Wired has released what they say are the “full Manning-Lamo chat logs,” which are an interesting read, to say the least.
With all the appropriate caveats — the government still has to prove that Manning was actually the one engaging in these chats — the logs indicate that Manning (bradass87) claimed he was doing more than just data mining on computer systems. He also claimed to be getting information from highly placed people within the government, including the White House:
(03:52:10 PM) bradass87: yes, but im often aware of who’s making decisions that affect me
(03:52:13 PM) bradass87: most aren’t
(03:52:28 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: who is?
(03:52:49 PM) email@example.com: making them. apart from immediate superiors.
(03:53:00 PM) bradass87: Commanders, Politicians, Journalists, the works… i try to keep track
(03:53:26 PM) bradass87: i have sources in the White House re: DADT and the disaster that keeps going on with that
(03:53:49 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: anyone i should know? i’m in DC a lot.
(03:53:52 PM) bradass87: not to mention HRC
(03:53:58 PM) email@example.com: raised there.
(03:53:59 PM) bradass87: Shin Inouye
(03:54:32 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: from grades 2-5
(03:54:51 PM) bradass87: also, some Joint Staff people… a (bisexual) LTC at the Pentagon
(03:55:42 PM) bradass87: only agency i cant get information out of at the highest levels is the FBI… i’ve never needed a source there
Shin Inouye worked as a communications coordinator for Obama on the 2008 presidential campaign, served as a spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and was appointed by the President as White House Director of Specialty Media in February of 2009. The chat log assert that he was a “source” for Manning.
But even more interesting than the fact that Manning may have been “getting information” directly from the White House is what follows in the conversation. Lamo was clearly pumping Manning late in their exchanges, probably at the behest of the agencies that were using him as an informant:
(03:56:16 PM) email@example.com: anyone I should talk to if you disappear one day?
(03:56:29 PM) bradass87: good question
(03:57:10 PM) bradass87: i gave ex-bf a list… some use he is now
(03:57:29 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: I have more cred with the press :x
(03:57:37 PM) bradass87: indeed…
(03:58:05 PM) bradass87: I’m a source for Chris Johnson of Washington Blade… i feed with my sub-sources
(03:59:03 PM) bradass87: not to mention objective personal experience of DADT… and how its actually working out “on the ground”
(03:59:11 PM) email@example.com: what about the sub-sources themselves? just out in the cold?
(03:59:38 PM) bradass87: yes, they’re politically tied
(04:00:50 PM) bradass87: so, they wouldn’t be in the cold, per se
(04:00:57 PM) bradass87: but i would disavow them
(04:00:58 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: … everything else, but you don’t trust me with that? heh.
(04:01:19 PM) bradass87: these are good people, who just happen to be gay
(04:01:29 PM) bradass87: it would be wrong of me to confirm / deny
(04:01:46 PM) bradass87: check queerty.com (mostly accurate)
(04:01:50 PM) bradass87: :P
(04:01:52 PM) email@example.com: fair enough
(04:02:16 PM) bradass87: ask them, not me… i say
(04:02:46 PM) bradass87: (i keep my promises to my friends, believe it or not)
(04:03:15 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: I can respect that.
(04:03:21 PM) email@example.com: And do.
(04:04:10 PM) bradass87: Just hang around the right bars at the right times in Dupont Circle… and you can meet them yourself, you wouldn’t need me =P
(04:04:26 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: I have. Hung out there :P
(04:04:42 PM) email@example.com: Any bars in particular?
(04:04:52 PM) bradass87: they keep freakin’ changing
(04:05:14 PM) firstname.lastname@example.org: heh
(04:05:16 PM) bradass87: changing names and locations… its been a different scene every time i go back to DC…
(04:05:38 PM) bradass87: and im only gone 4-6 months each time =[
(04:06:22 PM) bradass87: i usually give [redacted] a call if i need to know whats hot in town
(04:07:47 PM) bradass87: here’s some public advice: http://twitter.com/[redacted]/status/[redacted] =P
(04:08:08 PM) bradass87: [Tweet redacted]
(04:09:11 PM) bradass87: i was [redacted]’s first boyfriend after [redacted]
(04:09:28 PM) bradass87: i encouraged him to seek out relationships again”
(04:09:31 PM) bradass87: ”
(04:10:04 PM) bradass87: now he’s engaged to his fiancee [redacted]
(04:10:32 PM) bradass87: (im a pretty connected guy for a ghost, i guess
(04:12:01 PM) email@example.com: :)
Wired originally claimed that they did not release the entire chat logs because everything they did not publish was either of a personal nature, or contained sensitive military information. That is clearly not true — most of what they did not publish fell under neither category.
They justify publishing the material now, however, because New York Magazine revealed much of the personal information contained in the chat logs, and because Manning can now be considered a public figure. They say he has become “a figure of historic importance,” and they believe the public has a right to know these details about his life.
Fair enough. So what is Wired’s excuse for redacting the names in the above exchange? Manning is clearly trying to impress Lamo with the noteriety and prestige of his ex-boyfriends, people he met in DC who were powerful and well-placed within the government. The context of the exchange implies he was dropping names he thought Lamo would know (“im a pretty connected guy for a ghost, i guess”).
If Manning thought that Lamo would recognize these names, they are in all likelihood public figures too. Wired says ”we have chosen to redact certain names and identifying information to protect the privacy of some third-parties mentioned in the logs.” But if Manning is now a public figure, and no longer covered by right to privacy laws, why is Wired redacting information about other public figures? (If indeed they are public figures.)
Manning says that these individuals are “politically tied,” which confirms what I’ve heard before regarding his tenure in DC. If so, did the status of these ex-boyfriends have an impact on his conditions? Was he locked away in solitary confinement, unable to talk to almost anyone for months, because nobody wanted it known the extent to which he had cultivated sources and relationships at the “highest levels”?
It’s possible that Wired has a perfectly valid reason for redacting the names of these individuals, although the fact that they were gay doesn’t seem to be adequate. Manning claims that anyone could meet them if you “hang around the right bars at the right times in Dupont Circle,” so they can’t be that closeted.
It’s also possible that they were not able to confirm that Manning actually knew these people. But did they try? Because if in fact Manning had cultivated relationships with powerful, “politically tied” people in the government, I don’t know what the justification is for withholding their names. Manning is being charged with “aiding the enemy.” It would seem like his association with politically well-connected individuals who were feeding him information (Manning called them “sub-sources”) would have considerable news value, and Wired’s history of dubious justification for their redactions makes the decision to withhold them all the more questionable.
In any event the reason Wired has offered for redacting the names seems, at best, inadequate.