The Defense Department continues to actively address the incident involving the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents, said Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh at a news conference today.
Massachusetts Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira, 21, was arrested April 13, by the FBI at his family’s residence in Dighton, Massachusetts, in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information.
The department is taking this breach seriously, Singh said. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and senior Pentagon officials “continue to convene daily meetings to examine the scope and scale of this disclosure, as well as ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are being taken.”
In support of this effort, the secretary has formally directed Ronald S. Moultrie, undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, in coordination with John Sherman, chief information officer, and Michael B. Donley, the director of administration and management, to lead a comprehensive review of DOD security, programs, policies and procedures, Singh said.
Within 45 days the secretary will be provided with initial findings and recommendations to improve the department’s policies and procedures related to the protection of classified information, she said.
The department is in close contact with the White House, Congress, interagency partners, and allies and partners, she said.
Addressing the media, Singh said: “We’d encourage you to be mindful of how you are reporting and repurposing these images due to the classified nature of this information and the potential impact on national security, as well as the safety and security of our personnel, and those of our allies and partners.”
Separately, Singh said the department has publicly acknowledged previously that there is a small U.S. military footprint in Ukraine which is providing mission-critical support to the U.S. embassy and the defense attaché office in support of security assistance programs. This is not new news, she added.
“To be clear, there are no U.S. combat troops conducting combat operations in Ukraine,” she said.
On another Ukraine topic, Singh said Austin spoke with Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister today.
Both leaders discussed the security situation in Ukraine and the secretary looks forward to his own meeting later this week at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, she said.