The Invisible World: Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo, Chet Uber, Timothy Douglas Webster

That I write here about a “current” news event is entirely an accident, a result of going down another byway while researching parts of what will end up as “Andrew Breitbart: Psychosis in a Political Mask Part Two” (a non-long awaited sequel to “Andrew Breitbart: Psychosis in a Political Mask”). A luxury of writing for free is that you may write about whatever you want, and you are not held prisoner to give opinion or report on what is contemporary to feed the hunger of an imagined reader who must hear about now, now, now, now, to convey the sensation of vibrant, buzzing noise of the world out there, while never lessening the sense of its vibrancy and buzzing. Though of course what is considered “the world out there” changes from day to day – a few years ago, the news that bombings across Iraq had killed sixty would be a front page story, worthy to be talked to about by our thought leaders, and now it is nothing, barely noticed.

The Bradley Manning story is paradoxical in this respect, because it has been designated an important story, worthy of discussion and coverage, yet somehow much of it has been allowed to fall into obscurity. The work of transcribing trial testimony has fallen to the dedicated and passionate Alexa O’Brien1. The most thorough attempt to put together an archive of materials related to the Manning case was done at the forum Firedoglake. So much of what makes up the press now, or what a reader might associate with the press, are thought pieces on a particular subject, because such thought pieces are so cheap, and involve little or no cost, literal and figurative, for the writer to spend extended periods outside their world. The divide between the tumescence of opinion journalism2 and those dedicated souls, many of them amateurs, who have been involved in writing about the Manning trial is the striking divide between the inessential and the essential, the difference between space filling noise and clarity. There is a comfort in the polite equilibrium that exists in the weekly debate of David Brooks and E.J. Dionne3, that one day all of us might actually live in a world defined by the qualities of their happy mild small debate, while Alexa O’Brien’s work is only discomforting. The contrast reiterates what has always been obvious, that essential journalism is not congenial, and may be adversely uncongenial. I have no doubt that David Brooks is a very friendly man and a good conversationalist, and I know that I have disagreed passionately with Glenn Greenwald in the past, and will do so in the future – but a passionate critic of the national security state is an absolute necessity, whereas safe padded conversation is not. You can take issue with Greenwald, and I often do, but all those who are diligent skeptics of the national security state will bear uncomfortable truths about what we tolerate and the compromises we make.

So, even though this trial is of extraordinary genuine importance, not inflated importance, it has never been made so ever-present and ubiquitous that a reader such as myself, unwilling to look at it without looking in-depth, was able to safely remain a virgin. This post will make no attempt to summarize the events leading up to the trial. As already said, the Firedoglake archive is invaluable for this, and beginner material that I found helpful includes “The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks” by Glenn Greenwald, “How Bradley Manning Became One of the Most Unusual Revolutionaries in American History” by Steve Fishman, Glenn Greenwald’s interview with Adrian Lamo (part one and part two), the Manning-Lamo chat logs, a pre-Manning profile of Lamo, “A Duty to Hack” by Matt Palmquist, and an interview with Lamo by Ed Pilkington, “Adrian Lamo on Bradley Manning: ‘I knew my actions might cost him his life'”.

There will be no advocacy for any position in this post, either. I remain very much overwhelmed by what I’ve read of the Manning case, and, in many ways, I remain an agnostic. My agnosticism does not arise out of any attempt to avoid any controversial or difficult opinion, but a n honest moral confusion. I do not think there is any virtue in an opinion alone, only in intelligent advocacy and tangible work in support of a hard proofed belief. Though the Bradley Manning case involves spywork, that realm of endless fascination for movies and TV, much of it has remained an invisible world, so that an amateur reader is forced to investigate on their own, trying to find answers to questions – not the deeper moral questions, but the simple practical ones of a reader trying to understand a novel: why does person A say this at this particular point? It makes no sense. This post looks at two characters at the story’s fringes, Chet Uber and Timothy Douglas Webster, two fascinating men who should be given ample space in any narrative on the Manning case, not because of any political perspective, but because they are great non-fictional characters, just as Ignatius Reilly and Roland Cantibile are great fictional ones. The post ends with a hypothesis that might reveal what might be melodramatically called a dramatic twist in the case, but is only a tender hypothesis, and it arises not out of any attempt to shift onus of the case to anyone, but as part of the amateur reader’s personal investigation to make sense of some of what the characters say.

First, however, there is Chet Uber. He came to prominence as the man who Lamo spoke to and who helped put Lamo in contact with law enforcement officials. Uber is the head of Project Vigilant, an enterprise which supposedly relies on the work of thousands of volunteers in order to collect data from various internet providers which then pass this data on to government officials, which he is legally able to do, again according to Uber, because of loopholes in the EULAs of these providers4. Project Vigilant and Uber entered the news because of his connection with the Manning case, and the reaction to the organization was utter horror – “Project Vigilant and the government/corporate destruction of privacy” by Glenn Greenwald, exemplifies it well. The fusion of state and private security is a legitimate cause of great concern (“How Our Massive Homeland Security Apparatus Does the Bidding of the Big Banks” by Beau Hodai, gives good insight into this), but any fear of Project Vigilant soon dissolved when it became clear that Uber was a clown and a serial exaggerator. Uber, a man who suffered from both asthma and diabetes, who was also on disability after a quadruple bypass, said that Project Vigilant tracked over 250 million IP addresses a day, an astonishing claim to those who worked in the security field5. According to Uber, he was able to do this colossal work on a shoestring budget and solely through the use of volunteers6. He was the head of a leading edge security firm but had been recently homeless and didn’t have the money to buy a razor7. Project Vigilant’s parent company, BBHC Global, got benefits as a veteran owned company, but neither Uber, who was also BBHC Global’s director, nor anyone else connected to BBHC Global appeared to have any military experience. Despite its prominence, no one had ever heard of this company – security may be a secretive community, but not that secretive. Greenwald would revise his opinion of Uber’s firm, writing that he felt the man was a self-aggrandizing attention seeker, and though there were many things to fear in the fusion of private and state security, Project Vigilant wasn’t one of them8. Initially, Uber would say that not only had he put Lamo in touch with government officials, but that Lamo had given him classified documents when he asked for help – this claim would later be discounted9. When Uber gave Kim Zetter, a writer for Wired, a limo ride to the airport after the 2010 DEF CON, he needed to ask her to pay for the limo as he had no cash on him10.

An extract from a phone call transcript (taken from Pastebin) between Uber and Tom Ryan conveys well his inimitable manic superhype style. Ryan is a security expert best known for going undercover in OWS and then sharing vital information of its members with his friend Andrew Breitbart and the FBI. Ryan’s own hypercompetence was demonstrated when he included his own email address in the shared docs, blowing his cover as an informant11.

Extracts from Uber’s part in the conversation, where the editorial additions, which are attempts at clarification, are my own:

And I’m not a name-dropper, but if I started telling you the kind of people that our in our program , it’d go like…Fuck, if we were playing “Fantasy Security”, you’d go “holy fucking shit”.

When I called you, the reason I called you, well, there’s a couple of reasons, but when I, we don’t recruit, per se. When we run into a problem, I had a problem with IMAP [Internet Message Access Protocol], (unintelligible) I know who does IMAP, can’t really remember who wrote it [Mark Reed Crispin].

He lives on an island [Bainbridge Island], right off so and so, and his name is escaping me, and I get an email message that his name…and I call him up and I said, told him who I was, said I heard you exempted IMAP, and. Yeah, could you help us as a subject matter expert in IMAP, and he said “how much time”, and I said it could be an hour or two a year. Might be an hour or two a month, but nothing more than that.

We don’t go to people who work on IMAP servers daily. We go to the people who invented the thing.

Our targets are the biggest criminals in the world. I mean, (when the system is done?) our intention is to sell it all to the United States government. We’re not going to operate it, the only operational things we do are to test it.

We take open source intelligence and human intelligence, and run it through a system and match it to what we think the intelligence community uses, because some of our members wrote things like the United States Secret Service _threat__ tracking system, and retained all of the IP records (?) so our interface matches, probably the interface from 1999 or something.

You know, we wanted to make sure that when we transferred this, it wasn’t going to be a stove pipe. So they could integrate this into the government and use it. And so, there was no intention to ever sell it to anybody else, and we did at one point, have negotiations with Raytheon and Mark ___, and to offer this as a software, with a backchannel to the Senate Oversight Intelligence Committee, so if used, it could be shut down if any of the TLA [Three Letter Agencies: FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.] went and used it against American citizens.

We were building extremely powerful, nasty, shit. And we still do.

Some of it’s purely theoretical, some of its applied science, some of it is built and is running, and some of it is active and ready to sell. That’s why we’re not a not-for-profit, we’re a for-profit company.

We are funded, so that you know, by donations from our members. We’re self-funded, and I’ll tell you this, the contract we have is with the State Department to provide a way for Iranian people to get past the censorship, because my friend, Tor doesn’t cut it.

The mystery that surrounds this figure for me is not that he is part of some overvast data mining conspiracy, because I think he is a ridiculous man, the kind of person tech companies too often have to deal with, the kind of man who can clearly be seen as having ludicrous ambitions with no tangible means of realizing them, and who only provokes the eternal question, “how can I politely get rid of this person so I can get on with my work?” The only confusion I have, unresolved at the time of this article, is why so many prominent names happily lent their names in association with his rinky dink organization – Kevin Manson of Homeland Security, George Johnson of the Pentagon, Ira Winkler of the NSA, Suzanne Gorman of the NYSE, and Mark Rasch, a former top DoJ cybercrime division prosecutor. Rasch, Gorman, and Manson would all go on record affirming their support of and association with the group12. That there is confusion does not suggest the explanation is necessarily sinister; however, the confusion itself and the lack of light, where Project Vigilant is very much part of the invisible world makes for fertile ground for people venturing sinister explanations.

At the very same time that this story came out, it was also revealed that Lamo contacted someone else for help, a former army counterintelligence officer named Timothy Douglas Webster. Though Uber was initially conveyed as the prime contact between Lamo and the government, gradually Webster would entirely supersede Uber’s place in the narrative. In the transcript of the just released We Steal Secrets, Webster is given an on-screen part and is cited by Lamo as the one who put him in touch with the necessary people in government. The Wikileaks transcript of the movie is angrily disputed by director Alex Gibney, who points out that it leaves out all transcripts of Manning himself, which are an integral part of the movie – however, I do not think the Webster sections are in dispute13. Also, if the transcript is correct, Uber does not appear at all. Finally, if this transcript is correct, there is one detail that both the movie and many other sources appear to downplay. They describe Webster as a friend of Lamo’s. They were not friends, or not just friends – they were ex-lovers. I’m not sure why you would downplay this, because to make clear that they were former lovers is a crucial detail – it does not mean descending into homophobia or gossip, but simply describing a relationship forthrightly and precisely14. This is not a case of privacy – Lamo is clear in the chat transcripts that he is bi, and Webster, as we shall see, has declared openly that he is gay.

Webster is a far more interesting character than Uber, though, like Uber, not always interesting in the ways he wants to be. Strangely little attention has been given to this man, especially since Lamo gives him prominent mention in the chat logs:

(10:48:43 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: Would you know if a specific person had authored a report/paper?

(10:49:23 AM) bradass87: not really…

(10:49:42 AM) bradass87: bureaucrats usually aren’t that intelligent i find

(10:49:54 AM) bradass87: [re: false flag]

(10:50:03 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: Webster, Timothy D.

(10:51:05 AM) bradass87: who’s that?

(10:51:21 AM) bradass87: he’s an author obviously

(10:51:28 AM) bradass87: Sex and Intimacy [goog]

(10:51:59 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: SA with NGA (former)

(10:55:59 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: He wrote a paper a while back, I was curious how it had been received by the IC.

I have been unable to find this paper, or even determine if it exists. Though I have relied on the work of passionate, thorough volunteers, no one appears to have given focus to Webster, and this, I think is a blind spot, because, as you’ll see, I believe – rightly or wrongly – he played a far larger role in matters than thought. It was frustrating given how important I thought Webster was to have so little information on him – far less than Uber, and far, far less than on Lamo. One of the only pieces out there before the Manning affair which mentions him is a report of a military commendation ceremony, “Ft. Meade SoundOff: Task Force Vigilant Freedom welcomed home”.

Thankfully, Webster does like to give his opinion on things, especially anything related to Manning. When HBGary was hacked and an email from Chet Uber was found in the released files, this fact was publicized on the firedoglake forum, “Chet Uber Contacted HBGary before He Publicized His Role in Turning in Bradley Manning” 15, after which Chet Uber himself showed up in inimitable voice in the comments, and Webster appeared as well. Webster makes clear that he doesn’t think much of Uber at all:

Ohhhhh sweet mercy.

I tried to resist the urge to post, but the bullshit is just overwhelming. Here’s the deal, people.

Despite Chet Uber’s near-constant use of the word “we,” he’s a one man band. Worse, rather than make his cacophony on the street corner like any respectable lunatic where you can simply avoid eye contact and cross the street, he scurries from business to business, cymbals crashing and horns blaring, until he’s inevitably thrown out on his ass and he moves on to the next establishment having learned nothing along the way.

“Project VIGILANT” -is- Chet Uber, and nothing/nobody more. To quote Stein, “there is no there there.” It’s a funny little man operating levers and pedals and steam valves behind a curtain, and quite frankly, I doubt the illusion would have persisted as long as it has if not for the general atmosphere of conspiracy surrounding the Manning case.

I’ve heard from a third party that some Project Vigilant docs may hit Cryptome in the near future. I’ve seen a number of documents from the project, and they’re abjectly hilarious. Without being hyperbolic, they’re the sort of thing one might expect from a teenage LARP group (not that there’s anything wrong with LARPing *cough*) with room temperature IQ and a penchant for Metal Gear Solid 4. That these documents could persuade anybody to believe in the authenticity of Uber’s project is a question for the ages, but… human nature is what it is, and we all tend to see what we want to see.

As an aside, feel free to play a little game called “How many different signature blocks can you find for Chet Uber?” If you haven’t found at least 20, you’re doing it wrong.

Hey Uber – sorry if this rubs you the wrong way, pal. I never had time to go to finishing school, and sometimes the truth just ain’t kind.

Best,

T

I cannot verify that this poster is Webster, but the tone and language very much fit a poster who has been confirmed to be Webster on Discus (link). When this Webster commented on the posting of Evan Hansen’s “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed”, Kevin Poulsen, a long time Wired associate who has been a key and controversial figure in the Manning case16 tweeted the following:

Where Lamo has expressed great sympathy for Manning, and explicit hope that he serve a short sentence, Webster shows nothing of the kind. Not only does he want Manning to serve a long sentence, hopefully for the rest of his life, he takes great pleasure in it. Though commenter posts are not perhaps the ideal expression of our best selves, the nastiness, the cruelty, the contempt expressed by Webster is nearly ubiquitous in his posts. There are a few examples from the comments on the articles on Manning, where he looks at a heavy sentence or death for Manning with childish pleasure, and treats anyone who disagrees with him on any points as a stupid uneducated animal. Since comments are often re-organized or deleted, I’ve included with each comment set a screenshot.

From “Manning-Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen:

Commenter veelo2:

Manning is a hero

Webster:

Manning is a traitor. You and others like you can cry and moan and wring your hands and pace back and forth while braying the words “hero” and “duty” and “patriotism” all you want — words which you and your ilk know nothing about — but rest assured that Manning will get precisely what he deserves (that is, almost: apparently death is off the table).

I’m highly amused by the double standard your kind embraces. Did you know that Robert Hanssen is doing life in solitary confinement in Colorado? He’ll very likely go insane before his body gives out. According to one source, his wife, Bonnie, was told that it would be easier if she forgot about him.

So what about him? What about Ames? What about Nicholson, Pitts and Pollard? Where are your cries of heroism for their actions? Is it because none of them were baby-faced 22 year-olds with tragic tales of parental conflict and internal strife?

The fact is that you’re so easily swayed, so -ignorant- on your own, that you haven’t any idea whatsoever -why- you believe as you do. But fear not: there are many like you, as is plainly evidenced by the 45 Likes your mindless, regurgitated comment managed to acquire in only 6 hours.

