OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 8:52 AM – Wednesday, April 12, 2023
John Kirby, the White House National Security Council Spokesman, has confirmed that the United States has a “small military presence” in Ukraine according to Fox News.
When asked about the leaked documents that suggested there are U.S. Special Forces that are operating in the country, Kirby said that there is a small presence but did not give specific numbers. However, he also said that the president’s mandate about no American troops fighting in the war still stands.
“I won’t talk to the specifics of numbers and that kind of thing. But to get to your exact question, there is a small U.S. military presence at the embassy in conjunction with the Defense Attachés office to help us work on accountability of the material that is going in and out of Ukraine,” Kirby said. “So they’re attached to that embassy and to that the defense attache. There has been no change to the president’s mandate that there will not be American troops in Ukraine fighting in this war.”
Kirby went on to say that the U.S. is making attempts at reaching out to any ally nation that was affected by the document leak and let them know that the Biden administration is “taking this very, very seriously.”
“We are making overt attempts to reach out to the relevant allies and partners to explain to them as best we know what we know,” he said. “And we don’t know a lot right now, but to make sure that they understand we’re taking this very, very seriously, that we’ve got a criminal investigation going on, as well as a review across the Department of Defense to look at the national security implications and of course, where we’re listening to their questions and their concerns and doing the best we can to answer them at this point.”
According to the leaked documents, several countries have Special Forces in Ukraine. Those nations are the United Kingdom (which has 50), Latvia (17), France (15) the U.S. (14), and the Netherlands (14).
The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence also released a statement in regards to the leaked classified information, which it said had a “serious level of inaccuracy” and warned that “readers should be cautious.”
Kirby went on to explain that the White House is not fully aware of what the ones responsible for the leak might also have in their possession, or what they might also still release to the public.
“We don’t know what else this individual or individuals might have and might still release,” he said. “I won’t talk about the content in some of these leaked documents. I think you can understand that we have to do what we need to do to protect our national security. Clearly, this is a breach of our ability to protect some information, and that’s why we’re taking it so seriously.”
According to various defense and intelligence officials, the leak, which included dozens of documents, may have come from outside the Pentagon, Fox News reports.
As of Tuesday, a total of 53 documents have been leaked, some of which are described as “sensitive and highly-classified material.” The documents, which were posted online on various websites and social media platforms, are dated to February 23rd and March 1st.
The documents are believed to be part of the Department of Defense briefings, which typically contain around 1,000 to 5,000 pages. However, among the material that was leaked are also highly classified documents that appear to be produced by other U.S. agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA).
The deputy under secretary of defense for intelligence and security, Milancy Harris, is leading the Pentagon’s investigation into the leak. The investigation is in coordination with the Department of Defense’s office of Intelligence and Security, Public Affairs, office of the General Council, Legislative Affairs and the Joint Staff.
An official in the Biden administration stated that each agency involved in the investigation will have their own point person leading the effort on their behalf, however, there is no one person leading the entire multi-agency investigation as of yet.
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