On Thursday afternoon, Adrian Lamo sat quietly in the corner of a Starbucks inside the Carmichael Safeway, tapping on a laptop that requires his thumbprint to turn on and answering his cell phone.
The first call, he said, came from an FBI agent asking about a death threat Lamo had received.
The second was from a Domino's pizza outlet. One of his many new enemies had left his name and number on a phony order.
The third was from Army counterintelligence, he said.
In other circumstances, it might be easy to dismiss his claims.
He is an unassuming 29-year-old who lives with his parents on a dead-end street in Carmichael and was recently released from a mental ward, where he was held briefly until doctors discovered his odd behavior stemmed from Asperger's syndrome.
On Thursday, he was dressed in black. A rumpled sport coat covered his bone-thin frame, and a Phillips-head screw pierced his left earlobe – a real screw, not an ear stud made to look like one.
He spoke slowly and methodically, sounding almost drunk, a side effect of medication he takes to treat Asperger's, anxiety and his rapid heartbeat.
But Lamo is the most famous computer hacker in the world at the moment, the subject of national security debates and international controversy – and a target of scorn in the hacker community that once celebrated him.
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