(Washington) The leak of classified American documents is the work of a young man who worked on a military base and shared his information on a private group online, according to the Washington Post newspaper.
The American daily claims in an article published on Wednesday that it interviewed anonymously two members of the Discord social network where hundreds of pages of confidential documents were published, some of which were ultra-secret or concerning the war in Ukraine or even United States allies.
The leak, which is the subject of a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice, comes from a man with the pseudonym “OG”. He has regularly published for months hundreds of pages copied from documents at the military base where he works, the newspaper said, adding that the person interviewed refused to specify which base it was.
She claimed that “OG” spent “part of his day inside a secure facility that prohibited cell phones and other electronic devices”, and that he “worked hard for hours writing classified documents to share with his comrades on the Discord server”, writes the newspaper.
He later took pictures of documents and passed them on to his group. “When it proved too tedious to reproduce hundreds of classified documents by hand, he began to publish hundreds of photos of the documents themselves”, continues the daily.
“OG” asked the other members of the group not to distribute the documents, and that he did not intend to be a whistleblower, assures the media, citing one of its sources.
Some information was so sensitive that it was marked “ NOFORN ”, that is to say not to be disclosed to strangers, advances the Washington Post.
According to a member of the group quoted by the daily, “ OG ” “ seemed to think that his insider knowledge would offer others protection against the troubled world around them ”.
“OG” had “a dark look at government”, according to the outlet, which wrote: “The young member of the group said that (OG) was talking about the United States, and in particular law enforcement and the police. intelligence community, as a sinister force that sought to suppress its citizens and keep them in the dark. He railed against “the excess of power of the government”.
The group of about 24 people, mostly men and boys, formed around their “mutual love of firearms, military equipment and God”, forming a “club by cooptation in 2020 on Discord “, according to the media.
The documents posted online reveal US intelligence concerns about the viability of a Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces, due to training and supply issues.
A document reviewed by AFP outlines US concerns about Ukraine’s ability to continue to defend against Russian strikes.
Dozens of photos of these documents have been relayed on Twitter, Telegram or Discord in recent days, some having undoubtedly circulated on the internet for weeks, if not months, before attracting the attention of the press.
However, US authorities have not publicly confirmed the authenticity of these documents posted online, and it has not yet been independently verified. The Pentagon nevertheless claimed that this case posed a “very serious” risk to the national security of the United States.
In addition to the Ukrainian subject, certain documents also seem to indicate intelligence gathering carried out by the United States and targeting some of its allies, such as Israel and South Korea. Washington has since tried to reassure them.
Many documents are no longer available where they were published, and according to the press, the authorities have had them removed.
The fallout from this apparent leak could be significant, potentially endangering US intelligence sources, while giving their enemies valuable information.