On March 23, lawmakers crowded into a packed Capitol hearing room to harangue the CEO of the social app TikTok about the company’s Chinese ownership and the risks it posed to U.S. national security. Months earlier, President Joe Biden had signed a bill banning TikTok from federal employees’ devices, to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.
Discord Leak Suggests China Doesn’t Need TikTok to Find U.S. Secrets
The classified document dump reminds us the internet is hard to control
What the members of Congress didn’t know was that state secrets had been trickling out for months on social media and were beginning to circulate in ever-wider online forums — not on TikTok, but on U.S.-owned Discord. In the two weeks after the TikTok hearing, those classified documents would make their way into public view on U.S.-owned Twitter — and remain there for days, as owner Elon Musk mocked the idea that he ought to remove them.
The leaks, which included assessments of the Ukraine war and revelations of U.S. spying, didn’t stem from any foreign adversary’s sinister plot. Rather, they appear to have stemmed from a 21-year-old U.S. National Guard member’s desire to impress his online pals.
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