Leaked Defense Department Documents Reveal US Spying on Russia and Allies

Recently, dozens of leaked Defense Department classified documents were posted online, revealing details of U.S. spying on Russia’s war machine in Ukraine and secret assessments of Ukraine’s combat power, as well as intelligence gathering on America’s allies, including South Korea and Israel. The leaked documents reportedly show that the U.S. has intimate knowledge of Russia’s intelligence service, the GRU, but also indicate that Ukraine’s military has been suffering from over a year of conflict.[0] However, it’s not just sensitive documents about Russia and Ukraine in the leaked files.[1] Intelligence assessments about nuclear plans in Iran and North Korea, as well as threat assessments on China, are also among the leaked images, according to the New York Times.[0]

The documents were reportedly leaked from the Department of Defense (DOD) in recent weeks and were posted on numerous social media sites. CNN reported that the files allegedly hold confidential details pertaining to the Wagner Group's activities in Africa, Israel's methods of delivering deadly assistance to Ukraine, United Arab Emirates' links with Russia, and South Korea's apprehensions about supplying ammunition to the U.S. for deployment in Ukraine.[2]

Many of the papers detail US national security secrets about Ukraine, China, and the Middle East, and they reportedly show just how far the Pentagon has infiltrated Russian intelligence. Additional records comprise of evaluations by American intelligence organizations regarding Russia and other nations, all derived from confidential sources.

It was reported that one of the leaks exposed the purported attempt by America to conduct espionage on Ukraine's political and military figures. On Sunday night, the Defense Department stated that an investigation by the Justice Department is underway regarding the leakage of a collection of seemingly classified U.S. intelligence records from the Pentagon onto the internet.

The Pentagon and the Justice Department announced investigations into the leak on Friday. On Friday, officials at the Pentagon confirmed that the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is conducting an investigation into a possible breach of classified war records. The records in question pertain to the strategies of the United States and NATO in aiding Ukraine in their efforts against Russia.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported on leaked documents that seemed to contain military evaluations of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This made the outlet the first in the U.S. to cover the story. Initially, it seemed that the papers had been first published on social media platforms like Twitter and Telegram, with the latter being a highly favored platform in Russia.[0] However, according to recent evaluations, the documents initially appeared in significantly peculiar locations.[0]

According to recent reports from the New York Times and Washington Post, the Pentagon has been attempting to unravel the mystery of how confidential documents were exposed online. But the websites where these Top Secret military documents were leaked are making the mystery even weirder. The reason being, certain documents pertaining to CIA evaluations of the conflict in Ukraine were discovered on a Minecraft forum and a platform for YouTubers to engage in derogatory conversations.[0]

In interviews with CNN, ex-senior officials from US intelligence and military expressed concern over the potential impact and extent of the leak.[3] According to a document based on signals intelligence and commercial satellite imagery analysis, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region is expected to result in a “stalemate” until 2023. This will exhaust Russian units and hinder Moscow's war objectives.[4]

On Saturday, a high-ranking Ukrainian official expressed frustration over the leaks that had upset military and political leaders in Kyiv. These leaders had been trying to keep vulnerabilities related to ammunition shortages and other battlefield information hidden from the Kremlin.[5] The disclosure is among the most notable violations of military intelligence since the Russian incursion in 2022 and arises when Ukraine is gearing up to commence the spring offensive.[6] According to Mick Mulroy, a former CIA officer and DoD official, the documents could potentially jeopardize U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine as they signify a major security breach.[6]

On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that they are investigating the leak, which was first reported by the New York Times, according to the Department of Defense. According to another official, the Pentagon is currently attempting to ascertain the cause and severity of the leaked material.[7] According to a Telegram account that shared documents, there was also a covert strategy to train and supply nine military brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the US and NATO in preparation for a spring offensive.[8]

0. “Top Secret Pentagon Documents Were Leaked To Online Forum About Minecraft: Report” Forbes, 9 Apr. 2023, https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattnovak/2023/04/09/top-secret-pentagon-documents-were-leaked-to-online-forum-about-minecraft-maps-report/

1. “From Discord to 4chan: The Improbable Journey of a US Intelligence Leak – bellingcat” bellingcat, 9 Apr. 2023, https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2023/04/09/from-discord-to-4chan-the-improbable-journey-of-a-us-defence-leak

2. “DOJ investigating possible leak of Ukrainian aid documents” The Week, 8 Apr. 2023, https://theweek.com/united-states/1022519/doj-investigating-possible-leak-of-ukrainian-aid-documents

3. “DOJ opens investigation into leaks of apparent classified US military documents” CNN, 9 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/07/politics/pentagon-leaked-ukraine-documents/index.html

4. “Leaked secret Pentagon documents lift the lid on U.S. spying on Russia’s war in Ukraine” NBC News, 10 Apr. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/leaked-documents-show-us-spying-russia-war-ukraine-rcna78876

5. “Intelligence leak exposes U.S. spying on adversaries and allies” The Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/04/08/intelligence-leak-documents-ukraine-pentagon/

6. “Leaked military documents on Ukraine battlefield operations circulated as early as March” POLITICO, 7 Apr. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/04/07/leaked-military-documents-on-ukraine-battlefield-operations-circulated-as-early-as-march-00091073

7. “Pentagon investigating how Ukraine war document marked top-secret appeared online” CBS News, 9 Apr. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/military-slide-ukrainian-troop-document-leaked-posted-social-media/

8. “Russian fighter jet nearly shot down British spy plane, according to leaked US military documents” New York Post , 9 Apr. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/04/09/russian-fighter-jet-nearly-shot-down-british-spy-plane-leaked-docs

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