All for the clout.
Stranger Than Fiction
Spycraft? More like Minecraft.
The story of how classified military documents ended up on a Minecraft Discord server is blowing our puny minds — and feels fit for the silver screen.
As the investigative journalism group Bellingcat reported, the leaked documents, which pertained to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and contained lots of militaristic intrigue, followed a unique path that ultimately ended up in the arrest of a 21-year-old National Guardsman.
Photographs of the classified documents, some labeled "Top Secret," first appeared on Discord in March, initially on a smaller and primarily American server before winding up on one for Minecraft and — weirdly enough — another for a Filipino YouTube personality.
Before making national news, the documents that pertained to everything from Ukrainian hotspot maps to a "CIA Operations Center Intelligence Update" then wound their way from Discord to 4chan and subsequently appeared on pro-Russian Telegram channels and Twitter.
Though Bellingcat found that early March seems to be when the ball really began rolling with these leaks, the firm noted that there are indications that some of the information they contained began making the rounds as early as January — though at this point, it's hard to verify its exact point or date of origin.
Nerdy as the leaker's venue choices may have been, the US intelligence community is taking it very seriously, with both the Pentagon and the FBI investigating the leak, ultimately identifying a 21-year-old Massachusetts National Guard airman named Jack Teixeira as a primary suspect in their probe.
As the BBC noted in its own reporting on the leaks, one of the weirder aspects of this story is that after spreading all over the gamersphere, a lot of the earlier posts that circulated the documents have vanished, and lots of the accounts that initially shared them have been wiped or deleted, though comments from people in the aforementioned forums seem to suggest that people did so willingly out of a sense of paranoia or proactive protection from federal investigators.
This whole debacle is, again, one for the ages — and although we can't condone the leaking of military secrets, we've gotta admit that it's wild as heck to watch this all unfold.
More on weird leak venues: Chinese Military Secrets Leaked on Video Game Forum