Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lamo: Do it to Julia

SITREP: Adrian Lamo alleges that Bradley Manning claims to have liberated the full texts of 260,000 diplomatic cables and that said intel treasure trove is about to be publicly scattered (probably by Wikileaks) across the playing field of the New Great Game like so much Pepsi® spilled on a Risk® board.

So, why did Lamo roll over on Manning? He's actually offered two explanations. The first one I noticed just doesn't wash:

I turned him in to protect lives and to protect information that's essential for the U.S. to be able to effectively carry out foreign policy abroad ...

My response to that line of justification, cribbed from my own comment on a Facebook discussion thread:

That narrative breaks down under even the mildest scrutiny.

At the time that Lamo informed on him, Manning's alleged disclosures of classified information were in the past. He was no longer working as an intelligence analyst. He was working as a supply clerk while awaiting discharge from the Army on "unsuitability" grounds.

If there was a "threat," that threat was no longer manifest in Manning. If the alleged 260k diplomatic cables were the "threat," then Lamo could have easily and conveniently (and for that matter anonymously) notified THE AUTHORITAH that there was reason to believe those cables were in the possession of Wikileaks.

The only real effects of Lamo's decision to turn in Manning are: 1) Manning gets incarcerated and 2) Lamo gets another 15 minutes of public attention. Solve for cui bono.

So, file Adrian Lamo under Assclown (3), right?

Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Here's another explanation, published elsewhere (and actually earlier on the same day):

At the moment he gave me the information, it was basically a suicide pact. ... I was worried for my family --- that if I were obstructing justice that they could be caught up in any investigation .... I wanted to do this one by the book, by the numbers. I didn't want any more FBI agents knocking at the door.

Which, given Lamo's past encounters with The Authoritahs, makes perfect sense. Winston Smith, anyone?

As does his decision to riff on the less, um, explanatory explanation. If you can't successfully pull off the Emmanuel Goldstein act, re-fashioning the narrative to turn yourself into a Comrade Ogilvy may be preferable to continuing the stations of Smith's cross in infinite loop.

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