Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Did Adrian Lamo lie at Manning pretrial about calling police in 2010?

During his sworn in testimony on December 20, 2011, at the US v Pfc. Bradley Manning, Article 32 Pretrial, Adrian Lamo - who was convicted of computer crimes in 2004 - was asked about his institutionalization in April of 2010, weeks before he chatted with the former Army intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq who allegedly leaked documents and a video to the controversial whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

On the same day Manning is said to have first emailed Lamo, Kevin Poulsen reported for on May 20, 2010, "Last month Adrian Lamo, a man once hunted by the FBI, did something contrary to his nature. He says he picked up a payphone outside a Northern California supermarket and called the cops."
"Someone, Lamo says, had grabbed his backpack containing the prescription anti-depressants he’d been on since 2004, the year he pleaded guilty to hacking The New York Times. He wanted his medication back. But when the police arrived at the Safeway parking lot it was Lamo, not the missing backpack, that interested them. Something about his halting, monotone speech, perhaps slowed by his medication, got the officers’ attention.

An ambulance arrived. 'After a few moments of conversation, they just kind of exchanged a look and told me to get on the stretcher,' says Lamo.
At his blog, Bailey Carlson argued on June 16, 2011, that "Adrian knowingly included falsifications in his story."
"To put an end to wild speculation I decided to try to obtain a police report. I got in contact with Adrian (@6) on twitter and eventually had a short phone call with him about the incident. He provided me with very little and stalled when pressed about what led officers to authorize his detainment under a involuntary psychiatric hold law. He also dumbfounded me with circular logic on twitter when explaining why he didn’t remember the events leading up to his forcible hospitalization. Adrian was willing to give me the location and the sheriffs office to contact for further information – so I did.


I contacted the public records office of the Sacramento Sheriffs office and they were able to confirm that they had a record of the incident I described, however they were not able to release the police report due to HIPAA privacy laws. After some research online I had found enough evidence to convince me that HIPAA applicability to police reports were questionable at best so I contacted the Public Information Officer at the Sheriff’s Office and outlined my case.


The Sacramento Sheriff PIO told me that on April 27, 2010 at 3:40pm the Sheriff’s Office received a call from Adrian’s father who notified officers that his son had been over-medicating on his prescription medications and that Adrian had threatened to phone the police if his father were to take his meds away. He told the officers that Adrian was at the Safeway on 4040 Manzanita Avenue in Carmichael, CA just blocks from his home, and had been slurring his words and acting erratically. The officers were dispatched and looked for Adrian near the Safeway, however they did not find him and instead Adrian was picked up at 4:09pm by an ambulance belonging to American Medical Response. It is likely he was detained under Section 5150 of California Law which allows psychiatric hold for 72 hours, although it is unclear who authorized it and what happened after it expired and apparently Adrian was transferred to another psychiatric hospital. Sacramento Country Sheriffs office did not authorize a 5150 and can’t verify that that was the reason he was hospitalized. Paramedics and the fire department were also likely involved and could have made the decision
On July 29, 2011 - fourteen months after publishing Poulsen's exclusive on Lamo's institutionalization - Wired added an update which attributed some of the "details" in the first three paragraphs to Adrian, and noted that the Sacramento County "Sheriff's office was unable to find a record of Lamo phoning the police himself."
"[Update 7/29/11: We've clarified the headline of this story, and modified the text to clearly attribute the above details to Lamo. Since reporting this story, we've learned from police that Lamo's initial hospitalization in April 2010 came after Lamo's father phoned the Sacramento County Sheriff's department three times in as many days to report that Lamo was over-medicating with his prescription drugs, which may have had a profound impact on his speech and coordination. The Sheriff's office was unable to find a record of Lamo phoning the police himself. Lamo stands by his original explanation of the incident.]"
On May 23, 2010, as a search at reveals, the first two paragraphs of the Wired story appeared as follows, under the headline "Ex-Hacker Adrian Lamo Institutionalized for Asperger’s" which was later changed to "Ex-Hacker Adrian Lamo Institutionalized, Diagnosed with Asperger’s":
"Last month Adrian Lamo, a man once hunted by the FBI, did something contrary to his nature. He picked up a payphone outside a Northern California supermarket and called the cops.

