One of the interesting sidebars to the WikiLeaks story is Glenn Greenwald’s back-and-forth with Wired Senior Editor Kevin Poulsen regarding Wired’s refusal to publish the chat logs in which alleged whistleblower Pvt. Bradley Manning confided in Adrian Lamo about uploading documents to WikiLeaks.
Here’s as short a summup as we can provide.
Last May Adrian Lamo, who has his own checkered history with the law, gave Poulsen the full chat logs between Manning and Lamo in which Manning confesses to having been the source for WikiLeaks.
At the same time, Lamo was also working with the FBI as an informant against Manning.
Wired initially broke the story, and published about 25% of the chat logs. All other copies of the chat logs were for various reasons lost, and thus Wired retains the only copy of the full conversations between Manning and Lamo.
Subsequently, Lamo went around garnering a great deal of press attention for himself by making claims regarding the content of the unpublished chat logs, many of which seemed contradictory including suggestions “that Manning told him Assange set up some kind of private or “special” FTP servers for his use.” A connection which, if true, could give the U.S. grounds to prosecute Assange as a conspirator. Assange, meanwhile, has denied ever having met or spoken to Manning.
Journalists like Greenwald called upon Wired to either confirm or deny Lamo’s statements, if not publish the chat logs in full. Wired has declined to do so.
Greenwald Questions Wired’s Connection To Lamo:
Greenwald first published a piece last June titled “The Strange and Consequential Case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks,” which questioned why Wired was refusing to publish the full content of the chat logs since Wired had not entered into an agreement with Lamo. Every aspect of the WikiLeaks disclosure is riddled with legal issues, but Wired had not concretely cited any as the cause. Moreover, if Adrian Lamo was speaking about the chat logs to the press, then Wired could hardly be protecting him as a source.
Things were mostly quiet until Monday when Greenwald wrote another fiery, provocative article restating his earlier claims:
For more than six months, [Poulsen] has possessed — but refuses to publish — the key evidence in one of the year’s most significant political stories: the arrest of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning for allegedly acting as WikiLeaks’ source. This is easily one of the worst journalistic disgraces of the year.
The bottom line from Hansen and Poulsen is that they still refuse to release any further chat excerpts or, more inexcusably, to comment at all on — to verify or deny — Lamo’s public statements about what Manning said to him that do not appear in those excerpts.
Greenwald repeatedly says that there is a very close and longstanding connection between Poulsen and Lamo. (The facebook picture of Lamo and Poulsen above is cited as evidence.) The implication of his claim ostensibly is that Poulsen is not releasing the remainder of the chat logs because he is trying to protect his good friend Lamo.
Wired’s Angry Response:
On Tuesday both Poulsen and Wired’s editor-in-chief Evan Hansen have shot back at Greenwald.
Greenwald’s piece is a breathtaking mix of sophistry, hypocrisy and journalistic laziness.
…those first stories in June either excerpted, quoted or reported on everything of consequence Manning had to say about his leaking. We’ve led the coverage on this story, and we would gain nothing by letting another scoop simmer unreported on our hard drives.
Hansen turned the tables around on Greenwald, implying that Greenwald and WikiLeaks have a strange connection. He called Greenwald “an outspoken WikiLeaks defender,” whose hypocritical outcries were based on being pro-WikiLeaks rather than following a consistent set of journalistic ethics.
Hansen likewise maintained that “Our position has been and remains that the logs include sensitive personal information with no bearing on WikiLeaks, and it would serve no purpose to publish them at this time.”
Greenwald Doesn’t Buy It:
He accuses Wired of “trying to put the focus on me to obscure their own ongoing conduct in concealing the key evidence shining light on these events.”
Wired is hiding the key evidence about what took place here, thus allowing Lamo to spout all sorts of serious claims without any check and thus drive much of the reporting about WikiLeaks.
Meanwhile last night Poulsen Twittered out that “logs do not support or back up the statements Adrian Lamo seems to have been making” Poulsen Twittered out last night that the unpublished logs contain no references to Assange or private servers suggesting, as BoingBoing notes that Lamo’s claims of a connection between Assange and Manning cannot be sourced to the remaining unpublished chat logs.
Meanwhile, Wired has yet to publish the full logs.
So much for making that short.