CNN has reviewed 53 leaked Pentagon documents, all of which appear to have been produced between mid-February and early March, that contain a wide range of highly classified information.
Some of the documents, which US officials say are authentic, expose the extent of US eavesdropping on key allies, including South Korea, Israel and Ukraine.
On Russia and Wagner Group: Others reveal the degree to which the US has penetrated the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Russian mercenary organization Wagner Group, largely through intercepted communications and human sources, which could now be cut off or put in danger.
On Ukraine’s military and Zelensky: Still, others divulge key weaknesses in Ukrainian weaponry, air defense, and battalion sizes and readiness at a critical point in the war, as Ukrainian forces gear up to launch a counteroffensive against the Russians – and just as the US and Ukraine have begun to develop a more mutually trusting relationship over intelligence-sharing.
One document reveals that the US has been spying on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That is unsurprising, said a source close to Zelensky, but Ukrainian officials are deeply frustrated about the leak.
The US intelligence report, which is sourced to signals intelligence, says that Zelensky in late February “suggested striking Russian deployment locations in Russia’s Rostov Oblast” using unmanned aerial vehicles since Ukraine does not have long-range weapons capable of reaching that far.
Signals intelligence includes intercepted communications and is broadly defined by the National Security Agency as “intelligence derived from electronic signals and systems used by foreign targets, such as communications systems, radars, and weapons systems.”
On South Korean officials: Yet another document describes, in remarkable detail, a conversation between two senior South Korean national security officials about concerns by the country’s National Security Council over a US request for ammunition.
The officials worried that supplying the ammunition, which the US would then send to Ukraine, would violate South Korea’s policy of not supplying lethal aid to countries at war. According to the document, one of the officials then suggested a way of getting around the policy without actually changing it – by selling the ammunition to Poland.