The Pentagon announced it was trying to remove from the internet a major leak of secret documents which have exposed plans relating to Ukraine’s war on Russia. For his part, Elon Musk sarcastically highlighted the vain attempt, saying on Twitter: “Yeah, you can totally delete things from the Internet – that works perfectly and doesn’t draw attention to whatever you were trying to hide at all.”
The American billionaire derided on Twitter the Pentagon’s attempt to remove social media posts containing leaked classified documents relating to the conflict in Ukraine. The day before his tweet, the New York Times newspaper indicated that officials were not successful in removing the publications from the internet.
The leak was described to the News York Times by a senior intelligence official as “a nightmare for the Five Eyes,” the intelligence sharing apparatus between the Anglo countries – the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Some of the documents were found on Twitter and other sites on April 7, a day after US officials announced that they were investigating a potential leak of classified Ukrainian war plans. These war plans include an alarming assessment of Ukraine’s faltering air defence capabilities and notes that 12 brigades are being formed for Ukraine, including nine trained by the US and other NATO allies.
One of the leaks, dated February 23, is labelled “Secret/NoForn,” meaning it was not meant to be shared with foreign countries, and thus confirms the secrecy of the documents.
It is the belief of Mick Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official, that the leak is “a significant breach in security” that could hamper Ukrainian military planning as it reportedly prepares for a spring offensive. “As many of these were pictures of documents, it appears that it was a deliberate leak done by someone that wished to damage the Ukraine, US, and NATO efforts,” he said.
The Kremlin said it had no doubts about the participation of the US or NATO, direct or indirect, in the conflict in Ukraine. None-the-less, the leaks would still provide a fascinating insight for decisionmakers in Moscow.
The New York Times reported that the leaks appear to be legitimate Defense Department documents. None-the-less, this did not stop Ukrainian officials from suggesting that the leak was only part of a Russian disinformation campaign aimed at influencing Ukraine’s possible spring offensive.