The Biden administration is facing a major foreign policy crisis after the Pentagon was rocked by dozens of potentially damaging leaks of classified intelligence.
The leaks, which were revealed to have been posted to a private Discord server by a junior IT worker in the Air National Guard, have sparked a flurry of controversies and accusations of U.S. spying on allied nations.
Now, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is attempting to reassure allies that the security of intelligence shared with the U.S. is still intact despite the leaks.
“We have engaged with our allies and partners since these leaks came out, and we have done so at high levels, and we have made clear our commitment to safeguarding intelligence and our commitment to our security partnerships,” said Blinken Saturday.
“What I’ve heard so far at least is an appreciation for the steps that we’re taking, and it’s not affected our cooperation. I just haven’t seen that. I haven’t heard that,” Blinken went on. “And of course, the investigation is taking its course. There’s now, as you know, a suspect in custody but importantly as well, I know, measures being taken to further safeguard information. But to date, based on the conversations I’ve had, I have not – not heard anything that would affect our cooperation with allies and partners.”
But some foreign officials are still concerned about the security of intelligence shared with the U.S. An official from a European country told The Washington Post that the leaks have “caused some damage as it raises doubts as to how intelligence is protected and handled.”
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Bill Lynn had an even harsher assessment, saying the leaks were “devastating“ to U.S. allies.
“It‘s hard to trust us with your secrets if we can‘t protect them,” Lynn told CNBC.
The U.S. is now attempting to mitigate the damage caused by the leaks by launching an investigation into the incident and taking steps to further safeguard intelligence. But the damage may already be done, as some foreign officials have reportedly expressed concerns over the security of U.S. intelligence even before the leaks were revealed.
The Biden administration is now in a precarious situation, as it must try to restore trust in the security of U.S. intelligence while also attempting to repair the damage done to fragile alliances. It remains to be seen if Blinken‘s attempts to reassure allies will be enough to avoid any further damage to U.S.