Leaked documents reveal depth of U.S. spy efforts and Russia’s military struggles

By | April 8, 2023

The New York Times reports:

A trove of leaked Pentagon documents reveals how deeply Russia’s security and intelligence services have been penetrated by the United States, demonstrating Washington’s ability to warn Ukraine about planned strikes and providing an assessment of the strength of Moscow’s war machine.

The documents portray a battered Russian military that is struggling in its war in Ukraine and a military apparatus that is deeply compromised. They contain daily real-time warnings to American intelligence agencies on the timing of Moscow’s strikes and even its specific targets. Such intelligence has allowed the United States to pass on to Ukraine crucial information on how to defend itself.

The leak, the source of which remains unknown, also reveals the American assessment of a Ukrainian military that is itself in dire straits. The leaked material, from late February and early March but found on social media sites in recent days, outlines critical shortages of air defense munitions and discusses the gains being made by Russian troops around the eastern city of Bakhmut.

The intelligence reports seem to indicate that the United States is also spying on Ukraine’s top military and political leaders, a reflection of Washington’s struggle to get a clear view of Ukraine’s fighting strategies.

The new documents appear to show that America’s understanding of Russian planning remains extensive and that the United States is able to warn its allies about Moscow’s future operations.

The material reinforces an idea that intelligence officials have long acknowledged: The United States has a clearer understanding of Russian military operations than it does of Ukrainian planning. Intelligence collection is often difficult and sometimes wrong, but the trove of documents offers perhaps the most complete picture yet of the inner workings of the largest land war in Europe in decades.

The leak has the potential to do real damage to Ukraine’s war effort by exposing which Russian agencies the United States knows the most about, giving Moscow a potential opportunity to cut off the sources of information. Current and former officials say it is too soon to know the extent of the damage, but if Russia is able to determine how the United States collects its information and cuts off that flow, it may have an effect on the battlefield in Ukraine. [Continue reading…]