In light of sensitive leaked Pentagon documents a few days ago, ongoing investigations indicate that they may have been initially disseminated via a computer game Discord server. Originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, the leaked documents contained top-secret information on specific details surrounding the war in Ukraine, U.S. allies, American penetration of Russian military plans, and more.
„The existence of the leaked cache was exposed as documents showing estimated casualties in the Bakhmut theatre of battle began circulating on public social networks last week.“ reports the Guardian. Interestingly, the reported figures show that Russian casualties are much lower than widely reported, while Ukrainian losses are far greater than widely reported.
But more interesting is how the material appears to have been disseminated over the net. According to media reports, the documents appear to have first surfaced on a small Discord server with a predominance of American participants. The information finally made its way through a Minecraft Discord server, and BBC was able to date the posts to the beginning of March using screenshots. Before U.S. officials opened an investigation last week, the secret information kept getting out there, finding its way through 4chan, Twitter, and the Russian social network Telegram.
The breach may have started on a Discord channel called WowMao, hosted by the same-named YouTuber, claims investigative news website Bellingcat. Over 30 documents were posted by a server user between March 1 and March 2, two days before they appeared on the Minecraft server “ Minecraft Earth Map.“ The documents weren’t taken down from the Discord server until April 7
On March 4, two users appeared to be arguing over Minecraft maps and the conflict in Ukraine, which led one user to publish ten documents regarding Ukraine along with the message „Here, have some leaked documents.“ The records appear to have been left unnoticed by government representatives on this server for over a month.
According to the WSJ report, the U.S. is evaluating the harm caused by the leak, which calls it „one of the most significant leaks of highly classified U.S. documents in recent history.“ Defense authorities say some documents seem real, while others might have been doctored. The leak’s initial source is yet unclear.
Discord is currently working with law enforcement to investigate the leaks. In a statement to Kotaku, a Discord spokesperson said in part, „It is Discord’s highest priority to ensure a safe experience for our users. When we are made aware of content that violates our policies, our Safety team investigates and takes the appropriate action, including banning users, shutting down servers, and engaging with law enforcement.”
Here’s a guy, who is working himself up into a frenzy, about that discord-server story: