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Senators warn system for protecting classified documents is inadequate

Apr 19, 2023

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Members of the Senate received a classified briefing on the Discord classified documents leak which lawmakers said left them concerned that the Defense Department is unable to stop this from happening again and that the overall system for protecting classified information is inadequate.

“I think it’s stunning that the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies found out about it primarily from the press, is unacceptable. And I’m not sure, at least in the time I was in there, I certainly wasn’t satisfied with any plans they have in place to prevent this from happening in the future,” Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said.

Massachussetts Air National Guardsmen Jack Teixeira is a 21-year-old IT specialist who allegedly snuck classified documents out of the office and posted them online. There was broad agreement that allowing a person of his age and maturity level to have access to our nation’s most closely guarded information was part of the problem.

“You just can’t let someone like this have access to this kind of classified information. And if you do, you ought to at least use technology to block that person from being able to share it. I mean, most of us can put controls on the internet to stop our kids from looking at pornography for God’s sake,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said.

The documents contained information about the Ukraine war, revealed information about U.S. spy satellites and showed that the U.S. spies on both adversaries and allies.

“We’re dealing with a highly deficient system of protecting the nation’s secrets,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.,said.

Lawmakers agreed that too many people have access to the nation’s most important secrets.

“Because now we in a sense, have potentially the worst of both worlds, where we have an over classification problem. And at the same time, you know, in the public domain, it’s been reported that we have more than 4 million people with clearances,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., said.

Warner said the continuous vetting process, in which people who are given security clearances are constantly monitored, needs to be better sorted out.

The Defense Department announced a 45-day review of information security procedures. The investigation into the leak is ongoing, and Teixeira could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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The Senate received a classified briefing on the Discord document leak and lawmakers were not satisfied with what they were told. They said there’s no indication the Defense Department is able to stop this from happening again and the overall system for protecting classified information is inadequate. 

 

Massachussetts Air National Guardsmen Jack Teixera is a 21-year-old IT specialist who allegedly snuck classified documents out of the office and posted them online. They contained information about the Ukraine war, revealed information about US spy satellites and showed we spy not just on our adversaries but allies too.  

 

Here’s just some of the reaction after senators left the briefing. 

 

Sen. John Kennedy R-La.: “you just can’t let someone like this have access to this kind of classified information. And if you do, you ought to at least use technology to block that person from being able to share it. I mean, most of us can put controls on the internet to stop our kids from looking at pornography for God’s sakes. How hard is that?” 

 

Sen. Marco Rubio,, R-Fl: “I think it’s stunning that the Department of Defense and the intelligence agencies found out about it primarily from the press, is unacceptable. And I’m not sure, at least in the time I was in there, I certainly wasn’t satisfied with any plans they have in place to prevent this from happening in the future.”

 

Lawmakers agreed that too many people have access to our nation’s most important secrets. 

 

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va, “Because now we in a sense, have potentially the worst of both worlds, where we have an over classification problem. And at the same time, you know, in the public domain, it’s been reported that we have more than 4 million people with clearances. “

 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct: “we’re dealing with a highly deficient system of protecting the nation’s secrets.” 

 

The Defense Department announced a 45-day review of information security procedures and the investigation into the leak is ongoing. Teixiera could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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