Adrian Lamo made an appearance today at the military pretrial of Pfc. Bradley Manning which is being held at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Lamo is often referred to as the “world’s most hated hacker” for his role in befriending and then betraying Manning to US military authorities. Manning now stands accused of downloading thousands of classified and sensitive documents which ultimately ended up on WikiLeaks.
Lamo said he had not been granted immunity or any other government assurance for appearing at the pre-trial, claiming he was there to “ensure the truth is presented.”
However, Criminal Investigation Division Special Agent Antonio Edwards told the military hearing Lamo had served as an informant for the Army from 2010 to last summer.
During his testimony, the former hacker confirmed he suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, but was quick to emphasize that medication had helped him “function more normally than usual” when he first interacted with Manning over the Internet.
“I was asking the questions out of curiosity. I am a curious individual. I have no particular love of law enforcement,” Lamo said in testimony obtained by The Guardian.
“I believe [Manning] was reaching out for affirmation and for a like-minded individual that would act as a similar figure in their life as Julian Assange… [I told Manning] you can treat this [chat] as an interview or as a confession.”
Lamo noted he was motivated to turn Manning in to the authorities almost immediately after “bradass87” (allegedly Manning) contacted him via AOL instant messenger to discuss “outrageous” acts the US military had committed.
Mark Johnson, a contractor for the Army, testified that Manning’s personal Apple laptop seized from his military quarters contained records of an Internet chat with Lamo – with one referencing a controversial 2007 US Apache helicopter attack which killed number of Iraqi civilians.
Manning is likely to face a life sentence – rather than the death penalty – if he is convicted of downloading and transferring classified information.