Classified documents that appeared online, with details ranging from Ukraine’s air defenses to Israel’s Mossad spy agency, have U.S. officials scrambling to identify the leak’s source, with some experts saying it could be an American.
Officials say the breadth of topics addressed in the documents, which touch on the war in Ukraine, China, the Middle East and Africa, suggest they may have been leaked by an American rather than an ally.
‘The focus now is on this being a U.S. leak, as many of the documents were only in U.S. hands,’ Michael Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official, told Reuters in an interview.
The authenticity of the documents is still in doubt as experts suggest they could have been altered or used as a misinformation campaign to suit Russia’s agenda. They pointed to how some of the documents giving battlefield casualty estimates from Ukraine were altered to minimize Russian losses.
An initial batch of documents labeled ‘Secret’ and ‘Top Secret’ – reportedly containing charts on the war in Ukraine as well as the strengths of different battalions – first circulated on Twitter and Russian Telegram channels last month.
And a further batch of documents of more than 100 Pentagon documents – this time also detailing US national security interests pertaining to areas including China and Israel’s Mossad spy agency – was being shared on Twitter on Friday, the New York Times reported.
Classified documents that appeared online, with details ranging from Ukraine’s air defenses to Israel’s Mossad spy agency, have U.S. officials scrambling to identify the leak’s source, with some experts saying it could be an American. Pictured: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrives for meetings at the Pentagon on March 30
A Ukrainian serviceman fires a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) from a launcher during a training exercise in the Donetsk region on April 7
One of the leaked Western documents regarding the Ukraine – Russia war
The Justice Department has now launched a criminal investigation into the possible release of the Top Secret documents, which mostly pertain to the state of the Ukraine war.
Two U.S. officials told Reuters on Sunday that they have not ruled out that the documents may have been doctored to mislead investigators as to their origin or to disseminate false information that may harm U.S. security interests.