Wikileaks/Manning "cablegate" case from last year is Adrian Lamo, the "homeless hacker" who snitched on Manning to the feds and led to the latter's imprisonment. I first met Lamo about ten years ago, when he surprisingly took me up on an offer to spend the night in my New York apartment and come in to talk to a high school networking class I was teaching at the time. (He was called the homeless hacker because he didn't have a fixed address, not because he was living on the streets.)A central figure in the famous
Since then, he has gotten a journalism degree and has settled a lawsuit with the New York Times for breaking into their open proxy servers, one of his common hacking tactics.
Lamo is a curious character, to say the least. He possesses an almost natural aptitude with electronic devices: my daughter recalls a problem with her cell phone that took him a matter of seconds to resolve, despite the fact that he had never seen her brand of phone before. He has very deliberate manner and a quietness and gentleness about him that differs from the many geeks that I have known.
In this podcast recording, I spoke to him yesterday from his home (at some "undisclosed location") about his role in the Wikileaks case, how he decided to give up Manning, and what he has been up to since then. "Who would have thought that when we first met ten years ago that I would have been involved in the single biggest intelligence leak in history," he told me. How true. He continues to work as a security consultant, helping corporations understand better security practices as well as going out on the speaking circuit. Ironically, his preferred method of communications these days is FedEx! "I'm a little bit of a Luddite these days," he said. He also thinks that his actions were justified for the greater good of our nation's overall security posture, and to help ensure further freedoms.