A batch of classified US documents full of secrets on China, Ukraine and the Middle East has leaked online. The Pentagon is desperately hunting for the source of the leak as one official said the intel breach was a “nightmare” for the Five Eyes partnership between the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It has been reported that more than 100 documents may have been compromised by the leak.
The trove of classified documents appeared on Twitter, Telegraph, the message board 4chan and several more websites on Friday afternoon.
The New York Times reported that the intelligence leak included secret files on China, the Middle East and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
US officials told the newspaper that the leak was a “nightmare for the Five Eyes” and suggested the breach looked hugely damaging.
The latest leak came just a day after the Biden administration said it was investigating photos shared on social media purporting to show top secret plans for a spring offensive in Ukraine.
The Ukraine leak raised alarm about the state of the country’s air defense capabilities, the New York Times reported.
A map shared on 4chan also purported to show the progress of the war in Bakhmut, the Ukrainian city where much of the fiercest fighting with Russia takes place.
Documents seen by the New York Post on Telegram showed combat equipment numbers, Ukrainian air defense postings and combat maps.
The first set of secret documents was posted to Telegraph by pro-Kremlin accounts, it has been reported. They have now been shared more widely.
Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh on Friday said: “The Department of Defense is actively reviewing the matter, and has made a formal referral to the Department of Justice for investigation.”
One anonymous analyst told The New York Times that the embarrassing leak was the “tip of the iceberg” as it’s feared more documents could leak in the coming days.
But some Ukrainian officials poured doubt on the authenticity of some of the information in the documents leaked online.
Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, said on Ukrainian TV: “It is very important to remember that in recent decades, the Russian special services’ most successful operations have been taking place in Photoshop.
“From a preliminary analysis of these materials, we see false, distorted figures on losses on both sides, with part of the information collected from open sources.”
The leak still raised worrying questions about what further classified information on Ukraine could be leaked as a deadly spring offensive is anticipated.