It now looks like our very secret plans concerning Ukrainian movements and some of our weapons capabilities have been leaked online. Here’s a link from the Japan Times (it does NOT contain any photos of the documents, which I won’t share):
The scale of the leak — analysts say more than 100 documents may have been obtained — along with the sensitivity of the documents themselves, could be hugely damaging, U.S. officials said. A senior intelligence official called the leak “a nightmare for the Five Eyes,” in a reference to the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the so-called Five Eyes nations that broadly share intelligence.
First, ANY leak of classified data causes a nightmare for our allies. Many of them share very sensitive data with us, which requires them to trust the U.S. to treat their data seriously. When you break that trust, those allies hesitate to share data in the future. This makes it really hard to build comprehensive war plans with them, or to cooperate in general.
Now, leaks happen, both in the U.S. and by our allies, so the response to these leaks is the important part. Given that the leaks involved information stamped “Top Secret,” its not going to take the government too long to figure out who leaked it. Here’s the kicker though…what is going to happen because of it?
When I wrote a while back about the Hillary Clinton leaks and everyone treating it as “no big deal,” I was most concerned that not punishing her would essentially excuse other people to leak classified data in the future. If you’re some mediocre bureaucrat that gets to handle classified material, and you see your boss get away with leaking it, then why not leak your material to further your own agenda?
My bet is that the DoD will either find the person, who will be some mid-range bureaucrat in the intelligence community that will, at best, be removed from his or her position, or they won’t find anyone at all, which will likely mean the person that leaked it is too connected to punish. Our allies will hesitate for a while on sharing, and China and Russia will use this as an excuse to say its proof we’re really “at war” and to excuse further transgressions on their part.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. Don’t forget to donate to DaTechGuy or purchase one of the author’s books!