“Extremely dangerous threat to national security”: Pentagon warning after leak of classified documents

I amThe Pentagon on Monday assessed that his leak of classified US documents, particularly those related to Ukraine and which appear to be largely genuine, poses a “very serious” risk to US national security.

The circulation of these documents online “poses a very serious risk to national security and has the potential to fuel disinformation,” US Department of Defense spokesman Chris Meagher told reporters.

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“We are continuing to investigate how this happened, as well as the extent of the problem. Steps have been taken to further analyze how this type of information was distributed and to whom,” he added.

Here’s what we know about these unknown source leaks that have recently caught the media’s attention.

What are these documents about?

Many are related to the war in Ukraine. One takes the state of the conflict in early March, including the scale of Russian and Ukrainian losses, while others discuss the situation at specific fronts, such as Bagmouth.

Among the topics discussed were Kyiv’s anti-aircraft defenses, vital against Russian attacks, as well as international aid to Ukrainian forces.

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Some documents suggest the US is spying on some of its allies: one suggests that leaders of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad may have supported demonstrations against controversial judicial reform in Israel.

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Are they real?

The Pentagon said Sunday it was working to “assess the validity of the photo documents circulating on social networks,” but acknowledged they “appear to contain sensitive and highly classified information.”

At least one of the documents, which said Ukraine suffered more losses than Russia, appears to have been altered, as the original said otherwise. But according to press reports, US officials believe many of the documents are genuine.

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What was the response of the authorities?

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation while the Defense Department assesses the potential ramifications for U.S. national security.

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US officials have also been in touch with Washington’s allies on the matter and relevant parliamentary committees have been briefed, the Pentagon said.

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What are the consequences?

The circulation of the documents online “poses a very serious risk to national security and fuels disinformation,” US Department of Defense spokesman Chris Meagher told reporters on Monday.

The leaks could jeopardize US intelligence sources, as well as provide Russia with valuable information about the position of Ukrainian troops.

Documents that implicate America’s allies could embarrass Washington, particularly about intelligence from close allies.

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Where did the documents appear?

They were posted on various social networks and platforms including Twitter, 4chan and Discord. But many of them are no longer available on the sites they originally appeared on, and the US is reportedly working to remove them.

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