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Inside the Pentagon’s Classified Document Leak

A trove of classified US intelligence files have been leaked to the public in what ABC News is calling perhaps “the most serious domestic intelligence breach in more than a decade.” 

Images of the confidential documents, some of which US officials say may have been altered, began to circulate on social media platforms such as Twitter, Telegram, and Discord last month. They first appeared when an anonymous poster shared pictures on a Discord chat where people were debating the war in Ukraine.

According to The Guardian, the photographed documents had folds in them, causing officials to believe an individual with high levels of access had put them into a pocket to smuggle out from a secure government location. Furthermore, ABC News also claimed to have found dozens more top-secret files posted in a “hard-to-find corner of the internet” in early March, not long after the documents were written. US officials have confirmed the leaked papers to be in a similar format to those issued to senior executives, and thus an investigation has been opened by the Justice Department into locating the source of the data breach.

More than a dozen of the leaked documents concern strategic analyses of the war in Ukraine, including data such as Ukrainian troop numbers, their training details, and the equipment provided by the US and other countries. They also reveal a pessimistic view about the outcome of the war, alleging weaknesses in Ukraine’s weaponry and predicting a stalemate in the coming months. 

Alongside this, the documents were said to contain tactical statistics and battlefield maps allegedly drafted by the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. A source close to Ukraine’s President Zelensky told CNN that the country has subsequently altered some of its strategies.

More dangerously perhaps, other leaked files revealed the US’ deep infiltration within the Russian Ministry of Defense to the extent that they are capable of alerting Ukraine to impending missile targets. The release of such documents will now undoubtedly place these individuals and intercepted communication sources at high risk.

What’s more, many of the remaining papers revealed in detail how the US has been spying on both its allies and adversaries. In fact, government officials confirmed the authenticity of certain documents revealing how the US has deployed surveillance within South Korea and Israel. The report has since prompted concerns in Seoul, with South Korean administrators deeming the “premeditated” espionage a violation of national sovereignty. 

US intelligence agencies are continuing to launch investigations into the data leaks, with the US Department of Defense saying in a statement they are “continuing to assess the validity of the photographed documents.” Despite this, it remains to be seen how these events will play out within the international sphere, and the repercussions it will hold for America’s diplomatic relationships with friends and foes alike. 

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Tags: #USPolitics #DocumentLeak #Pentagon


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