Ukrainian servicemen fire with a D-30 howitzer at Russian positions near Artemovsk, eastern Ukraine, on March 21, 2023InternationalIndiaAfricaSouth Korea, the UK, Israel, and Bulgaria have all rushed to deny the veracity of the alleged Pentagon leak. The dump not only exposed Washington’s possible plans and routine spying, but also cast a shadow on its allies, with Seoul, London, Tel Aviv, and Sofia branding the batch as “false.” The US Justice Department on April 10 opened an investigation into the purported leak of US Department of Defense intelligence documents. The trove of apparently classified files contains the Pentagon’s assessments of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and Washington’s efforts to persuade its allies to jump on its proxy war bandwagon.”I think [the documents are] extraordinary, for a number of reasons,” Professor Joe Siracusa, US political expert and dean of Global Futures, Curtin University, told Sputnik. “Number one, most leaks in the past we’ve learned about in retrospect. These documents are fresh. Some of them are barely 40 days old and tell us exactly the debates that are going on in South Korea. South Korea doesn’t like to pass on ammunition to third parties, for example. And there’s a debate within South Korea about the pressure from the Americans. And there it is. It’s all in the documents. It’s not even in the South Korean media. What’s extraordinary about this is how recent these documents are. And it’s not like Snowden, or Chelsea Manning, or Julian Assange, [where] sometimes the documents are two or three years afterwards, or even in my day, the Pentagon Papers were many years afterwards. These are very fresh and, I think, very embarrassing.”
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire
The much-discussed Pentagon docs showed that South Korea found itself between a rock and a hard place after agreeing to sell artillery shells to help the United States replenish its stockpiles. The problem was that Seoul was worried that Washington would divert munitions to the Kiev regime. The Asian nation’s official policy prohibits it from providing lethal weapons to countries at war. In addition, the report concerning South Korea’s back-and-forths was based on signals intelligence, meaning the US has been spying on its ally, as per The New York Times.While the leak risks triggering tensions between Washington and Seoul, it may simultaneously backfire on longstanding relations between South Korea and Russia. Addressing the plenary session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in October 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Seoul against arming the Kiev regime. The Russian president suggested that Seoul would be similarly disappointed if Moscow had resumed nuclear cooperation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).AnalysisWhy ‘Pentagon Files’ Reek of Disinfo 10 April, 17:32 GMTLikewise, Israel appears to be displeased after the disclosure of potential scenarios in which the US believes Tel Aviv would supply Ukraine with lethal weapons. One of the scenarios, eloquently titled the “Turkish Model,” envisages that Israel could supply defense systems to Kiev through a third party while still calling for dialogue between Ukraine and Russia. The Pentagon’s list of Israeli weapons supposedly includes Barak 8 missiles, the Spyder air defense system, and Spike anti-tank missiles.The apparently leaked report hypothesized that Tel Aviv would provide lethal weapons to Ukraine in the event of a diplomatic crisis with Moscow stemming from Russia’s growing ties with Iran. Moscow’s reinforcement of Syria’s air defenses resulting in the downing of the Israeli aircraft could also drive a wedge between Israel and Russia, as per the document.AmericasOne Snowden-Like Dissenter Likely Behind Leak of Pentagon Docs, Ex-CIA Analyst Says10 April, 21:54 GMTYet another scenario raised by the report envisions US cooperation with Israel to prepare action against Tehran in order to persuade the Israelis to arm the Kiev regime.
While Israeli administrations have avoided sending lethal weapons to Kiev, the Israeli media alleged in November 2022 that Tel Aviv had agreed to fund several million dollars' worth of supplies of "strategic materials" to Ukraine. The Israeli authorities allegedly asked participants of the deal to keep it on the hush so as not to anger Moscow. Media also suggested that Israel is covertly aiding Ukraine with intelligence and that Tel Aviv had agreed that NATO members could supply the Kiev regime with weapons systems containing Israeli components like electro-optical and fire-control systems.
To frustrate Israeli officials even further, the alleged Pentagon documents suggested that the leadership of the Israeli secret service Mossad had encouraged the agency’s staff and Israeli citizens to participate in protests against the nation’s judicial reform, advocated by the Netanyahu government.The much-discussed docs further alleged that a Russian fighter jet “nearly shot down” a British spy plane off the coast of Crimea on September 29, 2022. At the time, UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace did not describe the incident as “a near-shootdown,” but called it a “malfunction,” adding that he had spoken with senior Russian defense officials about it. As per the US press, the apparent episode shows that despite their bellicose rhetoric, Western military officials are trying hard to avoid being drawn directly into conflict with Moscow.When it comes to Bulgaria, the country allegedly offered to donate its MiG-29s to Kiev, as per “the Pentagon leak.” On April 10, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense asserted to the public that it had not held any talks on the provision of MiG-29 jets to Ukraine. “Such a decision would lead to a deficit of capabilities which is contrary to the country’s Constitution,” the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense stated.AmericasUS Distorted Portrayal of Ukraine Conflict Likely Inspired Pentagon Leak, Ex-Official Says11 April, 00:45 GMT
Who’s Behind the ‘Leak’?
