On Heels of Pentagon Leak, Biden Directs Military and IC to 'Secure and Limit Distribution of Sensitive Information'

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

After initially downplaying the seriousness of the leak of highly sensitive Pentagon documents, President Joe Biden, still in Ireland, finally addressed the breach substantively, issuing the following statement on Friday:


While we are still determining the validity of those documents, I have directed our military and intelligence community to take steps to further secure and limit distribution of sensitive information, and our national security team is closely coordinating with our partners and allies.

The phrase “a day late and a dollar short” comes to mind.

When Biden was asked about the leak by reporters on Thursday, Biden insisted he wasn’t all that concerned about it.

“I’m not concerned about the leak because — I’m concerned that it happened, but there’s nothing contemporaneous that I’m aware of that is of great consequence,” Biden responded.

Now, however, Biden is praising “the rapid action taken by law enforcement to investigate and respond to the recent dissemination of classified U.S. government documents,” in addition to calling for tighter controls on their distribution.

Whether the information contained in the documents “is of great consequence,” as President Biden blithely insinuated it was not, may depend on who you ask.


Several leaked documents that appeared to have classified information about the Russian invasion into Ukraine and other national security topics were posted on social media websites but only discovered last week. The roughly 100 leaked records has created an embarrassing situation for the Biden administration and forced the U.S. to respond by attempting to smooth things over with its allies this week.

One such bombshell revealed that Egypt was attempting to send some 40,000 rockets to Russia in secret. Other information included spy efforts by the U.S. on allies such as Israel and South Korea.

What is unquestionably of great consequence is what this leak reveals and the questions it prompts as to why the controls previously in place were seemingly insufficient to guard against this sort of breach. Is it a matter of incompetence in terms of training and vetting individuals given security clearances? Has technology outpaced the systems and procedures currently in place? And who will be held accountable for the leak, aside from Jack Teixeira, the 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman now charged with unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of the classified material in question? Because if someone in his position can so readily access and disseminate this type of highly sensitive information, that speaks to dangerous vulnerabilities in our military and intelligence information distribution systems.


As Jennifer Van Laar rightly noted regarding the situation:

The changing stories, with no acknowledgment of or explanation for the changes, are likely part of an effort to distract from the elephant in the room. When reporters repeatedly confronted the Pentagon spokesperson with questions about how a 21-year-old, low-level enlisted airman had access to the scope of information that he apparently had access to, and how he could get more than 100 documents out of a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), he answered by saying that they’re examining information distribution lists and that they had the rules in place and Teixeira broke the rules, so they shouldn’t be held responsible. That’s unacceptable.

Unacceptable indeed.

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