Pentagon to Tighten Controls Over Classified Information After Major Leak

Foreign Affairs

Washington: The US Department of Defence said July 5 it is looking into updating the policies and procedures it uses to manage classified information following revelations earlier this year of a massive leak of highly sensitive documents on social media.

The Pentagon said after an initial 45-day review that the “overwhelming majority” of those at DoD with access to classified information are following the rules, but the department’s analysis still led to several recommendations.

The findings revealed there was not a “single point of failure,” a defence official told reporters, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under rules set by the Pentagon.

In April, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin directed the internal department review to take place when Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested and accused of unauthorised disclosure of national defence information. Teixeira pleaded not guilty in June to federal felony charges.

Two commanders in the Massachusetts Air National Guard received a temporary suspension in connection with the federal investigation into Teixeira, and the Air Force also revoked their access to classified networks and information, Air Force Times previously reported.

An investigation into the leak that is being conducted by the Air Force Inspector General is still in process at this time.

The recommendations from the DoD review, which were approved by Austin, include deadlines and plans to ensure personnel are included and accounted for in designated security information technology systems and that personnel have a valid non-disclosure agreement on file, according to a June 30 Pentagon memo. Additionally, it proposes plans to establish a new DoD office to monitor insider threats.

A growing number of military facilities that handle classified information in part have prompted the need for consistent and understandable standards, the defence official told reporters.

“We are no longer just talking about a small number of facilities primarily in intelligence community buildings,” the official said. “I think we have a real opportunity to clarify and make consistent the expectations across the services.”