And again, the just-released chat logs give plenty of reason to believe that Lamo came to understand that Manning had found him because of an Internet search, perhaps on Twitter—because it seems that’s exactly what Manning wrote. From the logs:
(10:38:37 AM) email@example.com: I’ve been a friend to Wikileaks—I’ve repeatedly asked people who download Hackers Wanted to donate.
(10:38:44 AM) firstname.lastname@example.org: And donated myself.
(10:38:49 AM) bradass87: i know
(10:38:59 AM) bradass87: actually how i noticed you
(10:39:20 AM) email@example.com: Whether I’ve given material, isn’t material. Semi-pun intended.
(10:39:28 AM) bradass87: during my usual open source collection [twitter, news.google.com, etc.]
(That bracketed text appears in the original, along with many other instances where Manning typed part or all of a particular instant message within brackets.)
So, to review, we have Manning writing that he came to “notice” Lamo while searching open sources, specifically mentioning Twitter as a place he had searched. While the precise chain of call-and-response can be obscured in Internet chat logs, the simplest explanation is that Manning wrote that he was aware of Lamo’s solicitation for donations in relation to the film (“i know”) and that that was “actually how i noticed you.”
And just where did Lamo solicit these donations? Just the day before this chat took place, Lamo had indeed sent a tweet calling, as he said in both his June 2010 conversation with Greenwald and in this chat transcript, for downloaders of “Hackers Wanted” to donate to WikiLeaks. It looks like Lamo also posted a call for people who downloaded the pirated documentary to donate to WikiLeaks in the comment section of Poulsen’s May 20 post on the film.
Based on the logs, Lamo was incorrect to say, as he did in his interview with Greenwald, that Manning “proffered” the Twitter explanation only after he asked why Manning had contacted him.
But a plain reading suggests that he did offer it up. It seems worth underlining that this interaction, this phrase (“actually how I noticed you”), is the only indication we have from Manning on how he came to find Lamo—and, in its essentials, it supports the most detailed account that Lamo has given.
Greenwald, in his post, claims that single-sentence reports in CNET and in The Washingtonian that Manning contacted Lamo “after” reading a profile of him that Poulsen also published on May 20 contradict what Lamo said in their interview. Greenwald is right that neither of these brief mentions bring up the possibility of the Twitter searching that their conversation had featured in relative detail. But this isn’t necessarily contradictory information; the fact that something happened “after” something does not necessarily mean it happened “because” of something.
And it seems almost certain that Manning, who in the logs suggested he was slowly downloading and watching “Hackers Wanted,” would have read Poulsen’s profile of Lamo before this chat. The profile was published just the day before Wired says the chats started. In the just-released logs, Manning brags of having scoured classified networks for information on Lamo. If he took that step, why not try Google? Well, before the exchange on donations and Twitter searches, Manning writes that he had started to “familiarize myself with whats available in open source” on Lamo, meaning what was available on the open Internet.
The chat logs make no specific mention of the profile. But it is hard to believe that Manning wouldn’t have already read it, and not hard to believe, given the timing of their chats and Manning’s plain interest in Lamo, that Lamo would have assumed he had already read it. That would mean that, from Lamo’s point of view, Manning likely reached out to him “after” reading the profile.