- Written by George Bowden
- BBC News, Washington, DC
The Pentagon will change its security policies after a review of a major leak of classified files found officials were struggling to keep track of how many employees had top-secret access.
New measures include appointing agents to control the level of access to top-secret data and installing systems to detect electronic devices.
It follows the unauthorized posting of dozens of classified files on the Internet.
Former pilot Jacques Teixeira, 21, is accused of leaking files, which he denies.
The findings of a 45-day review of Pentagon policies and procedures, ordered by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in the wake of the leak, indicated the need for increased scrutiny of people charged with classified national security information.
A senior defense official told reporters during a briefing that security protocols at the Pentagon are struggling to keep up with the growth in the number of authorized personnel and the number of facilities where classified files are being accessed.
The Department of Defense said that while some existing policies will be strengthened, others will be updated and new rules will be put in place to address existing shortcomings.
The review concluded that there is no “single point of failure” in the Army’s procedures and said that the vast majority of personnel with access adhere to security policies and procedures.
But he recommended the Defense Department increase spending on security measures, create a new insider threat office and increase the number of staff that oversee the handling of classified documents.
The review suggested strengthening security measures to prevent the use of electronic devices inside rooms where confidential data is kept and where confidential information or images may be photographed or recorded.
Teixeira, who is in jail awaiting trial after his arrest in April, allegedly leaked files to online chatting platform Discord, a popular meeting place for gamers.
According to prosecutors, Teixeira wrote down sensitive information and posted it in the chat room. He was later alleged to have shared photos of US intelligence equipment after becoming frustrated with the lack of response from users in the group.
Mr. Teixeira, a former member of the 102nd Air Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, faces up to 15 years in prison for the unauthorized transmission of defense information.
He pleaded not guilty to six federal counts of willfully withholding and transmitting national defense information in June.