John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, April 10, 2023 at the White House in Washington. SUSAN WALSH/AP
Joe Biden’s official visit to Northern Ireland and then to Ireland, which began on Tuesday April 11, was long overdue. For the American president, a Catholic with deep Irish roots, it must have been an emotional political sequence. Here she is greatly disturbed by the leak of dozens of confidential Pentagon documents, identified a few days ago on several messaging and social networks. The affair is all the more serious in that it does not seem to be circumscribed. The American authorities are sparing of explanations on the official investigation carried out by the Ministry of Justice. The absence of any press conference in Joe Biden’s program could be partly explained by this crisis.
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On Monday, after four days of silence quite unusual by American standards, John Kirby was the first official to appear before the cameras at the White House. The spokesman for the National Security Council did not confirm the veracity of the documents, but he implied it with this remark: “There is no excuse for such documents to end up in the field. audience. (…) They deserve to be protected. According to John Kirby, “it appears that at least in some cases” the published documents have been altered from the original ones. This is particularly true, it seems, for certain reports intended for Mark Milley, the Chief of the Defense Staff, devoted to the military situation in eastern Ukraine, which mention figures of manpower and casualties on both sides probably inaccurate.
The spokesperson confirmed several important points. Joe Biden was only made aware of the leak “last week”. For several weeks, the documents were therefore scattered, online, in particular on a dialogue platform for video game enthusiasts, without the American authorities noticing it. According to John Kirby, the investigation entrusted to the federal police, the FBI, has not made it possible at this stage to identify the person or persons responsible for the leak. “We really don’t know,” admitted the spokesperson, if other documents could arise. “We will lift every stone to uncover the source and extent of it all,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pledged.
The American press, New York Times and Washington Post in the lead, published many articles on these notes. The most delicate aspects of these revelations do not directly concern Ukraine and the preparations for an upcoming military counterattack against Russian forces. The pessimism of the American authorities on the possible territorial gains for kyiv is hardly surprising: it responds to that of many experts. The documents confirm the serious problem of Ukrainian supply of ammunition, in particular for anti-aircraft defense, which could offer a significant superiority to the Russian aviation.
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