WikiLeaks part II: Adrian Lamo responds

The hacker at the heart of yesterday's post about WikiLeaks and military espionage responds with corrections and new info

Yesterday's post about the ongoing WikiLeaks saga prompted a couple of fascinating responses, including one from the person at the heart of that post, hacker-turned-journalist Adrian Lamo. In it he corrects a number of errors I made, as well as providing more context about his side of the story -- his relationship with Wired News reporter Kevin Poulsen (KLP) and accused spy Bradley Manning, as well as whether he was actively working with law enforcement to bring Manning in. I have his permission to run his response in full.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Read the Cringely post that kicked off this exchange in "Spies, WikiLeaks, and hackers, oh my!" | Stay up to date on all Robert X. Cringely's observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]

I also received a letter from the father of a 16-year-old with Asperger's Syndrome who corroborates some of my notions about it -- which is not a "disability" so much as a "different ability." I'll start with Adrian's unedited response:

You have a number of questions that could be answered by contacting me. I politely request that you consider doing so via my publicly-available contact details in the future - and if you did & I was somehow unreachable, I retract this & apologize.

I would suggest that Manning is neither a whistleblower nor a spy (although he may be guilty of espionage, which is a different animal in some circles.) I was aware that KLP had little interest in keeping my identity secret.

Whether I was right is not for me to globally judge (though I believe I did the right thing, which is also a different animal. Yes, I'm splitting that hair mighty thin.)

Poulsen knows I've been around the block a couple dozen times, and I've been a bona-fide confidential source, albeit never for Poulsen. I don't feel taken advantage of. If I was pressured, it was up to me to exercise my right & ability to resist.

I object to your characterization of Asperger's as a "disability" - it's more-often described as a "syndrome" or "condition" in psychiatric circles, and in a less pejorative fashion to boot.

I know Poulsen isn't my friend. We don't socialize. We don't go clubbing. He's the most highly ethical journalist I know. If I were unaware that he considers me a source, not a friend, I'd be taken advantage of. I am however quite aware of this.

The government - and this is important - never asked me to be a source for them in the Manning case, in terms of eliciting information in furtherance of prosecution. This request would be improper, and I would decline in the interests of justice.

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