On June 2010, threat analyst Adrian Lamo, in recent years most famous for participating in (and publishing logs of) chats with Bradley Manning, which resulted in Manning being detained and charged for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, received a message via Facebook. It read:
“My name is Sigurdur Ingi i am a journalist living and working at the newspaper Pressan.is in Iceland. And i was interesting in getting in touch with your regarding the Wikileaks source being arrested and perhaps get an interview with you that i would later translate into Icelandic, this case about the source being arrested is making a huge influence here in Iceland. People here in Iceland “love” Wikileaks couse couple of months ago they released the Kaupthing Bank Loan book. People are interested in the case. Could you please contact me via email [REDACTED] or via phone.”
As far as the Reykjavík Grapevine knows, Sigurður Ingi was not working, nor has he ever worked, at the online news site Pressan.is
Adrian did not trust Siggi and the interaction went no further. Two years later, in October 2012, he received another Facebook message from Siggi:
“Hello Adrian, My name is Sigurdur as my facebook states, but my other name is “Q” and ofted reffered to as the chief of staff, chief of volunteers or somethings else, at WikiLeaks, my old alias was “PenguinX” you state in your facebook comment that Simon at BBC might be interested on talking to people in relation to anonymous or lulzsec, do you think that Simon would be interested in talking to people like me? i can’t say im a very popular person at the Wikileaks group right now, but iv’e had my moment like someone said.”
“Absolutely. What’s your e-mail address?
Oh, and um I’m sorry I missed your message from 2010, it was kind of a busy time for me. :x”
And Siggi replied:
“Yeah understandable, and that was basically me pretending to be a news reporter, trying get some information that wasn’t know, for Assange
so im sorry about that to :)”
When asked what he thinks Siggi’s intent was, Lamo stated “Because of ST’s penchant for misrepresentation, it’s difficult to ascertain the veracity of his representations regarding JA’s [Julian Assange’s] involvement in his contact with me—it’s possible that he was freelancing and simply thought JA would be positively disposed towards his actions, but may not have actually been aware of them a priori. I have no particular reason to doubt this particular representation, but the element of doubt exists”
We asked Siggi about his reasons for contacting Lamo. He replied via email:
“Assange asked that he’d be ‘looked into.’ I contacted him under the pretense that I was a reported looking for an interview. Then it was tried to get information out of him (because of Manning).”
Lamo said via email that: “to some extent I can understand the motivation—when I was his age, I was not always particularly judicious in my choices, and I was rather cavalier about how my actions affected others. I imagine that the entire affair must have been exciting for him while it lasted, and I don’t think he’s really internalized the seriousness of it—he seems to still be treating it as a bit of fun. On the other hand, JA involved ST [Siggi] in affairs that he may not have been mature enough to understand the gravity of—it’s my same take as with Manning, that JA, as the older and more sophisticated individual, should have been aware that these people were getting in over their heads, and that things would probably end poorly for them. Perhaps he was. I can certainly understand the concept of having values that matter more than another person’s well-being, even if I disagree with the execution of the ones in play here.”
This article is part of our issue 10 feature, which spotlights the ongoing, interconnected saga of WikiLeaks, IMMI and the rise of the surveillance state.
Read our interview with former WikiLeaks volunteer/FBI informant “Siggi the Hacker” here.
Read WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson’s response here.
Read about espionage in Iceland here.
Read about the US’ attempts to gather intelligence on WikiLeaks head Julian Assange by spying on Icelanders (including an MP) here.
Read about the dead or dying dream of Iceland as “whistleblower haven” here.