The Collateral Murders video, released in April by Wikileaks and showing the killing of two Reuters staff and other civilians by the US military in Baghdad, was a huge international news story. And now it seems, the identity of the ‘leaker’ has been leaked.

A 22-year-old US army intelligence analyst, SPC Bradley Manning, has now been arrested for leaking classified information, although he’s yet to be charged.

But it’s not just the Collatereal Murder video than Manning leaked to Wikileaks. He’s been accused of leaking several major classified items, including video of a Garani air strike that killed 25 civilians, a document where the US military planned to destroy Wikileaks, and possibly 260,000 classified diplomatic cables.

One interesting side note of this story is that Manning was dobbed in by well-known computer hacker, Adrian Lamo. Lamo knows what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the law.

He’s notorious for infiltrating the New York Times‘ internal system, as well as the systems of Microsoft, Yahoo (where he rewrote news articles) and Lexis-Nexis. Because of this, he was arrested and put under home imprisonment for six months. There’s now a film about Lamo due for release this year.

So why did Lamo then dob in a fellow hacker and trouble maker? National security concerns. Manning had access to thousands of highly classified documents about the US military.

Last week New Yorker magazine offered a fascinating insight into how Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, and the rest of the Wikileaks team prepared, encoded and enabled the original Collateral Murder videos for release. It’s lengthy, but it’s an incredible look inside the organisation described as a “media insurgency”.

The story is one set against the cold backdrop of Iceland, where nervous, paranoid staff hover around a war room dubbed the ‘Bunker’ and go through the 38 minutes of raw footage from the killings. In the New Yorker article, Assange will not reveal the source of the footage, only saying that “the person was unhappy about the attack”.

Perhaps comparisons can be made between Assange and Manning. Both want the truth to be made public about atrocities being perpetrated by the US military.

Will Manning be regarded by history as a whistleblower or a traitor?

Lamo is expected to make a comment to the media shortly about Manning’s arrest. Stay tuned, the Wikileaks killing story isn’t dead yet.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.