Leaked documents may have origin in chatroom for gamers
A major leak of classified U.S. documents that's shaken Washington and exposed new details of its intelligence gathering may have started in a chatroom on a social media platform popular with gamers.
Held on the Discord platform, which hosts real-time voice, video and text chats, a discussion originally created to talk about a range of topics turned to the war in Ukraine. As part of debates about Ukraine, according to one member of the chat, an unidentified poster shared documents that were allegedly classified, first typing them out with the poster's own thoughts, then, as of a few months ago, beginning to post images of papers with folds in them.
The posts appear to have gone unnoticed outside of the chat until a few weeks ago, when they began to circulate more widely on social media and get picked up by major news outlets. The leaks have alarmed U.S. officials and sparked a Justice Department investigation.
The records have provided startling and surprisingly timely details of U.S. and NATO assistance to Ukraine. They also provided clues about efforts to assist Ukraine in its war with Russia, including an anticipated spring offensive.
The scale of the exposure has yet to be determined. Also unclear is whether any government worked to share the documents or manipulate them.
Asked Monday if the U.S. government was effectively waiting for more intelligence documents to show up online, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby replied: "The truth and the honest answer to your question is: We don't know. And is that a matter of concern to us? You're darn right it is."
Chris Meagher, top spokesman for the Pentagon, urged caution in "promoting or amplifying any of these documents," adding that "it does appear that slides...