By Gautham Nagesh - 06/07/10 02:56 PM EDT
A U.S. Army intelligence analyst serving in Iraq has been arrested by federal officials for allegedly leaking classified information to the online whistleblower site Wikileaks, according to a Wired blog.
Spc. Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Md., is reportedly the source of the controversial video of a 2007 American helicopter strike that claimed the lives of several bystanders. Wikileaks published that video in April.
Manning reportedly became a target of the investigation after boasting of leaking more than a quarter of a million classified documents to former hacker Adrian Lamo, who reported him to the Army. Lamo claimed, via his Twitter account on Sunday evening, that he did so out of concern for national security.
"I outed Manning as an alleged leaker out of duty. I would never out an Ordinary Decent Criminal. There's a difference," Lamo tweeted. "I'm heartsick for Manning and his family. I hope they can forgive me some day for doing what I felt had to be done."
According to chat transcripts provided to Wired, Manning claimed to have collected and leaked a wide range of classified information to Wikileaks. They included a video showing the 2009 Garani airstrike in Afghanistan that Wikileaks has said before it possesses, a classified Army document discussing Wikileaks as a security threat that the site published in March, and 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables.
“Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,” Manning wrote, claiming the cables expose “almost criminal political back dealings."
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange tweeted early Monday that "If Brad Manning, 22, is the 'Collateral Murder' & Garani massacre whistleblower then, without doubt, he's a national hero." He also referred to Lamo and Wired reporter Kevin Poulsen, who broke the story, as "notorious felons, informers and manipulators."
Assange also claimed the Washington Post had the "Collateral Murder" video of the helicopter attack for more than a year but did not release it to the public.
The Pentagon on Monday released the following statement: "United States Division-Center is currently conducting an investigation of Spc. Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Md., who is deployed with 2nd Brigade 10th Mountain Division, in Baghdad, Iraq.
"He was placed in pre-trial confinement for allegedly releasing classified information and is currently confined in Kuwait.
"The Department of Defense takes the management of classified information very seriously because it affects our national security, the lives of our Soldiers, and our operations abroad. The results of the investigation will be released upon completion of the investigation."