Ukraine Intelligence Docs Leak Could be Worst for U.S. Gov’t Since Snowden

 April 10, 2023

Apparently leaked through online gaming forums, a group of U.S. intelligence documents, dealing with the Ukraine war and other global matters, has been dismissed as fake by some in both Ukraine and Russia. However, the leak is apparently being taken seriously elsewhere.

According to an intelligence commentator, secret U.S. intelligence reports, up to 100 pages, have been leaked into the public domain, in what one newspaper says could be the “biggest since Edward Snowden”.  In 2013, after he became concerned with the ethical implications of western intelligence activities, Snowden leaked thousands of documents.

According to the Washington Post –

“On Saturday, as U.S. officials and their foreign allies scrambled to understand how dozens of classified intelligence documents had ended up on the internet, they were stunned — and occasionally infuriated — at the extraordinary range of detail the files exposed about how the United States spies on friends and foes alike.”

“The documents, which appear to have come at least in part from the Pentagon and are marked as highly classified, offer tactical information about the war in Ukraine, including the country’s combat capabilities. According to one defense official, many of the documents seem to have been prepared over the winter for Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior military officials, but they were available to other U.S. personnel and contract employees with the requisite security clearances.”

“Other documents include analysis from U.S. intelligence agencies about Russia and several other countries, all based on information gleaned from classified sources.”

-Washington Post

Breitbart New reported that, the authenticity of this new group of leaked documents, which deal predominantly with military assessments of the Ukraine war, but also supposedly reveal U.S. spying on allies including Israel and South Korea, have been disputed.  However, the documents appear to be taken seriously by observers of Western intelligence, even if the Pentagon and Justice Department, have said nothing, other than they are aware of the claims, are in the process of investigating the matter, and have no other comment to make.

Papers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, together with outlets like CNN, were the first to report on the emergence of the documents on social media and online gaming forums. According to Intelligence sources who are treating the documents, there is reportedly frustration in the U.S. government, in that the documents were being posted online for weeks before anyone noticed. The sources also note that these documents do in fact “appear to be legitimate intelligence and operational briefs”.

Open-source intelligence collective Bellingcat traced the apparently leaked intelligence documents, as being posted on a social platform popular with computer gamers, back to January. Eventually, the documents spread to another on-line platform where they were used to settle arguments, related to the the realism of a tank warfare game, where they were finally noticed. The original source of the documents, however, remains unclear.

The leak, is reported to underline the degree of infiltration of the Russian intelligence and military hierarchies by U.S. intelligence, to the extent of being able to warn the Ukrainians of Russian artillery strikes in advance, and of advanced spy satellites deployed to the area. In addressing the seriousness of these leaks, Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, told CNN-

“This appears to be a very serious breach of security, which is potentially very damaging both to the US as well as many friends and allies… I am sure all resources are being tapped to find who is leaking this sensitive information.”

-Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper

Citing a senior British intelligence officer, who called the leak “very significant”, Britain’s Daily Telegraph quoted the official as saying-

“It shows a failure at the very highest levels of classification… If it is genuine, the Americans have a very serious problem. The biggest since Edward Snowden.”

- Britain’s Daily Telegraph

This leak, if authentic, is sure impact the integrity of the U.S. intelligence community and will have serious implications related to America’s ability to gather such detailed information about Russia’s war machine, This is especially true, if Moscow is able to use the documents to identify their own seeming vulnerabilities. An all-out effort to find this person or persons needs to be made, to plug the leak(s) and hold those accountable for placing our National Security in a vulnerable position.

“I've long maintained during my 50-plus year career in intelligence that leaks endanger national security, they compromise sources, methods, and tradecraft, and they can put assets' lives at risk.”

-Former U.S. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper
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