Best,

T

(link)

From “Manning Ruled Competent to Stand for Court-Martial” by Kim Zetters:

Webster:

I’m not trying to be hateful here — frankly, it’s great to see people sharing their thoughts and opinions. 🙂 I did, however, stop reading your comment as soon as you began rattling off a series of rationalizations: i.e. “nothing serious was released,” “no one was harmed,” et al.

Certainly not trying to be a jerk, but if you weren’t otherwise aware, United States Code lists precisely zero exceptions allowing for the mishandling of classified information. There is no sub-section which states that the unilateral unauthorized release of classified information is acceptable so long as “nothing serious is released” or as long as “no one is harmed.” If you’re confused about that (and it appears from your comment that you may be, which is understandable — trying to pick apart the law can be very confusing or even overwhelming) please take the time to look the law over one more time, perhaps a bit more slowly. Pay special attention to the distinct lack of sub-paragraphs concerning exceptions.

Communicating classified information to unauthorized persons is against the law. Bradley Manning communicated classified information to unauthorized persons; Bradley Manning broke the law. The legal situation here isn’t very complicated. How people feel about Manning or what he should have done or should not have done or whether he should be considered a hero or a traitor or whether people are indifferent: these are all immaterial. It’s really nice when we can all come together and share our opinions and beliefs: it’s healthy, and I think we can learn a lot from each other. People feel compelled to share their beliefs, and when we can do so honestly and openly, that’s -such- a nice thing. I enjoy watching and participating in the process.

But thankfully, nothing anybody feels or thinks about Manning or the military or protected information or war or anything else makes any difference whatsoever. Bradley Manning is going to prison for a very long time. He will be in prison for so long that people will forget that he exists, and by the time headlines announce his release, people will have to go to Wikipedia to look him up. They will marvel at the story and be amazed by how young he once looked and how he was smiling. 🙂

Take care!!!

T

manning is going to prison2

(link)

From “Forensic Expert: Manning’s Computer Had 10K Cables, Downloading Scripts” by Kim Zetter:

Commenter cheongyei:

Hang him.

Webster’s reply:

I admire and appreciate your succinctness. :>

MoralDrift:

And I admire your barbarity, much like I would admire a group of jackals tearing apart a lamb

Webster’s reply:

Poor lamb. 😦 Nature can be -so- cruel.

(Because of flaws in disqus, you need to go to two different links if you want to see the full comment tree: link and link)

From “Manning Should Be Court-Martialed, Court Official Recommends” by Kim Zetter.

Webster:

Please continue to argue amongst yourselves. Meanwhile, Bradley Manning is going to go to prison where he belongs for a niiiiiiiiiiice long time. Have a great weekend.

please continue to argue amongst yourselves

(link)

From “Bradley Manning to Face All Charges in Court-Martial” by Kim Zetter.

Webster:

When, say, an 18 year old “man” carjacks somebody’s mother and blows her brain out the back of her skull, we don’t sit around saying “aw well gosh darn it, y’all, ain’t that just a shame, yanno. I mean, he’s just a kid who made some stupid decisions, doncha know.” We hope they throw the book at somebody like that and rightfully so, because he’s old enough to know the difference between right and wrong.

Likewise, I’m not going to sit here and say “awwww, he’s just a kid” about Manning. He knew goddamn well what he was doing, and now he’s going to pay the consequences of his actions in full — every last penny. 🙂

(link)

From “UN Torture Chief: Bradley Manning Treatment Was Cruel, Inhuman” by Kim Zetter:

The commenter Sri Rachi:

Once he’s executed for treason, those 11 months won’t even cross his mind.

lukcyo:

Thanks Dr. Obvious. We really thought that dead people were able to think.

Sri Rachi:

won’t even cross his mind.

Dustin Edwards:

You’re a cruel and unlikable person, I hope no one mistakes you for someone who might be worth their time.

Webster:

No he’s not. I like him just fine. 🙂

(link)

From “Secret Courtroom Audio Gives WikiLeaker Bradley Manning a Voice” by Kevin Poulsen:

Raz:

FREE Bradley Manning!!!

Webster’s reply:

Hey, no worries Raz! He’ll be free in 20 to [remaining lifespan] years. 😀

(link)

From “Secret Courtroom Audio Gives WikiLeaker Bradley Manning a Voice” by Kevin Poulsen.

Brian Smith:

I’ve got to completely agree with Frank.
Manning is a traitor, a coward and is subject to the UCMJ, as an ACTIVE DUTY member of the military, for which he volunteered. He has admitted to treason by giving aid to the enemy.

The SuperMax prison in Colorado will be a wonderful place for him to spend the rest of his life. He wouldn’t last a month at Ft. Leavenworth.

Maybe Julian Assange can give him some comfort–Oh Wait, he’s too much of a coward himself to stand up and face the music, let alone help someone else in trouble.

I’ll gladly donate the couple of bucks for the bullets to put these two mutts out of their misery.

Webster’s reply:

Well said.

I wonder if Robert Hanssen is looking for a cellmate. I hear Bonnie doesn’t write much these days. :\

(link)

Here, Webster, in a reply to “WikiLeaks Associates Hit Back Over U.S. Twitter Records Demand” speaks of a “we” that will get twitter logs, electronic records, anything relevant to the case – I’m not sure if he’s speaking figuratively, we, the United States government or military, or literally – he is actively involved with those who are performing these actions.

Webster:

This is the most asinine thing I’ve ever read — the story itself, rather, not Poulsen’s reporting. As neither Jónsdóttir nor Gonggrijp are United States citizens (nor, to my knowledge, do either reside within US borders), their cries of “rights violations” are categorically absurd — laughable, quite frankly: the US government can (and rest assured will) pursue them in every way and in any manner it sees fit whatsoever without exception, particularly insofar as they were allegedly complicit in the conduct of a national security crime, and there is absolutely nothing they can do to stop it. People of this sort never fail to amuse with their disingenuous contradictions: in the same breath, they wail and moan about the US having “no right” to conduct any action outside of its own borders and then shamelessly latch onto *our* Constitution the moment they themselves feel any heat. Pity the irony probably escapes them.

As for Appelbaum, the US has every right to pursue records that may be relevant to criminal conduct by a US citizen. He’s wasting his time. We’ll get his Twitter logs. We’ll get any other electronic records deemed relevant to the case. We’ll interview his friends, his neighbors, his sisters and brothers, his mother, his father if he were still alive, his aunt, and we’ll do so at our leisure. We’ll do it repeatedly, if necessary, perhaps on a recurring basis until we’re satisfied with the information they’ve provided. We’ll do all of this very meticulously, with surgical precision.

I wish the media would opt, when reporting these stories, to point out the fact that the claims of “rights violations” don’t hold any water — or failing that, at least note that two of the three persons involved are non-US citizens who don’t reside within US borders. It’s help put their nonsensical claims into perspective for the average reader.

(link)

In these comments to “Jolt in WikiLeaks Case: Feds Found Manning-Assange Chat Logs on Laptop”, Webster argues that any issues of freedom of the press or conscience are irrelevant to the Manning trial.

Commenter Scott Thill:

Wait, are you trying to make this an issue of speech, conscience and journalism instead of allies, enemies and traitors? Can I clone you?

Webster:

The only issue is whether Manning violated a dozen sections of Title 10 U.S. Code as accused. Questions concerning free speech, conscience (and journalism, for some reason?) are questions for a college philosophy course, not a federal courtroom.

(link)

What follows is a list of examples of Webster’s merciless attitude to anyone who disagrees with him on the subject of Manning. From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen:

Webster:

People like you who so casually exchange logic and reason for raw emotive bullshit literally make me want to vomit.

>high-pitched sarcastic voice/high-pitched sarcastic voice<

Fucking halfwit.

(link)

From “Lamo Summoned to Washington for Bradley Manning Prosecution”:

Commenter James Jenkins:

You seem to forget that a soldier does NOT have to obey an “unlawful” order. To NOT expose a murder and other crimes, of which you have acquired knowledge, is a crime. And just who should he have reported it too, considering the cover-up went all the way to the White House? He wanted to let us citizens know the truth, and when the government wants you to believe a lie, truth tellers become the enemy. And now we will let those same criminals he exposed send the honest, moral, soldier to prison or death. I guess this is to be a lesson for anyone else that is letting their conscience bother them regarding exposing crimes of the State.

Webster:

With all the respect your kind deserves, James, you don’t have the foggiest idea what the -fuck- you’re talking about. You have no idea whatsoever how the world works and lack even the capacity to learn; you’re very literally like a small animal making noise and rolling around in the dirt.

(link)

From “U.S. Sources Exposed as Unredacted State Department Cables Are Unleashed Online” by Kim Zetter.

cheesus_c:

Firstly, it hasn’t cost ANY lives as yet, so you literally have no argument here. Secondly, when you last voted – did you do so with full knowledge of the actions of the people you are voting for? The answer is NO. If you are too lazy / insular / stupid to see you are being lied to by your own government – that is not Wikileaks fault.

Webster:

Hey there, genius:

That allegedly nobody has lost his/her life as a direct result of the leaks doesn’t necessarily mean lives haven’t been imperiled. You might consider spending less time making an ass of yourself online and instead enroll in a basic logic course at a community college.

All my best,

Tim

(link)

From “WikiLeaks Springs a Leak: Full Database of Diplomatic Cables Appears Online” by Kim Zetter and Kevin Poulsen:

Moe Lester:

Missing the point, How many of his plans do you think Hitler would be able to complete in a transparent government? Would not the people rise up against this injustice?

If no, then I guess there is no good in mankind.

On a different note, do you think the US would have been able to invade Iraq if all the evidence for weapons of mass destruction was readily available for the internets to scrutinize?

Or even better, would the reason to invade be the same?

How are we supposed to have a democracy when we do not know who or what we are voting for. Wikileaks is a publisher that release stone cold news. It is not the sound of mass seducing politicians. Or the biased words of a commercial newspaper. It is the honest truth from behind the iron curtain.

But… I guess we would rather like to be seduced.

(Also. Free Bradley Manning please, It is not appropriate for a champion of freedom, democracy and human rights to keep political prisoners 🙂

Webster’s reply:

You’re retarded. Naturally, that can’t be helped, but I wanted to make it salient in case you were somehow unaware of the fact.

moe lester missing the point2

(link)

From “WikiLeaks in Court: What to Look for in Bradley Manning’s Hearing” by Kim Zetter:

Feargus Stewart:

He’s a kid. Read the chat logs. I felt like I was observing the MilSec version of a furry convention. A bunch of teen-angst intermingled with the two having a hacker Big-Dick-Contest.

He was obviously stupid and I’m sure he should be punished, but not anywhere near what he will likely receive.

Also: Lamo acts like he has an inferiority complex.

Webster’s reply:

I’m so tired of this “aww, but he’s just a -kid- fer chrissakes” position. First of all, at 22, he was 4 years into being a legal adult, emotionally immature or not, which means he was responsible according to our society for his own actions.

Second, his disposition doesn’t mean a fucking thing. If some emotionally tormented, angst-addled and sexually confused 18 year old carjacks some elderly woman at a stop sign and blows her brain out the back of her skull, are you going to jump online and say “well gosh darn it, y’all, look at ‘im. Just look at ‘im. Why, he’s just a kid, consarnit!”? Fuck no you’re not. So why do you see fit to do so when the crime is treason? Or does there need to be a body lying on the floor in order for you to perceive criminality?

Use your head, Crocker.

(link)

From “Forensic Expert: Manning’s Computer Had 10K Cables, Downloading Scripts” by Kim Zetter:

Webster:

I was going to launch into an explanation detailing all the ways in which you’re a moron, but I just don’t have the energy.

As a former digital forensics consultant myself, people fuck up the wiping process alllllll the time. People just run some wiping application without bothering to check whether the process completes successfully or that the application even does what it claims to do. Oh, and for your own edification, it doesn’t take a “military style zero wipe” (?) to destroy data. A single overwrite of a sector with any information, done properly, will render the previous data in that sector permanently unrecoverable.

Second, I’m not sure how Manning’s creation of a file named “files.zip” is so outlandish — if you jump from that fact to the supposition that somebody “planted” data on his machine, I seriously recommend enrolling in a basic logic course somewhere.

It’s highly amusing, the lengths you conspiracy theorists will go to just to entertain the possibility that your little hero here is innocent. If Manning had stabbed somebody to death and 50 surveillance cameras on independent systems + 10 eye-witnesses all corroborated one another in implicating his guilt, and then Manning *himself* confessed to murdering somebody after they found him with a knife in his hand drenched in the victim’s blood, you morons would –still– come up with some fantastically creative, amazingly bizarre theory about how it was a setup and Manning is innocent.

It boggles the mind. I’m not even mad here, just totally fascinated by your fucked up thought processes.

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From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen:

Oh, he was very protective, eh? So he went through and made sure that none of the 250,000 (that’s two hundred and fifty thousand) diplomatic cables didn’t include any information that could put individuals at risk, whether civilian or diplomat, whether US or foreign?

I wasn’t aware of that, and neither is anybody else, apparently. Have you considered contacting the editors of Wired with your new information?

You’re like an animal… like some kind of primate. It’s like you don’t even think, but your fingers move along on the keyboard and rattle off nonsense. It’s fascinating and strange to see.

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From “Government Opposes Bradley Manning Defense Witness Requests” by Kim Zetter:

Jeff Hall:

guilty because military says you are. No need for facts, they just get in way. So does innocence until proven guilty.

Webster’s response:

No need for rational thought either, apparently. You don’t seem to have much experience with legal matters, and that’s alright, because frankly, I don’t either. But I do seem to know a few things that you don’t.

The legal process involves more than just presenting “the facts” in a vacuum. It’s a dance between competitors through the use of carefully practiced, choreographed moves. Both sides probe and tear at one another in every way that they can in order to further their positions, and this includes pushing back at one another’s requests at every opportunity. Thus, the defense is going to take a “shoot for the moon, hope to land amongst the stars” approach when tossing out a list of potential witnesses, and the prosecution will fucking carpet bomb that request with the hope of doing as much damage to it as possible. This is precisely what we see here. It’s the nature of the process, not the specific parties involved; you would see exactly the same thing occur in a civil case between, say, Intel v. AMD, or Coca Cola v. PepsiCo. It is not by any stretch endemic to the USDOJ. After all parties have performed their little hearts out, decisions are reached through a series of negotiations and compromises on both sides, and in doing so under the umbrella of the facts presented, ideally, justice is carried out.

Manning is getting his Constitutionally-guaranteed due process even as you read this, as this article itself ironically points out, and to suggest otherwise by toting simple, routine legal processes as evidence of injustice is, put as kindly as I’m able, so abjectly irrational and naive that it’s reminiscent of the thought processes of a very small child. If you genuinely expected the prosecution to outright approve of any sweeping request made by the defense, then yours is a dearth of understanding that nobody here is in a position to fix. You might consider reading a couple books on this subject, or taking an introductory legal course at a local community college.

All the very best,

Tim

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From “Government Opposes Bradley Manning Defense Witness Requests” by Kim Zetter:

dkmdlb:

That’s true, but I only mentioned it to counter Chuckiechan’s claim that we couldn’t have a government where everybody has access to all the government’s information. The reality is that we could have a government like that. The fact that we don’t currently have such a government says nothing about the viability of it.

Webster:

I’m not sure in which alternate reality it -is- viable, but it’s certainly not in ours. I’d recommend you get an education, but after making such a stupefyingly dumb claim, I’m not confident that it’d do you any good. I say that out of kindness in an effort to prevent you from expending unnecessary resources.

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His argument often flows from authority, that he has served in the military and the other commenter hasn’t. He is right because he has seen far more in his thirty years of life than they have. When Webster shouts down someone on the basis that he’s served, and the man makes clear that he’s a marine, Webster is still right, damnit.

From “Manning-Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Webster:

Oh, regarding your last paragraph, rest assured I agree with you. Manning will indeed be judged a hero, and Lamo indeed very differently. I’d make no contention to the contrary.

I appreciate your reasoned response, and the fact that you actually made an effort to support your points: something most Manning supporters rarely make any effort to do at all.

All I’d suggest to you is that you look back over previous espionage / compromise cases and reevaluate what you believe their motivations were — yes, money is frequently the big one, but it’s rarely the only motivator. Many of those convicted in the past rationalized their actions, too, and in ways that would sound to many like noble intent. Some took no money at all. Likewise, take Manning’s rationalizations to Lamo in these logs with a grain of salt.

