Instant messaging platform Discord said on Wednesday that it was cooperating with U.S. law enforcement’s investigation into a leak of secret U.S. documents that has grabbed attention around the world, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, the statement comes as questions continue to swirl over who leaked the documents, whether they are genuine and whether the intelligence assessments are reliable. The documents, which carry markings suggesting that they are highly classified, have led to a string of stories about the war in Ukraine, protests in Israel, and how the U.S. surveils friend and foe alike.
The source of the documents is not publicly known, but reporting by the open-source investigative site Bellingcat has traced their earliest appearance to Discord, a communications platform popular with gamers.
Discord’s statement suggested it was already in touch with investigators:
“In regard to the apparent breach of classified material, we are cooperating with law enforcement,” the statement said. “As this remains an active investigation, we cannot provide further comment at this time.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government is treating the apparent disclosure of classified material surrounding the war in Ukraine as an insider’s leak, people familiar with the matter say, and is working to identify and apprehend a key suspect in a massive intelligence breach that exposed the challenges of safeguarding sensitive U.S. information and tested ties with some of America’s closest allies.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the bulk of the more than 60 documents, if genuine, appear to originate from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Operations Center and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. Such documents are typically briefed to senior-level decision makers at the Pentagon in an environment protected from electronic surveillance and secured against leaks.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is using clues in the images that have circulated online in recent weeks to aid its criminal investigation, law-enforcement officials said. The Defense Department has extensive procedures around the handling of classified documents in both digital form and on paper, according to interviews with former intelligence community and Pentagon officials.
The leaked documents appear to have been printed and folded twice. In some images, there are items clearly visible in the background, including a hunting magazine, a knife, and a tube of Gorilla-brand glue. All could be clues as to how and by whom the documents came to be initially posted with a small group of individuals on Discord, a social-media outlet popularized by videogame enthusiasts where users chat about games, investing, and other topics in the mostly private, invitation-only, groups called servers.
In my opinion, it appears that someone copied classified documents. The clues mentioned by The Wall Street Journal could potentially lead to the person who not only took the classified documents, but also printed them out and published them online.