Someone had grabbed Lamo’s backpack containing the prescription anti-depressants he’d been on since 2004, the year he pleaded guilty to hacking The New York Times. He wanted his medication back. But when the police arrived at the Safeway parking lot it was Lamo, not the missing backpack, that interested them. Something about his halting, monotone speech, perhaps slowed by his medication, got the officers’ attention.
"Your parents became concerned and called the cops numerous times about your drug usage?" Lamo was asked at the December 20, 2011 pretrial by Manning's civilian defense attorney David Coombs, according to journalist Alexa O'Brien's transcription.

Lamo answered, "That took place, yes."

"In April 2010, you were involuntarily institutionalized after you called the police?" Coombs asked, and Lamo replied, "That is correct."

Defense (Coombs): Remember why you called the police?

Lamo: Due to dispute over the possession of my medications.

Defense (Coombs): Thought someone stole it out of your backpack? In fact, you thought someone stole your backpack?

Lamo: Yes.

Defense (Coombs): Police did show up?

Lamo: There was an officer response.

Defense (Coombs): You were arrested?

Lamo: That is consistent with the course of events.

Defense (Coombs): You were institutionalized?

Lamo: As is usual in the state of California.

Defense (Coombs): May 7, 2010 you were discharged?

Lamo: That should tend to be correct.
Lamo seemed to have trouble answering questions with a simple "yes" or "no" at the pretrial, and his response "[t]hat should tend to be correct" stands out since it isn't a firm affirmative reply.

Since there doesn't seem to be any evidence that Lamo ever called the police, it's possible that he lied under oath, which at a civilian trial could be considered perjury, a felony offense. However, Lamo - a civilian - had volunteered to testify at a military hearing for the prosecution, and I'm uncertain about the possible ramifications or potential penalties, if a military judge agrees he lied.

There are other answers that Lamo provided while sworn in at the December of 2011 Article 32 pretrial, along with responses in press interviews - before and after Manning - and in an interview he conducted with a friend of Brad's which may be considered mendacious or deceptive.

As I noted in my October 4, 2012 article, "Bradley Manning Facebook friend was a security and risk management expert", Lamo interviewed Manning's friend Danny Clark, while he might have been working as a CID informant, and he appears to have misled him about the privacy of their chat.
"According to the December 20, 2011 Article 32 Pretrial hearing in U.S. v Pfc. Manning transcript, published by Alexa O'Brien - which she wrote 'was obtained from a respected journalist in attendance that day at Fort Meade' who 'wished to remain anonymous, but wanted the transcript to be made public - Bradley Manning defense attorney, military-appointed JAG Captain Paul Bouchard asked Special Agent Edwards, 'Anyone from law enforcement direct Lamo to have communications with Clark? Suggest it?'

'No,' Special Agent Edwards replied. 'No. We said he has no specific guidance to search, but if he does collect information, he should let us know. I think he knew there were other individuals involved and opportunities in that community with other hackers. If he was to discover anything, he should share that information.'

Captain Bouchard then asked, 'Was Mr. Lamo encouraged [to speak to Danny Clark, while acting as a confidential informant for the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in late July of 2010]?'

'If he found something, yes of course we're interested,' Edwards responded. 'But tread lightly. Do not be deceptive. Don't do anything illegal.'

However, since Lamo later admitted while under oath that he had told Clark on July 21, 2010, 'Let's agree neither of us is gonna share these logs,' Lamo was deceptive, and, yet the Army CID retained him as a confidential informant for a year.
In a commentary The Guardian published on January 3, 2013, Lamo oddly wrote about "truths" as if it varied in the eyes of its beholders: "As with most things, there's more to it than the facts: I write this with the intent that you factor this into your narratives and truths on this issue as you best see fit."

Lamo bizarrely added that he couldn't necessarily "tell [the public] the truth."
"It wasn't that I didn't want people to know the truth. It was that I couldn't tell them the truth. I could only tell them facts, and facts without meaning are the very enemy of truth. I said once that lies have no rights against truth. I was wrong. In daily life, it's the truth that's disenfranchised. What fits the popular narrative, what makes an observer happy with the consistency of events, is what is believed.

I could give people facts, but only in a disjointed, abrupt way that would be absorbed by their perception as they best validated their respective storyline – for I had no better one to give them. Against that kind of validation, the truth is only ever a fringe theory. More convenient beliefs are the incumbent.
As I noted in my article, "Adrian Lamo and FBI Cyber Squad computer scientist Russell Handorf," Lamo wrote in a December 1, 2001 comment at, using the header "i'm not a preacher or a traveling salesman," that "[t]wo people can look at the same event or person and come away with different conclusions without either having to be wrong — as long as this is the case, the world is probably still ticking."

