Ex-Hacker Calls on Wikileaks Head to Step Down After Questionable Posts
June 28, 2010
Yesterday we posted that Adrian Lamo became only the second source in Wikileaks history to become outed as a source. The site appears to have purposefully let loose the information in its personal vendetta against Lamo for turning in Army leaker Bradley Manning.
We have since established contact with Nadim Kobeissi, a hacker whose conversations with Adrian Lamo were also leaked. Nadim asked us for some clarifications. Also, in the wake of recent postings, Lamo is calling on Wikileaks chief and ex-hacker Julian Assange to step down.
Nadim tells us:
Nadim: Wikileaks published that log, not me. I am responsible for sending it to Wikileaks.He confirmed with us that it was this pastebin that we came across yesterday (the contents have been deleted, since):
Nadim: The logs were first found on a pastebin.
He also tells us that the account on the Fairfax forum was an imposter.
He writes, “The purpose of these logs was never to personally attack Lamo, but to provide evidence that shows that he and Poulsen are both very unreliable sources, and to give Manning, a person whom I consider to be a hero, a fighting chance in his presumably upcoming court case. I would like to attest, as I have done so many times before, that during my first two years of knowing Lamo he was an excellent friend and a person that did aid me through my first year of college. I won’t forget that. But I am frankly appalled at the level he’s gone down to these days, and it is out of indignation and anger at his actions that you see these logs released today.”
Regardless, Nadim did elect to pass the private logs to Wikileaks. It is important to note that they are of marginal at best relation to the Manning incident, and while he says he did not mean to attack Adrian Lamo, he admits he purposefully employed the release of the logs to attack Lamo’s character and credibility.
More significantly, this appears to be a broader part of some party’s plan to discredit Adrian Lamo. Lamo believes it to be from the Wikileaks leadership. Adrian Lamo comments, “I think it’s clear that no Wikileaks source is safe, for the rest of their lives, lest they do something to offend the Wikileaks leadership and suffer the consequences. Julian Assange must step down in order for Wikileaks to be viable. He has lost his moral authority to lead.”
To summarize for those who need a quick recap, the accusations, as they stand, are currently that the convicted computer hacker (Assange) accused the convicted computer hacker (Lamo) of colluding with a convicted computer hacker (Poulsen) to spread misinformation/engineered information, but it may actually be the convicted computer hacker (Assange) who is looking to spread engineered information in order to discredit the convicted computer hacker (Lamo). And an ex-hacker (Nadim) may also be implicated in the mess.
Or see this helpful infograph [PDF] of who’s allegedly doing what to who, if you read that summary and are still confused. [-Ed. Thanks Mike G!]
Update: Friday June 25, 2010 5:33 p.m.-
One commenter double posted a comment to this twitter feed from Nadim. It should be noted that this was not the information that Nadim provided us in a brief IM interview. Here is his the original message to us:
1- “He reposted the leaks along with personal IM logs of conversations he had with Adrian Lamo and his wife Lauren Lamo.” I did not publish these logs. Wikileaks has exclusively published all logs themselves, and the document very clearly says so. Please correct this.
2- “These logs seem clearly engineered to paint Adrian in a negative light.” On what basis do you so bluntly accuse those logs to be “clearly engineered”? Do you care to accuse a particular “engineer”? What sort of unsupported claim is this? Please elaborate.
3- You should have contacted me prior to this article to get your facts straight. Don’t you think the media should examine both sides of an issue?
4- The purpose of these logs was never to personally attack Lamo, but to provide evidence that shows that he and Poulsen are both very unreliable sources, and to give Manning, a person whom I consider to be a hero, a fighting chance in his presumably upcoming court case. I would like to attest, as I have done so many times before, that during my first two years of knowing Lamo he was an excellent friend and a person that did aid me through my first year of college. I won’t forget that. But I am frankly appalled at the level he’s gone down to these days, and it is out of indignation and anger at his actions that you see these logs released today.
5- I do not fabricate. These logs are accurate.
6- Research Asperger’s syndrome. I know people very intimately who were diagnosed with it. It does not need (and doesn’t even have) any medicine. Just read up on it.
7- Use your brain.
8- Also, before today I was not even aware of the “Fairfax” forum you’ve linked to. I don’t even have an account on that website, have never visited it before and have certainly never posted a single post on it. Please verify this and correct it.
Again, he failed to provide us with this info. And this article points out the key issue he raises in the email — that the logs were posted to the pastebin by an unknown source.
And now the crux of the issue — who leaked Nadim’s identity (regardless of who did it, this is significant as he is now the third outed Wikileaks source). Nadim says it was not Wikileaks, but a second party.
A separate source David House (MIT) chatted with us later this afternoon and says the pastebin was edited to contain this line:
Logs between Nadmin and Lamo’s wife Laura, and Nadim and Lamo, as sent to WikiLeaks by Nadim…Which House says was not originally posted by Wikileaks. We have been given compelling reason to believe, that this was not in the original paste bin.
Ultimately the true question of Wikileak’s credibility and whether it outed anyone still stands, though. That unknown hinges on a single question — who leaked the leaks to BoingBoing and told them Lamo sent them?
We are working hard to answer exactly that question.
_© 2009, DailyTech.