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New Details on Intelligence Leak Show It Circulated for Weeks Before Raising Alarm

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Photo: Roman Pilipey/Getty Images

One of the most significant leaks of highly classified U.S. documents in recent history began among a small group of posters on a messaging channel that trafficked in memes, jokes and racist talk.

Sometime in January, seemingly unnoticed by the outside world, an anonymous member of a group numbering just over a dozen began to post files—many labeled as top secret—providing details about the war in Ukraine, intercepted communications about U.S. allies, such as Israel and South Korea, and details of American penetration of Russian military plans, among other topics.