Glenn Greenwald writes:
Yesterday — more than a full year after it first released selected portions of purported chat logs between Bradley Manning and government informant Adrian Lamo (representing roughly 25% of the logs) — Wired finally published the full logs (with a few redactions). From the start, Wired had the full chat logs and was under no constraints from its source (Lamo) about what it could publish; it was free to publish all of it but chose on its own to withhold most of what it received.
Last June — roughly a week after Wired‘s publication of the handpicked portions — I reviewed the long and complex history between Lamo and Wired Editor Kevin Poulsen, documented the multiple, serious inconsistencies in Lamo’s public claims (including ones in a lengthy interview with me), and argued that Wired should “either publish all of the chat logs, or be far more diligent about withholding only those parts which truly pertain only to Manning’s private and personal matters and/or which would reveal national security secrets.” Six months later, in December, I documented that numerous media reports about Manning and WikiLeaks were based on Lamo’s claims about what Manning told him in these chats — claims that could not be verified or disputed because Wired continued to conceal the relevant parts of the chat logs — and again called for “as much pressure as possible be applied to Wired to release those chat logs or, at the very least, to release the portions about which Lamo is making public claims or, in the alternative, confirm that they do not exist.”
Now that Wired has released the full chats, I just want to highlight a few passages that they concealed, and dispassionately lay out several key facts, so that everyone can decide for themselves if Wired told the truth about their conduct and assess the journalistic propriety of it. Before I first wrote about Manning’s arrest and the conduct of Wired‘s reporting of it, I interviewed Poulsen by email and published the full exchange. Just look at what he told me about the material Wired was withholding:
GG: Last question: you published what were clearly excerpts of the chats between Lamo and Manning – did he provide you with the whole unedited version and if, so, do you intend to publish it? Or is what you published everything he gave you?
KP: He did, but I don’t think we’ll be publishing more any time soon. The remainder is either Manning discussing personal matters that aren’t clearly related to his arrest, or apparently sensitive government information that I’m not throwing up without vetting first.
So Poulsen claimed that the concealed portions were either (1) personal matters or (2) sensitive government information that needed vetting (Wired made a similar claim when releasing the log excerpts, claiming that what was withheld was either “portions of the chats that discuss deeply personal information about Manning or that reveal apparently sensitive military information”). As it turns out, while some of what Wired withheld was certainly personal information about Manning of no newsworthy relevance (and nobody, including me, ever objected to that material being withheld), substantial portions of what they withheld do not even arguably fall within those categories, but instead provide vital context and information about what actually happened here. To say that Poulsen’s claims about what Wired withheld were factually false is to put it generously.