Hacker who turned Manning in to FBI dies at 37

Adrian Lamo photographed in 2001. The hacker, who rose to prominence after reporting Chelsea Manning to the FBI, was found dead at the age of 37. Photo by Matthew Griffiths/Wikimedia Commons

March 18 (UPI) — Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker known for turning in WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, has died, Kansas authorities confirmed. He was 37.

Lamo’s body was found inside an apartment on Wednesday, Wichita Police Officer Charley Davidson said.

“There’s nothing suspicious about his death,” Davidson told The Wichita Eagle.

“With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and [acquaintances] that he is dead,” Lamo’s father Mario wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. “A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son.”

Lamo, a Colombian-American, was well known for turning Manning, a U.S. Army private, in to authorities after she confided in him through Internet chats about classified information she had sent to whistle-blower site WikiLeaks about airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning was arrested in May 2010 for violating the Espionage Act. Charges included leaking a video to Wikileaks of a helicopter attack that killed two Reuters reporters.

Manning served seven years of a 35-year sentence in the military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. President Barack Obama commuted her sentence, allowing her release last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union said that, even with the commuted sentence, Manning served the “longest sentence of any whistle-blower in the history of this country.” As a transgender person, Manning changed her name from Bradley to Chelsea while in prison. Since her release, Manning has put her hat in the ring for a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland.

Lamo told the Guardian in 2011 that the decision to turn in Manning, was “not one I decided to make, but was thrust upon me,” and it would be a “lasting regret,” if she served a long sentence.

In addition to the Manning leak, Lamo gained notoriety for hacking Microsoft, The New York Times and Yahoo in the early 2000s.

The cause of Lamo’s death has not been made public, as toxicology reports are still pending.

While some praised his hacking abilities, other people were sharply critical of his actions, resulting in his receiving regular death threats, friend Lorraine Murphy told The Wichita Eagle.

“He was charming and brilliant,” Murphy said. “If he hadn’t been, Manning never would have told him anything.”

Murphy added that Lamo lived a nomadic lifestyle. When she sent him a message in December, asking him about his whereabouts, he replied: “homeless in Witchita.”

“He bounced around a great deal, for no particular reason,” Murphy said through Facebook messages reported in The Witchita Eagle. “He was a believer in the Geographic Cure … Whatever goes wrong in your life, moving will make it better. And he knew people all over the country.”


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