The Discord Leaks: Justification to Quash Encrypted Messaging? By Marie Hawthorne

Just as 9/11 led to passage of the Patriot Act, the Discord Leaks may lead to further restrictions on civil liberties. From Marie Hawthorne at

On April 13, the FBI took 21-year-old Air National Guardsman Jake Teixiera into custody for posting top secret military documents on a private Discord chat group. A large amount of classified information has been exposed, and people want answers. Why is this young man getting arrested when other people leak to the press all the time? Who gives a 21-year-old top-secret clearance? Are there some other, less-obvious motives at work here?

First, let’s look at the leaks.

Let’s look first at the leaks themselves. In early March, classified documents started popping up on a public Discord channel. They had originally been posted in a private, invitation-only chat group on Discord with a few dozen members in December 2022 or January 2023. At some point, one of the private group members started posting the classified documents to a public group. And once on the public group, the classified documents rapidly made their way around the internet. (source)

  • This series of leaks provided evidence that American intelligence had been spying on allies in Israel and South Korea. (source)
  • We had also been collecting intelligence on United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (source)
  • There was a discussion of Egypt producing weapons for Russia, despite receiving over $1 billion per year from the Americans. (source) Egyptian and American officials both denied this vehemently.
  • Some of the leaked documents included information about a spring offensive in Ukraine. They also indicated that American leaders are not confident in Ukraine’s ability to successfully launch an offensive this spring, due to a lack of trained personnel. (source)
  • Nonetheless, despite a grim outlook for a Ukrainian spring offensive, no one is anticipating peace talks between Kyiv and the Kremlin in 2023. (source) The powers that be are prepared for 2023 to consist of a long, slow grind for Ukrainian and Russian troops.
  • Leaked information also includes the fact that American Special Forces groups have been in Ukraine for some time. (source) contrary to repeated statements about how no American boots were ever going to be on the ground. (source)
  • Information about a spring offensive could, in theory, jeopardize troops on the ground, though the Russians don’t seem to be taking the leaked information particularly seriously. Speculation within the pro-Russian channels seems to be that this is some kind of decoy. (source)

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