Finally, save your pity — it’s ugly. I’ve been to war, moved around the world and seen more in my measly 30 years than many will in their entire lives. If you’re going to “weep” for somebody, do it elsewhere.

Tim

seen more in measly 30 years

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From “Manning-Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Webster:

Your post-hoc attribution of honor and noble intent to Manning’s actions are laughable. The chat logs speak for themselves.

And the proposition that Wikileaks is now or ever has in the past been a “news organization” is absurd on its face.

Joshua Cruise:

Did you even read the whole chat log? Can you show me where he comes across as dishonorable or ignoble?

You’d like to believe that Wikileaks is not a news organization, but sadly for you, its history already shows that it is one.

There is a world beyond America, and it would be good for you to learn a little about it.

Webster:

I’ve lived and worked around the world, and I’ve learned more and seen more in my 30 years than I expect you will over the course of your life. But I very much appreciate the heads up that the world is large. Take care.

seen more in my 30 years

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From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Webster:

The reason I am “so quick to swallow his motivations” is because those are the only logical motivations. Only an idiot would believe he did this for fame or money, given the obvious implication of his actions.

I can appreciate that you believe this to be true within the context of your own experience. Insofar as you’re able to think critically, though, and consider the assessments of those who’ve actually lived and worked in the counterintelligence world, I assure you that you’re wrong.

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From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Webster:

When you grow up, you’ll learn that the things you see in the leaked cables aren’t endemic to the US — that’s the way the entire world works. You’ll be down for a few months as you witness the slow death of your youthful idealism, and then, with any luck, you’ll get over it and keep on keepin’ on.

Godspeed.

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From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen:

You don’t have the foggiest idea why information ends up classified, nor do you understand the nature of the consequences of disclosure, and your comments betray a categorical lack of understanding of the nature of international relations. You know nothing of what goes on in the world save for what you read in the paper and see on the news. Do you think secrets are endemic to the United States of America?

Why is it that those of you who have no context for understanding seem to also be the loudest with your ignorant commentary? I’ve found that aspect of the public discourse absolutely fascinating.

Should Russia declassify its diplomatic cables? China? Venezuela? You’re a common dunce and nothing more. I cheerfully invite you to read up on the Dunning-Kruger effect, as I believe you’ll find it to be personally relevant.

All the very best,

Tim

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From “WikiLeaks in Court: What to Look for in Bradley Manning’s Hearing” by Kim Zetter.

Nick Roberts:

No…he got access because he joined the Army; A military organization that has all but obliterated important military traditions like good order and discipline in the sake of diversity, teamwork, and understanding.

Webster:

With all the respect in the world, you don’t have the foggiest fucking clue what you’re talking about. Merry Christmas.

Nick Roberts:

Actually I do….I work daily with the Army. Merry Christmas from a Marine….

Webster:

Ahhh, the whole Marine v. Army thing. Roger that.

I served for 5 years, and suffice it to say that Manning is not representative of the norm. If you believe otherwise, then you’re abjectly ignorant and I can’t help you there, jarhead. Happy Holidays.

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The most chilling post that Webster makes, however, has to do with the notorious “Collateral Murder” video. The general public, outside the military, he states cannot be exposed to such a video because they are not been properly equipped to deal with it.

From “In WikiLeaks Case, Bradley Manning Faces the Hacker Who Turned Him In” by Kim Zetter:

Commenter MoralDrift:

Just admit that the Collateral Murder video did the job that the US news media has failed to do for years; Bring the horror of war, with all its uncertainties and mistakes and bullet ridden bodies…to the american home

Webster:

Frankly, I wish it had. But instead of seeing the video for what it is — a raw look at the realities of war, and that even with all our advanced technology, horrible mistakes still occur — people are merely using it as a tool to further their own political agendas and to denigrate US military personnel.

The public was not properly equipped to view that video.

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Given that the public may or may not be equipped to deal with some information, it is not surprising that he defends the decision by Wired to withhold parts of the logs. From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen. What’s strange is that he writes of Manning’s decision to become a woman as something that would impugn his character.

Commenter thatoneguy2:

This. The whole thing is sad and sick, but also fascinating. Manning was seriously disturbed and troubled. I can only imagine the outcry if Wired had broken the story by revealing that Manning was spending his breaks pretending to be a woman. I’d have been the first to ask why that was necessary. They needed to post the rest of the logs now because conspiracy nuts kept saying that there was something mysterious that was unrevealed. Now we know there wasn’t. Just sad business.

Webster:

Well said. With regard to the personal matters that arose in the logs, Wired was prudent in initially withholding the sections that may’ve impugned Manning’s character without regard to his criminal actions.

Where much focus has been made on whether Lamo broke a rule of confidence in stating that Lamo could speak to him as a priest or journalist, the issue is irrelevant to Webster. The only issue was getting Manning, by whatever means necessary.

From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Commenter poyani:

Wait, Tim Webster? Is that Timothy Douglas Webste, Adrian (Lame-Ass) Lamo’s buddy?

Now it makes sense why this loser is trying to run interference for him (with his idiotic arguments) on this site!

TW’s most wide used argument: You can’t prove Manning had no other motive.
Sorry TW, that does not excuse Lamo’s Judas behaviour.

P.S what are the odds that such a lamo would actually be named Lamo? Very ironic.

Webster:

Manning’s motives are largely immaterial to me, actually, beyond a pointed academic interest in what makes people tick. It only keeps coming up by way of the fact that his supposed ‘noble intent’ is the cornerstone of most of his supporters’ fallacious arguments… which, frankly, makes a lot of sense, since they certainly don’t have any cogent arguments, whether legal, practical or otherwise.

As for Lamo’s “Judas” behavior, I wouldn’t give a damn if he’d promised Manning one of his kidneys: he obtained the information necessary to roll Manning up and he did it well.

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From “Manning-Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Commenter Rosemary McTeer:

Lamo is an deceptive asshole. And this proves it.

Webster:

Agreed. He’d probably agree with you, too.

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From “In WikiLeaks Case, Bradley Manning Faces the Hacker Who Turned Him In” by Kim Zetter, he implies that the very fact that Lamo’s claims to be a “journalist and minister” were crucial because they came with inherent guarantees of confidentiality, thus allowing him to be a snitch.

HashTuesday:

What a smug piece of shit. “journalist and minister”? I’d call him a fucking rat.

Webster:

Rats don’t come with any inherent guarantees of confidentiality, so that wouldn’t have worked. You’d make a terrible snitch.

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It’s only in the following comment that I’ve seen Webster, anywhere, give any in-depth detail of the discussion between him and Lamo about going to the authorities, from “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Webster:

Turning Manning in to the authorities was no easy decision for Lamo, but it wasn’t Lamo who betrayed anyone: Manning -chose- to confess his crimes, and to somebody he didn’t know from Adam, no less. Adrian and I went back and forth for hours before he decided on what was ultimately the best course of action, and when he made the decision, rest assured it wasn’t for “attention.”

Manning is a traitor. There’s a price for that, and Manning will pay it in full.

manning will pay it in full

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It’s not just Manning or politics that provokes this venom; everything seems to provoke some cruel response, everybody has to be damned for the stupidity, rather than shrugged off:

From “Top Federal Lab Hacked in Spear-Phishing Attack” by Kim Zetter:

Interesting comments here. The only thing I’ve got to add is this: If you’ve never seen or personally received a sophisticated, well-researched and well-executed spear phishing attempt, you should knock off the blanket statements about “incompetent people” at Oak Ridge. These attacks can be exceptionally convincing, particularly if the sender is spoofed: they aren’t your average “due to an unforeseen server failure, you’ll need to provide your password at the link below…” blanket emails sent from ‘dab0ssm4n75@aol.com” (my apologies to the real dab0ssm4n75@aol.com, who I’m sure is a perfectly upstanding citizen and all around decent human being). It’s orders of magnitude more sophisticated than that.

Just sayin’, since a few of you little yipping mouths don’t seem to know what the fuck you’re talking about. Have a really fantastic day!

you little yipping mouths

From “Flesh-Eating Piranhas Bark When Angered” by Wired UK.

Commenter Martie Geiger-Ho:

I wonder how the researchers could be so careless as to let the piranhas cause them grievous physical harm. As much as I love animals, even I know better than to let piranhas near my fingers.

From Webster:

You’re utterly retarded, Martie. No offense… I just think you’re abjectly stupid and that you should have that fact pointed out to you. They’re fucking piranhas. Shit happens, and it doesn’t logically follow that the researchers were necessarily “careless.”

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The attitude shows up most ridiculously in his comments to a Wired article on the subject to “Bronies”, the adult men who are devoted to “My Little Pony” culture. The hilarity is inadvertent, not stemming from brony culture, but because bronies somehow make him so so angry. This is a cultural subset I have no affinity or sympathy with, but one that I think you can be happily indifferent to – bronies are not the chief cause of global warming and, after all, I have my own vices. If you want to make fun, make your barbs as witty as possible, because you have a lot of material to work with. Webster, however, simply wants to view the people as trash, and is happy that they exist so that he might insult them as pathetic garbage.

From My Little Pony Corrals Unlikely Fanboys Known as ‘Bronies'” by Angela Watercutter:

Commenter *Cough* *Ahemm…*:

*Aspie Bro-Hoof* Same man. Every I go out in public I act COMPLETELY different from how I act when I’m alone, or with just a couple of people. And that “other” me acts like an idiot… -_- This show’s kinda helped me find ways to work around it, and it’s always nice to see other Aspies learning from it too. 😀

Webster:

All you self-diagnosed “Aspies” are -so- fucking dumb. Somebody who genuinely has Aspergers wouldn’t be making the kind of post you’ve made here (or elsewhere). Just because something has a Wikipedia page doesn’t mean you’re capable of actually understanding it, to say nothing of the veracity or completeness of the information therein.

But… hey, don’t mind me: feel free to go ahead and keep being a douchebag.

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Commenter Nick Calhoun:

I am a brony.

Webster:

And thus, also, trash.

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ImperialFists:

Your obsessive-compulsive attempts at making the fans feel bad about themselves makes YOU seem as the one who should immediately seek counseling

Webster:

Obsessive-compulsive actions are ego-dystonic by definition (according to DSM-IV-TR). Conversely, my actions here are entirely ego-syntonic: I’m quite pleased to be taking the time to tell you bunch of bowl-cut toting adult babies that you’re pathetic, and I’ve got ample time to do so. 🙂 But I appreciate your response. Take care, brony.

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Dylan Hamilton:

I think one of the funniest moments of my life thus far was when a girl I knew at school asked me if I watched this show because my girlfriend was such a huge fan and I was just tolerating it for her sake. I told her that the reason my girlfriend was such a huge fan was because I was the one who got her into it in the first place. Girl from school’s reaction: priceless.

I’ve converted at least a dozen total people, half of them guys my age, into bronies just by showing them episodes. Like the show or don’t like it if you wish, but anyone who writes it off as “girly Gala gunk” clearly has never watched it. It is girly in the way the Powerpuff Girls was girly: it is aware of what people expect it to be, but it fulfills that expectation in a way that appeals to people of all ages and genders. And that is a magic that only a very few cartoons have ever managed to accomplish.

My name is Dylan, I’m seventeen years old, and I have a plastic Pinkie Pie figurine sitting on my desk seven feet away from me. I am a brony. And I am proud.

Webster:

Your parents hate you, even if they hide it behind a mask of low-key concern.

Amber:

awww… do your parents hate you even though you tried to be “who they wanted you to be” and failed so now you go around trying to bash others to make yourself feel better. yeah, we all took pyschology 101 and realize what you are doing.

Webster:

I’m trying to make myself feel better? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, sweetheart. But then you took Psych 101, so you know that, right?

I’m a pretty secure person, myself. And I’m gay. And out to everyone. But gay or straight, I still can’t conceive of a grown man obsessing over purple cartoon ponies in a television show created for 3 years olds. Quite frankly, that seems a bit faggoty to me. But hey, to each their own. 🙂

Hraefn:

>> “show created for 3 year olds”

Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. The newest iteration of My Little Pony, properly called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, was created for both those aforementioned little girls *and* their parents. Sort of how like Pixar movies are made to appeal to both children and adults. No surprise, then, that adults like the show so much.

There’s actually a term (or more specifically, a trope) to describe those who denigrate someone or something based on misconceived preconceptions: a know-nothing know-it-all. That’s not an ideal state to be in, and one that should immediately be rectified.

Peace!

Webster:

Did you even read the god damn article? Faust said, verbatim, that the show was created for the child demographic, and that they were surprised when it caught on with adults. I can actually copy/paste the paragraph in which that’s communicated, if you’d like.

Before you smugly suggest that somebody else is a “know-nothing,” I strongly recommend that you make sure you don’t have your own head up your ass. Doing so may prevent you from looking like a dumb faggot in the future.

Take care, brony! 🙂

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Darryl Johnson:

I think that you have quite eloquently proved that you have the mentality of a thirteen year old with your childish remarks and your juvenile incapability to comprehend that there are people other than yourself with different tastes and likes.

People like you have caused A LOT of problems in society.

Webster:

Whether that’s true or not, I can’t say, but what I -can- say confidently is that people (adults) obsessed with purple cartoon ponies sure as living fuck aren’t actually -contributing- anything to society, either. If you want to get all up in arms and defensive about the fact that you collect little pony figurines and watch cartoons created for 3 year olds, hey, that’s fine, that’s your prerogative, but… please realize that you’re a fucking pathetic piece of shit. Thanks man.

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Webster:

First of all, I’m not trying to convert any of you, nor am I trying to change your preferences, hobbies or anything of the sort one iota. My sole intent is to ridicule you and nothing more. 🙂

Second, are you two -seriously- referring to one another as “brony?” You don’t find that the least bit retarded, particularly given the fact that you both clearly have distinct names? Fuck’s sake.

And finally (for now, anyhow), if you have to defend yourself with such a bloated, poorly written smattering of nonsense within which you use the phrase “I AM NOT pathetic,” and you actually typed AM NOT in all caps, simply because some asshole on the internet thinks you are, that asshole –might– actually be on to something. Just sayin’.

The Wired article made you little freaks feel good about yourselves for about one, possibly two news cycles. Have fun being a complete piece of trash again as soon as the spotlight fades.

not trying to convert any of you

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Idiomatic:

Using “I’m gay” as a reason to do or like something isn’t exactly ideal. You like MLP because of who you are not what you are. 🙂

Webster:

The old who vs. what problem, eh? So, do you like My Little Pony (abbreviating it to hide the fact that it contains the words “little pony” isn’t going to hide your shame — at least own that shit) because being a pathetic, unemployable piece of trash is WHO you are, or because being a pathetic, unemployable piece of trash is WHAT you are? I mean, at its core, it’s really just semantic nonsense.

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Hraefn:

Not at all. The noteworthy part of this is that the fandom has virtually exploded beyond all expectations. Even the fans themselves are surprised at how massive the fandom has become. To use a modern day buzzword, the fandom has gone “viral”. That’s what makes this noteworthy.

Webster’s reply:

I wouldn’t be so sure it’s quite as “massive” as you think. Those sites that get 100,000 hits / day didn’t specify that they were unique hits: it’s probably some pudgy 35 year old unemployable freak mashing F5 over and over and over. Just sayin’.

not as massive as you think

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Webster:

Yeah, because cynicism is always such a rotten thing, and life -should- be like the cartoon ponies where they talk about nothing but friendship and how special and amazing it can be and rainbows and bunny rabbits and lollipops and flying and happiness. Adult life (the real world) is SO hard to deal with. :`( In fact, I think I may need to cry about it.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahehehehehehehehehheeeeeeeeeee :[ Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. *sniffle* *inhale* *wipes snot* Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahheeeeeeeuuuuuuuu *gag* Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. :(((

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Meghan Olsen:

I’m so glad that they finally know that some guys like MLP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

eveyone is so sterotypical nowadays >.<

Webster:

SHUT up, Meghan — men are trying to talk here.

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Courtney Brianna Falvo:

I love MLP FiM. I am 19 yrs old. I have recently converted a few people. Faust and her husband have created some amazing shows, not just for kids, for everybody. I am just worried if it will be the same without Mrs. Faust.

