U.S. troops tasked with guarding nuclear bombs in Europe accidentally leaked highly sensitive information about these weapons on popular educational websites, according to Bellingcat.
Military personnel used popular learning websites such as Quizlet, Chegg Prep, and Cram to remember complex security protocols, exact locations, and other top-secret information.
So how did Bellingcat's Foeke Postma uncover the leaked documents? Well, a simple search on the study websites revealed various sets of flashcards.
"By simply searching online for terms publicly known to be associated with nuclear weapons, Bellingcat was able to discover cards used by military personnel serving at all six European military bases reported to store nuclear devices," Postma wrote.
A deck of 70 study cards on Chegg, titled "Study!," disclosed exact facilities housing live and non-live nuclear bombs at the Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands.
"How many WS3 [Weapons Storage and Security Systems] vaults are there on Volkel ab," asked one of the virtual flashcards.
The answer: "Eleven (11)."
The flashcard indicated five of the eleven holding facilities on the base had "hot" nuclear bombs and 6 "cold" ones.
A deck of 80 virtual cards on website Cram revealed the hot and cold vaults at Aviano Air Base in Italy. The information is so sensitive that a few cards detailed how soldiers should respond while activating the weapons.
Other study cards revealed nuclear secrets at bases in Belgium, Germany, and Turkey. Some detailed locations of CCTV security systems and additional information would be beneficial for Russia or China.
Bellingcat found some of the flashcards dated back to 2013 and more recent ones from April 2021.
Postma said the cards it viewed had been scrubbed after contacting NATO and the U.S. military for comment about the leaks.
There is no word if the soldiers using the educational websites will be reprimanded for leaking highly sensitive information.
This sort of embarrassment is similar to when soldiers wore interactive online fitness tracking devices that revealed secret military bases and CIA "black" sites worldwide.