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‘War Thunder’ Player Leaks Classified Military Documents In Online Argument

‘War Thunder’ Player Leaks Classified Military Documents In Online Argument

The player is “in violation of the Official Secrets Act.”

Imogen Donovan

Imogen Donovan

Someone playing War Thunder, an MMO that centres around historical vehicular combat from pre-World War I to the Iraq War, has found themselves in hot water after posting classified military documents publicly in order to prove their point online.

Isn't 2021 wonderful? Everyday I wake up and I think to myself, "Wow. Anything could happen. I have no idea what possible chaos and inanity might have occurred while I slumbered peacefully." This time, it's an argument that War Thunder player Fear_Naught had over the accuracy of an in-game tank. "As I've stated a fair few times now, the complexity of the construction is sometimes difficult to see/show with pictures," said Fear_Naught in the forums for the MMO. "It is so complex in [the Challenger 2's] case that I don't completely blame Gaijin [Entertainment] from getting it incorrect. All I try to do is point out the areas where they are incorrect."

In an effort to ameliorate the developer's recreation of the Challenger 2, Fear_Naught shared altered screenshots of documents that were apparently from the official AESP (Army Equipment Support Publication) for the tank. According to a report from UK Defence Journal, Fear_Naught is a commander of a Challenger 2 from Tidworth, United Kingdom, and these screenshots had "UK RESTRICTED" label crossed out, a stamp of "UNCLASSIFIED," as well as swathes of the document that were totally blacked out.

If only this player had a Steam Deck, they could have taken the game on the go and appraised the accuracy of the Challenger 2 whilst sat in a Challenger 2. Check out the chunky handheld in action here.

It all looked rather official, in short. The screenshots certainly raised alarm bells at Gaijin Entertainment and a moderator has issued a statement on Fear_Naught's decision to leak military documents to prove a point online. "We have written confirmation from MoD that this document remains classified," said Templar_ in the discussion. "By continuing to disseminate it you are in violation of the Official Secrets Act as stated by the warning on the cover of the document, an offence which can carry up to a 14 year prison sentence if prosecuted."

"Of this you are already aware, as a service person you have signed a declaration that you understand the act and what actions it compels you to take. Every time you post this you place us (International representatives of Gaijin), especially any UK citizens, in hot water as the warning so helpfully states that unauthorised retention of a protected document is an offence," concluded the moderator. Moreover, community manager Smin1080p recalled how this had happened in the past. Which confuses me because how have there been two individual incidents of gamers posting secret military information in the forums for War Thunder. How has that happened twice.

"Proof of this document's declassification will be required as well as where it was sourced from," said Smin1080p. "Last time such a document was shared that was claimed to be 'unclassified' it was in fact still classified and was confirmed that it should never have been shared. We make it very clear that we will not handle any source material unless it is publicly available and fully declassified with the rights to prove that." This is all very strange, but we'll let you know if Fear_Naught actually has a lot to fear after all.

Featured Image Credit: Gaijin Entertainment, Paramount Domestic Television

Topics: News, PC