NYT: Manning used Lady Gaga album to bypass DoD security

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking classified data while serving in Iraq, apparently disguised the data as a music CD by Lady Gaga in order to smuggle it past military security, according to a report from the New York Times.

Manning was arrested in May and charged last week on suspicion of downloading classified videos, a PowerPoint presentation and more than 150,000 diplomatic cables onto his personal computer. Manning is also accused of leaking a video of a July 12, 2007, airstrike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several civilians, including two Reuters employees.

Former hacker Adrian Lamo said Manning confessed to him that he leaked the video to the website Wikileaks, as well as a second classified video of the infamous 2009 Garani airstrike in Afghanistan. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said his organization has the video and is working to decrypt it.

Sources told NYT that Manning hummed and lip-synched to songs to make it appear he was using the classified computer’s CD player to listen to music. In reality, he was downloading classified data in violation of the law.

The Pentagon banned the use of thumb drives and other removable storage devices in November 2008 for security reasons, but that ban did not apply to internal CD drives.

Lamo said Manning hid the data CDs inside music albums to avoid detection, citing the Gaga album specifically.