Questions to White House National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, on the nature of the leaks, the scale of the breach, and whether or not more were to be expected, while initially left unanswered pending investigation, led to theories involving Russia, the UAE and others.
According to AP, “Some of the documents may have been altered or used as part of a misinformation campaign, U.S. officials said”, with Kirby suggesting caution in reaching early conclusions.
The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the source of the leaks as well as the possible agenda behind them and while the full scope of the leaks has not been shared, preliminary verifications by the Justice Department confirm that some documents had been doctored.
On Monday, Vedant Patel, State Department spokesman, told reporters U.S. officials “are engaging with allies and partners at high levels over this, including to reassure them of our commitment to safeguarding intelligence and the fidelity of securing our partnerships.”
AP reported an estimated 3 million people have security clearance for access to some of the documents leaked, a clearance being rapidly revised down.
One such leaked document, that the BBC has reportedly seen, reveals “a sensitive conversation between high-level South Korean officials on whether to sell weapons that could be used in Ukraine” seemingly torn between their foreign policy not to send arms or ammunition to countries at war, and US pressure to expedite ammunition to Ukraine. South Korea is now also finding itself forced to pick sides and risk either upsetting the US or Russia with the potential to heighten tensions globally.