Leaked Defense Department classified documents have made their way online, with detailed information about Russia’s war machine that points to the U.S. spying on the country amid the Ukraine-Russia war. The leaked documents also included a secret assessment of Ukraine’s combat power, and intelligence information on some of America’s allies, including South Korea and Israel.
NBC News has obtained over 50 of the leaked documents, many of which are classified as “Top Secret” which is the highest classification level. The documents were first posted online in March.
On Saturday a senior U.S. official disclosed that currently the government’s “working theory” is that all the documents are real, but that it is possible that some of them have been altered.
The impact of the leaks has not yet been determined, but this could potentially be one of the most serious breaches of U.S. intelligence secrets, since the National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, shared thousands of classified documents with journalists which showed how the U.S. had been using electronic surveillance in 2013 to spy on American people.
In this case, the number of documents that have been leaked appears to be much smaller as it is in the dozens and not the thousands.
The documents include information that has been received through secret signals intelligence — electronic eavesdropping — which is an important part of U.S. intelligence-gathering. A former U.S. intelligence official also disclosed that if Russia is successful in cutting some of those signals, then the sources of information that the U.S. has could be significantly reduced.