April 12, 2023 10:01
The presidential office on Tuesday denied revelations in leaked documents that U.S. intelligence agencies eavesdropped on the Office of National Security as "absurd and false."
After U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin phoned his Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup to discuss the leaks, the presidential office in a statement claimed most of the leaked documents were "fabricated."
The Defense Ministry said Austin "explained" to Lee the details of the latest incident and pledged to "communicate and cooperate closely" with the Korean government.
The presidential office claimed it was told by former presidential security chief Kim Sung-han that details of conversations between top Korean security officials that according to the leaked documents had been obtained by wiretapping were "mostly different from the truth."
"The two countries have the same assessment -- that much of the information disclosed is altered," his successor Kim Tae-hyo told reporters before boarding a flight to Washington.
The section relating to Korea shows the Office of National Security agonizing that artillery shells bound for the U.S. could find their way to Ukraine, which would fly in the face of government policy not to send arms to conflict zones. Korea has officially only offered civilian support to Kiev.
There are signs that some of the leaked documents, which consist of photos of pdf printouts, were altered before the cache was leaked on social media.
An intelligence source told the Chosun Ilbo, "Looking at the documents, the Ukrainian casualty numbers are greatly exaggerated, while there are signs that they tried to mimic CIA report formats."
"There is a chance that forces hostile to the U.S. mixed real and fake information and made it look like classified documents and leaked them to media."
The U.S. appears to have been spying on other allies as well, but Israel, France and Canada also deny the veracity of the leaked information.
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