Webster:

Settle down, Courtney. Men are talking.

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When he berates the cultural relativism that might consider bronism equal to reading, say, George Eliot, you think, I’m not sure yelling at brony lovers on a message board is the optimum use of the time of a thirty year old man, either.

Webster:

You do realize My Little Pony is a fucking children’s cartoon, right? I mean, I really liked the Thundercats when I was a kid, and I’ve even tracked down and watched an old episode just to bring back a memory or two (and as it turns out, it’s almost unwatchable as an adult). But I’m not running from mall to mall to pick up Thundercat figurines, buying old Thundercats posters, calling myself a Thundercat and then seeking out other Thundercats online any other completely inane, puerile bullshit.

You’re adults. Throw your fuckin’ plastic pony figurines in the fireplace, take a few minutes to mourn their [horrifically agonizing, violent, burning] deaths, then reach down, re-acquaint yourself with your scrotum and get the fuck back to work.

If you feel the need to post some relativistic bullshit in defense of your weird-ass cartoon pony infatuation, please do so now. Take care.

(link)

I’m all for social progressiveness and the right to live one’s life as one pleases. That has nothing to do with it. I’m not trying to corral (get it? hahahaha… ahem) anybody into any particular lifestyle.

But one of the things you grow out of when you move beyond psychological adolescence is the belief in the almighty power of relativism. Not all things are equal, and not all things are equally good. There is -so- much that needs to be done in this world, and our lives are short: why spend it in some regressed state in which one not only obsesses over purple cartoon ponies in a children’s cartoon, but actually spends time and money to go out and purchase My Little Pony merchandise?

It boggles the mind. And for all those who’re so quick to point to the so-called merit of these cartoons, as though they’re amazingly complex, profoundly written masterpieces: I’d suggest to you that you pick up a book and read for a change. If you genuinely believe this stupid children’s bullshit is especially meaningful within the context of adult life (post-adolescent life) or reflects anything profound about the real world, you’ve got some -serious- motherfucking problems to overcome.

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So, we have a man who is cruel, revels in the punishment of Bradley Manning, and hates the weak. He is more than a little pleased with himself – the type of man who thinks he’s the smartest, wittiest guy in the room, and is frequently right, on those occasions when he is the only one in the room. I think the Manning case should be judged on actions, do you think Manning’s action were right or wrong, not deciding on the action being right or wrong based on whether or not an individual is sympathetic, or his opponents are antipathetic. That is a very, very good thing for Webster, I think, because if the Manning affair needed a villain, Webster is perfect casting. Though not quite: he may have a love for the cruel, but his passion over the Manning case genuinely flows from having seen men and women he served with having been killed and maimed in horrific circumstances, then forgotten about, those men and women part of an invisible world as well. He cannot be easily shaped into a convenient right-wing simpleton that progressives can joyfully egg – his utter lack of empathy may be anti-progressive, but many of his ideas overlap with progressives’. He thinks Michelle Bachmann a fool, is passionately against a war with Iran, and has a contempt for the religious that is almost equal to his contempt for the bronious. However, almost every such idea, especially those dealing with religion, are expressed with cruelty and anger. It is not simply that atheism is his own path, but that the believers of any religion are scum.

From “In WikiLeaks Case, Bradley Manning Faces the Hacker Who Turned Him In” by Kim Zetter.

Commenter Matt Reyes:

good lord. michele bachman, is that you? ’cause i know people who read wired aren’t stupid enough to give us regurgitated garbage straight from fox news.

Webster:

It couldn’t be Bachman. She wouldn’t have been able to form complete sentences.

(link)

From “After permit denied, Florida church insists, ‘We will still burn Korans’ on 9/11” by Associated Press:

Webster:

I ain’t really see no problem with this. I mean let’s be honest folks: Jesus is the Way, the Life and the Truth, can I get an amen? As the Lord said (if ya’ll ever open your Bible, which I doubt): “If you aren’t with us, you are against us.”

AMEN.

Only saved will be those who LOVE the Lord Jesus, not the infidels Islamic / Muslms. LOVE THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WILL ALL YOUR MIND AND ALL YOUR SOUL. It is written: “Vomit the glory of the LORD’s judgment back at thy enemies: ejaculate the fire of his wisdom in their faces.”

Yours in Christ,

T

(ink)

From “Army Piles on Evidence in Final Arguments in WikiLeaks Hearing” by Kim Zetter:

You mean the bailouts YOUR democRAT representatives and senators approved?

Uhhh, not that it has anything at all to do with the Bradley Manning story, but… you -do- realize the 700 billion dollar bailout occurred under and was authorized by Bush, right?

(link)

From “Ayatollah: Kill all Jews, annihilate Israel” by Reza Kahlili:

Lest we forget, Hitler and Stalin announced their horrors and atrocities to the world in books and actions, and the world ignored them, which led to the destruction of millions, including hundreds of thousands from the US.

Israel will not need several strikes from Iran to be annihilated. It would fit into New Jersey three or four times and a couple major bombs will obliterate the Jewish nation without much effort and doubtless also eliminate all the sacred Hebrew and Christian sites and shrines FOREVER.

But as long as a Muslim-hugging zero occupies the White House, Israel will just be another sacrificial lamb on his way to world power.

I’m always amused when civilians so passionately argue for a third war in the Middle East.

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From “Ayatollah: Kill all Jews, annihilate Israel” by Reza Kahlili:

Commenter yahoo-D6QCJ47RHV2SHAWPKLXYBGYPEE:

pure propaganda as usual…why don’t jews and arabs jump in a volcano…your religions are the problem…if your both gone then most problems will be solved…

Webster’s reply:

Agreed completely.

(link)

From “Ayatollah: Kill all Jews, annihilate Israel” by Reza Kahlili:

The ubiquitous commenter, Guest:

Iran couldn’t even manage to defeat Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, the same Saddam who’s military went from one of the largest in the world to the smallest in Iraq in a matter of days during the Gulf War. So while the tough talk is “cute”, it is nothing more than angry yapping from the small dog. Don’t make the big dogs pounce, Iran…

Webster:

Uhhh, we gave Iraq chemical weapons to use against Iran during that war along with a slurry of other logistical, strategic and materiel support.

(link)

One commenter mistakenly identifies him as a follower of the Ayn Rand cult, and I think Webster’s denial is honest, but also believe the commenter has done something like hear a southern accent and misidentify its provenance as Tennessee instead of Texas17. Webster may not be an Ayn Randist, but he certainly believes in an elite, a group who have the education and wherewithal to deal with the images of “Collateral Murder”. That he hates Manning, however, stems not from elitism, but perhaps the similar circumstances they went through. Manning complains of his isolation as a gay man, someone who is intellectually curious and surrounded by Mississippi shit kickers. And when I was there, you can imagine Webster asking, do you think it was the Algonquin round table? I was a gay man who liked to read and I had to deal with the same Mississippi shit kickers, too. I dealt with it, why couldn’t you?18 Manning worried that his work was breaking him, was making him inhumane. There is the possibility that this has already taken place in Webster, and Webster doesn’t notice how sadistic he sometimes appears to others – or perhaps Webster was simply born cruel.

This is all a very long prelude to something I found baffling in the chat logs, and which I try to resolve with a possible hypothesis. I’ll first say that some have questioned the circumstances of Lamo’s co-operation with the authorities, and that I do not think his shift was quite as abrupt as that. He gives some sense of these earlier views when he posted an anonymous defense of the Patriot Act. From “A Duty to Hack”, an early Lamo profile, by Matt Palmquist:

Although Lamo seeks a cordial relationship with the companies he hacks — some have even offered him a job, though he turns them down because he doesn’t want people to think he’s profiting from his exploits — and takes pride in showing corporations his points of access, he’s not naive enough to think his relative benevolence will get him off the hook. In fact, Lamo — who says with absolute sincerity, “I never assume I’m not being surveilled” — even posted an anonymous screed to an Internet discussion board in defense of the Patriot Act. “Many of you armchair attorneys general out there might not be so quick to fault the measures being taken now if you suddenly found yourself saddled with the responsibility of securing the lives of millions of your fellow citizens,” he wrote. “As someone who does things that are illegal, I’d rather not have increased scrutiny. … However, it’s a no-win for a decision maker like Ashcroft. I don’t know what I’d do if I were him. Neither do any of you. You *don’t know* what you’d do in someone else’s shoes until you actually have to face their decisions. Moralization is easy. Making decisions that may save or cost lives is hard.”

I have, unfortunately, been unable to find the anonymous screed itself that is quoted here.

I emphasize this point before I go further, so as to be clear that I don’t think what happened with Manning is necessarily an abrupt shift from his past character, that my hypothesis stems not from a sentimental idea that Adrian Lamo is an activist hacker and could not possibly be involved in this. It only stems from trying to make sense of certain things that didn’t make sense at all to me.

I go first to what I think might be a bizarre dog that doesn’t bark moment, dealing directly with Webster.

(10:14:27 AM) bradass87: anyway, how are you?

(10:14:28 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: my ex was 97B

(10:14:44 AM) bradass87: ick

(10:14:50 AM) bradass87: 35M now-a-days

(10:14:50 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: made for quiet dinner convo. neither of us talked about our days ;>

97B is a Counterintelligence agent; it’s no longer used, and is now, formally, 35L, but some 35Ls work as 35Ms19. I assume this ex is Webster, which is what makes the next moment strange.

(10:48:43 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: Would you know if a specific person had authored a report/paper?

(10:49:23 AM) bradass87: not really…

(10:49:42 AM) bradass87: bureaucrats usually aren’t that intelligent i find

(10:49:54 AM) bradass87: [re: false flag]

(10:50:03 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: Webster, Timothy D.

(10:51:05 AM) bradass87: who’s that?

(10:51:21 AM) bradass87: he’s an author obviously

(10:51:59 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: SA with NGA (former)

(10:52:18 AM) bradass87: squints

(10:52:22 AM) bradass87: >shiver<

(10:53:01 AM) bradass87: squints creep me out

(10:53:06 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: Specialty FCI in cyber-areas.

Wouldn’t most people say, when asked “who’s that?”, reply “that’s the ex I told u about :(” or some such variation, either right then or shortly after? Yet Lamo never does so.

We have been told, by Lamo, that he contacted the authorities two days into his chats with Manning. I establish that to exclude the possibility that Lamo is in contact or coached by the military in the following chat excerpts from the first two days.

These chat excerpts are the ones I find so baffling:

(1:47:01 PM) bradass87: im an army intelligence analyst, deployed to eastern baghdad, pending discharge for “adjustment disorder” in lieu of “gender identity disorder”

(1:56:24 PM) bradass87: im sure you’re pretty busy…

(1:58:31 PM) bradass87: if you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?

(1:58:31 PM) info@adrianlamo.com : Tired of being tired

(2:17:29 PM) bradass87: ?

(6:07:29 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: What’s your MOS?

(3:16:24 AM) bradass87: re: “What’s your MOS?” – Intelligence Analyst (35F)

(10:13:57 AM) bradass87: re: “What’s your MOS?” – Intelligence Analyst (35F)

(10:14:08 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: *nod*

(10:14:27 AM) bradass87: anyway, how are you?

(10:14:28 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: my ex was 97B

(10:14:44 AM) bradass87: ick

(10:14:50 AM) bradass87: 35M now-a-days

(10:14:50 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: made for quiet dinner convo. neither of us talked about our days ;>

10:16:56 AM) bradass87: its nice to meet you btw… only starting to familiarize myself with whats available in open source

(10:17:45 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: open source or OSINT? ;P

(10:17:51 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: Pleased to meet you.

(10:17:54 AM) bradass87: same deal

(10:51:59 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: SA with NGA (former)

(10:52:18 AM) bradass87: squints

(10:52:22 AM) bradass87: >shiver<

(10:53:01 AM) bradass87: squints creep me out

(10:53:06 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: Specialty FCI in cyber-areas.

(10:55:59 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: He wrote a paper a while back, I was curious how it had been received by the IC.

(10:56:36 AM) bradass87: i guess i can find out, though im restricted to SIPR now, because of the discharge proceedings

(12:06:18 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: how did this not come up as an issue in your background check? I’m guessing you have an S and not a TS.

(12:06:29 PM) bradass87: TS/SCI

(12:06:47 PM) bradass87: i enlisted in 2007… height of iraq war, no-one double checked much

(12:07:06 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: Well, hell, if you made it in, maybe I should reconsider the offer I got from what used to be JTF-CNO.

Now, not being one of the higher life forms like Timothy Webster, but one of the subhuman animal / garbage types, I was very confused by this. I ask my civilian readers, do you have any idea what half these acronyms mean? Would you be able to make it through a chat without asking what they meant, even if your ex was military personnel? MOS = Military Occupational Specialty. OSINT = open source intelligence. SA with NGA = Systems Analyst with National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency…I think. SIPRNet is Secure Internet Protocol Router Network, a closed off military network. A squint is slang for someone in IMINT, Imagery Intelligence. FCI = Foreign Counter Intelligence. TS-SCI – Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information. “I’m guessing you have an S and not a TS”, asks Lamo. What civilian, even one who has an ex in the military, talks this way – wouldn’t a civilian ask instead, even if they knew something of clearances, “I’m guessing you have a Secret and not a Top Secret clearance”?

So, I wasn’t sure how Lamo was able to handle these acronyms, even throwing them around with ease himself. I thought the answer was that he’d done a lot of social engineer hacking, which, for my fellow animal / garbage types, means that you obtain passwords or valuable information by posing as someone else, perhaps as a customer or an engineer who works for the organization you’re trying to hack. In order to do this successfully with military and agency networks, you’d have to know your army acronyms cold, and be thoroughly knowledgeable about all sorts of slang – so you know right away what someone is talking about when they say “squints”. But Lamo never did social engineer hacking. His approach was diligent, but almost always the same – find an unprotected proxy server and gain access to the company’s main system via that. He never, ever, went after military networks, only commercial ones – @excite, The New York Times, WorldCom, etc. He says he’s done some post-hacking work, but never for the government20. There is the strong sense that he hasn’t done major hacking work, or much work at all, since quitting his illegal hacking career – when a writer speaks to him as part of a profile on Manning, Lamo asks if he could stay at the writer’s place for a while21. When reading some later profiles, it’s as if I’m reading about someone who’s the walking dead.

I emphasize this, because there have been some conspiratorial theories that involve Lamo being recruited for his hacking skills, by which social engineering is implied, in order to get what’s wanted from Manning. But again: Lamo isn’t a social engineer. These aren’t easy skills to pick up, you don’t pick them up instantaneously, and the difference between Lamo’s skillset and that of someone with a heavy specialty in social engineering is the difference between a lockpicker and a courtesan. Add to this that Lamo was forcibly institutionalized by his parents because of a dependence on anti-depressants, and only left the institution two weeks before his chat with Manning. This was publicized as Lamo being diagnosed for Asperger’s, when it was something far more serious22. Bluntly speaking, I think that someone that’s been out only two weeks after involuntary institutionalizaion would be an utter wreck. I would assume that if someone wanted to put together a “Sneakers” type team, and their candidate for who was going to handle some of the crucial social engineering tasks was someone with no experience in the field and who was two weeks out of a mental institution, the commonsense reaction would be, are you utterly fucking insane? What is this Angelina Jolie fast typing bullshit? Let me say goodbye to my folks now, and while we’re at it, let’s spray paint the White House, because we’re all going to jail anyway.

So, here’s the strange thought I had yesterday morning, and again, it’s just a hypothesis, a hypothesis from an animal garbage person. I apologize for the melodramatic italics. These strange thoughts came in the form of two rhetorical questions:

What if Adrian Lamo wasn’t behind the info@adrianlamo.com handle during the Manning chat?

What if, instead, Timothy Webster, Lamo’s ex, was running the info@adrianlamo.com handle during the Manning chat?

Manning might be very right to be creeped out by squints. He may well have been talking to one.

Because, Webster, who’s done five years in the military, would run through all these military terms, OSINT, MSO, squints, with ease, no problem. People outside the military drop these acronyms to sound important, to underline that they somehow know what they’re talking about, while someone from the military uses them so often they forget they’re using them, and no one has a fucking idea what they’re saying. When Webster makes comments he uses these same military acronyms, forgetting that, yes, in the military you have to use these acronyms because you add an extra paragraph to anything you say, but in the civilian world no one has any idea of what you’re talking about.

