Jun 23, 2024  |  
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Cami Mondeaux, Congressional Reporter

NextImg:Leaked Pentagon documents show how deep US has penetrated Russian intelligence

A trove of Pentagon documents that were leaked online show just how deeply the United States has penetrated Russian security and intelligence services, allowing military officials to warn Ukraine about planned attacks amid the Kremlin’s invasion.

The documents detail Russia’s weaknesses as it struggles to overcome Ukrainian forces in its 14-month invasion, indicating several compromises in the military’s communications. The documents show several instances in which U.S. intelligence agencies have been tipped off about Russian strikes, allowing the U.S. to warn Ukraine ahead of time.


The papers also show that the U.S. has been keeping an eye on Ukrainian military leaders, which also appears to have several weaknesses as it attempts to stave off a Russian invasion. However, the reports indicate that U.S. officials have a far deeper understanding of the Russian military than that of Ukraine.

The recent revelations come after a trove of classified Pentagon documents was posted online on social media in the last few weeks, prompting widespread concerns among U.S. intelligence officials as they continue to monitor the war in Ukraine. The documents don’t explicitly detail how the U.S. has penetrated Russian intelligence, but it’s not yet clear whether the Kremlin can cut off their information sources.

The Justice Department announced it would open an investigation into the leak of documents, which saw the release of U.S. intelligence related to Ukraine to China to Israel. The Defense Department is also investigating the matter.

“The Department of Defense is actively reviewing the matter, and has made a formal referral to the Department of Justice for investigation,” a DOD spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. 

It’s not yet clear how the documents found their way online, but some U.S. officials said it was likely Russia or a group backing them, according to Reuters. However, the officials clarified that is an informal opinion and not the result of any investigation.

Military analysts believe the documents appear legitimate, but they think the original versions were likely altered in some places, specifically in one case: the number of Russian casualties. A chart that was released said Ukraine's death toll was believed to be around 71,000, a figure considered plausible, but it lists the Russian fatalities at 16,000 to 17,500, but that figure is believed to be exponentially greater.

Comparatively, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers in late March that the United States assesses that "the Russians have well over 200,000 casualties."

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak also said the leak appeared to be a Russian disinformation operation.

"These are just standard elements of operational games by Russian intelligence. And nothing more," Podolyak told Reuters. "Russia is looking for any ways to seize back the initiative. To try to influence the scenarios for Ukraine's counteroffensive plans."


The document leak comes in the lead-up to a much-anticipated Ukrainian military offensive that is expected to occur in the coming weeks, though it doesn't appear that any of the leaked documents contain any key details regarding those plans.

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine with the intent of overthrowing Kyiv's government, but the country was unsuccessful in the beginning. After failing to take Kyiv, Russia decided to refocus its attention specifically on the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, and the fighting has now turned into grinding trench warfare.