Military data leak did not contain any secret information, Polish Ministry of Defense says

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Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has downplayed the seriousness of a data leak regarding the country’s military inventory. He assured that no secret information has been compromised and that Poland remains safe, while criticizing the opposition for their reaction to the issue.

Onet, a news site, reported yesterday that nearly 1.8 million entries showing requests for weapons, equipment, spare parts and specialized software submitted by various army units – which, together could reveal the capabilities and shortcomings of the army – had fled.

According to Onet – who said he has verification from two independent sources linked to the security services – the material appeared online on January 9 and most likely came from the logistics planning headquarters of the armed forces support inspection. in Bydgoszcz.

This headquarters oversees procurement for the army and stores equipment and spare parts. The database covered the period between June and September 2021. It also included a section on equipment purchased from abroad, such as US F-16 fighters, German Leopard tanks and Israeli Spike anti-tank missiles.

The MoD, however, later denied that the leak constituted a serious offence. Błaszczak wrote on Twitter that “no secret information has leaked and Poland is safe”. He called on opposition politicians to “sober up” and have a “glass of cold water”.

Addressing the Rzeczpospolita Daily earlier in the day, Cezary Tomczak, an opposition Civic Platform (PO) MP, said his group would demand Błaszczak’s resignation over the leak.

Former Prime Minister Leszek Miller – who is now an opposition MEP – tweeted that ‘treason’ seemed ‘too weak’ a word for what had happened.

“The entire Polish military inventory – from underwear to F-16s, from pencis to anti-tank missiles, from food wrappers to dog tags – has been in the public domain for several days,” Miller wrote.

Friday morning, the Ministry of Defense issued a first press release indicating that it was “analyzing” the file to determine if a leak had indeed taken place. “Many scenarios are taken into account, for example, that this is a test file for software testing,” he said.

A later statement, however, clarified that the data leaked online was “part of the Uniform Material Index maintained by the Support Inspectorate”, which is the unit responsible for army procurement. He added, however, that the index “contains only publicly available information”.

“It is an incomplete catalog of a logistical nature, containing no information on the quantity and efficiency of equipment or on stock-outs,” the ministry said. He said a similar index had also been published by NATO in its online Master Catalog of Logistics References (NMCRL) database.

The ministry said the leak “did not pose a threat to state security or the functioning of the Polish Armed Forces”. He suspected an employee had “negligent of duty” by making the file available on an unauthorized server.

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In its report, Onet claimed the leak posed a security threat to Poland and that the data had been downloaded by users from a “dozen” countries, including Russia and China.

“Such data are of particular importance for the planning of offensive operations”, declared General Piotr Pytel, former head of the Military Counterintelligence Service, quoted by Onet.

Pytel said that the Russian intelligence service is looking for such data in order, for example, to verify information already obtained as well as the credibility of informants. This latter use could therefore also be used to thwart double agents working with Polish counterintelligence.

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Main image credit: Krystian Maj / KPRM (under public domain)



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