OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 12:54 PM – Monday, April 10, 2023
A senior South Korean government official has said at a briefing that he will request the United States to take “appropriate measures” after completing an investigation into Pentagon documents that were stolen from U.S. intelligence.
The remarks came when classified Pentagon documents were hacked, stolen, and uploaded online, revealing U.S. espionage collecting on allies like South Korea.
South Korean officials have also questioned the accuracy of the records, claiming there was evidence that some of the data may have been fabricated. Additionally, a senior U.S. official agreed and inferred that some documents may have been tampered with.
According to a Pentagon official, the Defense Department is evaluating the “validity” of the documents in reaction to the leak, and an interagency effort is evaluating how the breach may damage national security and relations with allies.
“Over the weekend, U.S. officials have engaged with allies and partners and have informed relevant congressional committees of jurisdiction about the disclosure,” said Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh.
More than 50 of the leaked documents, several of which are marked “Top Secret,” have been obtained by the press. The documents, which originally surfaced online in March, contain information about Americans spying on Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, evaluations of Ukraine’s combat capability, and intelligence collecting on the country’s allies, which include South Korea and Israel.
According to an insider close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the leak has already caused Ukraine to change some of its military planning.
“The Department of Defense continues to review and assess the validity of the photographed documents that are circulating on social media sites and that appear to contain sensitive and highly classified material… An interagency effort has been stood up, focused on assessing the impact these photographed documents could have on U.S. national security and on our allies and partners,” Sabrina Singh said in a statement.
According to Singh, American officials alerted “relevant congressional committees” about the leak and spoke with allies and partners over the weekend.
The leak has also prompted the Pentagon to tighten the flow of this kind of extremely sensitive information, which is often accessible on any given day to hundreds of employees throughout the government.
Many of the materials, which seemed to be briefing documents, had markings indicating that they had been created by J2, the intelligence division of the Joint Staff.
Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, has been invited to speak to Congress and have a meeting with President Biden later in the month. Strong military relations exist between the United States and South Korea, and the two routinely train together.
“We expect the US to share a damage assessment with us in the coming days, but we cannot wait for their assessment. Right now we are doing our own,” said an unnamed official from a country included in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing arrangement with the U.S..
For President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the leaks are a “nightmare,” according to Mick Ryan, a retired Australian army major general, who also noted that this is “a massive kick in the stomach for the soldiers seeking to hold the line in the defense of Ukraine.”
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