CARMICHAEL, Calif. (CBS13) — A local computer expert was instrumental in identifying the soldier who leaked thousands of classified documents on the war in Afghanistan.
The massive database of secret documents say the U.S. is falling behind in the war, and America’s ally, Pakistan, is plotting to kill our soldiers. The website Wikileaks.org vows to post even more leaked documents.
We spoke to the local man who exposed the identity of the soldier responsible for leaking the war secrets, and ask him why he did it.
“I’ve received threats of death and otherwise,” said Adrian Lamo, a cyber threat analyst.
Some people want Adrian, a Carmichael resident, to disappear for good.
“I’ve been told more times than I can keep track of that blood is on my hands,” said Adrian.
Not for what he knows, but for who he knows.
“Mr. Manning originally contacted me on or about May 20th,” said Adrian.
Mr. Manning is U.S. Army intelligence analyst Pvt. Bradley Manning. He’s accused of leaking more than 90,000 pages of secret documents about the U.S. Led war in Afghanistan to the website Wikileaks.
“He contacted me because he wanted a friend,” said Adrian.
Adrian is known in the hacker world as a hero. In 2004, he penetrated the computer networks of Microsoft and the New York Times, an incident that earned him probation. He says Pvt. Manning contacted him in May through instant messaging to tell him of his exploits.
“In his own words he wanted Hillary Clinton to wake up and have a heart attack, pretty much,” said Adrian. He says Manning was trying to be an army of one and stop the war in Afghanistan — a war Manning felt was unjust.
“He did so with the stated intention of disrupting United States’ foreign policy,” said Adrian.
He says the young soldier also bragged about releasing a controversial video to Wikileaks showing us army helicopters shooting civilians in Baghdad.
“It was about two to three days into chatting with him I began to realize that he’s into some fairly serious activity,” said Adrian.
Why did Adrian turn Manning in? He thought it would save lives.
“I don’t think that this is going to do us any good in terms of trying to build relationships and maintain relationships with our allies in the war on terror,” said Adrian.
The Pentagon says it will take days if not weeks to determine the damage done by the massive leak of classified material. And as far as protection for Adrian, he says he gets federal protection when he’s at public events.
Editor’s note: Since CBS13 originally aired this story in July 2010, the website Wikileaks has released more than a quarter million more classified diplomatic cables allegedly handed over by Manning, a security breach that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called an attack on the U.S. and world.