US Intelligence Leaks
A minor mutiny in the halls of the Pentagon
[Image: a section of one of the pages of one of the leaks, with scribbles.]
Update 2023-04-12: More sources added. Total is now 18.
Update 2023-04-13: Added Napolitano interviewing Ritter in which Ritter provides his analysis which differs a little from others in that he is more specific about who the “digest” was compiled for, the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
An audio podcast "companion” to this article is available.
Two separate leaks of authentic documents from the Pentagon have appeared recently in the MSM and then been considered by others. Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism provides an excellent overview of them, including reluctantly quoting Aric Toler from Bellingcat, which provides the genesis of the leak. It all started on a gamers' Discord server in January.
Veracity & Accuracy
The images of the documents appear to be photographs of printed versions of the Pentagon slides. There is general agreement that the documents are authentic due to style of presentation and the language used. Of more interest is that some of the information contained in them is known to be false in the "open source intelligence" community.
What are they?
If you have time, I recommand the first hour of Lira's Roundtable #51 with Larry Johnson and Ray McGovern. These two ex-CIA officers know a thing or three about classified documents.
Johnson declares that the documents are from a digest. A bunch of reports were collected into a volume which was distributed to relevant parties as a summary of the state of affairs as of around March 1st. Different documents cover different topics and have differing classifications which supports his assertion. He believes that a likely source for the documents is a SCIF, a Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility. Getting documents out of one of these is as simple as putting them in a backpack. Yes, there is some small risk, but it doesn't seem huge.
The overall classification for the compendium product is that of the highest classified sub-component. Thus the collection is classified TOP SECRET. Which implies NOFORN (cannot be shared with any non-USA citizens) on top of requiring TOP SECRET clearence.
Who from where?
Given the authenticity and TOP SECRET classification this implies that the person who obtained them (not necessarily the same as the person who distributed them) is a USA citizen with access to TOP SECRET classification. The documents are directly related to the war in the Ukraine and thus the collection is likely a Pentagon product, or at least many of the source documents are Pentagon products. Thus, the source is likely to work for the Pentagon, or the Pentagon is so sloppy with intelligence data that a janitor (someone without the clearance, but physical access) got the papers.
The initial publication to the Discord server did not serve to effectively distribute the initial documents. Some documents began appearing there in January, claims the Bellingcat employee. They were then re-published to a larger gaming community including Minecraft players. The second leak contains documents dated March 1st. As you can imagine this all gets a bit murky as to a path from source gatherer through two different methods of attempting to distribute them possibly by different persons on different gaming channels.
The MSM began their reporting with the usual rubbish claiming that it may have been a Russian disinformation operation. Many in the "alternative media" space began speculating that it was a USA disinfo op.
All of this dust seems to have settled and the consensus is that the documents are authentic and contain a mixture of good and bad intelligence data, a topic to which we shall return.
Does this help Russia militarily?
Russia surely already knows the vast majority of the accurate information in the leaks. They may be interested in where they can identify the inaccurate information. This would imply that somewhere between Ukraine and the production of the documents bad data has been introduced. This would likely be Ukraine supplying the USA with poor data, rather than the person or group preparing the documents themselves inserting poor data. The later is possible but incredibly risky, whereas the former is likely and can be excused by the "fog of war".
Lets face it, the Ukrainian regime is corrupt and lying to your sponsor would be par for the course.
One aspect of the leaked documents is that they reveal the USA is spying on its allies. This is nothing new following the Snowden revelations a decade ago. Therein we learned that USA intelligence was monitoring the personal phone calls of German Chancellor Merkel. This time we learn that the USA is spying on Ukraine, South Korea and Israel.
Given that the documents include false data probably derived from Ukraine, then their spying on this "ally" is not very effective. Who cares if they're spying on Israel apart from the apartheid wielding Israelis.
But, the South Koreans are mightily pissed off. Their constitution prevents them from supplying arms to a nation at war. The USA asked for artillery shells (because the USA can't produce them fast enough) and the Koreans had to find a way around the problem. The shells were naturally sent to Poland thus technically avoiding the illegality, but they've been caught out.
Additionally, contracts worth billions of US dollars have been placed with South Korean arm manufacturers. See the short PressTV video below with Jessica Chang and Gilbert Doctorow for further details of how annoyed the South Koreans are.
