Another security breach of epic fucking proportions.
Pentagon sources are telling the media that more than 100 classified documents including Ukrainian war plans have been leaked to several social media sites. The leak first came to light on Thursday when the New York Times published details of Ukraine’s military buildup and plans for an offensive.
The Pentagon says some of the figures in the documents appear to have been altered, overstating American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and understating estimates of Russian troops killed. Experts say this is common practice when using documents to spread disinformation.
Then on Friday, dozens of more documents were also posted to the social media site 4chan.
The documents on Ukraine’s military appear as photographs of charts of anticipated weapons deliveries, troop and battalion strengths, and other plans. Pentagon officials acknowledge that they are legitimate Defense Department documents, but the copies appear to have been altered in certain parts from their original format. The modified versions, for example, overstate American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and underestimate estimates of Russian troops killed.
On Friday, Ukrainian officials and pro-war Russian bloggers suggested the leak was part of a disinformation effort by the other side, timed to influence Ukraine’s possible spring offensive to reclaim territory in the east and the south of the country.
The notion that this is a Western disinformation campaign designed to mislead Russia was being advanced by Russian war bloggers. It’s also possible that Moscow leaked the documents to try and drive a wedge between Ukraine and the U.S.
Kyle Walter, the head of research at Logically, a British firm that tracks disinformation, says the Russians on the social media site Telegram were calling the original, apparently unaltered photo showing Russian and Ukrainian casualties a “Western influence” operation.
“They think the actual unedited photo where it shows high Russian loss numbers and relatively low Ukrainian loss numbers is an attempt to instill poor morale in Russia and Russian forces,” Mr. Walter said.
“There are a lot of examples of leaked documents being used in propaganda campaigns and specifically in terms of disinformation,” Mr. Walter added.
……Aside from the apparent editing of some of the document’s contents, the Pentagon is saying they are authentic. One surprise was the sad state of Ukrainian air defense. It was found in a document marked “Secret/NoForn,” meaning it was not meant to be shared with foreign countries.
……The documents, some of which appear to be briefing materials, outline details of the purported locations and operations of Ukraine’s air-defense systems, quantities of each type of air-defense missiles and sobering predictions of when Ukrainian forces would run out of each kind of munition.
Other documents contained detailed information on the schedules and routes of U.S. and allied reconnaissance aircraft in the Black Sea; the vulnerabilities of some of the American weapons provided to Ukraine; and the composition and armaments of the nine Ukrainian army brigades being trained by the U.S. and allies for the coming spring offensive. Russian jets forced a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone to crash into the Black Sea on March 14, two weeks after these files were posted.
In addition to documents pertaining to the war in Ukraine, the leaked files included purported copies of the daily intelligence report provided to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, Central Intelligence Agency reports on leaders of Israel’s Mossad spy service, and intelligence on discussions within the government of South Korea on sales of artillery ammunition to Kyiv. Most of the documents are dated in February and appear to have been posted online shortly after their creation. Many contain details of future operations.
“If some guy on Minecraft Map Discord was able to find these and share them a few days after they first appeared on March 1, there is a pretty good chance that Russian intelligence was able to get a glance at them, too,” Mr. Toler said.
……Documents include updates from the CIA’s Operations Center, as well as material from a host of other intelligence units.
Those include the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency; the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which analyzes data from spy satellites; the eavesdropping National Security Agency; and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
The New York Post has a different take:
Leaked classified documents detailing U.S. national security secrets regarding Ukraine, China, and the Middle East reportedly show just how deeply the Pentagon has infiltrated Russian intelligence services.
The documents, which surfaced on Twitter, Telegram, message board 4chan and elsewhere on Friday, contain warnings to US intelligence agencies ahead of Russian attacks in Ukraine and even include details about specific intended targets, The New York Times reported.
They also depict how the war has ravaged both sides in the conflict — illustrating a Russian military that is both compromised and depleted and a Ukrainian army low on air defense ammunition.
The classified documents also reportedly reveal US efforts to spy on Ukraine’s top political and military leaders and the plan developed with NATO to help Ukraine launch a counterattack.
One of the leaks includes “a secret plan to prepare and equip nine brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine by the US and NATO for the spring offensive,” a Telegram account that posted documents said.
The Justice Department opened a probe into the leaks in parallel to the Defense Department’s investigation.
The first two news reports show concern that the leaks compromised the plans for an upcoming Ukrainian offensive and problems they would encounter with depleted air defense systems. It wasn’t so much that the Pentagon ‘infiltrated Russian intelligence services’, it’s more like someone was able to gain access to highly classified information and disseminate it out into the public.
It could be an inside job by an analyst who wants to throw a monkey wrench into the mix, it could be a hacker, or it could be a false flag put out there by the intel agencies.
You figure as much as leftwing rags like the New York Times support Ukraine, they wouldn’t be inclined to publish information that would put their operations at risk.