What we know about the supposed leak of “highly sensitive” documents embarrassing the Pentagon

What we know about the supposed leak of “highly sensitive” documents embarrassing the Pentagon

Pictures of documents attributed to US intelligence have been circulated on various platforms, such as Telegram messaging or Twitter on the social network. The Pentagon has not yet provided any information on the source of this supposed leak.

Photos marked “top secret” or even military plans … The New York Times He revealed, Friday, April 7, the alleged leak of top-secret US government documents. Among these files of dubious origin, there are also supposed schedules for arms deliveries to Ukraine or a list of the country’s needs in terms of military vehicles. It appears to be an unauthorized posting of sensitive content.Chris Major, Deputy Secretary of Defense, commented: during a press conference (in English), without confirming the authenticity of the documents. What do we find in these pictures? Where did they appear and should they be taken seriously? Franceinfo is assessing this leak, which is troubling the US Department of Defense and its international partners.

Where do these documents come from?

According to the The New York TimesThe first sensitive posts were reported on April 5, after they were shared on Telegram’s encrypted messaging channels. But Bellingcat, which specializes in “open source” investigations, claims the stolen images were first posted on online forums devoted to video games. Maine Craft. These then spread to other sites such as the 4Chan discussion forum before appearing on Telegram and Twitter over the past few days.specific Bellingcat (in English). Soon the news reached the ears of the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J Austin, We reported on the morning of April 6th. According to his deputy. Since then, the Pentagon has doubled its emergency meetings and had to report to security committees in the US Congress. President Joe Biden has also been briefed “last weekend”said his spokesman, John Kirby.

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What does it contain?

The content of the leak is embarrassing to the US government. We find there An update on the state of conflict in Ukraine at the beginning of March or on the situation on specific fronts such as Bakhmut, or even the crucial anti-aircraft defenses in Kiev. Alleged accounts of US spying methods, including on close allies such as South Korea and Israel, have also been published, reports say. guardian (in English).

The documents also present the existence of secret production of missiles in Egypt for Russia, or even “discussions” Between the arms manufacturers in Türkiye and the Russian Wagner Group mercenaries which have not yet been subject to any independent verification. Agence France-Presse announced that it had used certain documents marked “secret” or “top secret”, without being able to confirm their authenticity.

Is it believable?

According to analysts who have studied these documents, the content of the slides should be taken with caution. Some of the photos dated January-March 2023 appear to have been “highly retouched”Bellingcat, in particular, emphasizes the exaggeration of human losses on the part of the Ukrainian army.

In the absence of firm confirmation or denials from the Pentagon, the supposed leak caused problems on the international scene. Many countries were forced to respond. Starting with South Korea, which described its presidency as“absurd and false” Suspicions of American espionage. “A system in the office of the president (…) prevents any eavesdropping”Team Yoon reassured seok youAnd Yonhap news agency reportedto brag “Seal” of his safety. It accused Seoul of not wanting to sell certain weapons to the United States for fear they would end up in Ukraine, and Seoul also denied it, contesting the authenticity of the documents.

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On the Russian side, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday morning denied reports on Telegram that Egypt plans to secretly supply Russia with up to 40,000 missiles. “Looks like a new duck [terme employé par le Kremlin pour désigner les fausses nouvelles]And As it is these days. This is how we should deal with such information.”was a reaction.

Who could be the source of this leak?

The Pentagon has not yet provided any information about the author or authors of this supposed leak. Numerous internal investigations have been conducted, and in addition to A.J “criminal investigation” It was opened by the US Department of Justice, the Department of Defense revealed on Monday. A multifunctional working group was also created, which was assigned to To check the authenticity of the photocopied documents in circulation. And “to assess the implications for national security”It is to explain.

When asked about the source of this leak, the Pentagon is in touch at the moment, indicating that “Documents used by a variety of people and departments within the Department of Defense to inform their work and outside the Department of Defense (…) to assist us in the performance of our duties”As explained by Chris Meagher, who does not rule out that other documents presented as “top secret” files will appear in the coming days.

And while awaiting the results of these investigations, the Deputy Secretary of State for Defense warned anyone who tries to re-publish these photos or share new photos. “The disclosure of sensitive documents could have far-reaching consequences, not only for our national security, but also for the lives of some people.”confirmed.

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