Pentagon to tighten controls on classified information after leak


WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Pentagon announced on Wednesday plans to tighten controls on classified information after an alleged leak incident that saw an airman arrested in April and later indicted on accusations 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, including those related to electronic devices in sensitive areas, were ambiguous and led to inconsistencies in implementing them.

The Pentagon said the new measures included the appointment of “Top Secret Control Officers,” establishment of a new office for insider threats, and plans for electronic device detection systems in classified, secret and top-secret work areas.

Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, of North Dighton, Massachusetts, was indicted last month on six counts of wilful retention and transmission of classified information relating to national defense.

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

Each charge of unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000, the Justice Department had said.

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

“I think what we see here is we have a growing ecosystem of classified facilities and a body of personnel who are cleared,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters.

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

The official said the Pentagon needed to be more clear about policies related to classified information and spaces it can be accessed in, along with greater accountability for personnel who work with sensitive information.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; editing by Franklin Paul and Mark Heinrich)

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