Biggest Leaker in Decade Should Never Have Had Access to Secrets

The United States has not learned from Snowden and Manning.

NYT (“F.B.I. Arrests National Guardsman in Leak of Classified Documents“):

The F.B.I. arrested a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard on Thursday in connection with the leak of dozens of highly classified documents containing an array of national security secrets, including the breadth of surveillance the United States is able to conduct on Russia.

Airman First Class Jack Douglas Teixeira was taken into custody to face charges of leaking classified documents after federal authorities said he had posted batches of sensitive intelligence to an online gaming chat group, called Thug Shaker Central.


In Washington, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, in a brief statement, announced the arrest and said Airman Teixeira would be arraigned at the Federal District Court in Massachusetts. Mr. Garland said he was arrested in connection with the “unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information,” a reference to the Espionage Act, which is used to prosecute the mishandling and theft of sensitive intelligence.

The arrest raised questions about why such a junior enlisted airman had access to such an array of potentially damaging secrets, why adequate safeguards had not been put in place after earlier leaks and why a young man would risk his freedom to share intelligence about the war in Ukraine with a group of friends he knew from a video game social media site.

A motive in the case for now remains elusive. But, according to people who knew him online, Airman Teixeira was no whistle-blower. Unlike previous huge leaks of information, from the Pentagon Papers to WikiLeaks to Edward Snowden’s disclosures, outrage about wrongdoing or government policies does not appear to have been a factor.

Indeed, the disclosures were potentially damaging to all parties in the Ukraine war as well as future intelligence collection. While some officials, including President Biden, have downplayed the damage from the leak, it will take months to learn whether U.S. intelligence loses access to important methods of collection because of the disclosures.

WaPo (“He’s from a patriotic family — and allegedly leaked U.S. secrets“):

Teixeira has been identified as the suspected leaker of hundreds of photographs of highly classified military documents that have proliferated across the internet over the past week. The leak, probably the military’s largest in at least a decade, has revealed secrets about everything from gaps in Ukrainian air defenses to the specifics of how the United States spies on its allies and partners.

Teixeira, who used online handles that include “jackthedripper” and “excalibureffect,” posted the images to Discord, a chat platform popular with gamers, people familiar with the case said. Some Discord members showed The Washington Post video of Teixeira shouting racist and antisemitic slurs before firing a rifle. Like some others interviewed for this story, they spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The arrest appeared to bring to an end a weeklong mystery that both law enforcement officials and internet sleuths had attempted to unravel. The photos of documents posted online included a trail of clues, with items in the background that included Gorilla Glue, a Boston Red Sox hat, and hunting magazines.


The crisis has blindsided the Pentagon, which did not become aware until last week that secrets had for weeks been spreading online, and forced the Biden administration to have awkward conversations with allies and partners about explosive issues. The FBI did not descend on the Teixeira home until after The Post revealed numerous details about the still-anonymous leaker on Wednesday night, and after the New York Times followed up on Thursday by naming Teixeira.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin commended the Justice Department and FBI for their “swift action in connection with this investigation” and pledged full Defense Department support for it.

The Pentagon continues to assess the damage to national security that has occurred because of the leak, he said. Each service member, Defense Department employee, and defense contractor with classified information “has a solemn legal and moral obligation to safeguard it and to report any suspicious activity or behavior.”

While Teixeira was relatively inexperienced in the military, he had access to highly classified military intelligence through a Defense Department computer network known as the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, said a U.S. official familiar with the matter. The system would have allowed Teixeira to read and potentially print classified documents, though there are guidelines to handle those in accordance with the law.

Teixeira was mobilized for federal active duty last fall, said Nahaku McFadden, a spokesperson for the National Guard Bureau. It is not uncommon for troops in the National Guard to receive such orders to fill the need for specialized jobs, but since he was on active duty at the time of the alleged disclosures, he is subject to additional punishment under the military justice system.

I would think he would be punishable under the UCMJ for actions committed on duty regardless of whether he was activated. While Guardsmen on State Active Duty aren’t federal forces, I don’t know why he would have had access to JWICS under that status. Regardless, DOJ is far more competent at criminal prosecutions. DOD seems inevitably to screw them up with unlawful command influence and other amateur hour stumbles.

As the news was breaking yesterday afternoon, Dave Schuler asked the obvious question:

If the individual identified is actually the leaker, it would be beyond incompetent and reckless. Does every member of an intelligence wing of every National Guard unit have materially unrestricted access to such classified materials? What does secrecy mean in that event?

Mutual commenter @Andy responded,

I served in a National Guard Intelligence unit, and they have the same access as any other intelligence unit consistent with their mission. Access is generally controlled by two things:

– The classification level – Personnel in an intelligence unit, even in the National Guard – is going to have the clearances for this type of stuff. The SCI compartments that I see on the documents are compartments that almost all intelligence personnel have access to.

