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Pentagon leak exposes true colors of 'global spy master'

By Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-04-26 07:33

This photo taken on Dec 8, 2022 shows the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, the United States. [Photo/Xinhua]

The recent leak of Pentagon documents has opened a Pandora's box at the international level. The leaked US intelligence documents contain a grab bag of national security secrets including about the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US' success in penetrating the Russian military, insights into the maneuverings of Israel and the Republic of Korea and other US allies, and a previously unknown satellite surveillance technology.

As a result, the global partners and allies of the United States are raising questions on the status of international law on privacy, digital copyright and the sanctity of sovereignty. The US, it seems, is caught in a trap, as the Pentagon leak has damaged the US' bilateral relations with France and Germany, which will have multiplier socioeconomic, geopolitical and geostrategic spillover repercussions. Both France and Germany have strongly condemned the US for its massive espionage ring and spying on other countries and their leaders.

US doesn't spare even allies in terms of spying

The leaked documents have also triggered a hot debate among prominent regional and global security experts on the timing, cause, objective and end goal of the digitalized madness which has no end in sight and spares no country. Many are criticizing the illegal act of stealing crucial official information from confidential meetings and conversations, telephone calls and documents of various US allies including the ROK, Israel, France, Germany and Ukraine. The US has also been spying on Russia and China.

Apparently, there is a clear division among the security experts. Some have termed the document leak a failure or total collapse of the US security apparatus, enabling someone to purloin and post the documents on freeform internet sites. Others are of the view that the leak, since it is the work of an insider in the US military, is an attempt to derail the diplomatic relations with its allies.

Only a few independent international relations experts, however, have highlighted the alleged involvement of the US government and military in sabotaging China's track-two diplomacy aimed at helping end the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

While the latest intelligence leak, one of the biggest in the past decade, has upset many US allies, it has also revealed the US' increasing worries about the rise of China in global governance and international relations.

On their part, the US administration and the country's military establishment have said they are taking the leak "very seriously" and shared with the media the news that the culprit has been arrested. Indeed, the leak has exposed the vulnerability of the US deep state, and data insecurity in the Defense Department as well as non-defense departments, and intelligence agencies of the "global spy master".

The recent leak has raised serious questions on the US' capacity building mechanism, too, and its ability to properly handle issues related to privacy and secrecy and manage big data at different government levels.

Time and again it has been proved that the US never follows international law, or respects other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity and, instead, it has always tried to bulldoze them with its fraudulent, fake, fictional and fabricated propaganda campaigns as well as espionage in which so-called honeymoon spells of friendship, strategic partnerships, regional ally mechanisms and even close military agreements have been ruined.

The leak, in fact, exposes the US' double standard in international relations and diplomacy and its China-containment policy.

Ironically, some of the documents, which some US officials said are authentic, have revealed the extent of US eavesdropping on key regional partners and global allies. The leaked documents also have details about the Ukrainian battlefield, the use of US weapons by Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian troops, which could affect Ukraine's military response, field preparedness and tactical operations.

The Pentagon leak is a serious setback to Ukraine's war strategy, air defense capability, combat plans and counter-offensive measures, as well as a threat to its national security because the leaked documents have extensive details about its munitions, training and air defense system.

Or, it could be a mild warning to the Ukrainian government to stay away from China's diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

US losing grip on global issues

One thing is clear, however, that the US is losing its grip on global issues and even its allies are taking alternative measures to further strengthen ties with Russia, China and other emerging economies around the globe. These alternative measures, along with middle players and middle corridors, are damaging the US' credibility and undermining its military power.

On the other hand, the leaked documents have spread panic in many countries, prompting their governments to fix their security fault lines and repair their widening diplomatic fractures. Yet distrust, disharmony and disinformation are spreading like wildfire.

Unfortunately, the US has been using its technological advantages to spy on its allies and partners which is not only an illegal act but also an act of betrayal. The ROK, too, has been affected by the Pentagon leak because the leaked documents contain internal discussions among top ROK security officials.

The leaked documents have already triggered storms in Seoul, Tel Aviv and Kyiv alike.

In conclusion, the leaks are potentially damaging and could undermine the trust between the US and its allies, not least because the US has been seriously violating even the basic concept of international law, international relations, diplomacy, not to speak of morality.

The leaks have also exposed the geographical advantages of the US military global outreach due to its intense spying and espionage activities around the globe.

It's time the US stopped using its high-tech advantage as a tool to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries and spy on other countries and their leaders. The US' surveillance and espionage activities are anti-human and anti-peace.

The author is the executive director of the Center for South Asia and International Studies. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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