A new cache of secret government documents has surfaced on Wikileaks, and this time it comes from the Saudi Foreign Ministry. While the authenticity of the documents is still being questioned, they appear to have come from a cyberattack perpetrated by the Yemeni Cyber Army.
Most of the 70,000 documents are in Arabic, which is making it difficult for journalists to sift through to verify the contents of the communications. The Associated Press has made some progress by calling phone numbers appearing in messages, and the New York Times has noted that many of the documents “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” or “Ministry of Foreign Affairs” letterhead. Some of the documents also appear to be marked as being top secret.
It is unlikely that these documents contain any particularly damning secrets about Saudi Arabia, but it will provide a rare glimpse into the workings of its opaque government system. Wikileaks itself highlights documents that show how the country controls its media to present a positive image to the world. These methods include buying hundreds of thousands of subscriptions from publications and expecting them to reciprocate the gesture by singing the praises of the government and royal family.
While it seems unusual that Saudi Arabia has become the target of a cyberattack, it becomes a plausible situation considering that the hackers claim to be of Yemeni origin. Saudi Arabia has been involved in the civil war that broke out in the country earlier this year, and has likely made itself a target for supporters of the Houthi movement.
Wikileaks has been known to host these kinds of documents and, while their authenticity is not yet confirmed, it is likely that these documents are the real deal.