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(TRANSCRIPT) Adrian Lamo Testimony – Bradley Manning Trial Day 2

In LEAKSOURCE ORIGINAL NEWS, Manning on June 4, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Adrian Lamo


For 33 minutes on Tuesday, Adrian Lamo, a 32-year-old previously best known for hacking the website of The New York Times, sat in the witness stand testifying about why he was chosen as confessor for WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning. Speaking in a affectless monotone, Lamo glanced once or twice to his right at the man he could put in prison for life.

It was Lamo, prosecutor Captain Joe Morrow said during the trial’s opening statements on Monday, who brought Manning to law enforcement’s attention. Less than a week after their online chats began and within hours of their final conversation, Manning was apprehended.


United States calls Agent Lamo. Whereupon, ADRIAN LAMO, called as a witness, having been first duly sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, was examined and testified as follows:


Q. You are Mr. Lamo previously from the Sacramento area of California?
A. Yes, I am.

Q. Thank you, sir. Mr. Lamo, how do you know PFC Manning?
A. From a series of conversations we had online in 2010.

Q. When did you first interact with PFC Manning?
A. On or about May 20th of 2010.

Q. And what was the form of that interaction?
A. In a two-way encrypted email from PFC Bradley Manning.

Q. How did you know that email was from PFC Bradley Manning?
A. Based on retrieving return address common to all email.

Q. What do you mean by return address information?
A. Information indicating where it originated from which allowed the recipient to reply.

Q. Is that an email address?
A. Yes.

Q. What was the email address?
A., military network.

Q. So you received multiple emails from PFC Manning?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. So the first one he said Can you explain to the Court what the second email you received, what the name was on the email?
A. I’m sorry. Which one are you referencing?

Q. The second one. The one you just mentioned, army email address?
A. Yes. A string of letters numbers that identified (Inaudible).

Q. Did it have a name as beginning user name?
A. Yes. His name was presented as user name.

Q. What happened after you received the initial email?
A. After the initial one I disregarded the email. After receiving several more I wrote back suggesting that the user should perhaps contact me via AOL messenger to have a Xchat.

Q. Was this email encrypted or not?
A. The one which I sent reply was not, to the best of my recollection.

Q. Was the email that was sent to you encrypted?
A. Yes, it was.

Q. Would you explain to the Court what that means?
A. Encryption encodes an email to a particular user rather to a user site affiliate recipient is supposed to be able to read it.

Q. What is a cypher?
A. In this case public key cypher.

Q. What do you mean by public key?
A. Series of codes which instruct the computer how to encrypt the message in such a way that the recipient will decrypt it.

Q. Were you able to read the initial email from PFC Manning?
A. I was not.

Q. Why not?
A. He had specified an incorrect cipher, one which I formerly used but had fallen out of use.

Q. How does one find this cypher, this code?
A. There are a couple of trailers called (inaudible) servers which contain collections of keys so users can find themselves more easily.

Q. And when did you then realize when you started chatting this was PFC Manning?
A. There was a particular point in our interactions where PFC Manning mentioned his name was Brad and I replied, oh, I’m an idiot. You are that guy from the emails.

Q. And how did you chat with PFC Manning?
A. By a service message — it was online called messenger and through a free third party program.

Q. So what program did you use?
A. P-I-D-G-I-N.

Q. Could you explain briefly — so the network is being, you used message online instant messaging?
A. Yes.

Q. You did not online instant message programming?
A. No. There were numerous chat lines that support the service but are not made (inaudible)

Q. Were these chats encrypted?
A. Yes, they were.

Q. What does that mean?
A. That to a third party intercepting them on (inaudible) this would be unreadable, the intended party wouldn’t be able to receive them.

Q. Mr. Lamo, (inaudible). What is your experience with computers networks?
A. I have extensive experience (inaudible) testing that is security of computer networks conducting review of related to security. And finding ways to bypass and improve security.

Q. And how many years of experience in this field have you worked?
A. 15.

Q. In those 15 years have you been arrested?
A. Yes, I have.

Q. Based on that have you been arrested based on activities related to that field?
A. Yes, I have.

Q. And what for?
A. For unlawful access to computer networks at the New York Times Company, Microsoft and Lexis-Nexis.

Q. When did this occur?
A. The first conduct took place in 2002. The arrest took place in 2003 and the conviction in 2004.

