Reporters were advised by the White House not to write on what seem to be classified Pentagon documents that have been leaked and are making the rounds online.
At a Monday press briefing at the White House, John Kirby, the National Security Council’s director of strategic communications, presented the NSC’s position. Possibly the largest leak of secret material since the Edward Snowden incident has the United States government trying to figure out how to respond.
After being questioned repeatedly about the documents, Kirby finally responded, “This information doesn’t belong in the public domain until we know the documents are real.”
If he may say so, “it has no place on the front pages of newspapers or on TV,” he stated. This information is not designed for widespread distribution.
The Department of Defense (DoD) is investigating whether or if the photographs circulating online, first on Discord, are authentic and what impact they may have on national security, according to a statement released by the Pentagon on Sunday. These pictures appear to reveal classified data regarding China, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and other forms of surveillance. According to the Pentagon, American representatives briefed Congress and other allies on the development.
Some of the documents appear to have been tailored specifically for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and other high-ranking military officials, according to a U.S. defense official who spoke to The Washington Post. However, the official emphasized that anybody with the proper authorization may access these files.
The Department of Defense has requested a criminal investigation from the Department of Justice, although the leak’s origin has not yet been determined. According to former Pentagon spokesperson and Navy rear admiral Kirby, there is a suspicion that at least portion of the picture of papers may have been altered.
Israel responded on Sunday to a Washington Post article citing unnamed sources saying the Mossad agency had supported demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to reform the country’s judicial system. The prime minister’s office tweeted, citing a Mossad-written statement, that the information published in the American press the previous evening was completely false and without foundation.
On Monday, Kirby assured reporters that Vice President Joe Biden is being kept in the loop. Kirby added, “We don’t know if the alleged leak is contained or if there is a danger that is still going on. There’s no way for us to know.