In the spy game, all’s fair in love and war. Top U.S. intelligence documents that have reportedly been leaked are proof. What appear to be classified U.S. intelligence documents, some of which are top secret, have been circulating on the internet. Many of the documents concern Russia’s war in Ukraine and images of the alleged documents have been popping up on social media.
Here are seven things to know about the leaked secret documents from U.S. intelligence.
A leak of files could be America’s worst intelligence breach in a decade. The classified material covers Ukraine’s army and CIA reports, according to The Economist.
According to officials from the SBU, Ukraine’s security service, their agents in Belarus had defied orders. It attacked a Russian surveillance plane on Feb. 26. American spies were listening in and reported their findings on March 1. Days later, the report and other documents were uploaded to the Internet.
Military assessments on the war in Ukraine and CIA reports on various global issues are contained within the documents.
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Some of the leaked documents appeared on Telegram, a messaging app widely used in Russia. Some had been published on Discord, a chat site popular with video gamers.
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the source of the leak.
“The Department of Defense continues to review and assess the validity of the photographed documents that are circulating on social media sites and that appear to contain sensitive and highly classified material. An interagency effort has been stood up, focused on assessing the impact these photographed documents could have on U.S. national security and on our Allies and partners,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said in a statement, NBC News reported.
She added that “U.S. officials have engaged with Allies and partners and have informed relevant congressional committees of jurisdiction about the disclosure. The Department of Defense’s highest priority is the defense of our nation and our national security. We have referred this matter to the Department of Justice, which has opened a criminal investigation.”
Some attention has turned to Israel, but officials there deny any involvement in the war.
In fact, the Israeli government issued a statement rejecting information contained in the leaked secret Pentagon documents that the leadership of the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, had “encouraged the agency’s staff and Israeli citizens to participate in the anti-government protests that roiled the country in March,” The New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials are still trying to figure out the scope of the leaks, according to Chris Meagher, the assistant to the defense secretary for public affairs, Foreign Policy reported.
The documents seem to give details on the war plan for Ukraine in fighting against Russia, as well as the U.S. involvement. Some of the documents go into the plans by Western allies to arm and train Ukraine’s army.
“Perhaps the most damaging documents lay out the state of Ukrainian air defenses. These are in dire shape, after parrying repeated Russian drone and missile strikes,” The Economist reported.
U.S. officials say the leaked secret documents will have wider political consequences. For one, the documents give proof that allies spy on one another, such as the U.S. spying on Ukraine.
“Everyone’s supposed to dismiss as ‘unsurprising’ that the US has been spying on Zelensky personally, as though this does not at all undercut portrayals of him as a heroic US ally for democracy. Leaks also show his public assurances about not striking inside Russia have been false,” tweeted journalist Michael Tracey.
In a separate tweet he added,”The leaked US documents confirm what minimally astute observers might have surmised at the time: this attack inside Belarus back in February wasn’t just some freelance sabotage by local “anti-war activists” — it was an operation of the Ukraine military (SBU).”
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Photo: A Ukrainian soldier in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, April 10, 2023. (AP/Libkos)