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Pentagon Investigates Major Leak of Classified Military Intelligence on US and NATO Plans to Support Ukraine’s Fight Against Russian Forces

The Pentagon is investigating a large leak of classified military intelligence relating to plans by the United States and NATO to support Ukraine's fight against Russian forces.[0] The documents, which were posted on social media sites in recent weeks, range from worldwide intelligence briefings to battlefield updates and assessments of Ukraine’s defense capabilities.[1] Some of the documents reference classified information from the CIA.[2] The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak, which officials have suggested may have come from within the Pentagon, although a person familiar with US intelligence said that a probe would likely not be limited to the Pentagon, given the large number of people across the government who have access to these kinds of documents.[0] Some of the documents also have markings indicating that they were shared with countries in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.[3]

The documents reportedly contain classified information on topics ranging from the mercenary Wagner Group's operations in Africa and Israel's pathways to providing lethal aid to Ukraine, to intelligence about the United Arab Emirates' ties to Russia and South Korean concerns about providing ammunition to the US for use in Ukraine.[4] Analysts have said that the documents appear to have been slightly doctored, exaggerating Ukrainian casualties while downplaying the losses by Russian forces.[5] There are concerns that the leak could compromise US and NATO support for Ukraine and damage the US's ability to keep secrets.[6] The Pentagon says it is reviewing the leak and has made a formal referral to the Department of Justice for investigation.[7] The leak is one of the most significant breaches of military intelligence since the Russian invasion in 2022 and comes at a time when Ukraine is preparing to launch a spring offensive.[6]

0. “Leaked military documents on Ukraine battlefield operations circulated as early as March” POLITICO, 7 Apr. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/04/07/leaked-military-documents-on-ukraine-battlefield-operations-circulated-as-early-as-march-00091073

1. “Leaked documents warn of weaknesses in Ukraine's defenses” The Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/04/08/leak-documents-ukraine-air-defense/

2. “Justice Dept. will investigate leak of classified Pentagon documents” Press Herald, 7 Apr. 2023, https://www.pressherald.com/2023/04/07/justice-dept-will-investigate-leak-of-classified-pentagon-documents/

3. “DOJ opens investigation into leaks of apparent classified US military documents” CNN, 9 Apr. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/07/politics/pentagon-leaked-ukraine-documents/index.html

4. “DOJ investigating possible leak of Ukrainian aid documents” The Week, 8 Apr. 2023, https://theweek.com/united-states/1022519/doj-investigating-possible-leak-of-ukrainian-aid-documents

5. “Leaked U.S. Documents Spark Fear in Russian Pro-War Blogging Community: ISW” Newsweek, 8 Apr. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/leaked-us-documents-spark-fear-russian-pro-war-blogging-community-isw-1793270

6. “Leaked Docs Reveal U.S. Spying Extensively on Both Sides of Ukraine War” The Daily Beast, 8 Apr. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/leaked-intelligence-documents-reveal-extensive-us-spying-on-both-russia-and-ukraine

7. “Ukraine: apparent classified US-NATO war plans were leaked or stolen, NYT” Business Insider, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-apparent-classified-us-nato-war-plans-leaked-or-stolen-2023-4