Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin commissioned the review following the April arrest of National Guardsman Jack Teixeira for posting hundreds of pages of classified documents on the Discord social media platform.
The massive leak revealed some of the nation’s top military secrets, from America’s relationship with its allies to the war in Ukraine, and has raised questions about whether US government agencies are adequately protecting classified information. Teixeira, which has a history of making violent threats and had previously been caught taking classified information, he pleaded not guilty.
Since Teixeira had the necessary security clearance to see the documents, it’s unclear whether strict Pentagon procedures would have prevented the leak.
Based on the findings of the security review, Austin has directed senior DOD officials to « validate » that their personnel have an ongoing need for access to sensitive information and ensure that such personnel have a valid non-disclosure agreement on file by September 30, according to a note dated June 30.
Any military facility containing classified information — called a « SCIF » for Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility — must also be reported to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to be entered into the agency’s SCIF repository by Sept. 30.
Austin also directed the Bureau of Intelligence and Security to develop and maintain a centralized tracking system for SCIF and other special access facilities by Dec. 31, and to establish a « Joint Management Office » for Insider Threats and Cyber Capabilities .
The Pentagon will also review and update security processes and procedures to clarify their meaning and reduce any « ambiguity, » according to a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to provide public comment on the matter. .
However, Austin emphasized in the memo that « The department relies on a culture of trust and accountability for those granted access to the CNSI, » using the acronym for National Security Confidential Information.
« This review found that the vast majority of DOD personnel with access to CNSI are trusted and that all DOD components demonstrate a broad commitment to safety, » Austin wrote.
The senior defense official added that the review found no « single point of failure » that led to the leaks and that the vast majority of DOD personnel with access to classified information complied with security policies.
The Pentagon also said it is working to ensure the new measures don’t hamper information sharing between US agencies.
“The department understands the need to balance information security with [the] requirement to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time to improve our security,” according to a DOD statement.
As the DOD implements the recommendations, « careful consideration will be given to avoid any ‘overcorrections’ that may hinder progress in information sharing, » according to the statement.