Leak inquiry centers on arrested US intelligence analyst

July 27th, 2010 - 1:46 pm ICT by ANI  

London/Washington, July 27 (ANI): The Pentagon is reported to have zeroed onto a US Army intelligence analyst while investigating the biggest leak in US military history.

According to The Telegraph, 22-year-old Bradley Manning is alleged to have boasted online that he was going to reveal “the truth” about the war in Afghanistan. Manning is currently awaiting court martial after his arrest in Baghdad in May.

During online chats with a 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 91,000 secret documents to the media. Investigators believe Manning 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.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 carries material up to and including “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 back dealings 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. 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,” Bradass87 said.

At one point in his conversations with Lamo, Bradass87 said: “I can’t believe what I’m confessing to you”.

Unknown to Bradass87, Lamo 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.

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 including two Reuters employees.Lamo has 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 said. (ANI)

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