The Biden administration is facing criticism for being disconnected from reality after a substantial amount of classified information was leaked, reportedly by a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman in Massachusetts. The US government appeared unprepared as the leaked material was posted online for several weeks without anyone noticing, and it was the media that ultimately discovered it. In response, the Biden administration hastily attempted to take action, dispatching anonymous officials to speak to reporters, who promised a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation and evaluated possible leaker or hacker profiles.
Did Reuters Try to Stir Up Another Russia Hoax? https://t.co/IVPwg2rqxq
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) April 14, 2023
However, one report raises eyebrows. Reuters claims that “U.S. officials believe Russia is responsible for the release of classified military documents.” Three U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday that "Russia or pro-Russian elements are likely responsible for the leak of several classified U.S. military files that were posted on social media and provide a partial, month-old snapshot of the war in Ukraine. The Justice Department said separately that it was looking into the leak. But on April 13, the FBI arrested a young American in Massachusetts who was taken into custody for his “claims of illicit removal, storage, and transfer of classified national defense data.” Did Reuters get it wrong? Was this another attempt at a “Russia hoax,” or just bad news gathering?
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) April 14, 2023
Did Phil tell his editor who these individuals were? Was Phil lying? Were there really US officials saying this?
Who is Phil’s editor? https://t.co/JPlW7heKsZ
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 13, 2023
Let’s talk about this story from one week ago. This was simply nonsense. Clear already then. Sourced to three anonymous officials.
2—naming sources matters
3—1 and 2 always matter, but especially for “disinformation” claimshttps://t.co/asYiv3zy7H
— Thomas Rid (@RidT) April 14, 2023
It is once again evident that those employed by the U.S. government who speak publicly and appear to be promoting a specific agenda must reveal their identities, allowing for accountability when they make serious errors. While there may be certain cases in which protecting a source's identity is crucial, it shouldn't be the norm for outlets like Reuters to rely on anonymous sources when reporting on such crucial topics, particularly when their information is so far from the truth. It was incorrect to provide Russia with additional ammunition to attack the West and the free press, as well as to jump to conclusions without having all of the facts. The Biden administration must learn from this mishap and ensure that the same error is not repeated.