Microsoft president Brad Smith claims Russia is targeting video game communities in a bid to disseminate information.
During a chat at Semafor’s World Economy Summit, Smith was asked whether some video game apps and platforms represent a security threat. The question was posed after Discord recently played host to what appeared to be leaked Pentagon documents that contained classified material about the war in Ukraine.
In response, Smith said that while video games themselves shouldn’t be viewed as the issue–noting that “playing Call of Duty isn’t going to lead to deaths in the real world–he added that Microsoft’s digital threat analysis team believes members of the Russian intelligence community and paramilitary organization Wagner Group are attempting to infiltrate game communities.
“Around games, you have a community of gamers. They come together and talk to each other, including when they’re playing a game. For the last several months, our digital threat analysis team has been identifying threats by the Russians to penetrate some of their gaming communities,” he said, in a clip shared by Semafor on social media.
“We’ve been advising governments about this. It’s the Wagner Group. It is Russian intelligence. They’re, in part, using this to get information into circulation. That’s what happened here. It included the Discord channel around Minecraft. It included others.”
Smith, who has taken center stage recently as Microsoft attempts to convince regulators to approve its Activision Blizzard merger, quickly moved to downplay and fears those remarks may have caused, noting those perceived threats aren’t “the number one thing we should worry about.”
“They’re going to publish information somewhere,” he continued. “This just happens to be a good place for them to get the information into circulation, and then journalists find it.”
My Opinion: Are the invisible hands and the “GRU Gaming” behind the Pentagon Leaks 2023 and possibly the mass shootings in the US?
My Opinion: Are The Invisible Hands (of the GRU? Of Putin? You guess …) behind the Pentagon Leaks 2023?
Its major military -political effect appears to be the postponement of the presumed Ukrainian “Anniversary” Counteroffensive in the Spring of 2023, achieved by highlighting the Ukraine’s losses, need for weapons, and questionable readiness and outcome. Russia assumed the defensive position and posture, and it appears to be the main beneficiary of the lull. The Russian Military is somewhat battle fatigued and it is well aware of the risks if this conflict continues and expands.
Who lost? The US and DOD had some reparable reputational losses.
The question arises: Are the invisible hands of the GRU behind Jack Teixeira? The Washington Post observed the similarity with the case of Robert Hanssen, “the most damaging spy in FBI history.”
The connection between the leak of documents on the Discord chat, Jack Teixeira’s obsession with weapons, his violent, racist and antisemitic remarks and his possible interest and searches on mass shootings should also be the focus of attention by the investigators: the mass shootings and other related (terrorist) incidents may be the product of the skillful manipulations of the same “invisible hands”.
This connection provides the clues and the leads.
Jack Teixeira is groomed by the MAGA movement to be their icon. He looks more like the young cherubic face of the American Fascism. And this is also a telling connection, possibly with the New Abwehr.
FBI #FBI: This confirms my thesis that mass shootings, espionage, and gaming chart rooms are closely related: “US document leak suspect destroyed evidence, researched mass shootings, prosecutors say”
📷The News And Times – thenewsandtimes.com: “Mass Killings, Espionage, And The Online Gaming Chats: Recruitment, Training, Influencing, Manipulations” – 4.15.23 Teixeira researched mass shootings – Google Search shar.es/afOMQc
Online gaming chats have long been spy risk for US military https://t.co/YtXfx8OrtU
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) April 15, 2023
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) April 15, 2023
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) April 15, 2023
Online gaming as the common factor in mass killings and the document leak by Jack Teixeira – Google Search… pic.twitter.com/5xHMeWUDpB
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) April 13, 2023
Are the online video gaming websites the perfect recruitment places for the hostile foreign intelligence services, including the GRU? – GS
#GRU #IntelligenceServices #VideoGaming #Recruitment
Are the online video gaming websites the perfect recruitment places for the hostile foreign intelligence services, including the GRU? – Google Search https://t.co/RCbL0ypRT1 pic.twitter.com/4VYjcpGKkA
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) April 14, 2023
WASHINGTON – Step into a U.S. military recreation hall at a base almost anywhere in the world and you’re bound to see it: young troops immersed in the world of online games, using government-funded gaming machines or their own consoles.
The enthusiasm military personnel have for gaming — and the risk that carries — is in the spotlight after Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman, was charged with illegally taking and posting highly classified material in a geopolitical chat room on Discord, a social media platform that started as a hangout for gamers.
State secrets can be illegally shared in countless different ways, from whispered conversations and dead drops to myriad social media platforms. But online gaming forums have long been a particular worry of the military because of their lure for young service members. And U.S. officials are limited in how closely they can monitor those forums to make sure nothing on them threatens national security.
“The social media world and gaming sites in particular have been identified as a counterintelligence concern for about a decade,” said Dan Meyer, a partner at the Tully Rinckey law firm, which specializes in military and security clearance issues.
Foreign intelligence agents could use an avatar in a gaming room to connect with “18 to 23-year-old sailors gaming from the rec center at Norfolk Naval Base, win their confidence over for months, and then, through that process, start to connect with them on other social media platforms,” Meyer said, noting that U.S. spy agencies have also created avatars to conduct surveillance in the online games World of Warcraft and Second Life.
