President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that investigators are nearing the source of the highly classified U.S. intelligence documents leak. This security breach is considered the most severe in a decade. The Department of Justice initiated a formal criminal investigation last week after the Pentagon referred the matter.
Sensitive Details Leaked
The leaked documents allegedly contain sensitive information about Ukraine's military capabilities and details about U.S. allies, including Israel, South Korea, and Turkey. Reuters has reviewed over 50 "Secret" and "Top Secret" documents but has not confirmed their authenticity independently. The total number of leaked documents likely exceeds 100.
Countries Question Document Veracity
Several countries, including Britain, have questioned the accuracy of some documents, citing a "serious level of inaccuracy" in the information. President Biden expressed concern about the leak during his three-day tour of Ireland but stated that a full-blown investigation is ongoing.
FBI Washington Field Office Investigates
The FBI's Washington field office is leading the investigation. According to the Washington Post, the leaker is a gun enthusiast in his 20s who worked on a military base. The report is based on interviews with two members of a Discord chat group.
Discord's Cooperation with Law Enforcement
Discord announced on Wednesday that it is cooperating with law enforcement. The documents were initially shared on a Discord server for gun and ammo enthusiasts who frequently exchanged offensive jokes, as reported by Bellingcat last week.
Suspected American Leaker
National security experts and U.S. officials believe the leaker could be American, given the range of topics covered by the documents. Since the leak surfaced in March, investigators have explored various theories, including a mole within the U.S. intelligence community or military.
Foreign Governments Respond to Leaks
Several foreign governments have already reacted to the leaks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office dismissed a document claiming Mossad encouraged protests against him. A South Korean presidential official said the country would discuss "issues raised" with Washington. The BBC reported one document discussed U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' alleged willingness to accommodate Russian interests.
U.N. Spokesperson Criticizes Leaks
U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric criticized the leaks, stating that the distortion and public exposure of private conversations are surprising rather than the act of spying itself.