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the United States is investigating the origin of the leaks

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The appearance online of military and classified documents on various topics, such as Ukraine’s air defense and the Israeli Mossad, has led US officials to try to identify the source of this “leak”, which some experts suspect to be in the United States.

The United States is trying to assess the risks associated with the leak of classified documents for its national security, the Pentagon said on Sunday April 9. And seek to know the origin of the leaks.

The variety of topics covered in the documents – relating to the war in Ukraine, but also to China, the Middle East and Africa – suggests that they were leaked by an American.

“The emphasis now is that this is an American leak, as many of the documents were only in the hands of the United States,” Michael Mulroy, a former senior, told Reuters. Pentagon official.

The apparent leak of classified US documents poses “a very serious national security risk and has the potential to fuel disinformation,” Defense Department spokesman Chris Meagher told reporters. “We are continuing to investigate how this happened, as well as the extent of the problem. Steps have been taken to analyze how this type of information was distributed and to whom.”

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US officials say the investigation is still in its early stages and those leading it do not rule out the possibility that pro-Russian elements were behind the leak, considered one of the most serious attacks. to security since the WikiLeaks affair in 2013.

The Russian Embassy in Washington and the Kremlin did not respond to requests for comment.


Documents likely to be altered

After the leak was disclosed, Reuters reviewed more than 50 documents marked “Secret” and “Top Secret” which first appeared last month on sites like Discord and 4Chan. Some documents were published weeks ago, but their existence has been first reported on Friday by the New York Times.

Some Ukrainian battlefield casualty estimates appear to have been altered to minimize Russian casualties.

For unknown reasons, a document containing confidential information is marked as “unclassified”.

Some documents are marked “NOFORN”, which means that they cannot be released to foreign nationals.

>> To read also: Ukraine counter-offensive: kyiv “cannot afford a methodical war”

According to two US officials interviewed by Reuters on Sunday, the documents may have been altered to mislead investigators as to their origin or spread false information that could harm US interests.

One of the documents, dated February 23 and marked “Secret”, details how Ukraine’s S-300 air defense systems could, at the current rate of use, be exhausted by May 2.

The information could be of great use to Russian forces, and Ukraine said its president and senior security officials met on Friday to discuss ways to prevent the leaks.

Israel spied on by Washington?

Another document marked “Top Secret” says Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency encouraged protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s justice reform bill, which would give the government greater leverage over report to the Supreme Court.

The document states that the United States learned of this through its intelligence services, implying that the Americans spied on one of its main allies in the Middle East.

In a press release published on Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu’s services denounced “misleading and unfounded” information.

Another document details discussions among senior South Korean officials about US pressure on Seoul to supply arms to Ukraine. A South Korean presidential official said on Sunday the country was aware of the information mentioned and planned to discuss the “issues raised” with Washington.

Two US officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the leaks were cause for concern but the documents related to material more than a month old.

The Pentagon repeated on Sunday that it was reviewing the situation and had formally asked the Justice Department to investigate the incident. The latter said he was in contact with the Ministry of Defense and had opened an investigation into the leak, without further comment.

“An interagency cooperation has been initiated to assess the impact that (the leak of) these photographed documents may have on national security and on our allies and partners,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said.

An official told Reuters that investigators were considering four or five hypotheses, ranging from a disgruntled employee to an insider threat intent on harming US national security interests.

With Reuters and AFP

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