Pentagon tightens controls on classified information after leak

WASHINGTON, July 5 (Reuters) – The Pentagon announced on Wednesday it plans to tighten restrictions on classified information after an April airman was arrested and later accused of posting classified documents on the messaging app Discord.

The 45-day review did not identify a single point of failure, but the Pentagon said policies regarding electronic devices in sensitive areas were unclear and led to inconsistencies in their implementation.

The Pentagon said the new measures include the appointment of “top secret control officers,” the establishment of a new office of insider threats and plans for systems to detect electronic devices in classified, secret and top-secret workplaces.

Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, of North Titan, Massachusetts, was indicted last month on six counts of knowingly possessing and disseminating classified information related to national security.

The leak of documents, mostly published on social media platforms, was believed to be the most serious breach of security since more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables appeared on the WikiLeaks website in 2010.

Each charge of unauthorized possession and transfer of national security information is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, the Justice Department said.

Prosecutors say Teixeira leaked confidential documents to a group of gamers on the messaging app Discord.

“What we’re seeing here is that we have a growing ecosystem of classified facilities and a stripped-down workforce,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters.

“As someone who has read a lot of DoD policies, they are not clear documents,” the official said.

The official said the Pentagon needs to be more clear about its policies regarding classified information and where it can be accessed, and more accountability for personnel working with sensitive information.

Reporting by Bill Stewart and Idris Ali; Editing by Franklin Ball and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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