The text of The Source is taken from various American primary-source texts, mostly dating from 2005 to 2010.
The U.S. military documents known as the "Iraq War Logs" and "Afghan War Diary" form a central part. These classified communications, leaked from the Department of Defense by Pfc Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning), were release in 2010 by WikiLeaks and their media partners.
Manning, 22 years old at the time and stationed in Iraq, was reported to the authorities by the famed former hacker Adrian Lamo and arrested in May 2010. Manning had sought out Lamo online, drawn by his reputation as a hacker, his public support of WikiLeaks, and possibly his sexual orientation. (Manning was aware that Lamo is bisexual and worked for greater LGBT rights in the 1990s.) The two engaged in a far-ranging online chat, during which Manning spoke of the leaks, as well as her feelings about herself, her gender identity, life in the Army, U.S. foreign policy, secrecy and her hopes that her actions would lead to "worldwide discussion, debates and reforms." Excerpts of these chats, published by Wired.com, are set to music in this piece as well.
Other sources include tweets from Lamo defending his decision to turn in Manning, an array of questions that journalists posed to Julian Assange in 2010, and selections of interviews, radio, social media and popular music, drawn from mostly the same time period as the leaks.
(In August 2013, Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment on numerous counts of espionage, theft and computer fraud, as well as several military infractions. Following her sentencing, she made public her transgender status and requested the treatments necessary for her gender transition.)