A large trove of Pentagon documents circulating on social media channels is becoming a source of concern for US intelligence agencies as numerous allies have been forced into denial about the intended leaks.
A half-dozen photos of classified documents printed mostly related to the state of war in Ukraine in early March began being shared on Russian Telegram channels in the middle of last week. Open Source Intelligence System Bellingad says they made the rounds on major gaming boards several weeks ago.
On Friday, more than 100 Pentagon documents were shared on Twitter, revealing classified information obtained by US intelligence agencies not only about Russia and its war of aggression against Kiev, but also about Israel and its allies. South Korea.
Although some of the images from the first leak were found to be crude, the authenticity of the latest batch was not immediately questioned. The New York Times described the leak as “a nightmare for five eyes” – an intelligence alliance that includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
On Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement firmly denying a claim made in one of the leaked documents: that the Israeli Foreign Intelligence Service encouraged its employees and Israeli citizens to participate in the march. Protests against the government across the country.
“The Mossad and senior personnel in its service are not involved in the issue of the demonstrations and are committed to the value of service to the government that has led the Mossad since its establishment,” the statement said.
The leaked document, codenamed Secret, said in February that senior Mossad officials “advocated for Mossad officials and Israeli citizens to oppose the new Israeli government’s proposed judicial reforms, including several open calls to denounce the Israeli government.”
Although Mossad’s mission is not defined by law, the spy agency does not aim to wade into domestic political matters.
Meanwhile, government officials in South Korea said on Sunday that another leaked document said US intelligence had spied on its allies in Seoul and planned to “hold necessary consultations with the US side” on the issues raised by the leak.
At least two of the leaked Pentagon documents, based at least in part on intercepted foreign intelligence communications, detail South Korean concern over US pressure to help Ukraine in its defense efforts against Russia, with former foreign minister Yi Mun-hui expressing concern over artillery. Bombs requested by Washington for its own use will eventually end up in Kiev’s hands.
South Korea’s long-standing official policy is not to supply dangerous weapons to belligerent countries. A South Korean presidential official, speaking to reporters, declined to answer further questions about the US spying or confirm any details from the leaked documents.
While embarrassing for the Pentagon, the leaked documents also paint a flattering portrait of America’s ability to penetrate Russian military planning, including the internal plans of the notorious Wagner mercenary group.
Leaked documents show the mercenary’s ambitions to operate in African states and Haiti, and plans to secretly obtain weapons from NATO member Turkey.
In early February, Wagner personnel “met with Turkish contacts to purchase weapons and equipment from Turkey,” one of the reports said, suggesting Mali could act as a proxy buyer. Wagner is known to have set up a significant operation in the West African state, and one of the leaked documents says the mercenary group has 1,645 fighters in the country.
On Saturday evening, France’s defense ministry denied there were any French soldiers in Ukraine, allegedly in one of the leaked documents that circulated on social media in the middle of last week.
“There are no French forces operating in Ukraine,” said a spokesman for Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu. “The documents cited do not come from the French military. We do not comment on documents whose provenance is uncertain.
The first batch of leaked Pentagon Papers contained charts and details of expected weapons, battalion strength and battlefield losses.
A slide suggested a small group of fewer than 100 special operations personnel from NATO members France, the United States, Britain and Latvia was active in Ukraine.
Some of the circulated documents have been digitally altered to understate US estimates of Russian troops killed and Russian vehicles and fighter jets destroyed. Kyiv said the leaked files contained “fictitious information”.
The US Justice Department said it had opened an investigation into the apparent leaks, but declined to comment further.