The Mysterious Death Of The Hacker Who Turned In Chelsea Manning


By Nina Temple-Raston
I’ll Be Seeing You / NPR (9/19/19)

Debbie Scroggin and her husband live at the end of a series of gravel roads in a lonesome part of Kansas. It is the kind of place where, Debbie says, “you have to drive 15 minutes to get anywhere.” Getting to the Scroggin house involves turning onto a desolate ribbon of gravel that cuts through fields as far as the eye can see. It was easy to think that someone might come here to either get lost or be forgotten. Scroggin remembers Adrian Lamo arriving on a night train with nothing but a broken suitcase and a hangdog expression.

“He was shorter than I thought he would be,” she told me as we sat in her living room. “I saw pictures of him when he was young.” He was slight, dimpled and smiling, back then. The Adrian Lamo who stepped off the train was thick, stooped and “had on gloves and a hat and this long black trench coat, full of things.”

The sheer bulk of the coat demanded attention. Its contents rattled and clicked when Lamo walked, and the look of it was dramatic enough to compel the ushers at the Scroggins’ church to pull the couple aside and ask, “Who is that guy, is he with you?” Bill Scroggin, Debbie’s husband, remembers saying: “If I told you who that guy really was, you’d never believe me.”

Lamo was, back in the early 2000s, one of the world’s most famous hackers. As a young man, he broke into a who’s who of corporate America and couldn’t wait to tell anyone who would listen precisely how he did it.

“He was like the Tony Robbins of the hacking world,” Lorraine Murphy, an old friend of his, said. “It is one thing to be gifted at hacking and another to be able to tell the world about it.” Lamo did both. In happier times, he had legions of followers — long before Twitter made that a thing — and he loved the attention. “He wanted to be a household name,” Murphy said. “Fame. Media. That’s what motivated him.”

It turns out, the thing that made Lamo anything close to a household name had less to do with hacking and more to do with a random Internet chat he had with a young soldier in Iraq in 2010 and the decision that followed it. …

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UK Worsens Julian Assange’s Persecution As US Seeks Extradition

Pushback With Aaron Maté
Grayzone (9/19/19)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been ordered to remain behind bars until hearings over a US extradition effort begin next year. Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, says that UK authorities are holding Assange in worse conditions than accused terrorists and ‘making it impossible’ for him to prepare his case.

Link to 13-Minute Video