The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into a possible leak of highly-classified documents that appear to reveal sensitive details about US allies, including Ukraine’s vulnerabilities in its war with Russia. The Pentagon has made a formal referral to the Department of Justice, asking it to investigate the apparent leak of the documents, which have been circulated on social media sites, including Twitter. The documents, which resemble non-public daily updates produced by the US military’s Joint Staff, appear to contain intelligence related to Ukraine, China, the Middle East and Africa.
The leak appears to show Washington spying on close US allies, including Ukraine, South Korea and Israel, which could be an embarrassing revelation for the administration of US President Joe Biden. However, the documents appear to contain at least some errors, including battlefield casualty estimates that minimise Russian losses. US officials have told Reuters news agency they have not ruled out the possibility that the documents have been doctored to conceal their origin or spread false information that could damage US security interests.
The Ukrainian presidential office has said the leaked documents contain a large amount of “fictitious information” and bear the hallmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign. One document marked “Secret” and dated February 23 describes how Ukraine’s air defence systems are on track to run out of munitions by May if they continue going through stockpiles at the current rate. Another document claims that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency encouraged protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial judicial reforms, which Netanyahu’s office on Sunday said was “without any foundation whatsoever”. In another document, senior South Korean officials are said to have discussed coming under US pressure to help supply weapons to Ukraine in violation of Seoul’s policy against exporting weapons to countries in conflict.
A South Korean presidential official on Sunday acknowledged the reports about the leaked documents and said it would raise the issue with Washington. The US government has not commented on the investigation or confirmed the authenticity of the documents. The leak of sensitive information could have serious consequences for US national security and its relationships with its allies. It could also damage the reputation of the Biden administration, which has made rebuilding alliances a key priority.
The investigation comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine, where fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014. The US has provided military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank missiles, but has stopped short of providing lethal weapons. The leak of information about Ukraine’s vulnerabilities could undermine its ability to defend itself against Russian aggression.
The leak also raises questions about the security of classified information in the US government. The US has strict laws and procedures governing the handling of classified information, but leaks have occurred in the past. In 2013, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified information about US surveillance programs to the media. The leak sparked a debate about the balance between national security and individual privacy.
The investigation into the possible leak of classified information is likely to be complex and time-consuming. The Department of Justice will need to determine the source of the leak and whether any laws have been broken. It will also need to assess the damage caused by the leak and take steps to prevent similar incidents in the future.
In conclusion, the US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into a possible leak of highly-classified documents that appear to reveal sensitive details about US allies, including Ukraine’s vulnerabilities in its war with Russia. The leak could have serious consequences for US national security and its relationships with its allies. The investigation is likely to be complex and time-consuming, but it is essential to determine the source of the leak and prevent similar incidents in the future.