REALPOLITIK: ‘Grayzone’, Leaked Documents Expose US-NATO Ukraine War Plans – By Alexander Rubinstein

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  • “…The scale of the leak — analysts say more than 100 documents may have been obtained — along with the sensitivity of the documents themselves, could be hugely damaging, U.S. officials said,” the report continues…The report quotes one analyst who warns this is likely “the tip of the iceberg” and that more major leaks are coming, or possibly have already happened, in something which could begin to rival the ‘Pentagon Papers’ of the Vietnam war era”

Ukraine Intelligence Docs Leak Could be Worst for U.S. Govt Since Snowden: Report

DONETSK OBLAST, UKRAINE - APRIL 3: Ukrainian soldiers of Da Vinci Wolves Battalion firing artillery in the direction of Bakhmut, 3 April 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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A group of U.S. intelligence documents dealing with the Ukraine war and other global matters apparently leaked through online gaming forums has been dismissed as fake by some in both Ukraine and Russia, but is apparently being taken seriously elsewhere.

Up to 100 pages of secret U.S. intelligence reports have leaked into the public domain in what one newspaper, citing an intelligence commentator, says could be the “biggest since Edward Snowden”, who leaked thousands of documents in 2013 after he became concerned with the ethical implications of western intelligence activities.

As reported by Breitbart News the authenticity of this new group of leaked documents, which deal predominantly with military assessments of the Ukraine war but also purport to reveal U.S. spying on allies including South Korea and Israel, has previously been disputed. Yet they appear to be taken seriously by observers of Western intelligence, even if the Pentagon and Justice Department in the U.S. have said nothing other than they are aware of claims, are investigating, and have no other comment to make.

Establishment-adjacent news outlets like CNN and papers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times — which was first to report of the emergence of the documents on social media and online gaming forums — note intelligence sources are treating the documents “appear to be legitimate intelligence and operational briefs”, and report frustration in the U.S. government that the documents were being posted online for weeks before anyone noticed.

The original source of the documents is unclear, but open-source intelligence collective Bellingcat traces apparently leaked intelligence documents being posted on Discord, a social platform popular with computer gamers, back to January. Eventually, the documents spread to 4chan — where they were used to settle arguments, which echoes a previous leak used to browbeat users in an online debate about the realism of a tank warfare game — and Russia’s Telegram, where they were noticed.

The seriousness of the leak, which is reported to underline the degree of infiltration of the Russian intelligence and military hierarchies by U.S. intelligence to the extent of being able to warn the Ukrainians of Russian artillery strikes in advance, and of advanced spy satellites deployed to the area, is discussed by Obama-era U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who told CNN: “This appears to be a very serious breach of security, which is potentially very damaging both to the US as well as many friends and allies… I am sure all resources are being tapped to find who is leaking this sensitive information.”

Britain’s Daily Telegraph cites a senior British intelligence officer who called the leak “very significant” and said: “It shows a failure at the very highest levels of classification… If it is genuine, the Americans have a very serious problem. The biggest since Edward Snowden.”

While the leak has serious implications for the integrity of the U.S. intelligence community, it may also impact America’s ability to gather such detailed information about Russia’s war machine in future if Moscow is able to use the documents to identify their own vulnerabilities.


Over 100 More Classified Docs Appear Online: US Secrets ‘From Ukraine To Middle East To China’

A more expanded document dump and leak of highly classified materials is being reported in the wake of the initial disclosure that memos related to US strategy in the Ukraine war appeared online, including material marked “Top Secret”

This time the leak appears more expansive: “A new batch of classified documents that appear to detail American national security secrets from Ukraine to the Middle East to China surfaced on social media sites on Friday, alarming the Pentagon and adding turmoil to a situation that seemed to have caught the Biden administration off guard,” The New York Times reported Friday evening.

“The scale of the leak — analysts say more than 100 documents may have been obtained — along with the sensitivity of the documents themselves, could be hugely damaging, U.S. officials said,” the report continues.

One senior intelligence official was quoted in the report as saying the leak is “a nightmare for the Five Eyes” – in reference to the intelligence-sharing nations of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Like the Ukraine war plans earlier reported on by the Times, some of these latest documents appeared on Twitter and other social media platforms, and they include reports labeled with one of the highest classification ratings of “Secret/NoForn” – which means they are sensitive enough to not be shared with even foreign allies. 

Interestingly, the NY Times notes that one intelligence slide which is circulating features “an alarming assessment of Ukraine’s faltering air defense capabilities.” But these leaks, some of which actually appeared on a Discord server devoted to discussing Minecraft and other unusual places, include more than the initial content on Ukraine war planning

But the leaked documents appear to go well beyond highly classified material on Ukraine war plans. Security analysts who have reviewed the documents tumbling onto social media sites say the increasing trove also includes sensitive briefing slides on China, the Indo-Pacific military theater, the Middle East and terrorism.

The report quotes one analyst who warns this is likely “the tip of the iceberg” and that more major leaks are coming, or possibly have already happened, in something which could begin to rival the ‘Pentagon Papers’ of the Vietnam war era….

