U.S. Secret Documents about Ukraine, N.Korea, Iran Leaked Online; DOJ opens Investigation

The Department of Justice is investigating the leak.

The leak of U.S. secret documents about Ukraine continued on social media on Friday. Also included in the documents were secrets about Iran’s nuclear program, North Korea’s missile program, and documents from other regions of the world.

The handful of documents posted on social media platforms on Thursday included precise details about the Ukrainian battlefield, U.S. weapons use by Ukraine, and the training of Ukrainian troops as of March 1. The documents posted do not appear to include any military planning for the long-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive that is expected for later this spring.

The documents posted appear to be photographs of PowerPoint slides produced by the U.S. containing information about the readiness of Ukrainian units, particularly of nine Ukrainian military brigades being supplied by United States and NATO allies. And in at least one instance, the documents appear to have been altered to reflect Russian fatality estimates that are lower than the 200,000 number publicly stated by U.S. officials.

CNN notes:

The documents also appear to 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.

CNN could not independently verify that the documents have not been altered. But they are similar to the March documents about Ukraine that have been circulating online in recent weeks, which US officials on Friday morning confirmed to CNN to be authentic.

US officials suggested that a leak investigation would look inward, at potential culprits inside the Pentagon. But a person familiar with US intelligence said 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. 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.

Images of some of the documents – which include estimates of Russian casualties and a list of Western weapons systems available to Ukraine – were posted to the social media platform Discord in early March, according to screenshots of the posts reviewed by CNN.

It wasn’t until this week that the leaked documents started to gain more attention after someone posted a portion of the documents to 4chan, a web forum popular with extremists, and then a Russian speaker posted an altered version of one of the documents on Telegram, Toler said.