When White House aides walk into the Situation Room, they are asked to leave their Blackberries and cell phones outside. The same is true for sensitive meetings in the Roosevelt Room, and dozens of other locations in and around the White House where classified business is conducted. So one would assume that soldiers in Iraq working with vast databases of classified information would be barred from, say, playing Lady Gaga CDs on their classified computers. But, alas, one would apparently be wrong.
Neither the government nor the Wikileaks has identified the source of the tens of thousands of secret documents that were released Sunday. But there is a lot to suggest that a 22-year-old intelligence analyst named Bradley Manning may have been involved. Manning has been arrested by the Army, and charged with illegally copying large amounts of data from a classified government computer, including “more than 50 classified United States Department of State cables.”
According to a hacker who said he spoke with Manning over instant message, Manning admitted to taking some of the data out of the computers by pretending to play Lady Gaga CDs in the disc drives, when he was in fact burning the information onto a compact disc. Then he would remove the information from a secure room by concealing the copied data inside a music CD case. As the hacker Adrian Lamo told the New York Times: “He indicated he disguised one as a Lady Gaga CD. . . . He said he lip-synched to blend in.”
[Insert Poker Face joke here.]