Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bradley Manning: WikiLeaker, Part 2

The Confession


After winding himself up the first day, it was clear that Manning had wanted to spill the beans. "I'm a wreck, I'm a total … wreck right now," he wrote.

Reading the logs, it's like Manning had been waiting to tell someone everything he knew. The confession to Lamo seemed to unburden him. He admitted to self-medicating, but then he quickly unfurled the rest of what he knew:

"i can't believe what im telling you =L"

First he told Lamo about the State Department cables, and he explained, "I'm a source, not quite a volunteer," of WikiLeaks. "I've developed a relationship with Assange, but I don't know much more than what he tells me."

He tells Lamo that he double-checked some of the Australian’s more incredulous claims about himself: that he was being tailed in Sweden and that he was being followed; and because they checked out, he trusted that it was really Assange with whom he was dealing.

Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning
He reveals to Lamo the insider's guide to reaching Assange; and explains why and how he decided to leak the video that became "Collateral Murder."

Manning allegedly wrote that initially the video looked the same as as any other he'd seen. Guys on the ground get shot up by the helicopter crew. "No big deal. A dozen more where that came from right?"

It was the second part of the video, when a van pulls up to take the wounded off to get help, and they are struck by American fire, that disturbed him. A cross reference of the file's date with a Google search led him to a report in The New York Times: "2 Iraqi Journalists Killed as U.S. Forces Clash With Militias."

He put two and two together and realized that this video was the much discussed, but unseen, episode of the two Reuters journalists who had been shot. He allegedly included them in the files to send to Assange.

He was also allegedly responsible for the larger group of so-called “War Logs” related to the video.

Manning allegedly told Lamo: "I dont believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore... i only a plethora of states acting in self interest... with varying ethics and moral standards of course, but self-interest nonetheless."

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