Hacker who turned Bradley Manning in takes witness stand

computer hacker who told
authorities Pfc. Bradley Manning
was giving information to WikiLeaks
testified Tuesday the soldier never
said he wanted to help the enemy
during their online chats.
Manning is on trial for giving
hundreds of thousands of
documents to the secret-spilling
website WikiLeaks. He pleaded
guilty to charges that could bring
20 years behind bars, but the
military has pressed ahead with a
court-martial on more serious
charges, including aiding the
enemy. That charge carries a
potential life sentence.
Adrian Lamo, a convicted hacker,
said he started chatting online with
Manning on May 20, 2010, and
alerted law enforcement the next
day about the contents of the
soldier's messages, including his
mention of WikiLeaks founder
Julian Assange. He said he
continued chatting with Manning
on and off for six more days.On cross-examination, Lamo said
Manning never told him he wanted
to help the enemy and did not
express disloyalty to America.
"At any time, did Pfc. Manning
ever say he wanted to help the
enemy?" defense attorney David
Coombs said.
"Not in those words, no," Lamo
said.
Prosecutors have said they will
show the 25-year-old Army
intelligence analyst effectively put
U.S. military secrets into the hands
of the enemy, including Osama bin
Laden. They said they will present
evidence that bin Laden requested
and obtained from another al-
Qaida member the Afghanistan
battlefield reports and State
Department cables published by
WikiLeaks.
The soldier from Crescent, Okla.,
has said he did not believe the
information would harm the U.S.
and he released the information to
enlighten the public about the
bitter reality of America's wars.
His attorney has also said Manning
struggled privately with gender
identity early in his tour of duty,
when gays couldn't openly serve in
the military. Those struggles led
Manning to "feel that he needed to
do something to make a difference
in this world," Coombs said.
Lamo testified Manning had
contacted him because of his
notoriety in the hacking community
and because of his open support
and leadership in the lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender
community.
Lamo pleaded guilty in 2004 of
computer fraud after he was
arrested for hacking the computer
networks of the New York Times
and Microsoft. He was sentenced to
six months house arrest and two
years probation.
Manning chose to have his court-
martial heard by a judge instead of
a jury. It is expected to run all
summer. Much of the evidence is
classified, which means large
portions of the trial are likely to be
closed to reporters and the public.
Federal authorities are looking into
whether Assange can also be
prosecuted. He has been holed up
in the Ecuadorean Embassy in
London to avoid extradition to
Sweden on sex-crimes allegations.
"This is not justice; never could
this be justice," Assange said in a
statement Monday. "The verdict
was ordained long ago. Its function
is not to determine questions such
as guilt or innocence, or truth or
falsehood. It is a public relations
exercise, designed to provide the
government with an alibi for
posterity."
The case is the most high-profile
prosecution for the Obama
administration, which has been
criticized for its crackdown on
those who leak information. It's
also by far the most voluminous
release of classified material in
U.S. history, and certainly the most
sensational since the 1971
publication of the Pentagon Papers,
a secret Defense Department
history of U.S. involvement in
Vietnam.
The 7,000 pages of the Pentagon
Papers showed that the U.S.
government repeatedly misled the
public about the Vietnam War.
Their leak to The New York Times
set off an epic clash between the
Nixon administration and the press
and led to a landmark Supreme
Court ruling on the First
Amendment.
The material WikiLeaks began
publishing in 2010 documented
complaints of abuses against Iraqi
detainees, a U.S. tally of civilian
deaths in Iraq, and America's weak
support for the government of
Tunisia - a disclosure that Manning
supporters said helped trigger the
Middle Eastern pro-democracy
uprisings known as the Arab
Spring.
The Obama administration has said
the release of the material
threatened to expose valuable
military and diplomatic sources and
strained America's relations with
other governments.