Sunday, June 13, 2010

Espionage Charged Dept of State Cables

Fearing disclosure of State Dept. secrets leaked by an Army intel analyst, the feds took the hard drive of the man who turned him in. Will Bradley Manning be charged with espionage?

Defense Department investigators are weighing espionage charges against a 22-year-old Army intelligence specialist accused of leaking highly classified documents to the website Wikileaks. On Saturday, the investigators took custody of electronic records from a former computer hacker based in California who has emerged as the Pentagon's key informant in the case, the informant tells The Daily Beast.

The former hacker, Adrian Lamo, first alerted the Defense Department to the leaks by Army Specialist Bradley Manning—including a 2007 video of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad, which created a sensation when posted recently by Wikileaks, as well as a cache of sensitive State Department cables.

Lamo said in an interview Saturday night that he had voluntarily turned over his computer records, including contents of one of his hard drives, to the Pentagon earlier in the day. He said criminal investigators from the Defense Department were scheduled to interview him again on Sunday near his home in California.

Lamo said he first learned that Manning might face espionage charges, a crime that could carry the death penalty, when the word "espionage" appeared on a formal release form that he was asked to sign by the Pentagon criminal investigators who took custody of his electronic records. "It's one of the statutes that was written down on a piece of paper that I signed to authorize the search," Lamo said. Calls to the Pentagon press office were not immediately returned Saturday night.

Philip Shenon, The Daily Beast

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