Pentagon head says the U.S. would “turn over every rock” to locate the leak.
On Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the leak of secret papers would be investigated until the source is located.
Reuters investigated more than 50 “Secret” and “Top Secret” papers that originally leaked on social media in March and allegedly revealed the military capabilities of certain U.S. partners and rivals. Reuters hasn’t confirmed the papers.
“We will continue to investigate and turn over every rock until we uncover the source and scope of this,” Austin said during a State Department press briefing.
Austin, the first senior U.S. official to speak on the leak, said the Pentagon was aware that documents had been released dated February 28 and March 1 but were not clear if other information had been available previously.
“We’ll find out as we investigate,” Austin said.
Later at Rice University in Texas, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns called the disclosures “very sad” but did not describe what he called “pretty aggressive” Military and Justice Department investigations.
“We need to learn from it, as well, about how we can tighten protocols,” Burns added.
Investigators are trying to identify the intelligence report, leaker. The revelations might damage the U.S. government more than WikiLeaks’ 2013 release of thousands of papers.
A U.S. official told Reuters that Milancy Harris, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, is overseeing the Pentagon’s assessment of the stolen materials.
One paper notes Ukraine’s tiny number of Western special forces personnel.
Document disclosure is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department.
Given the extent of the materials, several national security specialists and U.S. authorities believe the leaker is American. However, they added the research might provide other theories.