From “Secret Army Bomb Jammers Stolen in Afghanistan” by David Axe.

Webster:

The keys should have been secured at the level of classification of the devices in the corresponding vehicles. This means they had no business whatsoever sitting in a supply room at all and should have instead been stored in a SCIF just like any other classified material. Assuming this article is accurate, what an embarrassing and costly failure.

SCIF = Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility

Here, Webster even uses the TS shorthand for top secret, “Manning Lamo Logs” by Evan Hansen.

Webster:

Two things:

A) That Manning -says- he had no malicious intent doesn’t mean he didn’t *know* that compromising the information would be detrimental to the US or benefit its adversaries. Or did you miss the part where Manning excitedly commented on the prospect of “world-wide anarchy?”

B) You argue at length that, apparently, Manning doesn’t deserve to be charged because material similar to what he compromised had already been compromised in the past. That argument doesn’t really warrant a response. Should people just start walking out of SCIFs with TS under their arms because, hey, people have leaked TS before? You’re an imbecile, and your entire position is based on a laughably fallacious premise. It’s the sort of logic a 7 year old might employ.

s and ts acronyms

And Lamo might not be a social engineer, but Webster is. His background is counter intelligence. What are the research interests at the Tim Webster academia.edu page (“Tim Webster | University of California, Santa Barbara”) – I assume it’s his because Adrian Lamo is one of his only followers? Body Language. Nonverbal Communication. Interpersonal Communication. Text Linguistics. Computer-Mediated Communication. Implicit Social Cognition. Et Cetera.

Webster’s comments from “Two Hacker Groups Breached RSA”, by Kim Zetter, are of interest here:

Commenter Richard Chase:

I love how they say its all sophisticated and must be nation-state sponsored…then they go on to say that it was some idiot employees who opened an email attachment…and these guys are a security company? seriously…

Webster:

Can you appreciate the irony of bitching about the stupidity of others when your own post is… well, stupid?

The attachment was simply the initial vector, and if you’ve never had any experience with extremely well-crafted, specifically targeted phishing attempts, believe this: given the time and resources, I could cause you to open my attachment as well. People are systems, and any system has exploitable vulnerabilities. This means you.

Commenter interrupt:

maybe his post wasn’t worded in the oh-so–pleased-with-myself-smart-arse style that you employ, but i agree with his point. nothing in the article backs-up rsa’s hysterical “nation-state” claims.

Webster:

Sorry — while I can see that your post is in reply to mine, I’m too busy being pleased with myself to read it.

Best,

Tim

Relevant to this idea of a specialization in psychology is this extract from the Manning-Lamo chat:

10:19:00 AM) bradass87: im kind of coming out of a cocoon… its going to take some time, but i hopefully wont be a ghost anymore

(10:19:53 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: You mentioned gender identity, I believe.

(10:19:59 AM) bradass87: ive had an unusual, and very stressful experience over the last decade or so

(10:20:53 AM) bradass87: yes… questioned my gender for several years… sexual orientation was easy to figure out… but i started to come to terms with it during the first few months of my deployment

(10:21:09 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: May I ask the particulars?

(10:21:34 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: I’m bi myself, and my ex is MTF.

(10:21:34 AM) bradass87: im fairly open… but careful, so yes..

What does Lamo sound like here but a psychological therapist, or someone who has studied therapy techniques? There is also the note from an old profile of Lamo that is a striking contrast both to this section and the entire chat; it may have been true only over the course of the profile, only at the time the profile was written, or perhaps still now, a point that the writer makes about Lamo’s strange conversational style: he never, ever, asks questions23.

There is another part of the conversation that struck me the moment I first read it:

(02:19:54 PM) bradass87: my speciality is (was) tracking a Shi’a group called Khatiai’b Hizbollah… they were OPSEC savvy as all fuck… didn’t even know the group existed until 2008… Iranian backed group… they make al-Qaeda knock offs look like kids…

(02:20:17 PM) bradass87: they’re the most dangerous guys in the world…

(02:20:28 PM) bradass87: Hezbollah… that is

(02:21:10 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: Only because they are savvy in helping their communities and building goodwill.

(02:21:39 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: otherwise they’re just light infantry.

(02:21:52 PM) bradass87: they also specialize in the construction of EFPs

(02:22:02 PM) bradass87: so good, we cant trace anything

(02:22:11 PM) bradass87: not a sensor, not a cell phone… nothing but a crater

(02:22:35 PM) bradass87: they’re ghosts

(02:22:54 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: They taught Israel a few memorable lessons.

(02:23:16 PM) bradass87: they stopped targeting us, thank fsm

(02:23:35 PM) bradass87: they’ve moved into the political phase of their operations

(02:23:51 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: Fucks are our allies and still spy on us as much as they please. And it’s kosher; cos it’s part of the game.

(02:23:58 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: Israel, that is.

(02:24:23 PM) bradass87: well, we’ve got plenty of assets watching them too… all NF stuff of course

(02:24:51 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: that’s different. we’re the Godd Guys (TM)

(02:24:56 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: *good

Now, Lamo here is someone who comes across as someone who is not just critical of Israeli policy, but is contemptful of Israel itself – “Fucks are our allies and still spy on us as much as they please. And it’s kosher; cos it’s part of the game.” This isn’t the criticism of Israel you might expect from Greenwald or Chomsky – the feeling is visceral. “the fucks” – that’s the only time Lamo expresses anything like anger at any point during this conversation towards anybody or anything. When I looked at Lamo’s twitter stream, I expected it to be rife with work dealing with and critical of Israeli policy – a man very involved in the subject and deeply impassioned. However, he is perhaps very discrete about his interests, because there’s almost nothing of the kind – one tweet about Israeli involvement in the South African nuclear program, and a bunch of stuff like an Israeli born baker who got into a fight with his wife who got deported24. This chat extract is also very different from Lamo’s attitude when dealing with almost anyone – even when he is aggressively questioned by Glenn Greenwald, even when he deals with upset audience members at the Hope Conference, he may feel anger, but he never lets it show or gives it release – you always feel like his voice is buried underwater. He remains calm, calm, calm25.

On the other hand, Timothy Douglas Webster really does not like Israel, viscerally. It’s all there in his comments to the WND story “Ayatollah: Kill all Jews, annihilate Israel” by Reza Khalil:

Commenter:

At almost any moment in the Middle East and elsewhere, Arabchildren are being indoctrinated in their schools and religious academies in
the principles of radical Islamic fundamentalism (Sharia) requiring the hatred of Jews, Westerners, and all non-Muslims.

Any fool who believes that acts of kindness, mercy or compassion will actually change the collective psyche of Islamic fundamentalist behavior had better understand the magnitude of unquenchable bigotry and hatred they’re dealing with.

Webster’s reply:

At almost any moment in the Middle East and elsewhere, Jewish children are being indoctrinated in their schools and religious academies in
the principles of radical Zionist fundamentalism requiring the hatred of Arabs, Persians, and all non-Jewish “goyim.”

Any fool who believes that acts of kindness, mercy or compassion will actually change the collective psyche of Zionist fundamentalist behavior had better understand the magnitude of unquenchable bigotry and hatred they’re dealing with.

(link)

Commenter Samantha, talking about Iran:

I think the ‘cancerous tumor’ of this regime needs to be eradicated. Don’t know how, but somebody needs to do it.

Webster’s reply, who makes reference to another poster, Mark:

Samantha isn’t referring to the Jewish people, Mark. She’s referring to the Israeli government — more specifically, Netanyahu and his fellow warmongers.

(link)

Commenter, the ubiquitous Guest:

Iran is broke and most of its people do not like the regime. It honestly cannot afford an actual war and that is why it’s hoping that a nuke will make up for their shortcomings. Let Israel attack it.

Webster’s reply:

No, having a nuke is the only deterrent against invasion. That’s why they want nukes, particularly given that several of their neighbors have them already (including Israel).

(link)

From commenter marksimmons6565:

Don’t fall for obvious war propaganda. It’s already been explained the translation is bad. The Israel Lobby is just trying to get some more White Christian kids from the South to die for them, while snickering at them behind their back. Wake up.

Webster’s reply:

Yep — they even have a derogatory slang term for US non-jews who go to war and die for them: “Goyim.”

(link)

Commenter:

I thought that Hitler was dead.
Leave it to a ‘religious’ man to lust for the blood of an entire God worshipping people.

Iran is is the most despized and lunatic nation. An outcast society run by maniacs.

Webster’s reply:

I thought that Hitler was dead.
Leave it to a religious man to lust for the blood of an entire God worshipping people.

Israel is is the most despised and lunatic nation. An outcast society run by maniacs.

…you see why this whole thing between Iran / Israel is just abject stupidity?

(link)

Commenter Career Politician:

The Ayatollah is a selfish old man … near death … consumed by hatred.

He doesn’t care about Muslims or the Iranian people … so he brings these innocent people to the brink of war with his foolish, selfish words of hatred.

Maybe the Iranian people deserve the destruction that is coming their way … for not silencing this old man’s hatred?

One hate filled old man is about to bring pain, suffering, and chaos to his people … for what ?

Webster’s reply:

That’s correct — one hate filled old man is about to bring pain, suffering and chaos to the Iranian people. His name is Benjamin Netanyahu.

(link)

Commenter airmail56:

Has obama offered him a Cabinet position yet?

Webster’s reply:

I think they’ve deferred that plan in lieu of simply making Israel the 51st state.

(link)

Commenter 18 inches of fury:

Any christian that doesn’t support the Jews, doesn’t have the have a clue about who they are…

Tim Webster’s reply:

Funny enough, that’s something the Israelis are very cognizant of, and they’re happy to exploit that mentality every opportunity they get. I’m sure they appreciate your playing ball. 😉

(link)

Spoony:

Any day Israel. Our current leadership is too weak to prevent a fully nuclear Iran. The ball is in your court, and they’ve publicly threatened you. Handle your business and take those crazies out, please

Webster’s reply:

Do you find it ironic that while everyone is clamoring over the statements Iran is making, Israel is the one actually gearing up to attack somebody? And you’re advocating that?

Or is that irony lost on you?

do you find it ironic

(link)

In this comment, the very issue that comes up during the chat logs arises as well, the issue of Israel spying on the U.S.

Michelle Meyer:

We have a duty to protect our allies. Israel has a right to exist. They have the best army on the face of the planet, even if we (the United States) do not aid them, they would prevail.

Webster’s reply:

I beg to differ — I’m quite certain we’re the better Army. 😉

And we don’t have a duty to protect “allies” who want to unilaterally start WWIII. And here’s what an “ally” Israel is to the US:

Part 1 — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEOecRtBU7U/
Part 2 — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o17SSuuZDkA
Part 3 — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VclAeKYYvBc
Part 4 — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVRsmodmCTE

(link)

From “Iran closer to bomb than world realizes?” by John Bolton:

When is Bolton going to register with the State Dept as an agent of a foreign principal? Israel, specifically. I mean, he’s not exactly discreet.

If info@adrianlamo.com chat is actually Timothy Webster, the outburst during the chat has a consistency that’s not there if Lamo is info@adrianlamo.com.

I don’t think it would be that difficult for Webster to use Lamo’s chat handle for a conversation with Manning – Manning has never talked to Lamo before, has no idea what his speech is like, “does not know him from Adam”, as Webster says in one of his comments. Perhaps the reason why info@adrianlamo.com asks bradass87 if he’s ever read Webster’s paper is so Webster can see if Manning might be familiar with Webster himself – which would mean Manning might then recognize that it’s Webster he’s talking to, not Lamo. When people find it astonishing to see Lamo’s attitude towards Manning now, that he weeps tears during “We Steal Secrets”, given how deliberately he lulled and trapped Manning by what he said during the chat, as if he has some pathological disorder where it’s almost as if he’s one person during the chat and another person afterwards – well, maybe that’s because that’s exactly what happened, no almost about it.

For this hypothesis, I don’t have any large over-arching conspiracy in mind. Army counterintelligence wanted Wikileaks stopped long before the Manning incident, and they ever drafted a paper on shutting down Wikileaks, “Wikileaks.org-An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?”, which ended up being available courtesy of, well, I think you can guess. Maybe Webster had already given a great deal of thought to this group for a while. He heard through a source that maybe, maybe they knew who the major wikileaker was, who had leaked “Collateral Murder”. But there was no way Manning is going to talk to an army counterintelligence man. Webster may hate Manning, but he knows he’s intelligent, and he knows the natural distrust a gay man might have. Webster can get far more done with an identity already out there rather than creating a synthetic one. An identity that’s well-known, a celebrity in the hacker community, who this leaker would trust. There’s maybe some initial contact between Webster playing Lamo and Manning, then the actual chats, with Webster again playing Lamo. Lamo’s nowhere near in good enough shape to handle the chat, but he gives his assent for Webster to do this. Lamo is not without patriotic feeling, and he’s being asked by an ex-lover. There is no conspiracy: the number of players is very, very small. I can’t imagine any project like this that that had anything like authorization, formal or informal, would allow one of its members to comment all over the place in various articles related to the case. It doesn’t matter to Webster that he makes all these comments, because there’s no possibility he can give himself away, since he’s always the smartest person in the room, and most of the rest of us are animal garbage people.

So, you end up with the two very temperaments displayed, with Webster deliberately and cruelly manipulating Manning, a man he hates, a man he hopes will die in prison, and Lamo afterwards filled with grief, explicitly saying that he hopes Manning’s prison stay is very short26, somehow acting as if he never participated in the chat, both temperaments ascribed to the same person, Adrian Lamo. I don’t think this hypothesis maligns Webster – he very much wants to see Manning punished, if not with death, than life imprisonment, and if I’m wrong, I’m only misattributing credit.

Again, it’s only a hypothesis, a hypothesis from a lowly animal garbage person (or AGP, for those in the service), just like the idea that Black Swan is actually about a girl abused by her father, or that American Psycho is actually about a gay man with AIDS. There is one other mystery, though, that I make no attempt to resolve at all, but I assume is some kind of sick joke played on Webster, or a strange coincidence. His academia page (“Tim Webster | University of California, Santa Barbara”) has three followers, one of whom is Lamo. The other is an artist. The last is a man named Markus Hess.

This is probably a coincidence, but Markus Hess was a hacker who spied on American installations and in the pay of the Soviet government. Hess was successfully prosecuted by Mark Rasch, who was then at the DoJ, and now does various legal work, including, as said, as a consultant for Project Vigilant. Hess’s involvement in the hacking is well documented, and the hacking itself was well-profiled in at least two books, Cyberpunk by Katie Hafner and John Markoff, and The Cuckoo’s Egg by Cliff Stoll. Again, I assume it’s a coincidence or a prank, but it was so astonishing to come across the name that my first reaction was a simple, blunt, “The fuck is going on here?“, and couldn’t believe that this had received no prior mention. I do not think it is anything consequential, that it is coincidence or prank, but clarity and light in such an area, a movement of these things from the invisible to the visible world, would help dry up fertile conspiratorial ground.

This entry ends abruptly. This story is unfinished, and so, perhaps, is this post.

An addendum, added on September 7th, 2013:

Since this post went up, a number of major events have transpired in this case. They are known to all who only follow the news casually: Manning was found guilty on 19 counts, though not of aiding the enemy (“Bradley Manning Found Guilty Of 19 Counts, Not Guilty Of Aiding The Enemy” by Matt Sledge), would be sentenced to thirty five years in prison (“Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison For WikiLeaks Disclosures”), and make the declaration that they wished to begin the transition as soon as possible from male to female gender, and to be known hereon as Chelsea (“Bradley Manning Announces Female Identity And Wants To Live As A Woman Named Chelsea”).

A few weeks before Manning’s verdict, Adrian Lamo would appear on the “Disorderly Conduct” podcast, hosted by “Vince in the Bay”, August 18th 2013 (“Disorderly Conduct – Free Ball Friday 07/06”), along with Elvira Montana, a nom de guerre for the girlfriend of Barrett Brown27. Over the past year, Montana and Lamo had become friends, something briefly discussed on the program28. Though the show was open caller, the host asked no questions specific to the Manning case, and questions about the Manning case itself were screened out.

