A lengthy discussion on the War Thunder forum about the history and performance of the F-16 Fighting Falcon has resulted in – you guessed it! – yet another public leak of limited military information.
This latest incident is actually a bit different from all the previous leaks of classified information on the War Thunder forums, which is kind of funny when you think about it: this happens so often that we can refer to “all the other times these guys committed deeds”. of betrayal” and be 100% serious about it.
In case you forgot or totally missed it the first time around, here are the other instances where someone decided to make a point by revealing classified military secrets on a video game forum:
Those earlier leaks were about armor, while this last one is about the F-16, a single-engine multirole fighter developed by General Dynamics and acquired by the US Air Force in the 1970s. It is an older aircraft, but remains in active service with the USAF and the air forces of numerous other nations.
The long conversation about the F-16, which has been going on since mid-2022, is about what you would expect, full of technical jargon and strong opinions. However, things got a little more exciting earlier this week when spacenavy90 wrote (opens in new tab)“Interesting thing I discovered during my research. During early AMRAAM testing you can see how the F-16A would equip the AIM-120 and use TWS on the non-MFD shop control panel ‘SCP’.”
“Interesting” is certainly one word for it, and at first glance it seemed harmless enough. But as noted by Air time (opens in new tab)spacenavy90 added a document to prove its claims, and that’s where it all went wrong.
The document immediately raised eyebrows: The first response asked about “restriction status,” and while spacenavy90 claimed the information was allowed because of its age, others noted that even if the document was released, it would still be ” distribution statements” that limit the information. how and with whom it can be shared – and, surprisingly, the War Thunder forums are not on the list of approved recipients.
It’s funny – I’m sorry, but it is – but at the same time we have to recognize that this kind of thing is really no laughing matter. Even though the crime is clearly unintentional, the potential consequences are serious, and something communities like War Thunder’s should keep in mind.
“The penalty for a conviction for unauthorized disclosure includes up to 10 years in prison, a large fine, or both,” wrote forum user Ziggy1989. “Unauthorized transmission of limited data is nothing to joke about. When we post data without proper control, not only the poster is at risk, but the game publisher itself as well. Open to lawsuits, fines, etc. Hope [the] moderators are vigilant ahead. It’s quite a responsibility.”
After some back and forth, spacenavy90 said the material in question had been removed. “I’ve already spoken to [forum admin] Smin1080p via PM last night regarding this issue of restricted information posted last night and the offending restricted content has already been removed,” they wrote. “I will be more careful about what technical information I post in the future. Hopefully we can put this problem behind us.”
I’ve reached out to War Thunder publisher Gaijin Entertainment for comment and will update if I receive a response.