NATIONAL NEWS

Air Force looks to better control access to classified data after intelligence leak

May 22, 2023, 10:35 AM

FILE - Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall speaks during a Senate Armed Services budget hearin...

FILE - Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall speaks during a Senate Armed Services budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 2, 2023. The Air Force said Monday, May 22, that it is looking at ways to better control access to classified information. Kendall told reporters that the Air Force needs to better enforce the rules that govern access to classified information based on whether someone with the correct security clearance also has a need to know the information. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Air Force said Monday it is looking at ways to better control access to classified information, in the wake of revelations that superiors of the Massachusetts Air National Guard member charged with leaking highly classified documents had raised concerns internally about his handling of sensitive data.

Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters that the Air Force needs to better enforce the rules that govern access to classified information based on whether someone with the correct security clearance also has a need to know the information.

“It’s a long standing tenet that you don’t get to look at something classified unless there’s a legitimate reason for you to look at it,” Kendall said. “Just because you happen to have a certain level of clearance doesn’t mean you get access to all the material at that level. So we’re taking a hard look at some practices around that.” He said he doesn’t think the service enforced that rule strongly enough.

Justice Department lawyers last week said superiors voiced concerns on multiple occasions about Air Guard member Jack Teixeira’s handling of highly classified information. They laid out the issue in court papers urging a magistrate judge to keep Teixeira behind bars while he awaits trial in the case stemming from the most consequential intelligence leak in years.

Teixeira is accused of sharing highly classified documents about top national security issues in a chatroom on Discord, a social media platform that started as a hangout for gamers. He has not yet entered a plea.

As a result of the case, Kendall gave Air Force leaders 30 days to take a close look at their practices and determine if the department is prioritizing the need to get information about operations to those who need it and being careful enough about spreading intelligence too broadly. The inspector general is also investigating the matter.

He said there are ways to tweak digital systems so when classified information is put online not everyone with proper clearance on that system automatically gets access to it.

Prosecutors told the judge in their filing that Teixeira continued leaking documents even after he was admonished by superiors on two separate occasions last year over “concerning actions” he took related to classified information.

A September memo from the Air National Guard 102nd Intelligence Wing that prosecutors filed in court says Teixeira had been observed taking notes on classified intelligence information and putting the notes in his pocket. Teixeira was instructed at the time to no longer take notes in any form on classified intelligence information, the memo says.

Another memo from late October says a superior had been made aware that Teixeira was “potentially ignoring the cease-and-desist order on deep diving into intelligence information” given to him the month before. The memo says Teixeira attended a meeting and proceeded to ask “very specific questions.” He was told again to focus on his job, not any “deep dives” into classified intelligence information.

The revelations have raised questions about why military officials did not take further action and why Teixeira continued to have access to classified information after his superiors raised concerns.

National News

Associated Press

Wildfire north of Los Angeles spreads as authorities issue evacuation orders

GORMAN, Calif. (AP) — Authorities issued evacuation orders Saturday as a wildfire in Los Angeles County spread thousands of acres close to a major highway and threatened nearby structures, officials said. The blaze that is being called the Post Fire burned more than 3,600 acres (5.6 square miles or 14.5 square kilometers) near the Interstate […]

5 hours ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting at splash pad in Detroit suburb leaves ‘numerous wounded victims,’ authorities say

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Multiple people were wounded Saturday in a shooting at a splash pad in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills, authorities said. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard told reporters that “it sounds like we have nine, maybe 10 victims with gunshot wounds, victims of varying kinds of injuries.” Authorities said they […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs returns key to New York City in response to video of him attacking singer Cassie

NEW YORK (AP) — Sean “ Diddy ” Combs has returned his key to New York City after a request from Mayor Eric Adams in response to the release of a video showing the music mogul attacking R&B singer Cassie, officials said Saturday. The mayor’s office said Combs returned the key after Adams sent letters […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Victim identified in Southern California homicide case, 41 years after her remains were found

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A victim whose skull was found by children in a Southern California city in 1983 has been identified 41 years after her remains were first discovered, authorities said. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim Friday as Maritza Glean Grimmett, a Panamanian native who moved to the U.S. in […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Missouri abortion ban wasn’t about lawmakers imposing religious beliefs, judge says

A judge in Missouri says lawmakers who passed a restrictive abortion ban weren’t trying to impose their religious beliefs on everyone in the state, rejecting a case filed by more than a dozen Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist leaders who support abortion rights. The groups sought a permanent injunction last year barring Missouri from enforcing […]

11 hours ago

Air Force looks to better control access to classified data after intelligence leak