[Image: a frame of Lira, Johnson and McGovern from the Roundtable included in Sources.]
One set of information in the documents describes the perilous state of Ukraine's anti-aircraft munitions. The documents provide timelines which will arrive very soon in which they will have no more missiles for their Bukh and S-300 systems. Recently, a member of the Ukranian executive visited Greece begging for S-300 "systems" (missiles, we presume). Greece said "no can do" as they are an essential deterrent against the Turks getting uppity.
Additionally, Russia has been using its air-force far more frequently in the past fortnight dropping "glide bombs" on Ukrainian defensive positions, particularly along the Donetsk front.
These two pieces of "open source" intelligence serve to support the assertion made in the leaked document about dwindling ammunition supplies for Ukraine's air defenses.
The documents also note a dwindling stock of artillery ammunition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). This is supported by the USA running around purchasing, purloining or cajoling for artillery ammunition for the AFU from South Korea and Israel over the last weeks.
We learn that new recruits for the Armed Forces of Ukraine are receiving basic training in 5 weeks. The training is based on that used by the USA's Marine Corp, which in their case would take between 3 and 5 months. A Ukrainian commander was complaining that new recruits arrive not even knowing how to dig a trench, which given the WWI nature of much of the front would be close to the most fundamental of skills. They are learning this "on the job".
We also learn that the Azov Battalion is being reformed, but not from conscripts, only from volunteers. They are likely to play a key role in the much vaunted upcoming "spring offensive". How effective this "offensive" will be remains entirely unknowable. On the one hand you have persons like Scott Ritter praising the bravery of the AFU but lamenting that the war continues. Brian Berletic warns not to underestimate the potential effectiveness of the AFU. He notes that repeatedly Russia's forces have given up territory and equipment too to preserve their soldiers. The opposite would be true of the AFU when conducting offensive operations; they lose both in volumes. Berletic also notes that even without the now triple+ deep defensive lines established on and behind the current Russian lines, when the AFU attacked Kherson they suffered huge casualties and only took the city after Russia had withdrawn.
Berletic asks the penetrating question of even if the AFU manages to break through the defense lines, what happens then? Where do they go? Given their lack of air defense how do they protect themselves from being bombed to smithereens?
Another of Berletic's refrains is that the AFU are being forced to use a wide array of different systems for the same purpose. This places a heavy extra burden on training, repairs and logistics. As a former tank soldier, Mr. Berletic focuses on the main battle tank's role. Ukraine has few of the original Russian tanks (T-67 and T-72) and now need to employ (German) Leopard I's and Leopard II's, (UK) Challenger 2's and (French) wheeled light Leclerc's. None of the heavier tanks have the auto-loaders used in the Russian vehicles thus requiring an additional crew member who has further roles than just loading ammunition. One can hear in his voice how disappointed he is for these poor tank crews who will be under serious pressure with poor training in unfamiliar systems if and when then are required to perform their role.
The much anticipated "spring offensive" is either suicidal and idiotic or it wont happen. Indeed, the “wont happen” outcome may have been the objective of the leaks.
Russia and the Wagner Group have mopping up operations to complete the capture of Bakhmut/Artiamovsk which then opens the way to the two cities on the western border of Donetsk.
Meanwhile Russian forces have established a fortified defense in depth against which the AFU can do what they want. Ukraine is out-manned, outgunned and being outproduced. They cannot win, and everybody knows this. The best strategy is for them to pull back to two cities on the western border of the Donetsk oblast and give up the majority of Donetsk. They should then sue for peace. There will be many a bitter pill for them to swallow for they have all but already lost this war. The problem, of course, is politics. The politicians, Sleepy Joe in particular, need an “off ramp” and they better start building one soon.
If the AFU pursue the offensive they will suffer heavy losses from which they cannot recover. This is a potential motivation for the leak. Tens of thousands of new recruits with minimal training were going to be thrown into an offensive in which they would die. Minimal air defense, minimal artillery support and insufficient armored vehicles spells death. I agree with Larry Johnson, we have a “Edward Snowden” type leaker, a person of principle who cannot stand by and see all of these men old and young die for nothing.
