April 12, 2023

Biden’s Pentagon Leaks

“Sensitive and highly classified material” regarding various U.S. national security interests has been made public.

When Joe Biden isn’t letting a Chinese balloon fly across our country collecting information on our own military, his Pentagon is leaking what analyst Jim Geraghty calls “the biggest exposure of classified secrets since Edward Snowden.”

That’s the price we pay for having such an inept commander-in-chief.

To be fair, Biden probably didn’t know about or direct the Pentagon leak given that he was likely wandering around looking for ice cream, but he’s also not exactly the most trustworthy guy when it comes to classified documents. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday that “the Department of Defense has referred this to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation,” but wouldn’t say if anyone knows the identity of the leaker. He even admitted “we don’t know” if there are any other documents still to be leaked.

Nevertheless, Kirby scolded the press for reporting the leaked material. “This is information that has no business in the public domain,” he lectured. “It is not intended for public consumption.”

Well then…

What was the leak? So far, a trove of what the Pentagon calls “sensitive and highly classified material” relating to a number of issues and countries, much of which is embarrassing for U.S. relations with various allies. Some documents detail projections about Ukraine’s counteroffensive in its war against invading Russia, and that — as well as possible strategic reasons for the leak and the fallout from it — will be our focus here.

The leaked assessment was created in early February, at which time the Pentagon estimated that Ukraine faced immense challenges in fielding troops and providing them with enough equipment and ammunition for the fight. Ukraine planned a counteroffensive meant to retake territory occupied by Russian troops, but its military may fall “well short” of its goals and achieve only “modest territorial gains.” The assessment added, “Enduring Ukrainian deficiencies in training and munitions supplies probably will strain progress and exacerbate casualties during the offensive.”

Not only is offense hampered, but defense is suffering. Munition shortages are, for example, “reducing the ability to defend against Russian aerial attacks from all altitudes.” Without Ukrainian air defenses, Russia would gain air superiority and a huge advantage.

Perhaps Ukraine’s shortages are due to the Biden administration’s foot-dragging on specific missile deliveries. Biden’s philosophy so far has been to speak loudly and leave the stick at home.

What else was happening in February? Biden made a surprise trip to Kyiv, where he stood next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and did what he always does — falsely boast about how swell things are. “This is the largest land war in Europe in three quarters of a century,” he said, “and you’re succeeding against all and every expectation, except your own. We have every confidence that you’re going to continue to prevail.”

Evidently not.

If opposing the power-grabbing designs of an authoritarian thug like Vladimir Putin is your goal, Ukrainian failure is bad news. If you think that U.S. strategic evaluations ought not to be aired in public, this is bad news. In short, this is damaging info about and for Ukraine, which is supposed to have American backing.

Notably, one particular element of the leak goes a long way to revealing Biden’s poor leadership. The U.S. provides roughly $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, yet the Egyptians are exploring the sale of rockets to … Russia. There are also clear indications that the Biden administration is exerting a lot of pressure on other countries to send arms to Ukraine, which is straining those alliances.

To hear Biden tell it, he’s boldly leading the rest of the world in supporting Ukraine and blocking Russian aggression. His own Pentagon knows good and well that’s not what’s really happening.

If the Pentagon’s assessment is accurate.

Indeed, that brings us to a possible strategy here. The administration and bipartisan majorities in Congress have allocated tens of billions of American dollars and arms to Ukraine. Many want far more, and what better way to show how important that is than to use the leak information about the Ukrainians’ dire straits? How better to twist some arms at NATO? The Pentagon’s assessment could be right or wrong and a leak would still further that objective.

Regardless, a leak like this undermines trust in the U.S. from its allies. It changes strategic calculations in both Moscow and Kyiv, as well as other capitals. It endangers the lives of sources in Russia and perhaps elsewhere. It also shows the world that Joe Biden never had any business being commander-in-chief.


Update 4/13: Authorities arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, in connection with the leak.

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