(NEW YORK) — The classified U.S. intelligence documents that authorities believe were leaked in a Discord channel by a member of the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard who was arrested Thursday may have made it to the wider internet through the actions of a different young Discord user who shared them further, according to the administrator of another channel.
The admin, who goes by the username Krralj, told ABC News that he and other admins on the “wow mao” Discord server where some of the documents were shared in March spoke with a user with the name Lucca who shared the documents there after originally seeing them on another server.
FBI agents on Thursday arrested National Guard member Jack Teixeira, 21, in connection with the original leaked documents.
“Today’s arrest exemplifies our continued commitment to identifying, pursuing, and holding accountable those who betray our country’s trust and put our national security at risk,” the FBI said in a statement.
Krralj told ABC News in an interview that when he realized the material had been posted to a Discord chat server dedicated to a YouTube creator with some 243,000 subscribers, he scrambled to contain the damage.
“We were trying to damage control — get rid of the files,” Krralj, who told ABC News he is a 21-year-old college student in the Balkans, said. “Very, very quickly the chat was purged of all the messages. Afterwards, the entire chat itself was deleted.”
“We didn’t even want the documents to be spread … we don’t want to spread dangerous documents to danger lives of people,” he said.
ABC News has not verified Krralj’s real name or specific location.
After images of the documents were shared on the “wow mao” server in early March, the documents appeared on March 4 on another Discord server dedicated to the online game Minecraft, and later, on April 5, spread much wider, appearing on the website 4chan and on a pro-Russian Telegram channel.
Krralj described Lucca as young, and said he was one of the more active users in the community, adding that he was even on the server while in school during the day. He said that Lucca had been a member of the group before he joined in 2021.
“He was still like, a little kid on the server. He was a good kid, you know? He’s mid to late teens. And like he was, he’s always active … He joined the voice call to listen … when he was in school,” Krralj said.
“He is a hyperactive kid and he wants to tell everyone everything all the time,” he added.
ABC News is withholding Lucca’s name. When reached for comment, Lucca’s father told ABC News, “I am not going to talk. Please be respectful, we are dealing with kids.”
According to Krralj and other channel members, most on the server ignored the photos of the documents when they were initially posted, assuming they weren’t legitimate.
“We all thought they were fake,” Krralj said.
A review of publicly available content on the server where images of the alleged documents were posted points to pervasive racism, antisemitism and references to sexual violence. As in many niche online communities, this group appears to have a language of its own and it is difficult to discern sincere statements from ironic ones.
When asked about the content on the server, Krralj did not deny that there are members who have far right and racist views. He went on to describe the community as “a bunch of s— posters” who are “clinically online and spend way too much time on the internet.”
Asked about the documents, another admin who goes by the username Dag told ABC News, “Management believed they were either fake, already leaked documents, or a combination of both.”
Dag, who also interacted with the user Lucca, said Lucca was “mainly posting memes, playing video games with people” but also “had an interest in the theological side of the server.”
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