The military loved Discord for Gen Z recruiting. Then the leaks began

The military loved Discord for Gen Z recruiting. Then the leaks began

The Washington Post reports:

For years, the U.S. military has pushed to meet prospective Generation Z recruits on Discord, the online group-chat tool where many spend their time. It even runs a 17,000-member chatroom there for service members to talk about first-person shooter games, meet with career counselors and participate in what one sergeant in 2019 called the “Army of tomorrow.”

But Defense Department officials have also struggled to confront the risks of how Discord’s closed channels operate — and the ease with which they can be used to expose military intelligence. Last month, in a detailed guide aimed specifically at Discord users, Special Operations Command, which oversees the country’s most elite forces, told service members: “Don’t post anything in Discord that you wouldn’t want seen by the general public.”

By then, hundreds of classified documents had already spilled onto a Discord server frequented by a 21-year-old National Guard airman, Jack Teixeira, who had used the government secrets, interviews and an FBI charging document suggest, to impress the teenagers and 20-somethings who’d joined the chatroom.

That attempt to flex his military status for online approval ended with Teixeira’s arrest Thursday. On Friday, he was charged with two counts of retaining and sharing classified national defense information, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

But the arrest doesn’t end the dilemma for the military: how to supervise a young workforce that has access to classified secrets but lives much of its life online — including in corners of the internet where many share a fascination with military hardware and an eagerness to show off for strangers and friends. Two-thirds of U.S. military personnel are under the age of 30, with the vast majority of those under 25. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.