The Pentagon’s security and oversight measures have failed to keep pace with the proliferation of military facilities that handle classified information and the personnel who work there, but the Defense Department has no systemic problems keeping its secrets a secret, concludes a new revision.
In April, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered a 45-day review of Pentagon policies and procedures after a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman was accused of leaking top-secret documents .
Jack Teixeira, the airman, has been accused of sending a treasure trove of secret documents to an online chat group. Last month he pleaded not guilty to six federal criminal charges.
Before that, however, Mr. Austin directed top assistants to determine how big of a security problem the Pentagon was. Was the aviator Teixeira an outlier who violated his oath not to reveal military secrets? Or was it symptomatic of a much larger problem within the military ranks that had gone unnoticed for years?
The review, which the Pentagon is expected to release and describe to reporters Wednesday afternoon, concluded that there was neither a « single weakness » to explain Airman Teixeira’s revelations nor any widespread disruption to military procedures for management and oversight. of classified information, he said two senior military officials were briefed on the findings of the assessment.
Instead, the review found that the spectacular growth of military facilities and people handling classified information, particularly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, has far outpaced the military’s ability to keep that information secure, they said. the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the report’s key findings.
The review recommended the department spend more money, take additional steps and assign more people to beef up security around handling classified information, officials said. Additional safeguards should include more stringent measures to prevent the use of electronic devices within classified workspaces, where sensitive information or images could be photographed or recorded.
In addition to the federal criminal investigation, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall ordered the service inspector general to look into the Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, where Aviator Teixeira served, and how l ‘airman was able to post hundreds of national security documents in a gamer chat room. From there, they eventually moved on to Twitter and the Telegram messaging platform.
New questions about the command surfaced in May, when a Justice Department document revealed that Air Force officials caught Airman Teixeira making notes and searching for classified materials months before he was accused of leaking vast treasure of government secrets, but they didn’t remove him from his job.
On two occasions, in September and October 2022, Aviator Teixeira’s superiors in the Massachusetts Air National Guard cautioned him after reports he had taken « concerning actions » while handling classified information. Those included slipping a note into his pocket after reviewing classified information within his unit, according to the court filing.
That information has raised troubling questions about whether the military has missed an opportunity to stop or curb one of the most damaging information leaks in recent history.
Airman Teixeira appears to have kept his top-secret security clearance after being cautioned and subsequently received the second of two certificates after completing training intended to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.