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DOJ to Probe the Release of Classified Pentagon Documents

The Justice Department has opened a probe into the recent leak of confidential Pentagon documents that reportedly expose Ukraine’s military capabilities, vulnerabilities, and NATO’s efforts to help combat Russia’s invasion.

Leaked Classified Pentagon Documents Prompt DOJ Investigation

The Pentagon is currently investigating the leaks of what seems to be classified information about Ukraine from the U.S. and NATO military, which are circulating on various social media platforms. According to a Pentagon official who spoke with CNN, the authenticity of the images remains unverified as it is unclear whether they have been doctored. However, U.S. officials have confirmed that the documents are slides taken from the Pentagon’s daily intelligence deck on the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The Pentagon is investigating the authenticity of some images circulating on social media, reportedly showing classified military information about Ukraine. While CNN has reviewed some screenshots, it can’t be confirmed whether they are or have been manipulated. Some of the documents have been altered in certain areas. U.S. officials have acknowledged that the documents are real sides, which are part of the daily intelligence produced by the Pentagon about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, refrained from commenting on the legitimacy of the documents. In her statement, she mentioned that the Defense Department is aware of the social media posts and is investigating the matter. However, it appears that some of the information has been altered.

Ukraine Blames Russia for Leaks

Mykhailo Podolyak, the adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, has claimed that the leaked information is the work of the Russians. According to Podolyak, the documents that have been disseminated are fake and do not correspond to Ukraine’s actual plans. Instead, they are based on a significant amount of fictional information.

Whether the leaked documents are authentic, they have sparked concerns over the timing and preparation of Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive and each side’s knowledge of the other’s plans. One of the images making the rounds on Russian Telegram channels and examined by CNN displays a hard copy of a document titled “U.S., Allied & Partner UAF Combat Power Build.”

Classified as secret and dated February, the document provides the following:

  • A breakdown of the quantities of certain Western weapons systems currently in Ukraine’s possession
  • The level of training Ukraine has or is expected to undergo regarding these systems
  • Projected delivery timelines for different systems

Pentagon Investigates Circulation of Alleged Classified Military Information on Ukraine

One of the documents circulated on social media is labeled as “Russia/Ukraine Joint Staff J3/4/5 Daily Update (D+370),” marked as secret and refers to the date 370 days after the first day of the Russian invasion. The document’s J3, J4, and J5 sections relate to the operations directorate, logistics and engineering, and strategies, plans, and policy recommendations of the U.S. military’s joint staff.

Another document, titled “U.S., Allied & Partner UAF Combat Power Build,” is circulating and lists the current Western weapons systems available to Ukraine, the estimated delivery of other systems, and the level of training Ukraine has or is expected to complete on the systems. A top-secret map was also disseminated, displaying the conflict status as of March 1, with details on battalion sizes and locations for both Russian and Ukrainian sides and the total losses.

According to the report, officials claim that the numbers indicating the number of Ukrainians killed in action, ranging from 61,000 to 71,500, have been altered to reflect higher numbers than the Pentagon estimated. According to U.S. officials, the casualty figures on this map have been tampered with, as the number of Russian losses is much higher than the count listed on the document, which claims that “16,000-17,500 killed in action” occurred. Additionally, a Secret document from February contains a weather forecast that evaluates the areas in Ukraine where the ground may freeze in a manner conducive to vehicle movement.

Leaked Information May be Advantageous to Russia

As per the initial report by the New York Times, the Pentagon’s investigation into leaked documents revealed that some images may provide intelligence that could be advantageous to Russia, including information on the rate at which Ukrainians are utilizing US-provided rocket-system munitions. In response, Podolyak dismissed the documents as a distraction, stating, “If Russia truly obtained genuine scenario preparations, they would not make them public.”

Podolyak stated that Russia is attempting to gain an advantage by obtaining information that could help them influence the scenario plans for Ukraine’s counteroffensive. Their tactics include:

  • Casting doubt on previous ideas
  • Compromising strategies
  • Using their awareness to intimidate

However, Podolyak affirmed that these are merely standard tactics used by Russian intelligence agencies and do not have any connection with Ukraine’s actual plans. Furthermore, Podolyak mentioned that Russian troops would soon become familiar with Ukraine’s authentic counteroffensive plans.

DOJ to Probe the Release of Classified Pentagon Documents
DOJ to Probe the Release of Classified Pentagon Documents
Source: Web

Additional Facts About the Matter

The breach is the latest in cyber-attacks against U.S. government agencies and companies. In 2020, the SolarWinds hack exposed vulnerabilities in government and corporate networks. In March 2021, Chinese hackers targeted Microsoft Exchange servers, and in December 2021, Russian hackers breached the Department of Homeland Security.

The United States has been providing military aid to Ukraine since 2014 to help the country defend itself against Russian aggression. In 2022, the U.S. announced an additional $200 million in military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank missiles, ammunition, and other equipment.

The leak of sensitive military information has raised concerns about the security of U.S. military information and the need for increased cybersecurity measures. Moreover, the United States has invested heavily in cybersecurity to protect against cyber-attacks, including establishing the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in 2018.

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