Documents leaked from the Pentagon created a media firestorm, leaving many questions in the minds of Americans. With over 20 years of experience in intelligence, Javed Ali, associate professor of practice, provided analysis on some of the biggest questions.
"This is a serious development and deeply troubling. And as someone myself who participated in the production of these intelligence materials in the Pentagon way back when when I started my government career, this is not something that anyone wants to see get revealed, certainly in this fashion," he said on CBC. "But at the same time, and I'm not trying to sugarcoat or minimize anything, I don't think this is a catastrophic failure either. And some of the media headlines have been a little sensationalist on that. So trying to take a measured approach and I think one of the more important questions is how did this happen rather than substantively or analytically what did they reveal?"
Following the leak, the government dove headfirst into an investigation to find the offender.
"While these protocols might help narrow the pool of individuals who could have been responsible, it will still entail a major investigative process where hundreds or thousands of people will have to be interviewed," Ali told The New York Times.
Ali provided his own ideas about where the investigation might lead.
"It's really important, at least from the U.S. perspective, to get to the bottom of how this happened so we can prevent it from happening again. It doesn't mean that there won't be another series of leaks at some point in the future, but you're always trying to prevent the last big mistake from happening. So there has to be a significant amount of effort on that," he told France 24. "And it's very difficult to read in all of these other potential angles, about timing and foreign direction. I still think, and this could be completely wrong at this point, but my gut tells me we're dealing with a lone offender driven by ideological and/or personal reasons, or some combination of the two and then things started to spiral out of control and then other countries started to opportunistically take advantage of it."
Another arm of the investigation will have to include dealing with misinformation arising from the leak, according to Ali.
"This is something that investigators are going to continue to look at. Based on media reporting, apparently a large volume of the material that has been looked at least was originally from these controlled channels or controlled environments," Ali explained on Morning Shot. "But at some point, some of that material was manipulated or altered to now perhaps fit within the realm of misinformation or disinformation. So that is another piece of this saga that has yet to be completely sorted out as well."
Read the pieces featuring Ali:
- Clues Left Online Might Aid Leak Investigation, Officials Say, The New York Times, April 10, 2023
- Pentagon Document Leak, CBC, April 12, 2023
- Who stands to gain? Pentagon leaks expose US military secrets, France 24, April 12, 2023
- Morning Shot: The Pentagon leaked explained by an ex-FBI official, Morning Shot, April 12, 2023
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