Lady Gaga, WikiLeaks and :’(

November 30, 2010

WIKILEAKSWashington has been buzzing for days about Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old U.S. Army intelligence analyst at the heart of the investigation into the leak of a quarter-million State Department diplomatic cables by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

And then there’s the Lady Gaga connection.

Manning said he listened to the flamboyantly-dressed singer’s “Telephone” as he pulled the documents off a military server in Baghdad, according to a transcript of online chats Manning had with a former hacker, Adrian Lamo. The chats, which occurred earlier this year, were posted by Wired.com on June 10. Lamo confirmed details of the chats to Reuters.

“i would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga’ … erase the music … then write a compressed split file … no-one suspected a thing. listened and lip-synched to Lady Gaga’s Telephone while exfiltrating possibly the largest data spillage in american history,” Manning wrote in the uncapitalized, lightly punctuated style of a webchat.

“pretty simple, and unglamorous … weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counter-intelligence, inattentive signal analysis … a perfect storm”

“funny thing is … we transferred so much data on unmarked CDs … everyone did … videos … movies … music … all out in the open”

HUNGARY/For those who ask, reasonably enough, how an Army private apparently got access to this kind of government data, this looks like one possible answer.

Beyond the Gaga link, the transcript offers a picture of a lonely, unappreciated person, who several times used a teary-faced emoticon :’( to signal how he felt.

“i cant believe what im confessing to you :’( i’ve been isolated so long … i just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life … but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive … smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything … no-one took any notice of me :’(”

When he wasn’t at the computer, Manning was doing various chores that seem far outside the Iraq war zone:

“ran a barbecue … but no-one showed up … threw a lot of food away”

“regularly ignored … except when i had something essential … then it was back to ‘bring me coffee, then sweep the floor’”

“im not sure whether i’d be considered a type of ‘hacker’, ‘cracker’, ‘hacktivist’, ‘leaker’ or what … im just me … really”

A far cry from the outrageous, dress-to-be-noticed Lady Gaga.

Photo credits: REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh (U.S. pop singer Lady Gaga performs on stage during her concert in Budapest November 7, 2010)

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (A woman reads U.S. newspaper front pages about the latest Wikileaks document release outside the Newseum in Washington November 29, 2010)

5 comments

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That woman looks more like a “bearded fat lady”. Possibly a transsexual, or transvestite?
More likely just a fat guy. You’d stay out of trouble here by simply saying “person reads etc.” I mean, LOOK AT THE PICTURE!!

Posted by aitengri | Report as abusive

@aitengri you must be really old, I’m 60 and even I know who lady Gaga is, she is whats called a woman, you got to get out more.

Posted by Sinbad1 | Report as abusive

me .. me .. me .. me .. me.
He has a narcissism disorder, just like many Americans?
One symptom is they feel empty on the inside, like they don’t exist, without others’ attention.

Posted by finicky | Report as abusive

You are right, finickyn, that so many Americans seem to feel so much in need of attention. I think the celebrity emphasis in our daily media is partly to blame. But also, Americans raised since the 70′s on a steady dose of narcissism that no one fails in life, everyone is a winner, etc., ends up crerating a lot of self-absorbed people who think they are entitled to be famous, wealthy, loved and happy, regardless whether they have any skin in the game at all. When Lennon-assassin Mark Chapman, the teenaged killers from Columbine HS, etc. realized they weren’t getting enough attention, and drugs and alcohol didn’t help, then they killed people or do other outrageous acts to show people they really do matter. Sad.

Posted by Zenfull | Report as abusive

[...] Link: Lady Gaga, Wikileaks and :’(   (Reuters) [...]

Maybe it’s less about attention, and more about military war crimes? I like the efforts to smear the kid as an emotional light-weight. They are clever. Reflects on the high intelligence of the establishment media and their handlers.

Posted by Rfairb | Report as abusive

[...] For those of you who are too young to remember, personal computers first entered the corporate world as renegade devices.  And centralized corporate IT departments were not too thrilled when people insisted upon using their Apple computers after companies had standardized on Microsoft’s Windows platform.  The first generation of laptops created headaches for corporate IT departments and we won’t even address security issues raised by removable storage like CD/RW and flash drives. [...]

[...] of what these people are up against now. Any Army Private can (allegedly) download half our country’s secrets and walk out with them on a Lady Gaga CD. A retail chain can get hacked via WiFi from the parking [...]

[...] old online stalwart. Leakers are often not prodigy hackers: Manning allegedly used a CD-RW and a Lady Gaga diversion story to download diplomatic cables, which were apparently as secure as an open cookie jar. In other [...]

[...] old online stalwart. Leakers are often not prodigy hackers: Manning allegedly used a CD-RW and a Lady Gaga diversion story to download diplomatic cables, which were apparently as secure as an open cookie jar. In other [...]

[...] old online stalwart. Leakers are often not prodigy hackers: Manning allegedly used a CD-RW and a Lady Gaga diversion story to download diplomatic cables, which were apparently as secure as an open cookie jar. In other [...]

[...] old online stalwart. Leakers are often not prodigy hackers: Manning allegedly used a CD-RW and a Lady Gaga diversion story to download diplomatic cables, which were apparently as secure as an open cookie jar. In other [...]