The host would make this clear at the beginning:

VINCE
I know a lot of you might be anxious to call in and speak with Adrian in regards to the Bradley Manning trial or incident, whatever you want to call it…unfortunately, that topic is off-limits. As you know, Adrian is a witness in those proceedings…and those proceedings are still under way…soooo, it’s kinda off limits tonight, because, you know, anything he says here could potentially be…throw back on the witness stand. And we don’t wanna get anybody in trouble on this show. I try not to get people in trouble on this show.

A reason for this was also given by Lamo near the end of the show:

VINCE
Griffin [one of the participants]…final thoughts?

GRIFFIN
Um…yeah, I did have one final question. But I was actually just curious, why was the selection of questions avoiding the Manning topic?

LAMO
Well, um…from my part, because when I wrote my op-ed piece for The Guardian [“Bradley Manning and me: why I cannot regret turning in the WikiLeaks suspect”] in January of this year, I intended it to be my final word on the subject. I made a New Year’s Resolution I was done talking about the Manning case because I had answered every possible question, usually way more than once. And both for the benefit of people asking the questions, it’s better for them to go to the source, what I wrote, then have to deal with me getting annoyed at answering the same question for the fiftieth time. And giving them a crappy answer.

GRIFFIN
Well, that seems fairly reasonable.

Lamo answered a few questions tangential to the Manning case, though not about the case itself:

VINCE
This is a first time, you’re not going to believe this. He’s called into the show before, but never talked. He’s always done little hack tone things…he’s actually gonna talk right now, and he’s got a question for Adrian. This is I HAS CANDY, everyone. Welcome, I HAS CANDY.

I HAS CANDY
Alright, Adrian. I have a question: whether or not you believe Manning deserves death for what he has done.

LAMO
I don’t think that’s something that’s my place to decide at this point. Initially, I was aware of the possibility that my actions could result in his execution. And that was something that I had to come to live with, and I have come to live with. That being said, I think that the court is going to decide this in a balance between the intentions of private Manning and the actual harm of his actions. This is not a case that can be decided on the basis of someone’s idealistic motives. Idealism does not forgive that kind of perfidy. But neither is it a case that can be decided entirely on the basis of hypothetical or actual harm in a vacuum, disregarding the contextual circumstances of motive or state of mind entirely, either. These things do not happen in a vacuuum. And I do not envy the court the decision that it’s going to have to make in that regard.

VINCE
For Adrian: what is right, and what is wrong with the Free Manning crowd? Especially those that show up at the trial…what do you think is right and wrong with that crowd? I think what he’s saying more than anything is, what do you think of these crowds that take up a cause, whether it be Jeremy Hammond, or, I dunno, Wormer [Anonwormer, I assume: “Anonymous Hacker AnonWormer Unmasked by Girlfriend’s Cleavage Picture”], or whoever. There’s plenty of examples, you don’t have to go to Manning, or Barrett Brown, or whoever. But, what do you think of these people who blindly follow these hashtags and sortof follow these causes almost like sheep?

LAMO
Well, I believe there’s a disconnect between Manning’s actions and the ideals that are being supported by the quote unquote Free Manning Crowd. I don’t believe that most of them would support the idea of indiscriminately dumping almost a million documents with no idea of what most of them contained. But that disconnect is not necessarily a bad thing. People always project their ideals of what they want to see onto others, especially public figures, whether those ideals are positive or negative. And, regardless of whether or not the movement for transparency and accountability that has grown up around the Free Manning Crowd really relates to or is even based on the reality of his actions, and the danger that they caused, has moved on into something that because of that disconnect from his actions is, in itself, positive.

He would offer an opinion with regard to Greenwald and Snowden:

VINCE
I’ve actually seen you quoted as saying that you see journalism as a quote “legal form of hacking”. Do you still feel that way?

LAMO
I absolutely do, when properly executed, it’s a way of creatively evading societal barriers, finding yourself in places you otherwise wouldn’t be. Finding information you otherwise wouldn’t see, but without necessarily stepping on anyone’s toes in an illegal fashion. Certainly you step on toes in a non-illegal fashion if you’re doing it right.

VINCE
So, do you think Glenn Greenwald is a hacker then? Do you think he deserves prosecution? What are your thoughts on this whole Glenn Greenwald-Eric Snowden…I always call him Eric…Edward Snowden deal?

LAMO
Well, um, I think there’s certainly some oddities to the story…I think there’s going to be more that develops than necessarily meets the eye, particularly with Edward Snowden’s relationship with Glenn Greenwald. In light of the fact that Mr. Snowden was making noises to journalists as early as, I believe, January that he was interested in leaking sensitive information, and he subsequently acquired employment for the purpose of doing so, it’s less someone who just happens to, in the course of their work find themselves with what they want to leak…I don’t want to say conspiracy, but a course of conduct în furtherance of-

VINCE
Oh, and totally premeditated. It’s totally premeditated, there’s been…it’s been released that…he started corresponding slash working with Greenwald a month before he took that job. So that sounds kinda dubious to me…let’s say if Greenwald came to this guy and said “Dude…I know you think it’s bullshit, but bro: trust me, just go back in there and help me out, dude. Just get me some shit, dude.” Is there any chance…and if that did happen, do you think Greenwald crosses into being a conspirator, in the act of espionage?

LAMO
I would hesitate to go that far, simply because I know that Mr. Greenwald, as an attorney, certainly would have enough legal context to avoid engaging in a course of conduct that would inculpate him. I will also say that Glenn Greenwald is a fantastic writer in the sense that he really knows how to move his audience, how to push their buttons, and how to get reactions that he wants. Sometimes even regardless whether or not the information even supports it. And I think that shows great writing and social engineering skill on his part, to be able to control the narrative, to an audience that doesn’t even realize that they’re being played in that regard. It’s really impressive.

VINCE
Well, I would think…my conclusion would be, he is a lawyer, so he knows exactly what to avoid and how to find the loopholes to make this happen. I mean, isn’t that a possibility?

LAMO
Um, well, yeah, I would suspect that he would have avoided incriminating himself in any way. And I certainly think that, regardless of whether he did it or not, I doubt there will ever be evidence that he did. Soo…ummm…I did get a kick out of his apparent outrage at having his relationship with his source questioned. The oddly cosy interactions that they had leading up to this, after his multifold attempts to paint my professional relationship with Kevin Poulsen as somehow unusual or dubious. But…I don’t think the irony is lost on him either. He’s a really great performance artist and outrage is his main tool in that regard.

Though Vince said that he would ask Lamo about Project Vigilant, the subject was never brought up. It was Lamo who selected the break music:

VINCE
Of course, as you know, all music on my show is curated by my guests. The song earlier was of course a Rihanna track for Elvira and…[ELVIRA: Hell yeah.] And this is a track that Adrian requested, and it also happens to be a favorite of yours truly, Vince in the Bay. Check it out, it basically encapsulates the life of elite haxxor. We’ll be right back.

“Money, Success, Fame, Glamour” by Felix da Housecat:

Most of the questions, as it was to be expected from this podcast, were puerile and stupid:

VINCE
I did get this one via twitter: who has the bigger dick, Barrett or Adrian? Or do you not look enough like a teenage boy for Adrian’s tastes? That was the question.

ELVIRA
That’s kinda a two parter.

VINCE
Yeah. Two parter. You wanna do the second part first?

ELVIRA
You know…a lady doesn’t disclose certain things. As far as that first part, I’ve got to be a lady about it. Uh, I could just say that Adrian is an improvement in every way from Barrett, and he’s an upgrade, and I know he’s not gay, so I don’t think that looking like a teenage boy has anything to do with it. But that I really appreciate that sophisticated question.

VINCE
More questions for Adrian. One says: when Adrian sucks cock, does he always cup the nuts?

LAMO
Not always.

VINCE
Not always. There ya go.

One of the last moments in the show would be the following:

GUEST
The question I have is whether Elvira’s secret nickname between the two of you, Nine?

LAMO
I can’t tell you her secret nickname. It’s a secret. And if there’s anything I would never do, it’s betray a secret.

Lamo’s final thoughts:

VINCE
Final thoughts, Adrian. Anything you’d like to add before we sign off here?

LAMO
Well, I feel like I may not have given your listeners the full experience they wanted. I would have been happy to be crucified and grilled, and maybe we can do that at some point in the future…have me on just for the purpose of getting the punishment from their listeners that they so richly feel that I deserve. But you’ve had a lot of great people calling in, it’s been good hearing from them, and you’ve also had a lot of wacky people. To be honest, it’s nothing stranger than my voicemail inbox.

VINCE
That’s good to know. Appreciate that. Thank you for your time tonight. You stuck it out and you champed it. I really appreciate your participation, and hope we can do it again some time in the future.

POSTSCRIPT (07/07/2015):

It would be negligent and unjust if the following answer from Adrian Lamo on Quora was not included here, as it briefly references the hypothesis here (whether this specific one, or a variation put out by someone else) and emphatically denies it.

From Adrian Lamo’s Quora answers, “U.S. Intelligence Community: What do members of the US Intelligence agencies (current or retired) think of the many conspiracy theories about what they do and where they work?”, relevant section is bolded:

Adrián Lamo, worked alongside Army CID & JAG:

Having been involved both as a witness and [formerly, natch] as an undercover asset for the Army in the largest cybersecurity/classified info breach (to that date) in the history of the Dept. of the Army, I have a little insight into how conspiracy theories work.

Basically, they’re nuts.

I heard and hear all kinds of allegations regarding the coverups and wrongdoing that I and the people alongside me were supposedly up to, and none ever bore any relation to reality. That I was somehow involved in trying to start a war in Iran (!?). That my involvement was a coverup to mask the use of secret surveillance technology in the case. That I hadn’t been involved at all, but had been bought off to put my name to the logs involved. All kinds of wacky stuff, and nothing resembling the truth.

For me, the upshot is that I’m much less likely to second-guess someone who made a decision I wasn’t there for, didn’t have the facts and the reality of the moment for. I understand that I can’t understand.

Yes, things happened that we didn’t let on to the public, but mostly because they’d be so likely to be misunderstood, there was just no point trying to explain. They weren’t germane to the narrative, and would just serve as a distraction and font for unwarranted speculation. The problem with giving people “all the facts” and letting them “form their own opinion” is that facts don’t represent the totality of the situation that formed the initial opinion.

And speaking of unwarranted speculation …

Probably my favorite conspiracy theory (elucidated in the above video) is the idea that I don’t exist, but am in fact played by an actor (which, Inception-like, means I’m an actor that’s been played by an actor in at least one short film as per IMDb). And thus, all my comments on Quora are a carefully structured backstory intended to backstop the idea that this “Adrian Lamo” guy really exists, and this very comment is in fact merely an act of lampshading to distract you from it.

Diabolical, aren’t we?

Edit: I missed the part about “what do you do when you encounter those who espouse those theories”. My reactions vary, but my favorite is to give a half-smile, cock my head a little, look vaguely sad, and say “You’re not ready for the truth”. Hey, everyone needs a hobby. Mostly I just say “If I denied it, that would just lend it credence, and if I didn’t, so would that, so believe what you want to believe,” and trust me, people do.

Answer was made June 30, 2015.

(Since initial posting, various small aesthetic edits have been made. Things such as Alexa O’Brien’s name being misspelled or devoted used twice in same sentence, and a possible major formatting problem. The sentence about Lamo resembling the walking dead was added. Only one quote from Webster was removed because it didn’t show much evidence of abuse or anything else – the link to the quote is this, and this is the screenshot. A link to Glenn Greenwald’s old site, UT Documents, was fixed. A footnote showing Lamo both justifying his behaviour in the chat and his hope that Manning’s time in prison would be short was added. All these edits were made on June 6th 2013 – nothing dealing with the overall idea or evidence has been changed. On June 7th, 2013, the supporting footnote for the point about Ayn Rand and Webster was added, and the footnotes, some of whose citation links were pointing to one footnote back, were fixed. On November 13th, I bolded the parts in footnote 14 dealing with the relationship between Lamo and Webster. On May 9th, 2015, various broken image links were fixed.)

FOOTNOTES

1 O’Brien’s trial transcripts are at her website; a profile by Matt Sledge, “Alexa O’Brien Is Bradley Manning Trial’s One-Woman Court Records System”; an interview with Harry Shearer.

2 There are so many one point to for examples of the low quality of this form. Peggy Noonan is the first that comes to mind, a columnist whose writing shows off only the shallowness and self-interest of the writer, where the column’s importance stems solely from its placement in a distinguished journal, rather than any inherent qualities of the writing itself. Jon Stewart, of course has skewered her mercilessly.

3 Their sessions are every week, and though I single this pairing out because of their high profile, such a pairing is commonplace. One example: “Week in Politics: Capitalism Versus Democracy”.

4 From “Meet Project Vigilant–the Wikileaks leak” by Declan MCullaugh:

Uber also didn’t say how Project Vigilant possesses the “capability” to monitor nearly the entire Internet population of the United States. He did stress that “we don’t use it without a court order–it’s against the law,” and said the monitoring devices are in place at two large Internet service providers and a few more with fewer than 5,000 subscribers. “We found ISPs whose EULAs would let us do that. It’s no different than if they bought a box from Symantec or McAfee or some other service provider.”

From “Stealthy Government Contractor Monitors U.S. Internet Providers, Worked With Wikileaks Informant” by Andy Greenberg:

A semi-secret government contractor that calls itself Project Vigilant surfaced at the Defcon security conference Sunday with a series of revelations: that it monitors the traffic of 12 regional Internet service providers, hands much of that information to federal agencies, and encouraged one of its “volunteers,” researcher Adrian Lamo, to inform the federal government about the alleged source of a controversial video of civilian deaths in Iraq leaked to whistle-blower site Wikileaks in April.

5 From “Meet Project Vigilant–the Wikileaks leak” by Declan MCullaugh:

Uber remains optimistic about the future of Project Vigilant and its ability to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security, even though his medical problems remain serious. “I literally take 23 medications a day,” Uber says. “My heart’s almost gone. I have diabetes. I have asthma. I [had] quadruple-bypass open heart surgery.”

In conversations over the last week, Uber dropped phrases like “we have dozens and dozens of things that are ready to go to patent pending,” “we’re running hundreds and hundreds of different experiments,” “we’ve developed steganography and compression algorithms and the use of noise,” and “we have the capability to monitor up to 250 million IP addresses per day.”

6 From “Meet Project Vigilant–the Wikileaks leak” by Declan MCullaugh:

Project Vigilant, too, is run on a shoestring budget. Uber says it brings in and spends about $40,000 a year, not counting noncash donations of server space or forensics software.

“We don’t need money,” Uber said. “Everyone’s a volunteer. We don’t spend money on stuff…The amount of research we’ve done on no money is amazing.”

7 From “Meet Project Vigilant–the Wikileaks leak” by Declan MCullaugh:

He didn’t answer how an organization led by a fellow who rents a room in a five-bedroom house after being homeless for a while (Uber moved back to Omaha because “I knew I could go from couch to couch to couch”) and uses a friendly lawyer’s office as a mailing address could pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in patent filing fees.

Uber has moved back to Omaha from Fort Pierce, Fla., and severe medical problems have put him on disability that he says brings in under $800 a month. He’s living a spartan existence; after losing his razor, he said he couldn’t afford to buy a new one for a while. “Today I finally got my disability check and I can finally shave,” he said.

8 “BBHC Global And Project Vigilant: Where’s The Money?” by Jeffrey Carr:

Who owns BBHC Global?

Steven Ruhe shows as the registrant for the domain name but the email address he provides is chet.uber@mac.com. Ruhe’s LinkedIn profile says his present job from 2004 to the present is as the owner of T.G.B.S. Construction in Lincoln, NE however aYellowPages.com search under that name turns up nothing. I checked 411.com. Nothing. Then I found a copy of the Lincoln Business Builder from April, 2007 with a photo of Steven Ruhe and his partner Brett Reifschnider of R&R Drywall. Is there another Steven Ruhe in Lincoln, NE? Not that I can find.

In fact, Chet Uber seems to have more connections to BBHC Global than Ruhe does. BBHC’s CCR listing, an official registry whose information has to be vetted through Dun & Bradstreet, only shows the name Chet Uber who resides at an address in Florida. An online AT&T directory shows a Barbara Uber living at that same address. Spouse? Mother?

