According to another CIA assessment, from early to mid-February, senior leaders of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, advocated to Mossad officials and Israeli citizens against judicial reforms proposed by Israel’s new government. Senior Israeli security officials denied the assessment’s findings, and The New York Times could not independently verify them.
The proposed changes generated massive public protests and prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay the plan.
The first part of the documents was released in early March on Discord, a social media chat site popular among video gamers, according to Arik Toller, an analyst at Dutch intelligence site Bellingate.
Discord grew in popularity during the pandemic, and became a hub for young people to socialize and for music lovers, anime fans, and cryptocurrency enthusiasts to discuss their interests in communities known as servers. As of late 2021, the platform had more than 150 million monthly active users.
Discord servers are basically chat rooms where people can discuss their hobbies and message each other or join audio calls. Some servers are public and host thousands of people, while others are invite-only. The system helped Discord thrive, but it also caused the company to run into problems with harmful content over the years.
Some of the documents were reposted on other social media platforms, including 4chan, an anonymous, fringe message board, in the following weeks, but only gained much wider attention in recent days when they surfaced on Twitter and Telegram, analysts said.
As of Saturday, images of several documents were still available on Twitter. While the social media platform may have taken steps to remove the material in the past, Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk, indicated in a Twitter post on Thursday that he would not remove the material under rules prohibiting the distribution of hacked material.
Julian E. Barnes, Helen Cooper And Eric Schmidt Information from Washington Thomas Gibbons-Neff From London and Michael Schwartz From Lviv, Ukraine. Kellan Browning Contributed report.