It's odd to find myself in the position of writing a defense of someone who should be held up as a model.

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The excerpts we published included the passages referencing both the file server and the encrypted chat room.

[Update 12/31/10 EST: The When we didn't meet the urgent Yuletide deadline he'd imposed on himself to publish a piece about a 10-day-old newspaper article, he wrote in his column that we "ignored the inquiries," adding: "This is not the behavior of a journalist seeking to inform the public, but of someone eager, for whatever reasons, to hide the truth." story repeated Lamo's personal theory that Manning passed some information to Wiki Leaks by physically handing off disks to friends at MIT. government] source close to the case.") We've heard and read that theory before, but have not reported it, for lack of evidence.

The key question (to us): At what point does everything Manning disclosed in confidence become fair game for reporting, no matter how unconnected to his leaking or the court-martial proceeding against him, and regardless of the harm he will suffer?

That's a debate we have had internally at Wired with every major development in the case.

15 story quotes Lamo as saying that Manning described uploading his leaks to Assange via a dedicated file server, and that he communicated with Assange over encrypted chat.

The story says those portions of the conversations aren't included in the excerpts we published.

The result was our groundbreaking report in June confirming the arrest of Pfc.

Bradley Manning on suspicion of passing classified material to Wiki Leaks, a central thread in what is arguably one of the most important news stories of the year.

Successfully winning trust from people with little to gain and much to lose, while vigorously verifying the facts at hand and maintaining the highest ethical standards, is a balancing act that few reporters ever master completely.