It's probably nothing, Poulsen said. The source in question, an ex-hacker named Adrian Lamo, often sees himself as at the center of important events in need of public attention. But sometimes, Poulsen added, he's right.
Acknowledging the long shot, Poulsen wanted to drive up to Sacramento, California, to meet Lamo in person and try to get a copy of the alleged chats. I agreed.
What followed was a days-long negotiation of two steps forward, one step back, familiar to investigative reporters whose social networks and reporting skills sometimes put them in touch with skittish sources holding the keys to serious news. The result was our groundbreaking report in June confirming the arrest of Pfc. Bradley Manning on suspicion of passing classified material to Wikileaks, a central thread in what is arguably one of the most important news stories of the year.