Says he met, exchanged e-mails with private accused of providing records, but denies role
August 1, 2010
A recent MIT graduate acknowledged yesterday that he met and exchanged multiple e-mails with the Army private accused of providing thousands of classified war records to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, but he adamantly denied any role in the massive intelligence leak.
The 23-year-old graduate, who spoke on condition that his name not be published, said investigators from the US Army Criminal Investigations Division interviewed him several months ago to find out whether he or others in the local computer hacker community helped the primary suspect in the leaks, Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.
The Army arrested Manning in May and later charged him with providing a classified video of a US helicopter attack and more than 150,000 classified diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Military officials have also identified him as the chief suspect in last month%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99s disclosure of more than 90,000 classified documents from the Afghan war to the website.
%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9CI categorically deny that I had any role in helping Manning leak anything,%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99 the former student said in a phone interview. He said he met Manning at MIT in January, when the private was on leave, and later exchanged as many as 10 e-mails with him about security issues.
%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9CI did not help him or know about it before it happened,%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99 he said.
The former student said he knows people who work for WikiLeaks, but he said he has never met or corresponded with Julian Assange, the website%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99s founder. %C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9CIt%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99s impossible to be in this community and not know people in WikiLeaks,%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99 he said, refer ring to computer hackers. The former student says his specialty is the study of secure information systems and how to penetrate them.
A senior defense official confirmed yesterday that Army investigators, who are working with the FBI, interviewed several students in the Boston area with apparent ties to Manning. Officials at both the FBI and MIT declined to comment.
Another Pentagon official familiar with the investigation, who was also not authorized to speak publicly about the case, said law enforcement officials do not yet consider the individuals accomplices.
%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%9CThese are people that knew him and might know things about what he may have done,%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99%C3%A2%C2%80%C2%99 the Pentagon official said.
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