A major leak of classified US documents may have begun that has shaken Washington and revealed new details about its intelligence gathering in a chat (chat room) on a popular social media platform between online players OR players.
It all allegedly started with a chat or speech on the most diverse topics related to the war in Ukraine, held at Discord, a platform that hosts real-time voice, video and text chats for people with similar interests to share and communicate.
As part of the discussions on Ukraine, according to a member of the chat, an unidentified user shared documents presumably classified, typing them first with the user’s thoughts and then, for a few months, started posting images of documents. with creases in them.
The posts seem to have gone unnoticed outside the chat until a few weeks agowhen they began to circulate more widely on social networks and they were picked up by the major media. The leaks alarmed US officials and prompted a Justice Department investigation.
Records provided amazing details and curiously timely US and NATO assistance to Ukraine. They also provided tips on efforts to help Ukraine in its war with Russia, including an early spring offensive.
The scale of the exhibition has yet to be determined. It’s also unclear whether any governments have been working to share the documents or tamper with them.
Asked on Monday whether the US government was actually waiting for more intelligence documents to surface online, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby replied: “The sincere and honest answer to your question is: we do not know. And is that something that worries us? You’re absolutely right, it is.”
Chris Meagher, the top Pentagon spokesman, urged caution”promote or expand any of these documents”, adding that “it seems that the slides They have been manipulated.”
But the breach highlights the difficulties governments in the United States and other countries face in obtaining classified information.
Congressional pundits have long warned the weaknesses of US counterintelligence., on the challenges of rough tracking 3 million people with security clearance and about agencies that produce and classify so much information that the United States cannot do it. you can’t control it reliably.
“I think intelligence agencies have adapted and gotten better at preventing all kinds of mass electronic leaks,” said Kellen Dwyer, a former Justice Department attorney who was part of the team that filed a federal lawsuit against the founder. by WikiLeaks Julian Assange. “But clearly, they didn’t get good enough”.
For several months
The Associated Press interviewed a person who said he was a member of the Discord chat group where documents have been appearing for several months. The person, who said she was 18, declined to give her name, citing concerns for her personal safety.
The AP could not independently confirm many details shared by the person e the original chat room has been removed.
The AP has reviewed images of documents that have appeared on discussion forums in recent weeks. They include a top-secret analysis of the deepest ties of Russia’s FSB intelligence service and agencies in the UAE, the oil-rich Persian Gulf nation that hosts a US air base and cooperates on many security issues with Washington.
Citing intelligence, March analysis says FSB officers were caught claiming UAE had treaty with Russia “working together against US and British intelligence agencies.”
A spokesman for the Emirati government said the allegations “they are categorically false”. US officials from various agencies declined to comment on the document.
AP also saw an analysis of what could happen in the war between Russia and Ukraine in some scenarios “wild card” (meaning low probability, but high impact), even if Russian President Vladimir Putin or Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were to die. The analysis is marked secret, one level of classification below top secret.
Nuclear bombs and the death of Zelensky
If Putin has fired his top military advisers and the war has escalated, the document speculates could authorize the use of tactical nuclear weapons if “the elites question Putin’s decision-making process and Russian forces cannot overcome personnel and equipment shortages”.
THE Zelensky’s deathat worst, it could lead to Europe a limit arms shipmentssays the document. But a “high-profile Ukrainian leader” could also maintain domestic and foreign support, he says.
Investigative journalism organization Bellingcat, which specializes in investigating social media and open source logging, interviewed the same person and two other people in a Discord chat room called “Central Thug Shaker.
From Discord to the New York Times
Bellingcat reported on Saturday that documents from Central Thug Shaker they appear to have been shared in another chat room, “WowMao”.
From WowMao, the documents it seems to have spread more widely and eventually became the subject of an article in the New York Times on Thursday, which first reported that the Pentagon I was investigating a rape.
The Discord user who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity says he’s been on a call with other people, including the person who for months has been posting documents he said are classified, when the Times story broke.
“We all freaked out,” said the Discord user, “we couldn’t believe what was happening.”
The person claimed that his main motivation for speaking to the media was to clean up a third party’s reputation, which uses the pseudonym “Lucca”.
Lucca’s posts with many of the documents were widely shared on Twitter and other social media. These documents were reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post and other news outlets.
Lucca “is only a child”, said the user who spoke to the AP. “I was constantly posting it to annoy people.”
The user declined to identify the person who originally uploaded the documents to Thug Shaker Central or to confirm whether that person worked for the US government. You referred to the user who originally uploaded the material by the nickname, “the OG”
But the user said the person who first posted the documents he did not appear to be driven by ideology or expose government secrets extensively, but rather to impress the people in your group.
If that person were to be arrested, the user who spoke to the AP said they had copies of “more than hundreds” of pages of files.
He wanted to protect his colleagues in the now-defunct chat room, but he also believed the documents contained secrets that the Americans they should know.
“In case the OG gets arrested, I’m barring them all,” he said.
___ Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor and Eric Tucker in Washington, and Michelle R. Smith in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this report.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.