“I knew that we were talking about a WikiLeaks source, and I still didn’t know the name,” says Poulsen. “I still didn’t have any way to really check out the story.”
Poulsen asked Lamo for the chat transcripts with Manning several times, only to be denied. Then Lamo told Poulsen that he had a second meeting scheduled with the FBI.
“That’s really when I got a lot more interested in the story, because part of my thinking in the story at this point is that Adrian was just taking very seriously some random person who’d contacted him out of the blue,” says Poulsen. “I still thought there was a good possibility that there was nothing to it, that this was just some person who had made up a story to get Adrian’s attention.”
But the fact that a second meeting was being set up made Poulsen realize that the government was taking Lamo’s allegations seriously. On May 26, he asked for the chat logs again, and Lamo agreed to provide them on two conditions: that he treat them as embargoed until Lamo assented, and that Poulsen would have to drive to the Sacramento area and meet him—Lamo thought them too sensitive to send electronically.
On May 27, before Lamo’s scheduled second meeting with the feds was set to take place that afternoon at 4 pm, Poulsen spent a few hours with Lamo.
“That was when I became aware of the full details of what Manning claimed to have leaked, and that’s when I learned Manning’s name,” says Poulsen. He says he drove away with the chats on a thumb drive around 3 pm.
Lamo told Poulsen on the morning of May 28 that, at the previous day’s meeting, he had been told Manning had been arrested the day before—May 26. Lamo did not lift the embargo until June 1. Zetter says she was brought on to the story on the evening of June 2.
Wired’s original article has this sentence:
“I wouldn’t have done this if lives weren’t in danger,” says Lamo, who discussed the details with Wired.com following Manning’s arrest.
That phrasing (“details”) was used, Poulsen says, to imply that Wired knew something about the story before Manning’s arrest. And while, according to Poulsen’s timeline, it is accurate that their first detailed discussion of the case came after Manning’s arrest, neither Poulsen nor Lamo knew so at the time.
“It’s clear to me WikiLeaks is upset by the news itself, and they’re just lashing out and shooting the messenger,” says Poulsen.