Who helped the alleged WikiLeaker?

NY Times:

Army investigators are broadening their inquiry into the recent disclosure of classified military information to include friends and associates who may have helped the person they suspect was the leaker, Pfc. Bradley Manning, people with knowledge of the investigation said Friday.

Two civilians interviewed in recent weeks by the Army’s criminal division said that investigators were focusing in part on a group of Private Manning’s friends and acquaintances in Cambridge, Mass. Investigators, the civilians said, apparently believed that the friends, who include students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University, might have connections to WikiLeaks, which made the documents public.

It is unclear whether the investigators have specific evidence or are simply trying to determine whether one person working alone could have downloaded and disseminated tens of thousands of documents.

The Army has charged Private Manning with disclosing a classified video of an American helicopter attack to WikiLeaks, as well as more than 150,000 classified diplomatic cables. Military officials said Friday that the private was also the main suspect in the disclosure to WikiLeaks of more than 90,000 classified documents about the Afghan war, some of which were published this week by The New York Times, the German magazine Der Spiegel and the British newspaper The Guardian.

A military official acknowledged on Friday that Army investigators were looking into whether Private Manning physically handed compact discs containing classified information to someone in the United States. Private Manning, an intelligence analyst who was deployed over the past year in Iraq with the Second Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division at a remote base east of Baghdad, visited friends in Boston during a home leave in January.


Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker who this year traded instant messages with Private Manning, said in a telephone interview on Friday that he believed that WikiLeaks was in part directing Private Manning and providing technical assistance to him in downloading classified information from military computers. Military officials would not confirm Mr. Lamo’s claim. Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The story suggest the Army investigators are trying to get some insight into how WikiLeaks operates. This suggest to me that they would like to bring a case that goes well beyond the one they have alleged against Pfc. Manning. Given the circumstances that is what I would do too.

I find it interesting that Manning has been transferred to a Marine Corps brig. He will find the discipline there stricter than what he is probably used to. While the Marines may have eased up some, I suspect they are still pretty tough.

At one time "Brig Rats," when allowed out of a cell to exercise, were taken to a court yard with a grid of white lines. As they came to a white line, they had to stop and come to attention and yell, "Prisoner Number ... request permission to cross the white line, SIR." They no longer could use their name, but must refer to themselves by their assigned prison number. It was a demonstration of how little control they had over their circumstances. Brig Rats were also not allowed the privilege of saluting superior officers. Pfc. Manning maybe in for quite a culture shock.


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