In his 2013 commentary, Lamo claims that he "developed a disclaimer for conversations that might be entering dubious territory, involving elements of legal privilege available to the clergy and to the press."
"On its face, it is understandable that such a disclaimer, if not adhered to, would be overtly duplicitous. But when it was offered, there was no reasonable expectation that merely sentences later, I would be faced with the choice between interdicting the freedom of the man in the IM window, or gambling that no part of literally hundreds of thousands of classified documents would intersect harmfully with the life of any person affected by their contents."
In an accompanying Q and A, Guardian interviewer Ed Pilkington asked Lamo, "Early on in your chat with Manning you reassured him about your trustworthiness, telling him you were a journalist and a church minister and that either way he'd have legal protection against his identity being revealed. That was clearly misleading, as things transpired, and your critics have accused you of lying to Manning by promising him protection. Do you regret having done that?"

In his initial response, Lamo kind of ducked Pilkington's question:
"Professionally and personally speaking, it's not my function to have people arrested. That's something that would ideally fall to law enforcement. In this matter, the harm from the subject's continued freedom appeared to objectively be greater than the harm of interdicting him. The offer was never meant to be construed as a suicide pact, and no one had ever mistaken it for one.

In the specific context of the logs, it's also relevant to note that the offer was never affirmatively accepted – it proposed two possible conditions, and one was never chosen.
Pilkington then tried again: "I want to press you on this point. If a priest, or a journalist, promises to protect someone's identity or confession, they can't then turn round and say: 'Oh, you've told me something bad, therefore I'm going to turn you in.' By telling Manning you would protect him (whether or not he accepted your offer) didn't you make pact, a vow, that couldn't be broken? If I tell a source of mine that I will protect his or her identity, I mean it."

"The two choices aren't fungible," Lamo argued. "They're distinct things, each with their own set of boundaries."

Lamo again used the term "suicide pact" to explain his choice to leak the chats with Manning to the authorities and the media.
"In each case the law relating to privilege has exemption for exigent situations as the conscience sees them. Assuming the offer had been taken up and we'd gone forward – if I'd been a doctor or a counselor, the same would have been true – the law recognizes that privilege is not, as I said, a suicide pact. Meaning that once you enter into it, you're not bound to it no matter how much harm will arise. I'd have a much harder time saying with a straight face: 'Well, he told me about the largest classified material breach in the history of western intelligence, but I wasn't supposed to tell anyone.'"
Random House - via - defines "suicide pact" as "an agreement between two or more people to commit suicide together," which - at the very least - seems to be an exaggeration of events, since Lamo's life wouldn't have been at peril if he - for example - leaked the conversations to the media, but kept Manning's name secret.

It's not the first time Lamo has used "suicide pact" when interviewed about Manning. In June of 2010, a blog called "Adrian Lamo – And ye shall know the truth" at referred to a BBC interview where he also deployed it.
"Still, now, Adrian is leaving us with quotes to the media that indicate he is tangled in his own web of lies. Specifically, as seen in a recent article by the BBC, after pitying himself and trying to defend his actions, he goes on to say 'I did tell him that I worked as a journalist. I would have been happy to write about him myself, but we just decided that it would be too unethical.' OF COURSE Adrian would be happy to write about Manning himself. It shows clear disregard for the seriousness of this case. It shows Adrian is instead too caught up with his own profiteering to realize the degree of severity that his selfish actions could result in. Adrian said himself that as soon as Bradley Manning gave him the information, that it was a 'suicide pact.' And yet he is quoted elsewhere saying that the decision was agonizing. Come on. Adrian has been so deep in his own shit for such a long time, that he can’t smell it anymore. The hacker community knows this.

Adrian says he feels bad and that he agonized over the decision to out Manning. But the truth is, he doesn’t feel bad and he knew right away what he was going to do with this opportunity. And, among other reasons, he says he went public with it because he felt Manning should know who flipped him? Come on, come up with something better. Manning would have known this straight away anyway- whether through logic or Adrian’s testimony in future court hearings. Adrian is a pathological liar.
"At the moment he gave me the information, it was basically a suicide pact," Mr Lamo told the BBC.
"He handed his name to US authorities because of concerns over US national security and because he did not want to be found to have been 'obstructing justice' in the course of any investigation.

