The Washington Post revealed that the person leaking information from the Pentagon is not a high-level official. There was no collective effort to access the classified information, and the motive of the leak may surprise you. The leak was first posted on a Discord channel called Thug Shaker Central, led by a man in his 20s who allegedly lives on a military base. A user called Wow_mao spoke with the Post through Discord to say he used his platform for humor and began creating videos as a teen. “I can sort of understand how sharing big private military secrets could be a funny thing to do among your internet friends, but come on. Take care of yourself and stay away from doing stuff like this,” the anonymous user posted on YouTube.
A group of teens and young adults were able to access sensitive information—for fun. They did not need skilled hackers or top intel to access military records, showing how inept our national security has become. Discord is a social media platform that is largely unregulated. It is one of the last platforms where users can speak freely without censorship.
The Post discussed how a few users on social media were able to make the files a global sensation and cause international turmoil. Snowden reached out to countless reporters to reveal his message. WikiLeaks also put forth a campaign to draw attention to thousands of classified documents relating to America’s involvement in Iraq. This time around it only took a few kids on a social platform that is not regulated by the government. I expect Congress to now go after Discord as they did with TikTok. “It’s just a bunch of guys from the internet. How would they know about understanding military war documents?” Wow_mao said. “Many people were like: ‘That’s hilarious. Why are they here?’ And then they moved on with their lives.”