LONDON - Internet discussion site Reddit said on Friday the leak and distribution of classified UK-U.S. trade documents during Britain's election campaign was tied to a previous Russian information operation.
Reuters reported on Monday that the way the documents were initially shared online resembled a disinformation campaign known as Secondary Infektion, which was uncovered earlier this year and stemmed from accounts Facebook said originated in Russia."We were recently made aware of a post on Reddit that included leaked documents from the UK," Reddit said in a statement. "We investigated this account and the accounts connected to it, and today we believe this was part of a campaign that has been reported as originating from Russia."
The company said it has also identified more accounts which had attempted to promote the original post with the leaked documents.
"All of these accounts have the same shared pattern as the original Secondary Infektion group detected, causing us to believe that this was indeed tied to the original group."
The release of the documents, which appeared to detail the back-and-forth of how the United States and U.K. were positioning themselves ahead of Britain's exit from the European Union, caused a stir when they were picked up by Britain's opposition Labour Party on Nov. 27.
Labour said the files showed the ruling Conservatives plotting to offer the state-run National Health Service for sale in trade talks with Washington. It was an explosive allegation to make in a country which is heading to the polls on Dec. 12 and generally treasures its public health care system.
The British government said in a statement that "online platforms should take responsibility for content posted on them, and we welcome the action Reddit have taken today." It said authorities were already looking into the matter and would have no further comment.
Moscow has denied previous allegations of election meddling, despite mounting evidence on both sides of the Atlantic that its intelligence services are implicated in hack-and-leak operations.