On Chet’s Nyamz page he lists his position with the company as “volunteer consultant”. Since when does a volunteer consultant register a company with Dun & Bradstreet and the CCR? In fact, everything about Chet just feels wrong. Check out his Nyamz bio and see what I mean. Or you can click on his LinkedIn profile and discover that he is no longer just a volunteer consultant but has staked out a new title: Director Project Vigilant at BBHC Global.

The Veterans Administration publishes mandatory requirements (.pdf) that must be met in order for a business to claim veteran status. For starters, it needs to be unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more veterans, service-disabled veterans, or their surviving spouses. BBHC Global is registered as a partnership. Chet Uber’s LinkedIn profile doesn’t mention any military service, and it goes as far back as high school. Steven Ruhe’s LinkedIn profile only goes back to 2004 and his non-existent construction company. No mention of military service for him either. If true, this represents fraud.

9 “Update: Ex-Hacker Denies Alleged WikiLeaker Gave Him Classified Documents” by Kim Zetter and Kevin Poulsen:

Chet Uber, director of Project Vigilant, the volunteer, non-profit arm of a corporate security firm, was one of the first people former hacker Adrian Lamo called after Army private Bradley Manning contacted him and disclosed that he had leaked classified documents and videos to WikiLeaks.

Lamo acknowledged that he sought Uber’s advice but said Uber was not the only person he approached. Nonetheless, he said, Uber was “a crucial mover” in the incident, because of his experience and his contacts.

Uber is director of Project Vigilant, a non-profit initiative involving volunteers who gather research and reports that are passed onto intelligence, military and government agencies. Lamo has done some volunteer work for the group.

Update 8/2/10 18:30 EDT: Adrian Lamo said Monday that Manning did not provide him with classified documents.

Lamo says Uber’s statements were the result of a misunderstanding. Lamo informed Uber in May that Manning, in his instant messenger chats with Lamo, had discussed things he’d seen on classified networks.

“He described things that he had seen, but he did not actually send material firsthand,” says Lamo. “He characterized documents … However, it would be inaccurate to say that he sent me any documents.”

If Manning had sent Lamo classified documents, it would have been strong evidence that he was the leaker he claimed to be.

Asked why he didn’t set the record straight on Sunday, Lamo said “I wanted to take the time to make sure that explaining would not impede” the government’s investigation of Manning.

“I think what we had with Chet was a failure to communicate.”

10 Kim Zetter’s tweets:

11 From “Right-Wing Rabble-Rouser Leaks Thousands of Occupy Wall Street Emails” [archive link] by Adrian Chen:

Tom Ryan is a New York-based computer security expert who runs a tiny New York-based outfit called Provide Security, which he boasts on his blog is a “team of the most-highly trained and capable physical, threat and cyber security professionals in the world.” He’s best known for using fake social media profiles of a pretty lady to compromise the security of high-level military and intelligence officials.

Ryan and his computer buddies have been waging a months-long campaign to infiltrate and “map the ties” of the hacktivist collective Anonymous, which has had a hand in organizing the protest.

Yesterday Ryan leaked what he said were more than 3,900 emails sent to an Occupy Wall Street mailing list called September17discuss. Now they’re being used by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart to smear the movement. The emails show that Occupy Wall Street is a “conspiracy to ‘destabalize’ Global Markets,” Breitbart says!

From “Meet the Guy Who Snitched on Occupy Wall Street to the FBI and NYPD” [archive link] by Adrian Chen:

Since the Occupy Wall Street protest began on September 17, New York security consultant Thomas Ryan has been waging a campaign to infiltrate and discredit the movement. Ryan says he’s done contract work for the U.S. Army and he brags on his blog that he leads “a team called Black Cell, a team of the most-highly trained and capable physical, threat and cyber security professionals in the world.” But over the past few weeks, he and his computer security buddies have been spending time covertly attending Occupy Wall Street meetings, monitoring organizers’ social media accounts, and hanging out with protesters in Lower Manhattan.

As part of their intelligence-gathering operation, the group gained access to a listserv used by Occupy Wall Street organizers called September17discuss. On September17discuss, organizers hash out tactics and plan events, conduct post-mortems of media appearances, and trade the latest protest gossip. On Friday, Ryan leaked thousands of September17discuss emails to conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who is now using them to try to smear Occupy Wall Street as an anarchist conspiracy to disrupt global markets.

What may much more alarming to Occupy Wall Street organizers is that while Ryan was monitoring September17discuss, he was forwarding interesting email threads to contacts at the NYPD and FBI, including special agent Jordan T. Loyd, a member of the FBI’s New York-based cyber security team.

On September 26th, Ryan forwarded another email thread to Agent Loyd. But this time he clued in the NYPD as well, sending the email to Dennis Dragos, a detective with the NYPD Computer Crimes Squad.

Interestingly, it was Ryan who revealed himself as a snitch. We learned of these emails from the archive Ryan leaked yesterday in the hopes of undermining the Occupy Wall Street movement. In assembling the archive of September17discuss emails, it appears he accidentally included some of his own forwarded emails indicating he was ratting out organizers.

“I don’t know, I just put everything I had into one big package,” Ryan said when asked how the emails ended up in the file posted to Andrew Breitbart’s blog. Some security expert.

12 “Big names help run Project Vigilant” by Mark Albertson:

Take Mark Rasch, Project Vigilant’s General Counsel. Rasch has been a guest on numerous TV programs, including the PBS program “Charlie Rose,” and is frequently quoted in the press on a variety of Internet crime matters. For over 9 years, Rasch led the Department of Justice computer crime unit. He’s been associated with Project Vigilant for approximately 18 months.

One of Uber’s top lieutenants is Kevin Manson, who serves as Project Vigilant’s liaison with state and federal law enforcement groups. Manson recently retired after many years as the Senior Instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, under the Department of Homeland Security. He also is a co-founder of Cybercop, a web portal used for the confidential exchange of information between groups such as Project Vigilant and authorities within the U.S. government.

Manson likens Project Vigilant to the Civil Air Patrol, a civilian offshoot of the U.S. Air Force that got its start during World War II in an effort to keep the country safe. “This is a bit of a unique organization,” said Manson. “It’s built on a web of trust.”

George Johnson is the second in command for Project Vigilant. Johnson was handpicked by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – part of the U.S. Department of Defense) to develop secure tools for the exchange of sensitive information between federal agencies.

Another recent addition to the group is Ira Winkler. He is one of the world’s experts on Internet security and informational warfare. Winkler is president of the Internet Security Advisors Group and is a former employee of NSA (National Security Agency).

The limited list of members provided to this columnist reveals the depth of experience the group has been able to recruit to its ranks. It includes a former top cybersecurity official from the FBI and two previous high ranking managers from NSA. Suzanne Gorman, one of Project Vigilant’s top leaders, is a former security chief for the New York Stock Exchange and is widely viewed as one of the foremost experts on Web threats in the financial services world.

Asked about her current involvement in the group, Gorman was clear in her support. “I admire every single thing that this organization has done,” she said.

13 “Alex Gibney Blasts WikiLeaks, Accuses Group Of ‘Selectively Editing’ Transcript Of His Film” by Jordan Zakarin:

Gibney, whose previous subjects have included Enron and Eliot Spitzer, did not receive the cooperation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in producing the film but interviewed on camera many of his former associates. He says that what didn’t make the transcript discredits the entire effort.

“It’s missing all of the words of Bradley Manning,” he told BuzzFeed. “And I suspect the reason for that, and again I don’t know this for a fact, is that I suspect that the transcript is based on a bootleg audio recording at a recent screening. And because Manning’s chats are seen not heard, they’re all eliminated.”

“Either Assange edited them out, which would seem pretty pernicious, or it belies the sort of secret hacking capability of WikiLeaks, and that’s a big deal,” Gibney speculated. “This whole press release is a glimpse of the way Julian Assange really operates. It’s in a very tendentious, sneaky manner.”

14 From “Former Army agent says he alerted authorities about alleged leaker of classified documents” by Associated Press, I bold the part where Webster describes being contacted by Lamo:

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – A former Army counterintelligence agent said Wednesday he helped point military authorities to a soldier who is under scrutiny in the massive leak of secret war records to a self-described whistleblower website.

Timothy Webster, 30, of Santa Barbara, Calif., said a Sacramento-based computer hacker called him May 26 with a hypothetical question: What would you do if a soldier told you he had leaked classified information?

Webster said the hacker, Adrian Lamo, eventually told him that Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, had claimed he gave the WikiLeaks website secret video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad.

Lamo confirmed the account, and said he also told Webster that Manning had confided he was planning to send tens of thousands of classified diplomatic reports to WikiLeaks, which is supported by a network of volunteers.

“I recognized that it might be a pretty hot issue,” Webster said in a telephone interview. “Although I’m a civilian now, I’ve maintained contact with former associates. I indicated to Adrian I could reach out and notify the appropriate people to handle the issue discreetly.”

Webster said he alerted Army counterintelligence agents, who contacted Lamo. Manning was detained in Kuwait May 29, three days after Lamo called Webster.

Lamo said he consulted with several people after Manning confided in him, but that it was Webster who got the investigation rolling.

From “Wikileaks Critic Adrian Lamo Defends Manning Decision” by Quinn Norton, I bold the part where Lamo describes his relationship with the person who he contacted about Manning, an ex still involved in the military, through whom he was able to contact Army Counterintelligence:

Lamo said Manning didn’t necessarily have access to the materials he’d leaked as part of his job, Manning had “exceeded his authority,” he’d hacked his way into classified data. Lamo said after Manning had told him about the cables he’d contacted Army Counterintelligence through an ex still involved with the military. He dropped the name of an ongoing counterintelligence program, and according to Lamo, the sensitivity of that name escalated the situation. After reporting Manning to Army Counterintelligence, Lamo continued to chat for 2-3 days with Manning online, while also telling Army officials about the files Manning claimed to have leaked.

From “WikiLeaks ‘Snitch’ Hacker Faces Wrath of His Peers” by Sanjiv Bhattacharya:

But Lamo quickly became concerned by the amount of classified material Manning had lifted. “My first reaction was, ‘Holy fracking crap, 260,000 [diplomatic] cables!’ ” And the way Manning described the chaos he intended to wreak, Lamo said, did nothing to assuage his fears: Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. … It’s open diplomacy. Worldwide anarchy in CSV format.

Fearing such a breach would jeopardize national security, Lamo passed on what he knew to his ex, who happened to work for Army counterintelligence. His suspicions were apparently confirmed.

15 A good overview of this episode is “Anonymous speaks: the inside story of the HBGary hack” by Peter Bright.

16 The controversy surrounding Poulsen, a former hacker, dealt with his proximity to Lamo and the editing of the initial publication of the Manning-Lamo chat logs. Some of this is covered in “UT Documents: Email exchange with Wired’s Kevin Poulsen”, Glenn Greenwald’s former blog, where he publishes an email exchange between him and Poulsen on both subjects, and Greenwald’s “The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks”.

17 From “Manning Lamo Chat Logs Revealed” by Evan Hansen.

Webster:

As one of the lovely Ayn Rand’s characters once said, “Contradictions don’t exist. If you think you see a contradiction, check your premises: you’ll find that one of them is wrong.”

In this case, the first isn’t an argument at all, and the second is simply incorrect. I support the prosecution (as opposed to persecution, which supposes that his present circumstances are unwarranted) because he compromised 250,000+ classified documents.

I hope that helps.

poyani:

When a person showers praise on the wisdom of Allah and Mohammed, it is reasonable to assume he/she is a Muslim.
When a person showers praise on the wisdom of L Ron Hubbard, it is
reasonable to assume he/she is a Scientologist.
Likewise when a person showers praise on the wisdom of Ayn Rand, it is reasonable to assume he/she an Objectivist.

You did the third!

Webster:

Ohhh, so you were assuming. Cool.

So… like, can you show me where I showered praise on Ayn Rand to an extent that you thought it reasonable to assume that I’m an Objectivist? 😡

poyani:

Yes I was assuming. Just like I am assuming you are a male named Tim Webster. Similarly you are assuming I support Manning based on my posts. Welcome to the Internet.

You said “As one of the lovely Ayn Rand’s characters once said, ‘Contradictions
don’t exist. If you think you see a contradiction, check your
premises: you’ll find that one of them is wrong.'”

Webster:

So… quoting Rand simply because it seemed apropos and adding the tongue-in-cheek descriptor “lovely” (have you seen her photos? The poor woman looked like somebody had set a gremlin on fire and then put it out with a hatchet) is a rational basis for assuming that one is an Objectivist.

Cool. Makes sense.

These comments are spread throughout the comment tree.

(link, link, link)

18 There is a comment by Webster that conveys this feeling well. From “Bradley Manning’s Defense Attorney Looks to Blame Military for Leaks” by Kim Zetter:

Manning’s alleged sexuality is, at best, only tangential to the events of this case, and there’s no evidence whatsoever (unless you have access to something I don’t) that suggests his sexuality was causal in the decision to deploy him or grant him continued access to classified information in spite of his demonstrated instability. Likewise, there is no reason at all to believe that Manning’s sexuality played a causal role in his decision to compromise information he swore to protect.

I’m gay, and I served honorably both state-side and in a combat zone. Tens of thousands of gay or bisexual men and women are serving at all echelons and in every rank, and they’re doing so honorably and effectively. Wielding what amounts to little more than a footnote in an attempt to impugn our service, even indirectly, reflects profound ignorance on your part.

19 “35M – Human Intelligence Collector” by Rod Powers, and “35L – Counterintelligence Agent” by Rod Powers.

20 From “A Duty to Hack” by Matt Palmquist:

We’d been exchanging e-mails and phone messages for almost a year, ever since Lamo grabbed headlines around the world by hacking into the New York Times and pilfering, among other things, Social Security numbers, editing notes, and reimbursement figures for several of the Times’ more high-profile op-ed contributors, among them William F. Buckley Jr., Robert Redford, and former President Jimmy Carter. Media reports about the incident were, on the whole, brief and bemused (“All the News That’s Fit to Hack,” chortled the New York Post) and absent all but the most basic details about the young man who could, if he so wished, ring up Warren Beatty or Rush Limbaugh at home. The basic details: In the past few years this so-called “homeless hacker,” a drifter who rides Greyhound cross-country and crashes in abandoned buildings or on friends’ couches, has trolled, undetected, through the innards of corporate giants like America Online, Yahoo! (where he edited himself into news stories), the now-defunct Excite@Home, the now-bankrupt WorldCom, and, most recently, the Times. And he did all this using Internet Explorer, usually from a computer at a Kinko’s. His methods are refreshingly low-tech — he often exploits open proxy servers, which, after configuring a Web browser properly, can act as doorways between the public Internet and a corporation’s private computer network — and he always tells companies how to close the holes he’s found. Lamo’s willingness to help the companies he hacks is part of his charm, and also part of the reason he has so far avoided prosecution. (Drifting around the country helps, too.)

Before he penetrated the New York Times, Lamo’s incursion into the troubled telecom giant WorldCom was perhaps his greatest coup. It was vintage Lamo: He was drifting around the company’s site, with no preformed plans to hack it, when one thing led to another. Over a handful of all-day sprees — “whenever I’d get bored and remember WorldCom,” as he puts it — Lamo got access to the company’s internal system via open proxy servers, dedicated machines that act as a go-between for employees’ computers and the Internet. This, too, is his trademark. Whereas most hackers obsess over known software vulnerabilities, endlessly scanning a company’s security applications in the hopes of finding a random glitch, Lamo sneaks through these more nebulous, less intentionally geeky, holes. When brought online, proxy servers are often misconfigured, both accepting and forwarding connections from the outside as well as the inside, and Lamo can change his browser’s preferences to match those of the proxy server.

Open proxy servers don’t require a username or password, and once inside a company’s system, Lamo hunts down passwords that enable him to view other pages on the company’s own intranet. And this is one of Lamo’s fundamental gripes: When you put a network, any network, online, you accept the responsibility for securing it, he says. And spending millions of dollars on front-door security software doesn’t mean anything if the back door is wide open.

From “He Hacks by Day, Squats by Night” by Noah Schachtman:

He spends most of his nights on friends’ couches. But when hospitality wears thin, he takes shelter in city skeletons — like the crumbling Philadelphia restaurant supply shop, or the old officers’ quarters at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Lamo said he found his way into the colonial-era military complex by randomly trying doorknobs until he found one that rattled.

