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US Intel Links Pentagon Leaks To Discord Group

Darian Douraghy
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American open-source intelligence analysts have claimed that a group of sensitive documents that were leaked from the Pentagon was first posted on the video game chat platform Discord by a user who was attempting to beat out another user in a debate about the Ukraine war. 

One America News reported that ten of the papers were shared on a server called “Minecraft Earth Map” as early as March 4, not being seen on other servers until a month later.

There were at least two different variations of the documents, with The Guardian reporting that one was doctored in order to downplay Russian deaths and exaggerate those on the Ukrainian side, while the other showed accurate numbers. The version displaying accurate information came from a 4chan leak, according to the outlet. It also reported that different “pro-Russian” Telegram channels were seen passing around a set of related documents. 


Investigative outlet Bellingcat covered the leak, finding that the first grouping of documents was shared following a tussle between two Discord users on the Minecraft Earth Map server over the war in Ukraine. One user wrote, “here, have some leaked documents” and shared 10 documents about Ukraine, some of which were reportedly labeled as “Top Secret.”

This user apparently first discovered those documents on a separate Discord server run by the Filipino YouTuber WowMao, along with “dozens” of other unverified documents about Ukraine. The Guardian noted that the files still may have initially originated at a different server called “Thug Shaker Central,” potentially first being shared in mid-January.

A report from Fox News revealed that the Pentagon is jarred by the leak, characterizing it as the “worst leak of secret documents since Edward Snowden.”

These revelations do not mark the first time a sensitive data breach has been linked to a dispute surrounding video games. A report from July 2021 revealed that a user who said he is a commander and gunnery instructor in the British army uploaded intel about the armor structure of a tank in an effort to settle a debate. The player was arguing over the makeup of a tank in a popular video game called “War Thunder,” asserting the designers had neglected to properly model it. 

It proved such a controversy that the developers of War Thunder ended up enacting new rules against the disposition of classified material on their forums.

“We always delete posts containing classified or restricted information from our forum as soon as possible,” Anton Yudintsev, the founder of Hungarian developer Gaijin Entertainment, commented after a War Thunder leak in January. “We forbid our users to share documents like this on our platforms…  it’s both illegal and pointless, so they should never do that.”