UNITED STATES: U.S. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin stated on Tuesday that the US will investigate the latest purported leak of highly classified documents until the source is found. Over 50 of the documents, marked “Secret” and “Top Secret,” first surfaced on social media in March and purportedly reveal information about the military capabilities of some U.S. adversaries and allies. The documents’ authenticity has not been independently verified by our team.
During a press briefing at the State Department, Austin said, “We will continue to investigate and turn over every stone until we determine the source of this and the breadth of it.”
Austin, the first senior U.S. official to address the leak, stated that the Pentagon was aware of documents dated February 28 and March 1 that had been put online but was unsure if other documents had previously been available online.
“These are things that we will find out as we continue to investigate,” added Austin.
While speaking later at Rice University in Texas, Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency William Burns referred to the leaks as “deeply unfortunate,” but he made no mention of the Pentagon and Justice Department investigations, which he claimed were “quite intense.”
Burns added, “We need to learn lessons from that as well about how we can improve procedures.”
Investigators are trying to identify who or what might have had the means and desire to make the intelligence information public. The leaks may be the most damaging disclosure of US government information since the 2013 release of tens of thousands of documents on WikiLeaks.
Milancy Harris, the deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence and security, is in charge of the Pentagon’s investigation into the potential consequences of the leaked documents, said a U.S. official.
Some of the most sensitive information supposedly relates to Ukraine’s military prowess and weaknesses, and one of the documents emphasises the minimal number of Western special forces units stationed in the nation.
The Justice Department has started a criminal investigation into the leak of the documents.
Given the range of subjects covered by the documents, several national security specialists and American authorities say they believe the leaker may be American. They said that as the investigation goes on, more theories might emerge.
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