`Young US intel expert may have passed documents to Wikileaks`

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 19:05

London: A 22-year-old US Army intelligence
analyst, facing a court-martial, appears to be behind the
biggest leak in US military history of classified documents on
the war in Afghanistan that also exposed Pakistan`s double-
game in the war-torn country, including its Taliban links.

Bradley Manning, who allegedly boasted online that he
was going to reveal "the truth" about the war in Afghanistan,
is believed to be the main suspect who leaked the information
to Wikileaks, the Telegraph reported.

Manning was arrested in Baghdad in May and charged
earlier this month with multiple counts of mishandling and
leaking classified data, after a computer hacker turned him
in, the paper said.

Wikileaks, the website known for publishing secret
government documents, has exposed Pakistani ISI`s links with
Afghan insurgents and Taliban, undermining US-led efforts to
stabilise the war-torn nation. With over 90,000 US military
documents leaked on the website, the expose is considered to
be a huge embarrassment for the US.

During online chats with the hacker, a man thought to be
Manning said he had passed material relating to Afghanistan to
Julian Assange, the founder of the Wikileaks website which
leaked more than 92,000 secret documents to select media.

Manning, who is currently awaiting a court martial, is
widely assumed to have been the man who passed the documents
to Assange, though investigators believe he must have had
accomplices.

Manning is alleged to be a whistle-blower who used the
online name Bradass87 when he contacted a high-profile
Californian computer hacker, Adrian Lamo, on May 21, the paper
said.

Over the following five days, Bradass87 held a series of
online conversations with Lamo, in which he identified himself
as "an army intelligence analyst, deployed to eastern Baghdad"
with "unprecedented access to classified networks".

He said his job gave him access to two high-security
networks: the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network,
SIPRNET, which carries US diplomatic and military
intelligence; and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence
Communications System, which includes "top secret"
classification.

Bradass87 said the networks had enabled him to see
"incredible things, awful things that belong in the public
domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in
Washington DC almost criminal political backdealings the non-
PR version of world events and crises".

He said he had downloaded 260,000 classified or sensitive
State Department cables and transmitted them by computer to
Wikileaks.

He claimed he copied some of the information on to blank
CDs labelled "Lady Gaga" and hummed along to non-existent
music while he downloaded secret information.

"I want people to see the truth," he added. "It`s open
diplomacy it`s Climategate with a global scope and
breathtaking depth it`s beautiful and horrifying. It`s public
data, it belongs in the public domain."

Unknown to Bradass87, Lamo had contacted the US
military two days into the online chat, fearing that the leak
of information would endanger lives.

On May 25, he met Pentagon officials in a branch of
Starbucks and gave them a printout of the online chat. Manning
was arrested the next day at US Forward Operating Base Hammer
near Baghdad, the Telegraph said.

Manning is also suspected of being behind the leak of
a video, distributed by Assange in April, of a 2007 US
helicopter strike in Baghdad which killed a dozen people.

Yesterday, Lamo said he had no doubt Manning was
behind the vast amount of leaked material from Afghanistan,
though he strongly suspected the young analyst from Maryland
could not have acted alone.

"It was not my impression that he had the technical
expertise to carry out some of these actions," he was quoted
as saying.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 - 19:05

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