Pentagon leak puts U.S. allies on alert and Kiev fears it will affect its expected spring counteroffensive
“Any intelligence service in the world has infiltrators in adversary leadership centers and contacts who tell them things.” This statement, made to this medium a year ago by Jorge Dezcallar, former director of the National Intelligence Center, has become more relevant than ever this week. A leak of Pentagon documents. has revealed confidential information about the plans of many actors involved in the Ukrainian war. The dozens of documents confirm the statement of the former head of Spanish Intelligence; although it could be complemented: it is not only the adversaries who are spied on, also the allies.
The published information shows how much the United States has penetrated Russian intelligence services and their ability to warn Ukraine about Moscow’s plans. But this is not the only thing that has been confirmed, as reported in the U.S. media. The documents also show that the United States appears to be spying on Ukraine’s top military and political officialsas well as other allied countries such as Egypt, Israel or South Korea.
U.S. officials have told the The New York Times that the documents offer clues about U.S. methods of gathering information about Russian plans. These same officials claim that the leak has also provoked complications in relations with allied countries. because of alleged espionage to them revealed by the documents and raised doubts about the ability of the United States to keep its secrets.
Documents leaked at the end of January.
Despite the fact that it was last week when these documents began to run on Telegram channels, the truth is that they were published on Discord channels at the end of January. The information circulated through this messaging service provoking “jokes, racist comments and even memes” without attracting significant attention, they have said to The Washington Post sources familiar with the case.
After several weeks, a member of this group began leaking the documents anonymously into another with a larger number of members. In them one could read information about the war in Ukraine, intercepted communications of U.S. allies and details about Russian military plans, among other topics.
According to U.S. media, there are more than a hundred documents that have been released. Last week, an edited version of one of these documents came to light through the Russian messaging app Telegram. the White House assured Monday that the leaks contain “manipulated” documentsThe authenticity of some of them was questioned because they were redacted. “We continue to work to clarify the validity of all the documents that are out there,” said US Presidential National Security spokesman John Kirby.
When the leak was made public in media around the world the members of the Discord group proceeded to delete the shared information and their own accounts in fear of retaliation by the US government. This Monday the US Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation for a leak that “appear to contain sensitive and highly classified material.”
Top U.S. partners among those spied on
Washington has urged caution about those possibly involved in the leak and from the White House already are in contact with the countries implicated in the case.. One of the governments in question is the Israeli government, which is in turmoil after several weeks of protests against the country’s judicial reform.
One of the documents points out that the Mossad, Israel’s foreign espionage service, could have functioned as a driving force behind the anti-reform protests Benjamin Netanyahu, something the Israeli prime minister’s office on Sunday deemed “baseless.”
Other text shows that the U.S. allegedly spied in March on senior South Korean officials who were talking about Washington’s pressure on Seoul to send arms to Ukraine, in violation of South Korean policy which traditionally refuses to supply arms to countries in conflict..
Some opposition voices have called on South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to cancel his planned visit to Washington this month. However, on Tuesday, the South Korean and U.S. defense officials, Lee Jong-sup and Lloyd Austin, have come out against this, assuring that the documents have been falsified.
In addition to the document that would show that the U.S. allegedly agreed to some Ukrainian government battle plans, another gathers that Egypt’s President Abdelfatah al Sisi ordered officials in his government to produce more than 40,000 rockets to be sent to Russia secretly to “avoid problems with the West.” Both Egypt and Russia have denied this.
Ukraine hopes it will not influence their plans
If there is one piece of information that has generated controversy, it is the one related to the Ukrainian war. On the one hand, because of the alleged spying on Ukraine, and on the other, because of the information that reaches Russia and could be used by it to to combat the announced Ukrainian counteroffensive. planned for late spring and early summer. The leaked documents contain tables of future arms deliveries, data on troop and battalion strengths, as well as military plans.
Some of these documents also contain the Biden Executive’s view of the Ukrainian Army, in which it states that it is in an desperate situation.
From the Ukraine calls this leak “bizarre” and assures that all Ukrainian employees close to President Zelensky work “absolutely professionally”, said Mikhail Podoliak, an advisor to the Ukrainian Presidential Office. This spokesman has attributed the leak to Russia with the aim of “try to influence the plans Ukraine’s plans for a counteroffensive” at the front. “This is a bluff: dust in the eyes,” he has stressed on Telegram.
All in all, the leaked information does not appear to include overly sensitive plans or information accurate enough to scupper Ukrainian plans. Moreover, it is information from several months ago, so we would not be talking about the most immediate movements.
“We don’t know who is behind this, we don’t know what the motive is or what else might be out there,” the National Security spokesman said Monday. Meanwhile, Washington is trying to put out the diplomatic fires caused by the leak. Justice is already looking for those responsible; hoping that there will be no further publications.