As per the American press, US officials have confirmed that the Pentagon docs “appear to be legitimate intelligence and operational briefs” compiled by the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, adding that at least one had been modified from the original at some point. Nonetheless, the media highlighted, citing US officials, that the apparent authenticity of the documents “is not an indication of their accuracy.”
"When they first came out, the Pentagon denied they were real," Siracusa said. "There was a little fairy tale about these may be fake documents. Well, they are not fake documents. Someone might have fooled around with a sentence or two. They're real documents and they come from the top Joint Chiefs, from various PowerPoint displays or whatever it is. Somebody stole these and passed them out. And so you ask yourself, were these passed on to show that the Ukrainians are probably now losing the war or were they passed on as a signal to other people? I mean, is this somebody who's trying to bring peace to the region? I'm very interested in why people take this information. Because taking this information and publishing it is treason."
The US political expert wonders as to who leaked the documents and what goals they are pursuing. According to Siracusa, they could be motivated by a higher humanitarian purpose or “might have just simply been released as a childhood or as a pubescent conflict between two kids who can get into the system who were playing games.” At the same time, someone in the Pentagon may have released these to show the American people that the US proxy war in Ukraine is doomed and they are trying to sweeten the pill, showing in advance that there were preconditions for a defeat, the professor presumed.”I’m very curious about who released them and why,” he said. “Right now, people say there’s not much importance in them. That’s not true at all, because the very fact that they were released suggests to me that there are leaks at the highest levels of the Pentagon. And when things escape the Joint Chiefs of Staff meetings, I have to ask myself, ‘Well, why did that happen?’ Or maybe it actually happened with somebody on the Joint Chiefs who’s very unhappy about this situation. All kinds of things are whirling on beneath the actual story itself. We don’t know the real story yet. But I think, once we find out, if we find out who leaked this and why, I think we’ll even have a bigger story than we have today.”
Remarkably, the apparent leak followed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh's Nord Stream bombshell, which detailed how US and Norwegian operatives axed the underwater pipelines at the request of the Biden administration. In his follow-up articles on Substack, Hersh hinted that disgruntled CIA officials could be behind the leak of the Nord Stream plot. However, the US mainstream press almost completely ignored the veteran journalist's story, in contrast to the latest Pentagon dump, which has been widely disseminated by the Western press over the past week.
Nord Stream SabotageSeymour Hersh & Russia Not Letting Nord Stream Story be Watered Down and Swept Under Rug10 April, 16:45 GMT
US Proxy War in Ukraine is De Facto Direct Involvement
The NYT called the Pentagon leaks a “nightmare for the Five Eyes” intelligence alliance. However, Siracusa does not believe that the apparent leak will pose a challenge to the Anglophone bloc. As per him, it won’t impact the bloc’s intelligence sharing. However, when it comes to other allies of Washington, the unfolding scandal has definitely hit a raw nerve.”I think The New York Times saying that this is going to have an enormous impact on the Five Eyes is an exaggeration,” Siracusa said. “I mean, the Five Eyes are on board anyway, and they’ll put up with it. But I think it would be a little disturbing to me if I were a leader of a government to find out that my deepest conversations with my military chiefs was being reported in The New York Times. I would just wonder ‘How reliable is an ally that allows top secret information, these conversations, my words, your words, to be published in print for the world to see and for my enemies to use against me.’ I think if you were a friend of the United States, tonight you’d be a little more nervous than you were yesterday.”To complicate matters further, the leak pertains to the US and NATO’s ongoing proxy war in Ukraine and their attempts to involve more nations in their fold, thus putting the latter in dire straits. According to Siracusa, “these leaked documents (…) show that America is guiding the war, it’s providing targeting information, satellite information” to hit Russian troops and positions. The professor highlighted that he regards “a proxy war as a real war.” “This is direct involvement,” he stressed.”I do not approve of American proxy involvement in this war. And when I find out that America is playing a leading role, continuing the war, because the longer this war goes on, the more people who are going to die, and it’s going to have no purpose at the end, because Russia will get the Donbass and Crimea, all the rest of it. I mean, there is nothing that Zelensky or the Americans can do to change the outcome, that they could have had one year ago. Now I’m looking at direct American involvement in a war that the United States says it’s not directly involved in. Well, look, that’s a lie,” Siracusa concluded.