Reports suggest that the US is investigating whether someone leaked documents related to the Ukraine war. The Justice Department has initiated an investigation into the potential release of Pentagon documents on several social media sites.
These documents seem to reveal U.S. and NATO aid to Ukraine. However, someone may have altered these documents or used them as part of a misinformation campaign.
Several sites, including Twitter, posted the documents. The U.S. military’s Joint Staff labels these documents secret and produces them daily as routine updates, but they do not intend for public distribution.
The documents, which date from Feb 23 to March 1, seem to provide information on the progress of weapons and equipment being sent to Ukraine. They offer more precise timelines and amounts than what the U.S. usually provides publicly.
The documents do not contain any war plans, nor do they provide any details on a planned offensive in Ukraine. Some inaccuracies, such as estimates of Russian troop deaths that are significantly lower than numbers publicly stated by U.S. officials, have led to doubts about the documents’ authenticity.
In a statement Friday, Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the Defense Department “made a formal referral” of the matter to the Justice Department for investigation.
Statement from Justice Department
And the Justice Department, in a separate statement Friday, said, “We have been in communication with the Department of Defense related to this matter and have begun an investigation.”
The investigation comes as questions continued to swirl about the origination and the validity of the documents, and as reports suggest more have begun to appear on social media sites.
“It is very important to remember that in recent decades, the Russian special services’ most successful operations have been taking place in Photoshop,” Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate, said on Ukrainian TV.
“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.”
Separately, however, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office released a statement Friday about a meeting he had with his senior military staff, and it noted that “the participants of the meeting focused on measures to prevent the leakage of information regarding the plans of the defense forces of Ukraine.”
If the published documents have any authenticity, the leak of classified data is troubling and should raise questions about the distribution of other information regarding the Ukraine war, or any upcoming offensive.
U.S. officials on Friday provided no clarity on the origin of the documents, their authenticity, or who actually was the first to post them online.