It’s a pretty good metaphor, he adds, for how he hacks.

Company networks use proxy software to let internal employees out to the public Internet. It’s a one-way door, essentially. But if proxy servers aren’t configured correctly, these doors can swing both ways, allowing outsiders in through the corporate firewall, said Chris Wyspoal, an executive with security firm @Stake.

Lamo peeks around for these swinging doors and lets himself in with widely used hacker tools.

It’s not technically complex at all. Lamo found an open proxy on The New York Times’ network in less than two minutes.

So it’s understandable that many who consider themselves black belts in the computer arts regard Lamo’s notoriety with more than a bit of skepticism.

A poster to SecurityFocus’ site complains, “The only thing ‘hacked’ here is the media.”

“(Is) anyone impressed with Lamo’s skills(?) He is not doing anything particularly amazing. He has not found some new security concept. He is just looking for basic holes,” wrote one poster to the SecurityFocus website.

To such barbs, Oxblood Ruffian, a veteran of the hacker group Cult of the Dead Cow, replied, “It’s like dancing. Anyone can dance. But not many people can dance like Michael Jackson.”

Lamo has stated in many places that he has not worked for the government as an informant, nor has he ever worked directly for the government.

Greenwald’s interview with Lamo, transcribed by Jane Hamsher part one:

GREENWALD: I read an interview from you I think a year or so ago where, maybe it was a little longer but it was right in that time frame, where somebody was asking you essentially what are you doing now and you talked about a security company that you had either begun working for, were hoping to do consulting work for, and the question was asked, “Are you going to be working for a federal agency?” And you said, “No, I won’t be directly working for a federal agency.” Do you know what I’m talking about, which interview I mean?

LAMO: That’s correct, and my answer was guided by the fact that some of the clients with whom I work receive federal grants, and as such have to register with the federal government, so while they may pay their contractors with federal money they aren’t federal agencies. They don’t have federal mandate.

GREENWALD: But they have contracts with the federal government, right?

LAMO: No. In most cases they have grants with the federal government because they have non-profits in the same way that, say, a homeless shelter might receive a federal grant from a county government.

GREENWALD: But did that work, did any of your work in the last couple years involve any direct interaction with the federal government?

LAMO: I in general don’t disclose clients, especially now that it could put them at risk of being targeted.

Greenwald’s interview with Lamo, part two:

GREENWALD: Oh, I’ll take that bet, and we can do both ten dollars and the drink, and if you ever want to add any value to that bet, just let me know, and I’ll just have a standing agreement that I accept. Did you – have you ever worked in any way with the government before in terms of being an informant or helping them detect or uncover crimes, or anything like that?

LAMO: No. I have never worked with the government as an informant or helping them to detect or uncover crimes.

21 From “Bradley Manning’s Army of One” by Steve Fishman:

Lamo’s life as a hacker had come to an end at 22, and with it, a part of him seemed to die. He’d been sentenced to house arrest rather than prison, but he told me, “I’ve been diagnosed with major depression that largely began after my clash with the FBI.” (Two weeks before Manning reached out, Lamo had been confined to a mental-health facility.)

If Lamo suffered, he didn’t let on to his public. Hacking was now out of the question, but arrest had enhanced his fame. Young admirers reached out to him, ­including, in 2007, a 17-year-old named Lauren Robinson. “I liked his ideals and such back then,” she told me. Within a year, they were married-Lamo was 26 at the time. At first the romance was exciting. Soon, though, reality set in, Robinson recalled. “We’d sit around on computers all day,” she complained. As she saw it, his main activity was tending “the Adrian Lamo persona,” which existed almost exclusively online. “Eighty-five percent of his time was on a computer,” she said. He refused to work for pay. “I won’t whore out my skills,” he told Robinson. His father paid their rent. In the real world, Lamo was barely hanging on.

At the Coliseum, the overhead light was dim. Cigarette smoke hovered near the ceiling, lending our conversation a conspiratorial air. “I’m a defector,” Lamo said with loopy pride. He meant to his fellow hackers, and indeed, Adrian Lamo is their Benedict Arnold. “Every single day, ten people are telling him he’s a shit,” said one friend who’s sympathetic. “Nobody respects him anymore.”

For Lamo, though, defection came with benefits. He lost one community but gained another. Lamo’s celebrity as a hacker had been waning for years. Now, once again, he felt like a force to be reckoned with. He was summoned to Washington. “At one meeting, you had the Department of State, Department of Defense, the Army Cointel, the FBI, ­National Security Section, NSA, and like two or three other guys,” Lamo told me, as his delicate hands twitched in his lap.

It was difficult to imagine Lamo nabbing a spy. “I can’t imagine you holding a real job,” I told him at one point.

He smiled, revealing a missing tooth. “You’re not wrong in that,” he said. “I haven’t held a real job in a long time.”

I told him I didn’t understand why the government even needed him. They have the chat logs. Lamo seemed hurt. He’d come to view himself as part of the country’s counterespionage effort. “Think of it. You’re the government. All of a sudden, out of the blue, you acquire one Adrian Lamo with no strings attached. You don’t just throw him away when you’re done with him,” he said grandly.

I checked the time. It was past eleven and raining outside. I had a train to catch. On my way out, Lamo stopped me. He had a question. “I’m in the market for a place to stay,” he said. He wondered if I knew a couch he could crash on.

From “Q&A: Adrian Lamo, the hacker philosopher” by Elinor Mills, June 24, 2009:

What are you doing now?

At the moment I’m a threat analyst for a privately held company and I’m looking at an option as a staff scientist in what’s called ‘adversary characterization,’ figuring out who is going to break into your s*** before they do it and how they’re going to do it before they even formulate the plan. I’m not interested in narcing out hackers. These are exclusively pretty much foreign nationals with bad intentions.

Can you say what the company is you work for now and who you want to be a scientist for?

The privately held company is Reality Planning LLC and it would be inappropriate to specifically state who I would be a staff scientist for.

Reality Planning LLC, based on Lamo’s profile on LinkedIn appears to a company owned by Lamo with Lamo as its sole employee.

22 The official story of Lamo’s confinement is related in “Ex-Hacker Adrian Lamo Institutionalized, Diagnosed with Asperger’s” by Kevin Poulsen.

The incredible work by the very diligent Bailey Carson in “Official record reveals truth behind Lamo’s Asperger incident” was essential in providing a far different story:

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.

Adrian was released from care on May 7th, the same day Bradley Manning was found emotionally distraught in a closet and later was reprimanded for allegedly striking a female soldier in Iraq. Adrian, however, assured me that he had no knowledge of Bradley Manning the day of his hospitalization.

Coincidently, like Manning, Adrian is also implicated by chat logs between his former-friend Nadim Kobeissi (@kaepora) and Adrian’s former wife. In them his ex-wife describes how Adrian’s family called paramedics to where he was and recounts Adrian filling his prescription and swallowing his meds “like candy”. She also describes trying to wake him from a comatose-like state.

There is no record that Adrian had his backpack, laptop, or meds stolen, nor did he phone the police himself. He told me he phoned the Sacramento Sheriff and they responded to the scene, but the only record the Sacramento Sheriff has is of a phone call with Adrian’s father and looking for Adrian at the Safeway. Someone else authorized a 5150 and transported him to the hospital.

In addition, it appears that Kevin Poulsen of Wired has been shown enough information to be aware of these falsehoods in his original story and has yet to add corrections to it. In an email thread between Kevin and a Manning supporter Kevin claims he verified Adrian’s account of the story with Adrian’s father and claims his article is accurate from start to finish. It is unclear if Kevin has naively been misled by his friend Adrian, or if he is willfully propagating Adrian’s lies.

“wired, lies, & misinformation (updated): Email Transcripts With Kevin Poulsen & the Lamo Chat Logs” by Antonio Malcolm is equally eye opening.

Wired’s coverage of Adrian Lamo and the situation surrounding Army Private Manning is loaded with misinformation. At the behest of other readers, and my own need to understand some truths, I managed to dig up much more complete chat transcripts than Wired has provided, regarding Adrian Lamo and his conversation with Army Private Bradley Manning. Also, Kevin Poulsen’s reporting of Adrian Lamo’s institutionalization, released just a day before the stories of Lamo and Manning’s interaction began, is a complete lie. I posted two transcripts to the comments sections on two of Wired’s articles, to include the article about Lamo’s institutionalization. Poulsen alleged Lamo’s institutionalization to an asperger’s diagnosis (when in fact, it was for heavy prescription drug abuse which has left Adrian Lamo with several very permanent and noticeable ailments). The first chat transcript, between Lamo’s ex-wife and his friend, Nadim, confirm Poulsen’s story is false.

The second transcript, between Lamo and Manning, dwarfs the anemic bits and pieces provided by Wired to back their story of Lamo reporting Manning to federal officials, and Poulsen’s further (mis)portrayal of Adrian lamo.

This resulted in me being banned from posting comments to Wired, as well as an email debate between myself and Kevin Poulsen.

From one of Malcolm’s emails to Poulsen:

Your story states, as a headline, and I’m quoting you, here:

“Ex-Hacker Adrian Lamo Institutionalized for Asperger’s”

He, very clearly, was NOT. He was institutionalized, involuntarily, for being high as a kite and having a long-standing drug problem; one which has left him with a nervous tick, seizures, and rotting teeth. his diagnosis came while he was in. This is sensationalism at its finest, and a firm slap in the face to others with Asperger’s syndrome (the story you’ve written, not Lamo), and asperger’s was the main theme of the story. All else was either not mentioned or barely a footnote. While you touched on his prescription meds, you made it sound completely normal:

“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.”

For reference:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/05/lamo/

The truth is much, much darker, and much, much different. I’ll add that when taken normally, antidepressants drugs don’t have such a strong side effect (enough to be carted on a gurney to a mental institution), and the typical side effects associated with antidepressants would dissipate with the number of years you state he’s been on them (sooner than that, in fact), or a doctor would have them changed or stopped altogether. They’re not meant for getting high. The story, itself, was short, narrow and shallow, and what information was there was misinformation, at best. I’d say that qualifies as a lie, and would for most people.

23 From “A Duty to Hack” by Matt Palmquist:

Lamo shows up a half-hour late; he missed his scheduled bus, he explains, because he forgot his cell phone and had to retrieve it. He’s wearing a black buttoned shirt, khaki pants, and sturdy brown boots, and his gaze is both intense and friendly, although he never, ever, asks questions and doesn’t answer all that are posed to him.

24 The tweets of Adrian Lamo (@6) found via Snapbird that mention Israel:

25 Examples of Lamo’s unearthly calm can be found in the interview “Adrian Lamo on Bradley Manning: ‘I knew my actions might cost him his life'” by Ed Pilkington, Glenn Greenwald’s interview with Lamo (parts one and two), and his appearance at the 2010 Next HOPE conference:

26 In one piece, “Bradley Manning’s Army of One” by Steve Fishman, Lamo is critical of Manning.

Lamo played Manning, reassuring him while, in reality, he had nothing but disdain for him. When Lamo was arrested, he’d been offended by the government prosecution-“criminalizing curiosity,” he called it. Now he was offended by Manning. “He’s a traitor at best,” Lamo said. And, worse, a child. “He was almost eager to explain his leaks, current, past, and future. Like a kid showing off a new toy,” Lamo told me. He was disgusted by the way in which Manning conflated his own precious moral awakening with the future of U.S. diplomacy. The leaks could “compromise our ability to make the world a better place, which we do in a lot of ways,” Lamo later said.

However, in other places, his attitude is very different. From a transcript by Jane Hamsher of Lamo’s interview with Greenwald, part two:

GREENWALD: Right. Did you ever have any kind of agreement…

LAMO: I’m not a freakin’ Jesuit. I don’t have all the answers about what’s moral and what’s not. I’m not a jurist; I don’t have all the answers about what’s legal and what’s not. I just know what I come across first hand and what judgment calls I have to make in my daily life. The judgment calls I’ve are the – what I did – was not right, and though I had good intentions, if somebody else came to me and said that they had done the same thing, I wouldn’t turn them in, because that’s not my job. However, I do believe that it’s my job as a citizen of the country to protect other citizens. It’s not a complicated concept…

GREENWALD: Except for the one that you’re sending to prison? Except for the one that you just sent to prison?

LAMO: It will only be prison if he is sentenced by the Department of Justice and ends up serving over a year. He may end up either in the stockade or in jail, but – well, actually, either way it will be a federal prison, but for a prison term that would be less than a year.

GREENWALD: Have you ever cooperated with a – go ahead, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I thought you were done. Go ahead.

LAMO: [stammering] I’ll bet you either ten bucks or a beer at a hacker conference that he doesn’t do more than six months.

GREENWALD: Okay. Well, I think that’s pretty much all the questions I have for you, and I know we’ve spent a good amount of time on the phone, and I know – I mean, I’m going to be honest: I’m not convinced by the rationale that you offered. I don’t know if you’re sincere or not. I’ve never met you. I’ve only had this conversation with you, but I mean I do appreciate the fact at least that you’re kinda facing the music and being willing to answer questions and be accountable for what you do, including the people like me who you know in advance are not sympathetic, so I think at least – let me compliment you for that at least.

LAMO: Well, I will say that I feel very bad for his family, because I know that it was very difficult for my family when I was going through essentially the same process, but it’s a process that I know first-hand. It’s one that I went through, and it’s one that – I mean, mine was the civilian version; his is the military version, but, other than that, I didn’t send this kid off to any fate that I didn’t know first-hand from my own actions, and – actions that I undertook because I believed at the time that they could help lead to a world in which somebody could uncover a security vulnerability and not necessarily have a guaranteed prison sentence if they came forward, and I think that he has a similar amount of idealism, and I don’t hope that he gets anything else other than a dishonorable discharge and obviously revocation of his security clearance.

GREENWALD: All right, Adrian. Thanks so much, have a good night. I’ll talk to you.

LAMO: And for both my sake and Mr. Manning’s, I hope you’ll end up owing me ten bucks and a beer.

From We Steal Secrets transcript:

Adrian Lamo:
I care more about Bradley than many of his supporters do. We had a chance to be friends, however briefly, and he opened up in a lot of ways about his life, his personal life, and he did it in a way that… [garbled] someone that they felt they could trust. And I had to betray that trust for the sake of all of the people that he put in danger. And I wish to hell that it had never happened. [Lamo cries on camera]

27 Elvira Montana’s name is, of course, taken from this character:

The Invisible World - Elvira Montana

Montana would upload this video, “Barrett Brown’s Girlfriend Describes the Arrest”, after Brown’s arrest, where she would mimic Brown’s voice and tics while describing the raid in which he was arrested:

She explained the reasons for the video to “Vince in the Bay”:

VINCE
I have a question. Can you please explain that youtube video of you pretending to be Barrett? Explaining how the raid went down?

ELVIRA
Yeah…I made that…

VINCE
What drugs were you on, first of all, what drugs were you on.

ELVIRA
Everybody says that. I was sorta like…it was funny cuz I hadn’t really slept or eaten. Neither had his mom, and like people who were around. I hadn’t slept or eaten since the raid. I was starting to get bombarded with all these conspiracy theories about oh, well, why did you close the laptop, and blahblahblah. I was trying to explain the set-up to the apartment, but I was also just trying to be funny, try and take a really sad situation and make it funny, and I had his shirt and…it’s just kindof a joke that I did for some friends and uh, just turned into an impression of Barrett. Unfortunately, I would have killed to have had some sort of drugs. Some sort of sedatives or something. There was nothing in that house. Nothing but those, like, 40s that we were drinking the day of the raid were still sitting there, like flat and gross. I had nothing, I was on pure just emotional exhaustion.

28 From the program:

VINCE
You two seem like an unlikely pairing…if you ask me. [ELVIRA: Yeaaaaaah, absolutely.] How did you two become friends, exactly?

ELVIRA
Well, um, we sorta started talking last year…there was a whole drama sec thing got invented…on twitter, and we were just joking around and stuff…started talking more, obviously I had some drama with a couple of people he had known previously, so we just became really good friends. And just, you know, became better and better friends…to whatever it is now. I mean, he’s not on the line, so I don’t know what I should say, so…but, uh…[VINCE: Oh, pretend like he’s not here.] We’re bros.

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