Pentagon Announces New Security Policies After Classified Docs Leak

Joseph Lord
By Joseph Lord
April 24, 2023US News
Pentagon Announces New Security Policies After Classified Docs Leak
Department of Defense Press Secretary Gen. Patrick S. Ryder speaks at a press conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on April 13, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has announced new policies to safeguard sensitive information following the most serious leak of U.S. classified material in a decade.

The new measures were unveiled on April 24 by Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder at a DoD press conference.

In his statement, Ryder confirmed that the DoD was conducting a comprehensive review of its security programs, policies, and procedures in response to the recent unauthorized disclosure of classified documents.

Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, who worked as an IT specialist and thus had access to highly classified material, is suspected of having been the source of the leak. Reportedly, Teixeira shared documents on issues ranging from Ukrainian battle plans to the identities of U.S. spy assets across the planet.

While he did not provide specific details on the nature of the leak or the documents involved, Ryder emphasized the need for increased vigilance and security in the wake of the incident.

“The unauthorized disclosure of classified information undermines national security and places lives at risk,” Ryder said. “We take this matter very seriously and are committed to ensuring that our security protocols are effective and robust.”

The policies announced by the DoD, released as part of a memo documenting new security procedures (pdf), include enhanced monitoring of personnel with access to sensitive information, stricter controls on what is “need to know,” and improved training for employees on security best practices. The department will also be conducting regular assessments of its security programs to identify and address any weaknesses or vulnerabilities.

The DoD will be requiring that the managers of data repositories take steps to ensure that other low-ranking servicemembers like Teixeira will have access only to those documents they need. Managers of classified data repositories will also be required to revoke classified access to those who no longer need or are authorized for it.

Additionally, the DoD is taking stronger steps to ensure that data about access to classified documents can be easily audited to more easily track who is accessing top secret military material.

While the investigation into Teixeira is ongoing, Ryder emphasized that the DoD was committed to ensuring that those responsible are held accountable.

“We are working closely with our partners in law enforcement to identify the source of the leak and take appropriate action,” he said. “We will not tolerate any breach of our security protocols or compromise of our national security.”

The recent leak of classified information comprises the largest U.S. security failure since 2013, when whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a dubiously-legal NSA surveillance program.

Following the leak, it took weeks for U.S. officials to become aware that such sensitive material was making the rounds online, prompting criticism from pundits and politicians alike, who have asked officials how such a breach went undetected for so long.

The Department of Justice is directing the criminal investigation into Teixeira. There is not yet any indication that the alleged leaker had an accomplice.

From The Epoch Times

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