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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

 
Wiki, Wired and Glenzilla

by digby

There are many accusations flying between Greenwald and Wired magazine over whether or not the magazine should release the copies of the chat logs between accused leaker Bradley Manning and the man who turned him in, Adrian Lamo. I'm not going to get into the details of all this since you can read the pieces for yourself. But the crux of the issue couldn't be more clear to me: is the government's primary source, Adrian Lamo, the man who turned Bradley Manning in and gave Wired a copy of the chat logs that implicated him, credible? We know that he is lying to the news media about something because his stories about what is in those logs are inconsistent. What we don't know is what, if any of it, is true. Wired could easily clear that up by either releasing the logs or simply writing a story about what the logs show.

I realize that journalistic ethics require that sources be protected, but the idea that they must be protected when they are lying strikes me as equally unethical.If Wired knows the facts,which they clearly do since they have the logs and can check Lamo's claims, then they should have an ethical obligation to the truth, not to their agreement with Lamo. I say should because as we've seen with The New York Times and journalists like Judy Miller (lately of Newsmax) the contract between journalist and source doesn't seem to require that the source be honest. But that doesn't make it right. There is no good reason that Wired shouldn't clear this up.

(And I find the excuse that the press has an obligation to protect Manning's privacy laughable since this is the first time I can remember the press doing such a thing for an accused criminal. In any case, while it's very kind of them to want to protect Manning's personal musings, that doesn't mean they can't independently verify the truth of their source's public statements about documents they have in their possession. I honestly can't see what one has to do with the other.)

Update:

Well well well:


Wired.com's Kevin Poulsen and Evan Hansen have confirmed key details concerning unpublished chat logs between whistleblower Bradley Manning and informant Adrian Lamo. Responding to questions on Twitter, Poulsen wrote that the unpublished portion of the chats contain no further reference to 'private' upload servers for Manning, while Hansen indicated that they contain no further reference to the relationship between Manning and Wikileaks chief Julian Assange.

U.S. Army Pvt. Manning, who allegedly sent 250,000 diplomatic cables and other secrets to Wikileaks, awaits trial in Quantico, Virginia. Wikileaks, working with newspapers in Europe, has so far published about 2,000 of the cables, with minor redactions.

U.S. prosecutors are said to be building a case against Assange. Such a case would, according to legal analysts, have to prove he actively helped Manning leak classified information rather than act merely as a journalist working with a source.

There is already discussion in the already-published part of the logs of a hypothetical secure FTP server. But public statements by Lamo suggested that such a server may in fact have been provided for Manning to upload classified documents, leading to intense debate over the unpublished part of the chat logs. Wikileaks supporters—most notably Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald—urged Wired to reveal more information. Wired balked, citing journalistic privilege and the need to protect the privacy of sources and subjects.

Poulsen's comment appears to suggest Lamo's claims cannot be sourced to the remaining chat logs, only to the published sections or other communications. Along with Hansen's tweet, that leaves no new smoking guns in the unpublished portion or the logs, and little to suggest the degree of collaboration between Pvt. Manning and Wikileaks that prosecutors may need to pursue charges. Assange, who is neither a U.S. citizen nor resident there, is currently on bail in London, where he faces extradition to Sweden on unrelated charges.


See how easy that was? Is there any reason why it had to take Glenn Greenwald going after them with a rhetorical chainsaw to get them to do it?

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