The Painful IM Confessions of the Man Behind WikiLeaks' Infamous Release, in Their Entirety

While WikiLeaks was changing the history of journalism, diplomacy, secrecy, and the internet, its chief source—Bradley Manning, a lonely American intelligence operator—reached out to Adrian Lamo—a hacker he thought he could trust. Wired's published their correspondence.

Fragments of the IM logs, dispatched via satellite internet while Manning was in Iraq, reveal a relationship that went far beyond a mutual interest in online security. Manning is incessant in describing his emotional frailty—referring to isolation, suffering, depression, and suicide:

(1:57:33 PM) bradass87: im pretty reckless at this point
(1:57:53 PM) bradass87: but im trying not to end up with 5.56mm rounds in my forehead…
(1:58:38 PM) bradass87: that i fired..

(11:57:49 AM) bradass87: im sorry, im a total mess right now… :'(
(11:58:33 AM) bradass87: and little does anyone know, but among this "visible" mess, theres the mess i created that no-one knows about yet
(11:58:59 AM) bradass87: i have no idea what im doing right now
(12:00:34 PM) bradass87: im so sorry

(2:19:50 PM) bradass87: ive had too many chinks in my armor :'(
(2:20:52 PM) bradass87: im a broken soul =L

The two also shared something of a romantic tone, if only by internet standards:

(3:28:10 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: you're kinda cute.

(03:00:35 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: but you make a cute boy! ;>

(03:30:11 PM) bradass87: my prominent adams apple is the only issue i was concerned about
(03:30:26 PM) bradass87: so i wore a turtleneck, and had collar up with my coat
(03:30:29 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: yeah, i'd say that re. the former.
(03:30:38 PM) info@adrianlamo.com: which i find cute.

The logs—massive in scope—depict nothing resembling a reciprocal relationship. An alliance. Manning, a fractured kid, leaks his ailing psyche all over Lamo, who allows it—encourages it, even. Of course, this emotional venting came along with a confession of leaking secret documents on a scale unprecedented in history. And then, Lamo turned him in to the police. The extent to which Lamo served as a wide-open ear for Manning's suffering and a counter to his loneliness sure counters his claim that he "[wishes] to hell that Bradley Manning had never said a word to me." [Wired]