The military doesn’t have the authority to conduct surveillance of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil — that’s the role of domestic law enforcement agencies like the FBI. Even when monitoring members of the armed forces, there are privacy issues, something the Defense Department ran into head-on as it tried to establish social media policies to counter extremism in the ranks.
The military does, however, have a presence in the online game community. Both the Army and the Navy have service members whose full-time job is to compete in video game tournaments as part of military esports teams. The teams are seen as an effective way to reach and potentially recruit youth who have grown up with online gaming since early childhood. But none of the services said they had any sort of similar team playing online to monitor for potential threats or leaks.
Pentagon spokeswoman Sue Gough said its intelligence activities are primarily focused internationally. In collecting any information on Americans, the Defense Department does so “in accordance with law and policy and in a manner that protects privacy and civil liberties,” she said in a statement to The Associated Press. She said the procedures must be approved by the attorney general.
Instead, the military has focused on training service members never to reveal classified information in the first place. In wake of the online leaks, the department is reviewing its processes to protect classified information, reducing the number of people who have access, and reminding the force that “the responsibility to safeguard classified information is a lifetime requirement for each individual granted a security clearance,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said in a memo issued Thursday following Teixeira’s arrest.
But that may not be enough.
“These various gaming channels are just another form of social networks,” said Peter W. Singer, whose novel “Burn In” centered on attacks on the U.S. that are plotted in a private chamber of an online war game — and where all the plotters use avatars of historical figures to disguise themselves.
Singer, who has advised the Pentagon on future warfare, expects that future espionage and plotting will likely find haven in some of these private online worlds.
“There’s a shift from it being viewed as niche, and for kids to adults using it for everything from marketing and entertainment to criminality,” Singer said. “Is this the future? Most definitely.”
But besides the legal limitations on monitoring these games, the vast number of sites and private chats would be virtually impossible for the Pentagon to manage, Singer said.
“Your answer to this can’t be ‘How do I find it on video game channels?’” Singer said. “Your answer has to be, ‘How do I keep it from getting out in the first place?’”
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
- Audio Post – Pentagon leaker filmed himself in antisemitic rant at gun range thenewsandtimes.com/article-… – April 27, 2023
- Alleged Intel Leaker Said He Wanted to ‘Kill a Fuck Ton of People’: Prosecutors – April 27, 2023
- Pro-Russian propagandist ID’d as US Navy vet who helped spread Pentagon intelligence leak – April 27, 2023
- #Teixeira #GRU #PentagonLeaks FBI #FBI DOJ #DOJ GRU and Pentagon leaks | Teixeira made racial remarks | Teixeira researched mass shootings shar.es/afONci – April 27, 2023
- GRU and Pentagon leaks – Google Search shar.es/afONvD nytimes.com/2023/04/08/us/po… – April 27, 2023
- GRU and Pentagon leaks | Teixeira made racial remarks | Teixeira researched mass shootings – April 27, 2023
- Airman Accused of Leak Has History of Racist and Violent Remarks, Filing Says – April 27, 2023
My #Opinion – Opinion: GRU’s message delivered via the Pentagon Leaks is: “You spy on us, we spy on you. We have our problem, you have yours (like with the classified info). ‘TISHE. (Teixeira is a portuguese surname coming from “teixo” – GS) BE CALM. LET US DEESCALATE.”… twitter.com/i/web/status/164…
Alleged Pentagon Leaker Posted Chilling Messages About ‘Violence and Murder’ audio-posts.com/jack-teixeir…
Audio Post – Alleged Intel Leaker Said He Wanted to ‘Kill a Fuck Ton of People’: Prosecutors thenewsandtimes.com/jack-tei…
Audio Post – Pentagon leaker filmed himself in antisemitic rant at gun range thenewsandtimes.com/article-…
This may be the indication that Teixeira may have been motivated, at least in part by his racially tinged dislike for Secretary Austin (“gorilla glue”, etc.), and he might be influenced in it by others, deliberately and purposefully. This has to be investigated. twitter.com/mikenov/status/1…
FBI #FBI: This confirms my thesis that mass shootings, espionage, and gaming chart rooms are closely related: “US document leak suspect destroyed evidence, researched mass shootings, prosecutors say” – reuters.com/legal/us-prosecu… 📷The News And Times – thenewsandtimes.com: “Mass Killings, Espionage, And The Online Gaming Chats: Recruitment, Training, Influencing, Manipulations” – 4.15.23 Teixeira researched mass shootings – Google Search shar.es/afOMQc
Airman Accused of Leak Has History of Racist and Violent Remarks, Filing Says nytimes.com/2023/04/27/us/po…
US document leak suspect destroyed evidence, researched mass shootings – prosecutors ino.to/IWlebuR
The airman accused of leaking classified files tried to obstruct investigators and has a history of racist and violent remarks, prosecutors said. nyti.ms/3NiARzV
Guardsman in leak case wanted to kill a ‘ton of people’: US The Killeen Daily Herald
Leaks of US military documents – The News And Times Review – thenewsandtimes.com – Expanded View – RSS Page
105.9 Classical WQXR-FM – New York City, New York
More Classical Radio Stations: The News Channels – news-channels.com
Selected Articles – The News And Times – Expanded View – Review – RSS Page