Should this stupidity occur and the AFU be heavily reduced in numbers and morale it will provide Poland the excuse they want to claim Galicia which will greatly annoy many European powers, especially Germany, Hungary and Czechia. Russia will probably not care. This is the place to which they can ask what remains of Ukraine to export the Nazis who then become a Polish problem. Russia can then be on supportive terms with a neutral government in Kiev which will provide the buffer state which they wanted 9 years ago.
Make no mistake, despite the loss of lives, if that which I imagine above comes to pass, Russia will be extremely happy with the result. Not only will they have saved their people but also have claimed some of the most profitable and industrially developed lands of eastern Ukraine, but also secured Crimea, the Azov Sea and the mineral resources in most of the Black Sea. Their national pride will skyrocket even further.
Its just like it says at the zoo: Don't poke the bear.
Pentagon in Panic as Second Set of Leaked Documents Gains Traction, Revealing Spying on Allies and Deteriorating Ukraine Capabilities, Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 2023-04-10
The World’s About to Change “Big-Time”, Byron King, Daily Reckoning, 2023-04-13
Ukraine War Plans Leak Prompts Pentagon Investigation, Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 2023-04-06
Leaked Document Says Ukraine Could Run Out of Air Defense Missiles By Early May, Dave DeCamp, Antiwar, 2023-04-10
Ukraine SitRep: Leaked Briefings, Holding Roads, Split Training, b., MoonOfAlabama, 2023-04-10
ONE POSSIBLE SOURCE OF THE LEAKED CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS ON THE WAR IN UKRAINE — A COMBINED OPERATIONS CENTER, Larry Johnson, his website, 2023-04-10
SOME OF THE LEAKED MILITARY SLIDES SHOW THAT UKRAINE IS IN TROUBLE, DESPITE AUSTIN & MILLEY INSISTING THINGS ARE SWELL, Larry Johnson, A Son of the New American Revolution (his website), 2023-04-12
THE WRITING ON THE WALL AS REVEALED BY THE PENTAGON PAPERS LEAK, John Helmer, Dances with Bears (his website), 2023-04-10
The Pentagon Leaks Charade, Pepe Escobar, The Unz Review, 2023-04-10
Leaks Showing US Spied on South Korea Spark Outrage in Seoul, Dave DeCamp, Antiwar, 2023-04-11
The Critical Hour: Ray Follows Up on Pentagon Leaks, Ray McGovern is interviewed by Wilmer Leon and Garland Nixon, The Critical Hour, 2023-04-12
“Leaked documents” from the Pentagon spark major political scandal in South Korea, Gilbert Doctorow, his website, 2023-04-11
Document leak, Ukraine running out of anti-aircraft missiles, Alex Christoforou and Alexander Mercouris, The Duran, 2023-04-10
Pentagon Doc Leaks - Why? w/Larry Johnson, Judge Napolitano interviews Larry Johnson, Judging Freedom, 2023-04-11
Shifting World Powers & Ukraine Russia War - w/Alastair Crooke, Judge Napolitano interviews Alastair Crooke, Judging Freedom, 2023-11-11
Leaked Pentagon documents - Now What? - w Phil Giraldi, Judge Napolitano interviews Philip Giraldi (ex-CIA), Judging Freedom, 2023-04-10
Can Leaks Prevent More War in Ukraine or Taiwan? Ray McGovern, Judge Napolitano interviews Ray McGovern, Judging Freedom, 2023-04-10
Ukraine Firepower v Russian Firepower w/Scott Ritter, Judge Napolitano interviews Scott Ritter, Judging Freedom, 2023-04-12
The Roundtable #51: Larry Johnson and Ray McGovern, Discussing The Leaks, Gonzalo Lira interviews a couple of honest ex-spooks, The Roundtable, 2023-04-11
I'M ON THE UKRAINIAN HIT LIST. "Scholz Became A Collaborator" - Hersh. Price Caps Hit The Rouble., Mike Jones, iEarlGrey, 2023-04-10
contains other headlines too
WSJ, burning through S-300s. WaPo doc leak; Expect modest gains & big losses, cancel offensive., Alex Christoforou, his youtube channel, 2023-04-11
Teddy Bears' Picnic, Henry Hall & His Orchestra (1932), retrotor, uploaded 2007-08-29
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