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No end to this story: Expect a drip-drip or steady trickle of US military leaks

No end to this story: Expect a drip-drip or steady trickle of US military leaks

Update: An arrest has been made, but it's clear from reporting that an untold number of secret documents may still be out there.

Europe

UPDATE 4/12: On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the arrest "without incident" of a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman named Jack Teixeira in connection with the classified documents leak.


According to a Washington Post exclusive on the origins of the U.S. military leaks now roiling official Washington and its allies and partners today, there may be an untold number of classified documents still out there, yet to be reported.

The Post talked with two of the members of a Discord (online gaming) group who say the "leader" of their tight knit channel had been sharing with them top secret information gleaned from the secure facility/military base from which he presumably worked for some time, but photographs of those documents started coming "beginning late last year."

The leader of the group — called "OG" — had been literally writing out and annotating classified documents he had access to in his day job up until then, but then began photographing and posting them "several times a week." Many were quite recent, including, according to the Washington Post, "eye-level" images of the recent Chinese spy balloon incident in early February.

The Post also reviewed approximately 300 photos of classified documents, most of which have not been made public; some of the text documents OG is said to have written out; an audio recording of a man the two group members identified as OG speaking to his companions; and chat records and photographs that show OG communicating with them on the Discord server. ....

The breadth of the military and intelligence reports was extensive. For months, OG regularly uploaded page after page of classified U.S. assessments, offering a window into how deeply American intelligence had penetrated the Russian military, showing that Egypt had planned to sell Russia tens of thousands of rockets and suggesting that Russian mercenaries had approached Turkey, a NATO ally, to buy weapons to fight against Ukraine.

The Post ascertained that "the transcribed documents OG posted traversed a range of sensitive subjects that only people who had undergone months-long background checks would be authorized to see."

The photographs eventually made their way onto other online channels beginning in February. The New York Times first reported this on April 6. Most of the first batch of top secret missives were purportedly from the daily briefings that were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. The Post, however, reported last night a previously unreported document, allegedly an assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency, that surmises that even if the Ukrainians make significant gains in any upcoming counteroffensive against the Russians, "Negotiations to end the conflict are unlikely during 2023 in all considered scenarios."

The original tranche of 53 documents is clearly not the last.

The New York Times today is reporting on "new additional documents, which did not surface in a 53-page set" that came to attention last week. In their own exclusive, they describe intelligence documents that show infighting between Russia's defense ministry and intelligence services over a number of issues, including Russian battlefield casualty counts. They also reflect intelligence about supposed willingness of China to transfer weapons to Russia, and the tensions between Wagner Group head Yevgeny V. Prigozhin and the Russian military. According to the NYT:

The new documents were shared in photos, and some are missing pages. Those shown in full include material from the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon’s Joint Staff intelligence directorate.

The Washington Post deep dive on the Discord channel does not even guess how many of these photographs or emails with highly sensitive information may have hopped from the original group to the wider online world. As the DoD and Justice Department scramble to find "OG," the damage is clearly already done, and we could be in for many more revelations to come.

DF-ST-87-06962 The Pentagon, headquarters of the Department of Defense. DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force.|
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