Q. So you were convicted?
A. Yes, I was. I pled guilty.

Q. Did you confess to those crimes when you pled guilty?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. Going back, Mr. Lamo, when did you first start chatting with PFC Manning?
A. On or about May 20th, 2010.

Q. How did you know once the chat started that it was, in fact, PFC Bradley Manning?
A. During the course of the chats I stated to the user, perhaps we could connect on Facebook. Once we did connect on Facebook, a social networking site with (inaudible) information, one another I ascertained that the name of the user was the same name as the sender of the emails which I previously received.

Q. Is this something you do for most individuals that you chat with?
A. Yes. Facebook is a very popular social network which many people connect.

Q. And what were your conclusions based off of your analysis of Facebook and comparing that to the chats?
A. Based on the user description of themselves, both in the chats and on Facebook, as well as return email address, I ascertained that I was talking to somebody who (inaudible) Brad Manning, who was associated with the military network (inaudible) same user.

Q. What was the moniker the user name used in chat between you and PFC Manning?
A. I’m sorry. Mine or his?

Q. Both.
A. Mine was (inaudible) on AOL, (inaudible). The defendant’s was bradass87.

Q. Did you only use the Pidgin program to chat for online?
A. That is correct.

Q. To chat using Pidgin (inaudible) the program?
A. I used two different computers.

Q. How many computers at the time did you have access to?
A. More than two, fewer than five.

Q. Did you only use these two computers that you are referencing to chat with PFC Manning?
A. Yes.

Q. What were those two computers?
A. One was a Lenovo Think Pad. The other was an HP mini.

Q. Lenovo Think Pad, is that desktop, laptop?
A. It is a laptop made by the successor IBM (inaudible).

Q. HP, describe that for the Court?
A. It was the netbook, small, Low powered, mostly used online activity.

Q. Where did you conduct these chats?
A. In the state of various — at my residence, at Starbucks and at a different Starbucks, Safeway offering access. Internet cafe’s and at home.

Q. Did you record these chats?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. Was it your normal practice to record the chats?
A. At that time and possibly still by default recorded all chats. So, yes.

Q. So did you activate, I guess, Pidgin, did you affirmatively tell Pidgin to record those chats?
A. No. It’s not evident to user that feature is enabled. I would have to disable it.

Q. You had not done that?
A. I had not.

Q. You recorded all chats with all people?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. Did anyone else have access to these computers at the time you were chatting?
A. No. Access is prevented by various countermeasures.

Q. What do you mean by that?
A. Encryption, password and physical inaccessibility.

Q. Let’s start with physical inaccessibility. How were they not physically accessible to anyone else?
A. In that they were generally on my person. When I went out, I went out usually with one I would talk with.

Q. When did the chats first start?
A. On or about May 20th of 2010.

Q. When did they end?
A. On or about May 26th of 2010.

Q. You kept them on your person between those days?
A. Computer geeks do not always leave the house much.

Q. Did you keep them on yourself?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. When you went to Starbucks, you had both computers?
A. No. As I say, I travel with one to Starbucks and (inaudible).

Q. And then what prevented someone in your quarters, or if you were at Starbucks, from accessing the actual information on the computer?
A. They would require a password in order to access the computer. Then a pass phrase as well in order to decrypt the drive.

Q. How many people know that password or pass phrase?
A. At the time only myself.

Q. You didn’t share that with anyone?
A. No. I was the only authorized user and the only one capable of accessing that computer.

Q. (Inaudible)
A. (inaudible) June 12 of 2010.

Q. Who did you meet with?
A. Special Agent Toni Edwards.

Q. Did Special Agent Edwards collect any evidence from you?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. What did he collect; what computer?
A. He collected a hard drive from the Lenovo Think Pad and the HP mini in its entirety.

Q. At the time he collected those were both the hard drives that you just spoke about both in working, proper working condition at the time?
A. Yes, they were.

Q. Did you ever copy, make copies of those chat logs between the time of the chats and giving those computers and computer and hard drive to him?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. Did you ever manipulate, change, alter, delete, edit the original logs that were on your computers?
A. The original logs as preserved by Pidgin were no way edited or redacted.

