Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

Why did the US take so long to notice the classified document leak?

Why did the US take so long to notice the classified document leak?

A major leak of classified documents has shaken the United States and is now raising questions about how authorities could have missed them.

The leak seems to have started in a small private chatroom on a social media platform called Discord, popular with video gamers.

The documents purport to detail the progress of the Ukraine war, Kyiv's battle plans and US espionage tactics around the world.

According to an investigation by Bellingcat, images of the top secret files were shared as far back as January but they only caught Washington’s attention in early April once the media started reporting on the leak.

On Thursday, US authorities identified the suspected leaker as 21-year-old Jack Teixeira. He has been arrested and taken into custody.

Teixeira is a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. The documents are normally accessible only to officials with the highest level of security clearance, raising eyebrows about how a junior member of staff could have accessed this information.

Yet US defence officials told AP he needed such access in his role.


Should US intelligence agencies change how they handle sensitive information?


"It's alarming that this person had access to this type of information," said Dan Lomas, a security and intelligence lecturer at Brunel University, London.

"Within the U.S. intelligence community, there are 18 different intelligence organisations. There are hundreds of thousands of individuals who can potentially gain access to documents like this. It's a result of this idea that post-9/1, the government started pushing out as much information as possible for analysts to interpret. The more you push information out, the more likely it'll be leaked due to so many people having access to it," he told Euronews.

The documents appeared in a dark corner of the web focused on gaming and in a small private chatroom. Lomas believes it was understandable the Pentagon did not notice the leak.

"There are so many avenues for people to potentially leak information online. There's so many online chat rooms, and you can anonymise yourself and leak information... This is effectively like searching for a needle in a haystack," he explained.

"But at the heart of the story is the problem of someone actually printing out these documents and taking them home to then post online. think there are also potential issues there regarding the vetting of individuals, but mostly it's about document security and who has access to this. I suspect we'll start to see, if anything, a tightening up of the document handling processes."

However, cybersecurity experts say Discord has been used by criminals and hackers.

“The Discord domain helps attackers disguise the exfiltration of data by making it look like any other traffic coming across the network,” said a 2021 report by Cisco’s Talos cybersecurity team.

But monitoring online private chatrooms also could raise issues in terms of privacy and free speech. Law enforcement agencies don’t have the legal right to monitor a private online chatroom preemptively.

"If they do start doing that, then you have a clash with constitutional rights. You have serious questions about civil liberties and individual freedom in the US," said Abishur Prakash, geopolitics and technology expert in an interview with Euronews.


'A unique instance of leakage'


The intelligence leak does not appear to resemble previous incidents such as in the case of Edward Snowden in 2013.

The big question currently: why did the leaker disclose these documents? The motive remains unclear and the way it happened is very unusual as well, according to experts.

"Intelligence agencies in the U.S. have to ask the question: why are people doing this? It's not about civic duty. It's about something else," said Abishur Prakash.

"This is a unique instance of leakage. We're seeing someone leak information not for political purposes, not whistleblowing purposes, seemingly for the weird reason of wanting to make friends," believes Dan Lomas, security and intelligence lecturer.

"He seems to be someone who wants to reach out to individuals to impress them. One way to do it is to share top-secret, classified U.S. information that might make people think that this person is more important than he really is," he said.

As the investigation unfolds, officials are bracing for the possibility that more classified information could be circulating online.

Newsletter

Related Articles

0:00
0:00
Close
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
Germany and France Oppose EU Luxury Car Restrictions to Russia
French Citizen Arrested in Russia for Alleged Military Intelligence Gathering
Germany's Defense Minister Calls for War Preparedness by 2029
Deutsche Bank Revises Eurozone GDP Outlook for 2023
Widening Wealth Gap in Europe
FTI Group Files for Insolvency, Affecting Thousands of Travelers
Germany Announces €23 Billion Tax Cuts to Support Inflation-Hit Households
West Nears Plan to Tap $300bn in Frozen Russian Assets
The European Central Bank (ECB) has cut interest rates for the first time in nearly five years
Putin Warns Against Western Arms Deliveries to Ukraine
Slovak PM Blames Opposition for Assassination Attempt
Study Finds Covid Vaccines May Have Contributed to Excess Deaths
EU Commission Considers Broader Digital Surveillance Measures
Macron to Host Zelensky in Paris for Crucial Talks
Italy's Prime Minister Meloni to Visit Migrant Centers in Albania
Conservatives Plan to Define Sex as Biological in Equality Act
China Accuses MI6 of Recruiting Chinese Government Staff as Spies
Nigel Farage Makes Eighth Attempt to Become UK MP
UK Poll Predicts Historic Victory for Labour Party
Orban Amplifies Anti-NATO Rhetoric Ahead of Elections
Meloni Urges EU Parliament to Adopt Right-Wing Coalition Model
Venice Implements New Tourist Restrictions
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Urges US to Stop 'Smearing' China
Hungary Commits to Enhancing Investment and Trade with Cambodia
The Reality of Social Europe: Homes, Training, and Jobs
China Warns EU Against Tariffs on Electric Vehicles
Chinese EV Makers Target European Market with Competitive Prices
×