Senators Bemoan Lack of Security After Leak

Senator Lindsey Graham | Image by Al Teich, Shutterstock

Bipartisan feelings of frustration ran high after Senate was briefed last Wednesday on a U.S. intelligence leak that was discovered earlier this month.

As The Dallas Express reported, a low-ranking Air National Guardsman allegedly posted hundreds of highly-classified documents to an invitation-only group on Discord.

While largely ignored at first, the leaked documents slowly gained the attention of others and spread online.

The State Department’s investigation into the leak led them to 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, airman first class, who served in the intelligence mission of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

During a news conference in Stockholm, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin described the suspect’s job as “a systems administrator,” and one of his responsibilities “was maintaining the network that [unit members] operate on,” per the Washington Examiner.

While the Air Force continues to investigate the intelligence mission, Teixeira is due to appear before federal prosecutors in court in Boston in the coming weeks, per The New York Times.

The closed-door briefing on the leak requested by Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and given by national intelligence officials on April 19 apparently left much to be desired.

“I didn’t get a very good explanation of how this could happen,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, per NBC News. “I’m just as confused now as I was before the briefing.”

For his part, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said, “I would, by and large, typify it as bureaucratic gobbledygook,” per NBC News.

“I remain deeply unhappy and unsatisfied,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said, per NBC News. “My impression coming out of that meeting is too many people have too much access to too much information without safeguards or guardrails.”

Speaking to NBC News, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) said, “I’m on this. We’re on it in a bipartisan way and we’re going to get answers.”

Warner, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also highlighted the need to look into access to internal security controls and ensure that continuous vetting is in place to detect anomalies.

Earlier this year the security of classified documents had already come under public scrutiny when copies were found in the residences and offices of former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and President Joe Biden.

A congressional group, including Warner, has already begun examining those documents, as The Dallas Express reported.

As federal officials dive further into their investigation and attempt to remedy the lax security protocols of the intelligence community, some experts have suggested using software similar to that utilized by credit card companies to spot fraud.

“To stop a leak like this one would require a highly sophisticated form of internal monitoring based on establishing a robust pattern of normal and abnormal behaviors,” wrote Emily Harding and Benjamin Jensen from the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Coupled with a “zero trust approach” that would require continuous vetting of clearance holders, any unusual activity would be flagged.

“If the most recent leaker focuses on cybersecurity for his normal job, but suddenly was accessing reports about China or Iran, that could be flagged as suspicious,” Hardin and Jensen suggested.

As lawmakers and security officials scramble to safeguard the nation’s secrets, the diplomatic fallout of the recent leak continues.

As The Dallas Express reported, the classified intelligence documents revealed that even allies like South Korea are being spied on by the United States.

One of the leaked documents recounted internal discussions among South Korean military officials back in March. They were discussing the pressure that Washington was putting on Seoul to provide military support to Ukraine.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article