Q. You did alter other versions of the logs?
A. Yes. Ones which I shared.

Q. What do you mean by “shared”?
A. With people in the investigation.

Q. You shared these logs at some point?
A. Yes.

Q. What people did you share the logs with?
A. Kevin Poulsen and Ellen Kakashima

Q. Those (inaudible) copies of the originals or alter copies?
A. They were copied with retained redactions.

Q. You did not alter the originals?
A. I did not.

Q. How do you know that you did not alter the originals?
A. At no time did I save them or even open them in any way capable of saving them.

Q. When you surrendered digital media to Special Agent Edwards, did you sign over that evidence on custody form?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. Did you sign that form?
A. Yes.

Q. Did you give Special Agent Edwards any other laptops or computer hard drives?
A. I gave Special Agent Edwards only the hard drive from the Lenovo and the HP Mini.

Q. Now, Mr. Lamo, have you ever been diagnosed with mental health conditions?
A. Yes, I have.

Q. And what are those?
A. Asperger Syndrome, autism, major depression and generalized anxiety.

Q. Do those conditions generally affect your memory?
A. No, they do not. And they are not known to.

Q. Do you take prescribed medications to assist you with living with those conditions?
A. Yes, I do.

Q. Have those medications ever affected your memory?
A. They have, yes.

Q. Have you ever used those medications in a manner that could affect your memory?
A. Yes.

Q. And would your chatting with PFC Manning in 2010, were you using those medications in a way that affected your memory?
A. I was not.

Q. Between the time of your chats in May 2010, and turning over the hard drive and laptop to Special Agent Edwards in 2010, were you using those medications that in any way affected your memory?
A. I was not.

Q. And today, Mr. Lamo, in this court martial and this testimony, are you suffering from any memory loss either from your diagnosed medical condition or medication use?
A. No.

MR. FEIN: No further questions, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Defense.


Q. Mr. Lamo, in early 2000, you committed a string of attacks against several large companies, correct?
A. A string of offenses, yes.

Q. In 2004, you pled guilty to computer fraud?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. You received a six month sentence, house arrest, two years probation?
A. That’s correct.

Q. You were 22 years old at the time that you pled guilty?
A. I was.

Q. Same age that PFC Manning was when he started the IM chat with you?
A. That is also correct.

Q. As you said, your IM chats began on or about the 20th of May 2010?
A. Yes.

Q. And you chatted until on or about the 26th of May 2010?
A. That is also correct.

Q. Now the day after your initial chat with PFC Manning you contacted law enforcement?
A. That’s correct. Well, (inaudible).

Q. Law enforcement?
A. Yes.

Q. And you contacted law enforcement because you were concerned about the type of information that PFC Manning had shared with you?
A. Yes.

Q. You were also concerned for PFC Manning’s life?
A. Yes.

Q. And after contacting law enforcement you continued to chat with PFC Manning?
A. That is correct.

Q. And based on your conversations you determined that PFC Manning was young?
A. Yes.

Q. You believed he was ideologically motivated?
A. That was my speculation, yes.

Q. You also saw him as well intentioned?
A. From his point of view, yes.

Q. From your point of view you saw him as well intentioned?
A. Subjectively, yes.

Q. You also saw him as idealistic?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. Now you testified on direct that PFC Manning identified himself in the chat conversations.
A. Correct.

Q. And you testified on direct that he said Bradley Manning?
A. Yes.

Q. Now he told you during your conversation that he wanted to disclose this information for public good?
A. That was an interpretation, yes.

Q. Based on your conversation you saw something very familiar about that?
A. Yes.

Q. You saw a young 22 year old with good intentions, much like you were?
A. That was correct.

Q. You did not know PFC Manning, correct?
A. Not personally, no.

Q. The two of your never met in person?
A. No.

Q. PFC Manning told you?

MR. FEIN: Objection, hearsay.

MR. COOMBS: It’s not offered for the truth. To explain the conduct at this point. I can ask the question. I’ll caution the witness not to answer before the objection and we’ll see what my question is.

THE COURT: Can you (inaudible) to ask the question (inaudible) research on you and the issue.

MR. COOMBS: I’m not offering it for the truth. (inaudible) just to explain the nature of this individual’s response.

THE COURT: The initial question wasn’t that question. You can ask that question.

MR. COOMBS: That was my question. PFC Manning told you he had done some background information on you. PFC Manning told you and then I got the objection.

THE COURT: Is that the question you objected to?