'I didn't want any more FBI agents knocking at the door,' he said.
At her blog, O'Brien observed, "Lamo admitted in his sworn testimony that while he told bradass87 that none of their conversation was for print, he had already reached out to law enforcement on 21 May 2010."

On Twitter Pilkington told me that "Lamo was not paid for his commentary published by The Guardian or for the IM chat that I had with him," and that he "offered us his commentary, & we suggested an additional IM in which we could put direct questions."

In July of 2012, I asked Lamo some questions over Twitter about Neal Rauhauser, a Democratic operative who claims to have ties to the FBI, and who is notorious for spreading disinfo and outright lying. Rauhauser once "volunteered" for a security firm called Project Vigilant and told me in an email, "Lamo I have seen a couple of times in text chats hosted by PV. Never met him, never talked on the phone, we occasionally exchange sly insults via Twitter."

"After a search, it appears my NDA prevents me from confirming or denying whether any party has been CC'd on any PV e-mail," Adrian Lamo told me on Twitter, after first claiming otherwise, when asked about communications with Rauhauser regarding working on projects together, based upon his "general memory."

Lamo added, "I can say with authority that I have never received an e-mail concerning or addressed to that individual, with the exception of replies to queries concerning him from third-parties, spurred by this kind of inquiry."
"Lamo also told me, prior to checking his email account, 'I've never collaborated with Mr. Rauhauser directly or by proxy on any issue insofar as I'm aware.'

In another tweet, Adrian Lamo told me, '@ronbryn You can deny anything when you focus on explaining what you don't say at the expense of actually saying anything you'll back.'
On September 27, 2012, when asked about inconsistencies in interviews, Project Vigilant director Chet Uber told me in a Direct Message, "SPIN THE MEDIA OR THEY WILL SPIN YOU."

Before the "whole, unedited" [Editor's note: Many journalists and bloggers have argued that there appear to be sections missing.] chat logs were finally published by, Lamo told Elinor Mills in a story published on June 7, 2010 at - as I noted in my article, "More members from secretive, oddball Project Vigilant group revealed" - that, as she paraphrased, "sensitive information" Manning gave him "had to do with code words," and in his own words was "top-secret sensitive, compartmentalized information."

However, as O'Brien reported at her blog, "none of the charged documents in US v Pfc. Manning are TOP SECRET/Sensitive Compartmentalized Information."

"The logs are not in dispute," Lamo told The Guardian's Ed Pilkington in the recent Q & A.

As Lily Kuo reported for Reuters in December of 2011, "Investigator David Shaver said the chat logs from the computers of Manning and Lamo were identical except for occasional network drops that affected one computer and not the other. One set of chat logs had been modified slightly and may have been those leaked to the media, he said."

"Yes, at some point, chat log had been enabled, and they basically matched," Shaver testified - according to O'Brien's transcript - but it's unclear when exactly the log was "enabled" on Manning's end, and Lamo does have a history of hacking AOL.

As O'Brien noted, Special Agent Antonio Patrick Edwards, CCIU testified on December 20, 2011 that he was provided two thumb drives by an individual named George W. Shreik or Street [Editor's Note: I asked O'Brien a few months ago if any one knew the correct spelling of this "individual" but a year later she still hadn't learned it.] because "[c]hat logs provided during earlier interviews with Mr. Lamo were not the complete record."

O'Brien reported at her blog, "Adrian Lamo testified that he gave two thumb drives to SA Edwards, CCIU, which contradicted SA Edward's, CCIU, own testimony. When the military prosecutor examined Lamo, Lamo testified that he could not answer the military prosecutor about who he gave the two thumb drives containing the alleged chat logs."

Yesterday - on January 8, 2013 - Ed Pilkington reported for The Guardian, "Coombs said that the defense would be calling as a witness Adrian Lamo, the hacker who alerted military authorities to Manning's WikiLeaks activities, to give evidence about the web chat he had with Manning shortly before the soldier's arrest in Iraq in March 2010. The content of the web chat, Coombs suggested, would be used by the defense to show that Manning selected information to leak that 'could not be used to harm the US or advantage any foreign nation.'"

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