recommended reading

Manning Used Dell Computers With Expired Warranties in Highly-Secure Iraq Facility

Patrick Semansky/AP file photo

The soldier who allegedly aided anti-secrets website WikiLeaks did his dirty work in a secure chamber on a Dell laptop with an expired warranty, according to computer serial numbers disclosed during the trial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Manning stands accused of aiding the enemy, among other charges, by downloading a trove of classified data while assigned to Iraq as an intelligence analyst in 2009 and 2010. During court martial proceedings that began this week, prosecutors described the forensic evidence they collected at "the scene of the crime" -- a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SKIF, where Manning worked. 

Trial-watcher Robert David Graham, chief executive officer of cybersecurity firm Errata Security, read a transcript  of the hearings, which identified serial numbers on laptops found in the SKIF, and plugged the figures into vendor support sites.

Graham described his research findings on his blog: "We imagine SCIF's are super-secure rooms with powerful computers, like dramatized in the first Mission Impossible movie. What we see here is that it's actually a hodgepodge of outdated Dell laptops, in a trailer on a military base."

The search results retrieved for HLBJQF1 and 93H4QD1 were a Dell D530 and Dell D820, respectively.

Graham discovered the warranty information while querying the database. "By the time Manning used these computers in November 2010, the warrantee had recently expired," he observed. 

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.