MR. FEIN: Yes. That PFC Bradley Manning told —

THE COURT: I’m concerned about getting the hearsay. (Inaudible)


Q. In this instance were you made aware that PFC Manning knew facts about you?
A. Yes.

Q. And, in fact, you were a supporter of LBGT, correct?
A. Yes.

Q. LBGT is Lesbian, Gay, Transgender Community?
A. Yes.

Q. And in 1998, you were appointed to the LBGT (inaudible) task force on the (inaudible)
A. That is correct.

Q. You also became a volunteer for gay and (inaudible)
A. Yes.

Q. PFC Manning knew that you were a threat analyst and Gray Hacker. Is that correct?

MR. FEIN: Objection. Speculation.

MR. COOMBS: (inaudible)

MR. FEIN: It’s hearsay based on what PFC Manning did or didn’t tell him.

THE COURT: It is hearsay.

MR. COOMBS: (Inaudible) for the conversation not for the truth of the matter. To explain why PFC Manning reached out to him and the nature of that conversation.

THE COURT: Alright. (Inaudible) The trial is before me. It’s hearsay. I’ll disregard it. Go ahead.


Q. So you knew that he was aware that you were in Gray Hat Hacker, correct?
A. Yes.

Q. And what is a threat analyst?
A. Analyst who involves (inaudible) threats and international threats they are (inaudible) or more.

Q. What is a Gray Hat Hacker?
A. A hacker is colloquially someone who performs, not always with permission, not for military purposes.

Q. You also were aware that PFC Manning knew that you had donated to WikiLeaks?
A. I recall that he referenced that he was aware because I mentioned WikiLeaks in connection with that. I don’t know whether he knew I donated.

Q. Essentially that was kind of why PFC Manning was reaching out to you?
A. That was one reason, yes.

Q. Now I want to ask you some specific questions about your conversation with PFC Manning, okay?
A. Yes.

Q. Your conversation began with PFC Manning, of course, reaching out to you to make contact; is that right?
A. Yes.

Q. And he told you he was an intelligence analyst?

THE COURT: Again, what is the basis for this?

MR. COOMBS: In this instance probably for remainder of my questions the response (Inaudible).

THE COURT: That exception (inaudible) proceed.

MR. COOMBS: (Inaudible) the declarant in this case, the individual to testify about declarant statement then.

THE COURT: Existing statement.

MR. COOMBS: So that’s what I’m going after.

THE COURT: Government, what is your position?

MR. FEIN: Can I have a moment, Your Honor. State of mind but (inaudible) answer was for the entire line of questioning.


Q. He told you he was an intelligence analyst?
A. Yes.

Q. He said to you, he thought he would reach out to somebody like you who would possibly understand?
A. Yes.

Q. During this initial chat conversation he told you about his life and his upbringing?
A. In some amount of detail, yes.

Q. He told you that he was being challenged due to a gender identity issue?
A. Yes.

Q. He also told you that he had been questioning his gender for years, but started to come to terms with that with his gender during the deployment?
A. Yes.

Q. He told you he believed he had made a huge mess?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. And he confessed that he was emotionally fractured?
A. Yes.

Q. He said he was talking to you as somebody that needed moral and emotional support?
A. Yes.

Q. At this point he said he was trying not to end up killing himself?
A. That is also correct.

Q. He told you that he was feeling desperate and isolated?
A. Yes.

Q. He described himself as a broken sole?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. He said his life was falling apart and he didn’t have anyone to talk to?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. And he said he was honestly scared?
A. He also said that.

Q. He told you that he had no one he could trust?
A. Correct.

Q. And he told you he needed a lot of help?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. He ended up apologizing to you on several occasions for pouring out his heart to you since you were total strangers?
A. Correct.

Q. Now at one point he asked you if you had access to classified networks and so on, incredible things, awful things, things that belonged to the public domain, not on some servers dark room in Washington, D.C. What would you do? Do you recall him asking you that question?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. He told you he thought that the information that he had would have impact on entire world?
A. That is also correct.

Q. He said the information would disclose casualty figures in Iraq?
A. Yes.

Q. He believed the State Department, First World Countries exploited the Third World Countries?
A. He made that representation, yes.

