SF based journalist received leaked military documents

July 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
One of the biggest leaks of classified documents in U.S. history involves more than 90,000 classified intelligence documents describing the struggles of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. It turns out a San Francisco-based journalist had access to the e-mails of the suspected leaker.

For weeks, San Francisco-based Wired Magazine has been reporting on the leaks from Army Spc. Bradley Manning. Kevin Poulsen, a senior editor at Wired.com, had access to Manning's e-mails from a Sacramento-area computer hacker who was Manning's confidant but later turned Manning into the Pentagon.

Poulsen says he didn't really believe it when he first opened the e-mails from Manning. Manning readily admitted that he was stealing classified information on the war in Iraq, including reports of U.S. forces killing innocent civilians.

"He described this as being a kind of crisis of conscious for him where he began to believe that instead of doing good in Bagdad, he was part of something that was doing bad," says Poulsen.

Poulsen says Manning described how he down downloaded the classified documents onto CDs that he had labeled "Lady Gaga," pretending to listen to music while dumping classified files onto the disc.

"And downloading the information, burning it onto the CD-ROM while lip syncing to the music, so that to everybody else it would appear that he was just listening to music and not recording information," says Poulsen.

In his e-mails to the hacker Manning wrote: "I can't believe what I'm confessing to you... I've been isolated so long... I just wanted to be nice and live a normal life... but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive... smart enough to know what's going on, but helpless to do anything... no-one took any notice of me."

However, the military has noticed him now -- Manning is in jail in Kuwait. The founder of Wikileaks, the site that has published the classified documents says there is no evidence is the source of the Afghanistan leaks and Poulsen says the same.

"Today's leak is huge news, but it still isn't definitively linked to Bradley Manning. We don't know Manning had anything to do with this Afghan log," says Poulsen.

The White House has said investigators aren't looking at anybody besides Manning.

But a senior Pentagon official told ABC's Martha Raddatz, "the Pentagon doesn't have a high degree of confidence of who is behind this latest leak."

Some of the most disturbing reports describe Pakistani intelligence agents collaborating with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan to attack American forces.


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