US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin privately tried to reassure his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant that the Biden administration is taking steps to prevent future leaks of classified information after a trove of Pentagon documents appeared online this month, two Israeli officials told Axios’ Barak Ravid on Wednesday.
The phone call between Austin and Gallant, which took place on a secure line last Thursday, was not disclosed by the Pentagon or the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
The call took place after messages of reassurance were passed between the countries on lower levels, according to Ravid’s report.
One of the leaked top-secret documents contained a short paragraph about Israel and alleged involvement by Mossad officials in the protests against the government’s judicial overhaul.
Another top-secret document that was leaked contained a US intelligence analysis of Israeli policy regarding military aid to Ukraine and stressed that US pressure could drive Israel to deliver more military assistance to Kyiv.
Israeli officials told Axios they mostly listened to the explanations from their American counterparts and expressed concern about the leak itself.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in a briefing with reporters on Monday that the White House directed senior leaders across the administration to reach out directly to US allies and partners regarding the leaks.
Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Phil Ventura confirmed that the call between Gallant and Austin took place and the two officials spoke about the leak.
He added that the two defense leaders also discussed the security situation in Israel. “The Defense Department’s support for Israel’s security against all threats remains ironclad," Ventura told Axios.
A spokesperson for Gallant said he was not going to comment on private conversations between the Defense Minister and his US counterpart.
The documents are suspected to have been leaked by Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman, who was taken into custody by the FBI on Thursday.
Last Friday, Teixeira was charged with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and willful retention of classified documents