(RepublicanJournal.org) – Over the past few weeks, documents, videos, and photos began circulating on Discord, a social site popular with gamers, and 4Chan. Some of these uploads had labels such as “Secret” and “Top Secret” and appeared to be American intel someone would need a government clearance to access. On Friday, April 7, The New York Times published an exposé detailing the documents’ publication. As one might expect, the Department of Defense (DOD) officials quickly scrambled to pick up the pieces.
Leaked Documents Make Their Rounds
The leaked documents in question range from estimates of how many soldiers have died during Russia’s war campaign in Ukraine to one that claimed the Mossad supported protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, someone may have altered these documents to mislead the reader or cover up a story or statistic someone did not like.
Michael Mulroy, who previously served as a senior official in the Pentagon, told Reuters that the federal investigation into the matter is now focusing “on this being a US leak, as many of the documents were only in US hands.”
The White House & Federal Officials React to the Security Breach
On Monday, April 10, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby held a press briefing and touched on this issue. Kirby emphasized that the data leaked “is not intended for public consumption, and it should not be out there.” While he supplied reporters with whatever information he could, he noted that he did not want to compromise the ongoing investigation.
Speaking anonymously to POLITICO, one DoD official said this news makes him “sick to my stomach,” while another called it “a massive betrayal.” The unnamed source highlights that leaked documents also touched on a potential American effort to spy on South Korea and Turkey’s relationship with Israel. Some experts believe this leak could be worse than the one by Edward Snowden over a decade ago, as the data shared is mostly up-to-date.
Unpacking the Leak’s Timeline
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin received his first briefing on the leak of this top-secret material on April 6. The next day, experts realized the information had been on the internet since the beginning of March. Now, investigators are working as quickly as possible to pinpoint where the leak came from, as classified information may not be fully secure until a culprit is found.
With this, the defense community is having to rethink how it stores classified and top-secret information and who has access to it. Getting a security clearance has never been an easy feat, but after this, it may be even harder.
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