CommunityFDL Action

Adrian Lamo, Next Hope Conference, Informants Panel Pt 1 of 5, 7-18-2010 (VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT)

On July 18, 2010, Adrian Lamo attended at the 8th annual HOPE conference and appeared on the panel Informants: Villains or Heroes?  The moderator was Emmanuel Goldstein, and his fellow panelists were Kevin Mitnick, Phiber Optic, and Bernie S.

Part 1 . Part 2 . Part 3 . Part 4 . Part 5

Transcribed by LC.

ADRIAN LAMO: (smile) Good day, friends, neighbors and opponents…although I would say from the get go, I don’t feel that I’m the opponent of anybody in this crowd, you may feel differently. In that I respect your right to do so. Um, but before I dive in to the Wikileaks-related controversy I want to go back to a story that is very similar to one, to several of the ones that have been told here just now.

In 2-20-03, I was arrested by the FBI, I was given basically the same,  talk, ‘Hey, you know what would really be cool, if you, if you added all of your friends to us as being career criminal,’ and I did not do that. You-you can hop on to PACER and you can get the court transcripts and wh-what you will find is that I allocated responsibility because I believe people own their actions.

Some of you may have been here last night for the screening of the film Hackers Wanted. What I was doing at that time is what I do believe,  Private First-Class Manning was doing, which is acting one’s conscience.

In my case I wanted to set precedent whereby hackers could press corporations and have the outcome be positive, have the outcome be one where corporations walked away saying: ‘Hey, you know what? That wasn’t so bad – these hacker people can actually help us. They are not all out to get us.’  The New York Times Corporation disagreed.  They pressed charges. As I always said that I did, I plead guilty because I was guilty … and that was my acceptance of responsibility.

Fast forward a couple of years. One and a long series of people sent me a random instant message saying, ‘Hey, have a look at what I did,’ and I was like Yeah, cool or whatever, I-I’ll get to that because a-lo-a lot of people d-do approach me with information about their own ongoing um computer hacking and when that hacking involves things that are actually genuinely cool and interesting, I’ll say ‘Hey, yeah, sure, tell me more, I’m interested.’ When it involves crimes be they financial or otherwise hurtful to actual individuals in the real world but not life threatening, I’ll tell them ‘Hey, shut the hell up and let me put you in touch with this attorney I know.’

In this case I didn’t really have either of those two choices, because,  the die was already cast.  I was made aware that…over a quarter million documents had been allegedly leaked,  that were classified state department cables. Um, they had been sent to Wikileaks. Wikileaks had a presence here at this conference, I think that they gave a – an interesting talk. Um, but conspicuously they didn’t mention those cables… an…can’t really say why-why that is (smile breaks out). I’m operating on about three hours of sleep and I didn’t know (laughs) up until right before this was happening that I was going to be talking (smile), so please forgive me if I come off a little bit rough.

The information that … was allocated to me by messenger was that…um…information had been downloaded, cables, potentially a whole lot of cables, more cables, cables in this case being an anachronism for the diplomatic version of email, had been downloaded onto a computer in Iraq, that had then used another route to submit them to Wikileaks.

Is there anybody here in this audience that thinks that they could go through 250,000 multipage documents that contain classified information about diplomacy throughout the world and say for certain that it’s not going to cost anybody’s life? .. Anyone?

Male voice from audience/off camera: Maybe the whole crowd. (unintelligible)

LAMO (smile): I – I don’t see any hands, but–

(Male) VOICE from audience: It doesn’t matter.

LAMO:–the lights are kind of bright.. …In that case, I felt compelled – compelled I don’t believe (interrupted with claps, boos) is a too strong word… (continuing claps, boos)

PANELIST (to AL’s right): What did you feel compelling? What- In what way did you feel people would be put in risk?

LAMO: There are a number of ways in which that information could put people at risk. The State Department is involved in a number of intelligence operations throughout the world … um… they’re not supposed to be, but they’re looking out for the interests of Americans…and (claps and boos)…

Male voice from audience: (unintelligible?) the state department activities puts other people at risk, the state department activities puts other people at risk.

PANELIST(?): Okay, you’ll have your say, you’ll have your say. You can ask your questions.

LAMO: I’ll be open for Q&As, Q&As is probably the most important thing because you guys know better than I do, what you want to know.

PANELIST: We’ll be handing out darts, and bows and arrows. (Laughter in crowd)

LAMO: Also, if anybody thought to bring pitchforks and maybe even torches, that’d be cool, too.

PANELIST: If people want to ask questions they can line up behind the second microphone there. The second microphone, and leave weapons behind. But let him finish first.

LAMO: As I was stating, the state department operations throughout the world involve both American intelligence activities and the activities of American tourists and travelers abroad.  If you assume, the most innocent possible scenario that it would do nothing but make the U.S. look bad in countries abroad, uh, that would still leave people sitting high and dry if they need consulars’ assistance, if they were arrested abroad by a country that suddenly decided that they weren’t too friendly with the U.S. anymore.

If you approve, (shakes head), if you uh assume the worst possible scenario, that it actually does expose the identities of people involved in intelligence operations, or even have the appearance of being involved in intelligence operations by being employees of consulates, commissions, and embassies abroad, then… you have to bear a real possibility that lives will be lost.

Manning/Wikileaks Timeline . Key Articles . Merged Chat Logs

Previous post

Maliki: US Troops Will Leave Iraq in One Year, As Scheduled

Next post

John Draper Interview with Adrian Lamo at Next HOPE Conference, Pt 4 of 4, 7-18-2010 (TRANSCRIPT AND VIDEO)

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
Subscribe in a reader