A former senior Pentagon official, Mick Mulroy, was also quoted as saying this could possibly hinder Ukrainian military planning given that “many of these were pictures of documents” and thus “it appears that it was a deliberate leak done by someone that wished to damage the Ukraine, U.S., and NATO efforts.”

This assessment suggests a leak from inside allied forces, and not from a foreign adversary, even though US officials are accusing Russian-linked entities online of being the chief spreaders of the leaked documents….

US officials are also warning that some of the documents may have been digitally altered to fit a more pro-Kremlin narrative, as we detailed earlier. Twitter has acknowledged that US officials are requesting that it act to scrub classified materials from the platform.

There’s growing concern that the leaks could be coming from within the Ukrainian military

Pentagon and US intelligence officials are also scrambling to discover the source of the leak in an ongoing investigation. Likely this is to result in greater scrutiny on Kiev and how its chain-of-command handles sensitive data shared from the Pentagon.


Grayzone: Leaked Documents Expose US-NATO Ukraine War Plans

by Alexander Rubinstein, The GrayZone

Classified Pentagon documents containing information about US and NATO plans for a Ukrainian offensive and key details of the ongoing war have leaked. And the Biden administration is reportedly demanding they be scrubbed from the internet. Is there a hidden agenda behind the leak?

The New York Times has reported “a significant breach of American intelligence in the effort to aid Ukraine” through the leak of classified documents that have been shared on social media. It correspondents cited “senior Biden administration officials” who apparently tipped the outlet off to the story. Documents circulating on Telegram that closely resemble those referred to by the Times are reproduced at the end of this article.

The Times writes, “Military analysts said the documents appear to have been modified in certain parts from their original format, overstating American estimates of Ukrainian war dead and understating estimates of Russian troops killed. The modifications could point to an effort of disinformation by Moscow, the analysts said… The analysts warned that documents released by Russian sources could be selectively altered to present the Kremlin’s disinformation.”

Neither the New York Times nor the “military analysts” it cited to explain how the documents were altered, or why they have the appearance of tampering. However, because the leaked documents have arrived in the form of photographs of printed documents, rather than original files, the possibility of forgery or alteration must be considered.

The leaked documents claim that Russia has sustained troop losses ranging from 16,000 to 17,500 while Ukrainian losses amount to as many as 71,500 – a staggering differential that stands at odds with the triumphalist narrative projected by Kiev. They are dated March 1 2023 and appear to be part of an ongoing briefing effort to analyze the war’s progress and plan a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Grayzone obtained the documents from a public Telegram channel. Though they resemble those described by the Times, we can not confirm their authenticity.

According to the New York Times, the Pentagon is investigating the leak while the White House is “working to get them deleted.” Twitter owner Elon Musk appears to have confirmed the pressure campaign, sarcastically commenting, “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.”

Leaked docs: Ukrainian killed in action outnumber Russians 4:1

Perhaps the most notable piece of information contained in the leaked documents relates to military death tolls, with Ukrainian and Russian losses estimated at about a 4:1 ratio. According to one document, 71,500 Ukrainian troops have been killed in action.

That figure is close to the 100,000 KIA’s cited by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a November 2022 speech, before her comments were retracted. It also tracks closely with statements by one of Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky’s top advisers, Mykhailo Podolyak, who told the BBC in June of last year that Ukraine was losing between 100 and 200 soldiers per day (200 deaths per day over the course of 370 days between the launch of Russia’s military operation and the date of the documents would total 74,000.)

Other American and EU state officials have offered dramatically different figures placing Russian KIA’s over the six figure mark. For instance, Norway’s defense chief has charted 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers dead to Russia’s 180,000, while Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Miley asserted that Russian losses are “significantly well over 100,000.”

Another key detail in the documents pertains to the size of the front lines in Donetsk: Russia maintains 91 battalions in the “Donetsk axis” with around 23,000 total personnel, while Ukraine maintains eight brigades and 40 battalions, with 10,000 to 20,000 total personnel.

The documents also outline expectations of weapons deliveries to Ukraine from the US and other NATO countries along with training schedules for Ukrainian forces as a Spring counteroffensive approaches. The timeline spans from January through April, detailing twelve Ukrainian brigades under construction and the weapons they have been or will be supplied. Nine brigades are said to be armed and trained by the US and NATO allies, and six are said to be ready by the end of March, while the rest will be in action by the end of April. The brigades are said to require 253 tanks, 381 mechanized vehicles, 480 motor vehicles, and more.

While the documents distributed on Telegram contain important details about NATO and Ukrainian military capacity, and highlight the astounding depth of American involvement in the war, their publication raises a number of questions.

If the documents were partially faked, were they disseminated to help Russia advance its public relations goals, perhaps by minimizing their casualty numbers or inflating those of their foe? They certainly would not be fooling anyone at the Department of Defense, since they obviously have the original files on hand. Or could it be that the United States leaked the documents with faulty intelligence strewn throughout their contents to confuse Russia ahead of a Ukrainian offensive?

There is also the possibility that they are one hundred percent authentic. If so, Ukraine and its Western patrons may have more serious problems than a few leaked documents.

About the Author:  ALEXANDER RUBINSTEIN is an independent reporter on Substack. You can subscribe to get free articles from him delivered to your inbox here.