Leak raises fresh questions about Pentagon’s internal security

By | April 15, 2023

The Washington Post reports:

The leak of hundreds of classified intelligence documents about the war in Ukraine and U.S. spying on allies has left many officials asking: How did this happen again?

Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old, low-level National Guard member assigned to an intelligence support squadron in Massachusetts, allegedly removed hundreds of classified documents from his office on base and brought them home. He then shared them with his friends in an online community united by their love of guns and video games, the government says.

On Friday, he was charged with unlawfully taking and unlawfully transmitting sensitive information — crimes that carry a potential maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Teixeira will be held in jail until a detention hearing next week, but bail is rarely granted in such cases.

It’s still unclear how closely Teixeira was monitored, if at all. But the timeline of his alleged activities, based on interviews with members of his Discord server group, as well as an FBI affidavit, shows that he was able to remove page after page of classified material, for months on end, with apparently no notice.

“I just don’t know why he should be able to print lots of documents. That makes no sense,” said one former senior intelligence official familiar with past leaks, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. “What were we not doing, not noticing that pattern of behavior? Who’s not checking that? Where’s the human monitoring?”

Teixeira was far from the first insider in recent years to expose government secrets, and his case raises fresh questions about whether earlier efforts to plug leaks were sufficient or if the U.S. intelligence system, which is designed to promote collaboration and information sharing, is fundamentally vulnerable to disclosures from within.

Every time a trusted employee has walked off the job with classified information, U.S. officials have reassured the public that lessons learned will lead to new guardrails that will make breaches less likely. They have consistently proved insufficient. [Continue reading…]