Teenager shares info about Pentagon leaker — both were members of small Discord group

The leaker of highly classified U.S. military documents recently showing up in chat rooms has been described as a 20-something gun enthusiast who worked in the military and who went by the name "OG," according to The Washington Post.

An anonymous teenager was part of the Discord "clubhouse" where the alleged leaker shared dozens of classified Pentagon documents that, according to the Post, contained sensitive material such as "spying on allies," and revealing "the grim prospects for Ukraine's war with Russia." The Discord member spoke to reporters at the Post.

"He's a smart person. He knew what he was doing when he posted these documents, of course. These weren't accidental leaks of any kind," he told the Post. "He's fit. He's strong. He's armed. He's trained. Just about everything you can expect out of some sort of crazy movie."

Because the documents were long and dense, the other members in the group — who spent most of their time gaming and sharing memes — didn't pay much attention. But the young member said he was different.

"I was one of the very few people in the server that was able to understand that these [documents] were legitimate," he said. "It felt like I was on top of Mount Everest … I felt like I was above everyone else to some degree and that … I knew stuff that they didn't."

From The Washington Post:

The young member read OG's message closely, and the hundreds more that he said followed on a regular basis for months. They were, he recalled, what appeared to be near-verbatim transcripts of classified intelligence documents that OG indicated he had brought home from his job on a "military base," which the member declined to identify. OG claimed hespent at least some of his day inside a secure facility that prohibited cellphones and other electronic devices, which could be used to document the secret information housed on governmentcomputer networks or spooling out from printers. He annotated some of the hand-typed documents, the member said, translating arcane intel-speak for the uninitiated, such as explaining that"NOFORN" meant the information in the document was so sensitive it must not be shared with foreign nationals.

OG told the group he toiled for hours writing up the classified documents to share with his companions in the Discord server he controlled. The gathering spot had been a pandemic refuge, particularly for teen gamers locked in their houses and cut off from their real-world friends. … He wanted to "keep us in the loop," the member said, and seemed to think that his insider knowledge would offer the others protection from the troubled world around them.

The transcribed documents OG posted traversed a range of sensitive subjects that only people who had undergone months-long background checks would be authorized to see. There were top-secret reports about the whereabouts and movements of high-ranking political leaders and tactical updates on military forces, the member said. Geopolitical analysis. Insights into foreign governments' efforts to interfere with elections. "If you could think it, it was in those documents."

This account of how detailed intelligence documents intended for an exclusive circle of military leaders and government decision-makers found their way into and then out of OG's closed community is based in part on several lengthy interviews with the Discord group member, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity. He is under 18 and was a young teenager when he met OG. The Post obtained consent from the member's mother to speak to him and to record his remarks on video. He asked that his voice not be obscured.

The rest of the Post's article is fascinating, long, and definitely worth a read.