Leaked documents state that American and British special forces are present inside Ukraine: The MoD disputes claims that up to 50 elite British soldiers are engaged in combat with Putin’s men.
According to reportedly stolen American intelligence papers, up to 50 British special forces soldiers are presently stationed in Ukraine.
According to a document dated March 23, Britain has the highest presence of special forces on Ukrainian land, followed by more than a dozen personnel from each of the US, France, Latvia, and fellow NATO members.
The Ministry of Defence posted on Twitter that the widely publicised leak of supposed secret US intelligence had “demonstrated a high level of inaccuracy,” and advised against accepting the charges therein at “face value.”
According to Pentagon spokesman Chris Murphy, some of the secret papers that were published online and widely shared on social media appear to have been altered.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin vowed to “examine and turn over every stone until we uncover the source of this and the breadth of it,” but US defence officials remained certain that a leak had occurred.
Lt. Gen. Robert Magowan, a former commander of the Royal Marines, disclosed in December that British commandos had already been to Ukraine twice in 2022, first in January to evacuate the British Embassy in Kyiv and once again in April “to give security to vital staff.”
The servicemen served in Ukraine “with a high level of political and military danger,” according to Lt Gen Magowan.
The released documents have made a wealth of data regarding the conflict in the Ukraine known, including information about US espionage activities not just in Russia but also in the countries where it has allies, such as South Korea, Israel, Ukraine, and the UK.
They demonstrate how American intelligence was able to give Kyiv detailed information about impending Russian assaults, but they also make clear how almost depleted Ukraine’s air defences are.
Also, a section marked “US/NATO SOF in UKR” seemed to provide information about the presence of Western special forces in Ukraine.
According to reports, Britain has sent out 50 operators, the most of any Western country, along with 17 operators from Latvia, 15 from France, 14 from the United States, and one from the Netherlands.
Yet, the documents provided no information on the locations or roles of the operatives’ deployments in Ukraine.
According to the Associated Press, the hacked data may have initially been released in a chatroom on the gaming-oriented social media site Discord.
One chat participant said that an anonymous poster submitted papers that were purportedly categorised by first typing them out using the poster’s own words.
The poster then started to distribute pictures of printed documents with folds in them a few months ago, indicating that they had probably been taken straight from a secure printer.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department opened an investigation on Friday in an effort to find the source of the breach as soon as possible.
Normally, only a secure technique may be used to print secret papers, which may make it simpler for authorities to identify the leak’s origin.
But until a few weeks ago, when they started to spread more extensively on social media, the postings seem to have gone undetected outside of the discussion.
The reality and the honest answer to your question is that we don’t know, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said in response to a query about whether the US administration was actually waiting for more intelligence papers to surface online. And should we be concerned about that? It is, and you’re damn correct.
The Pentagon was aware that papers dated February 28 and March 1 had been placed online, according to Defence Secretary Austin, the first senior US official to speak on the leak. But, the Pentagon was unsure if there were other records that had previously been published.
At a subsequent speech at Rice University in Texas, US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns referred to the leaks as “very sad,” but he made no mention of the Pentagon and Justice Department investigations, which he described as “pretty intensive.”
Burns added, “We need to learn from that as well as how we can strengthen protocols.”
Investigators are trying to identify who or what could have had the means and desire to make the intelligence information public. The disclosure of the leaks may have been the worst since WikiLeaks published thousands of US government papers in 2013.
According to a US official speaking to Reuters, Milancy Harris, the Pentagon’s deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence and security, is in charge of reviewing the stolen documents to determine their possible impact.
The delicate information was initially posted on a mysterious meme forum hosted by a 20-year-old UK university student on a section of the chat service Discord.
The student, a self-described “micro celebrity” going by the handle wow mao, uploaded a video to YouTube describing the consequences and told a reporter it was “hilarious.”
On March 1, he said, a moderator of his Discord chat room dubbed the End of Wow Mao Zone “posted 30 plus secret papers relating the Russia-Ukraine war,” and a month later he found himself unknowingly at the centre of the controversy.
In an interview with the New York Times, wow mao said he spent “minimal time” on the Discord server and was primarily concerned with growing his 250,000-subscriber YouTube channel.
He stated he is British and Filipino and lives in the UK but refuses to provide the outlet his true name.
It just expanded to the nerdiest, most specialised areas of the internet, he claimed. “Losers are the type of persons who would locate these records,” The US authorities must genuinely dread that person.
The data were most likely released due to a lack of respect for the government, according to wow mao, who told the outlet: “They’ll always find it humorous to tease them and cut beneath them in some type of way.”
On the server, users who were researching the breach discovered that a moderator by the name of Lucca was responsible. The papers’ origins were previously disclosed by Bellingcat, which claimed that they later moved to other websites like the imageboard 4Chan before emerging on Telegram, Twitter, and then major media outlets throughout the world in recent days.
According to the New York Times, a Twitter user going by the handle “MrLucca” claimed to have obtained the papers from yet another Discord server and used the same profile picture that Lucca used on Discord.
According to screenshots of the discussion that the outlet was able to get, the user stated, “Find some stuff from a now blacklisted server and passed it on.” The accounts on Twitter and Discord were later deactivated.