Q. And he told you that the cables detailed what was criminal political fact dealings?
A. Yes.

Q. He believed that everywhere there was a U.S. post there was a diplomatic scandal?
A. That he did.

Q. He told you that he believed it was important that the information got out?
A. Correct.

Q. He thought that if the information got out, it might actually change something?
A. Yes.

Q. He told you he did not believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore?
A. Yes.

Q. He only believed in a plethora of states acting in self-interest?
A. Correct.

Q. He told you he thought he was maybe too idealistic?
A. Correct.

Q. He told you that he was always a type of person that tried to investigate to find out the truth?
A. Something I could appreciate, yes.

Q. And based upon what he saw, he told you he could not let information just stay inside?
A. Yes.

Q. He said he could not separate himself from others?
A. Correct.

Q. He felt connected to everybody?
A. Yes.
Q. Even told you it felt like we were all distant family?
A. Engagement.

Q. And he said he cared?
A. Yes.

Q. He told you that he thought he would keep track — keep track of people that his job impacted?
A. Correct.

Q. And he wanted to make sure that everybody was okay?
A. Yes.

Q. He told you that the way he separated himself from other analysts was, he cared about people?
A. He said that, yes.

Q. PFC Manning told you he followed humanist values?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. He said he had dogs tags saying “humanist” on it?
A. Yes.

Q. Do you know what it means to be a humanist?
A. From my understanding the importance of human life and human beings and has a structure of morality.

Q. PFC Manning told you that at the time he was feeling (inaudible) and no one seemed to see that or care?
A. Yes.

Q. He told you that he was bothered that nobody seemed to care?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. He said he thought apathy was far worse than active participation?
A. Yes.

Q. He told you that he preferred the truth (Inaudible)?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. He also told you that he was maybe too traumatized to really care about the consequences to him?
A. Yes.

Q. He told you that he wasn’t brave. He was weak?
A. Yes.

Q. He said he was not so much scared of getting caught and facing consequences as he was of being misunderstood?
A. Yes.

Q. At one point you asked him what his end game was, correct?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. And he told you, hopefully worldwide discussions, debates and reforms?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. He told you that the reaction to the (Inaudible)?
A. Yes.

Q. And he said he wanted people to see the truth?
A. Correct.

Q. He said without information you can’t make informed decision as a whole?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. And he told you to, he was hoping that people would actually change if they saw the information?
A. Correct.

Q. He also told you that he recognized that he may be just young, naive and stupid?
A. Yes.

Q. And at one point you asked him why he didn’t just sell the information to Russia or China?
A. Correct.

Q. And he told you that the information belonged in the public domain?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. He believed that information was in the public domain and should be for the public good?
A. Yes.

Q. You asked him how long he had been helping out WikiLeaks at one point?
A. Yes, I did.

Q. He told you that he essentially had been —

THE COURT: Sustained. Hearsay.

MR. COOMBS: Very well, Your Honor.


Q. At one point he told you that his belief or his feelings were that he wanted to eventually go into politics?
A. Yes.

Q. And at the time he was thinking that humanity could accomplish a lot, if smart people with ideas cooperated with each other?
A. Correct.

Q. At anytime did he say he had no loyalty to America?
A. Not in those words, no.

Q. At anytime did he say the American flag didn’t mean anything to him?
A. No.

Q. At anytime did he say he wanted to help the enemy?
A. Not in those words, no.

MR. FEIN: Thank you. Your Honor.


Q. Did PFC Manning say he knew Julian Assange?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. Did PFC Manning disclose he had classified information, downloaded thousands of documents?
A. Yes, he did.

Q. Also, Mr. Lamo, when did PFC Manning start talking to you, what day was that?
A. On or about May 20th of 2010.

Q. That’s the end of May 2010?
A. Yes.

MR. FEIN: Thank you, Mr. Lamo. No further questions, Your Honor. Can we have a brief recess to confer?

THE COURT: We will not recess. Go ahead and confer.


THE COURT: Lastly, you are permanently excused. You are free to go or you can stay in the courtroom.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.


Transcript via Freedom of the Press Foundation stenographers, courtesy of supporter contributions. Complete transcripts of Bradley Manning trial can be found here.

  1. […] (TRANSCRIPT) Adrian Lamo Testimony – Bradley Manning Trial Day 2 – LeakSource […]

  2. […] They sought to reveal the truth of governmental actions before the court of public discourse. Adrian Lamo’s testimony during the Manning trial indicated that Mr. Manning was horrified at the callous attitude of his […]

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