Wired has an exclusive on the arrest of a young G.I. for allegedly being the source of WikiLeaks’ Collateral Murder video, which depicted an American Army helicopter mowing down two Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street in 2007. US Army SPC Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq, is reportedly in military custody awaiting charges. According to Wired, Manning was turned in by an online contact to whom he’d bragged about his leaking. Ex-hacker Adrian Lamo says that Manning told him that in addition to sending WikiLeaks the Iraq video, he had also supplied an Army Counterintelligence Center report on the whistleblower site (which it published here), a video of an American missile attack in Afghanistan (which the site has said it will publish), and 260,000 State Department cables.
Lamo told Wired he felt that Manning’s actions had jeopardized national security. “I wouldn’t have done this if lives weren’t in danger,” he said. “He was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air.”
That Manning was apparently sunk by his own loose lips gives added weight to WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange’s assertion that the site’s procedure for anonymous leaking has never led to the outing of any of its sources. As he told MoJo about two Kenyan human rights activists with links to a WikiLeaks leak who were later gunned down, their mistake was that they “weren’t acting in an anonymous way.” Manning, it would seem, wasn’t either.
UPDATE: WikiLeaks/Assange has weighed in, tweeting that if Manning is the leaker “then, without doubt, he’s a national hero.“ He also writes that Wired‘s claim that WikiLeaks received 260,000 diplomatic posts is “as far as we can tell, incorrect.” And he’s tweet-smacked “informant” Adrian Lamo, who turned Manning in, and Kevin Poulson, the ex-con hacker-turned-journalist who cowrote the Wired story: “Adrian Lamo&Kevin Poulson are notorious felons,informers&manipulators.” Meanwhile, Lamo tweeted back at WikiLeaks, “I’m not an ‘informant’. I’m a citizen who acted his conscience as he saw it. You should understand that.”