China calls out US over intelligence leaks
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has addressed the unfolding scandal resulting from a major Pentagon intelligence leak as US agencies scramble to contain the diplomatic fallout. The leaked documents allegedly expose the extent of US spying on key allies and partners, including South Korea and Israel.
“We noted that many media outlets have pointed out that these leaked US military documents clearly show the deep involvement of the US in the Ukraine crisis. They also show once again that the US has long used its tech edge to conduct indiscriminate secret theft, surveillance and eavesdropping on countries in the world, including its allies,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Wednesday.
Dozens of classified US documents have been leaked online in recent weeks, in a security breach that purported to reveal Washington’s intelligence-gathering on friends and foes alike.
“The US needs to give an explanation to the international community for this,” the spokesman said, adding that “facts have proven once again that the so-called ‘democratic values’ claimed by the US are nothing but a pretext and a tool for the US to seek selfish gains.”
The first batch of sensitive documents apparently emerged online as early as February, but did not attract widespread media attention until last week. US officials have neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the documents, but nevertheless claimed that “some of them have been doctored.”
Washington also launched several probes and a criminal investigation into the leak, while struggling to remove the files from the internet.
One leaked memo, reportedly based on signals intelligence, provided details on internal discussions among high-ranking South Korean officials, who allegedly voiced concerns that the ammunition Seoul sold to the US could eventually be sent to Ukraine. Official Seoul dismissed the notion of US spying as a “fabrication.”
Another leaked document alleged that Israel’s top spy service, Mossad, was involved in protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposed judicial reform. The assessment was also marked as based on signals intelligence, which the National Security Agency defines as communication intercepted from electronic devices.
Both US officials and their foreign partners were “stunned” and “infuriated” by the level of detail provided in the documents, which exposed how the US “spies on friends and foes alike,” the Washington Post reported last week, suggesting the files could stir a significant diplomatic fallout.