Lamo challenges Wikileaks' Assange

Former hacker Adrian Lamo today issued a press release written all by himself challenging Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks, to attend a conference in New York, despite knowing Assange might face arrest in the United States. Assange originally was supposed to participate in the “The Next HOPE” conference (HOPE as in “Hackers on Planet Earth”), however due to the fallout of the Bradley Manning case, it is likely that he will not travel to the USA and tip up, as is noted on the conference website.

Lamo, who is not included in the list of speakers, says he wants a “sidebar debate” with Assange “to clear the air of questionable accusations made by the Wikileaks Twitter account”, adding that “nobody is waiting around for him with piano wire”. The Daily Beast reported the Pentagon was trying to determine the whereabouts of Julian Assange to have a chat with him, fearing Wikileaks might be in possession of further documents.

Adrian Lamo and his acquaintance Kevin Poulson, a former hacker and Wired editor, were attacked via the Twitter account after Poulsen wrote an exclusive story about how Adrian Lamo turned Bradley Manning in to US authorities. Manning had previously chatted with Lamo about leaking documents and videos to Wikileaks, including the video of a gunship murdering civilians in Iraq’s capital city Baghdad, two of them Reuters journalists. The video was released on a special website created by Wikileaks, with the apt title “Collateral Murder”.

Most recently, Glenn Greenwald, a journalist writing for interviewed Adrian Lamo regarding the murky affair. According to the interview, Lamo told Bradley Manning “that he (Lamo) was a journalist and thus could offer him confidentiality for everything they discussed under California’s shield law.” Lamo also talked to Poulsen regarding Bradley Manning, before he published the article on Wired’s Threat Level blog and before Manning was turned in.

Not only that, but Lamo claimed he was “an ordained minister and could treat Manning’s talk as a confession, which would then compel Lamo under the law to keep their discussions confidential”. Apparently, Lamo claims Manning declined his offer of confidentiality.

Poulsen’s involvement is still unclear. Despite possessing the chat logs between Manning and Lamo, Poulsen himself has not made them public in their entirety. A correct timeline regarding the case cannot be constructed. It is known Lamo broke his promises of confidentiality and reported Manning before the Wired story was written and that Poulsen knew about Manning before publishing his story. However it cannot be determined that Poulsen didn’t collaborate with Lamo, freeing him from suspicions of breaching journalist’s codes of ethics, as in Lamo’s case.

Lamo himself forwarded chat logs to Wikileaks and told an Australian journalist about it. He later on stated Wikileaks revealed him as a source, called for Julian Assange to step down and stated Wikileaks had performed an “agenda-driven breach of the site’s policy of anonymity”, despite previously telling world and dog he had sent the logs himself. The logs can be seen here on BoingBoing. It cannot be discerned if these are the complete logs, in all their entirey, bar of personal trivia being omitted.

Lamo said last Saturday, June 26, he was “penning a reply” to Salon’s story, following the “strange accusations of government collusion” and would release it this week.