors who have access to some of the most secretive intel gained by the U.S. government through it’s spying programs. Since this is a for-profit endeavor, it would not surprise me at all if there were more than a dozen rats for each whistle-blower.

Anonymous Coward says:

if the government can do something bad to someone, they will do so. they dont need proof or anything else. they will trump up charges and trump up evidence, twisting anything to mean everything that can do harm where wanted. the problem is when governments get to be too powerful. they then forget they are there to represent the people. they have the opinion that they are there to represent only themselves and others of high rank. that surely is heading into the realms of dictatorship, isn’t it?

Jules Gilbert says:

about Manning and our govt.

For centuries!, governments have avoided using homosexuals as intelligence workers because they have been profoundly unreliable.

I don’t know how/why but this is the simple truth. And for the Army to put Manning in this position, well, it was stupid and probably only happened because the Army like other US-based institutions is under pressure to be gay-friendly.

Well, sometime, all you atheists out there should read the second part of Romans 1, start at verse 16.

Because, hello!, this is our country and we’re losing it. And this is what happens when we turn away from the God of the Bible.

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