– “Need to know” – This is the other control for access to classified. But in reality, an intelligence unit with an intelligence mission will have wide access to information because it’s necessary for the unit mission. This would include the types of products leaked here, which are senior-level briefing materials that are also read widely in the intelligence community. Most everything is networked now, and if you have the login credentials that intel analysts who work in intel units get, then access is pretty liberal – at least in my experience (which is now almost six years old). When I left, the network nazi’s (as we called them) were beginning to restrict access to things like printers and also increasingly moving toward utilizing dumb terminals connected to a central server to preclude people from saving stuff on electronic media. I don’t know the state of those now, but if the early reports are true, and this guy was able to print out a bunch of stuff and walk out of the SCIF with it, it’s going to generate more changes along the lines of the restrictions seen after Manning and Snowden.

A couple of other points:

– People will make hay of the fact that this is a National Guard unit and assume that a NG unit would/should not have the same level of access as an active duty unit or a civilian agency. But since 9/11, the Reserve and Guard, especially the intel units, usually have some portion of their personnel on active duty doing real-world missions. This is how the government has “saved money” by turning units that were intended to be a strategic reserve into an operational and tactical reserve. Especially with the amount of ISR allocated against China and especially Russia in the last year, I would not be surprised if this NG unit is doing 24/7 ops in support of that.

– Secondly, it’s interesting that Aric Toler and others in the open-source community (primarily Bellingcat) identified and traced these documents to this particular individual well before the feds did.

As more information came out, though, Andy observed,

It seems the guy didn’t have an intel job – he was reportedly what’s called “comm” in the Air Force, which is the catchall term for network support. Basically, this guy was like Snowden, not an analyst, not an intel person, a support person there to keep all the classified systems running.


I’m really surprised after Snowden they didn’t restrict access to these types of support personnel.

I’m with Dave on this one: if any idiot private with a security clearance has access to SCI, then we might as well just post it on the open Internet. I honestly don’t know how much value a junior enlisted Guardsman could possibly bring as an intelligence analyst on strategic level matters. But, in this case, he’s not even an intel guy—he’s a low level NerdsToGo tech. Obviously, he would have to be able to access the facilities and equipment but there’s zero need for him to access so much as Controlled Unclassified Information, let alone TS/SCI. The very fact that he downloaded so much as a single document should have sent up a huge red flag.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Military Affairs, National Security, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. CSK says:
  2. Tony W says:

    You watch those cheesy videos that they make you sit through every year about the guy who thought he’d be cool and post some classified stuff up on some online forum just to impress his “friends”, and you cringe because you just wasted 20 minutes of your life watching such an unrealistic scenario unfold on your screen – then you get back to your workday having fulfilled your annual obligation to maintain your clearance.

    And then truth becomes stranger than fiction.

  3. BugManDan says:

    @CSK: I got a Page Not Found when I clicked your link.

  4. CSK says:


    Damn. Well, it’s right on the front page, top of the fold,

  5. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Marge Taylor, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, is defending this kid.

  6. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Yep. MTG says Teixeira is being persecuted only because he’s a “white. male, christian (sic), and antiwar.”

  7. Tony W says:

    @CSK: Unlike Joe Biden who is a white, male, Christian, antiwar POTUS.


  8. JohnSF says:

    Dmitry Grozoubinski finds humour among the rubble:

    “World War III traced back to e-girl Neko_Hugs asking if any of the big strong libertarian gamer boys on her Call of Duty server will trade the nuclear launch codes for her Snapchat.”

  9. Kathy says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    It seems likely the Cheeto of her devotions will be charged with a similar set of crimes, especially if he showed some of the classified documents he absconded with to other people. therefore, Marge and the Wingnut Wing will downplay it in an attempt to normalize high crimes as no big deal, everyone does it and no one cares kind of behavior.

  10. Mikey says:

    Obviously, he would have to be able to access the facilities and equipment but there’s zero need for him to access so much as Controlled Unclassified Information, let alone TS/SCI.

    Any technician working on a classified network has to have a clearance. I don’t see how we get around that. It’s not possible to separate the information on a live network from the network itself.

    I used to do telecom work as a contractor for one of the IC agencies and I got a TS/SCI just because the work often took place in SCIFs.

  11. Kevin McKenzie says:

    @Mikey: It is absolutely possible to separate the contents of a live network and the network itself; that’s the whole point of public key encryption. It does take some work, and diligence on the part of the higher ups, but it’s absolutely possible. There’s absolutely no reason every tech person can see all the documents.

  12. JohnSF says:

    Sorry, but it is possible. Certain environments can be structured so that normal admin login does not permit documents to be read, printed, or modified.
    Most adminstration tasks do not require access to the contents of files.
    See Domino Server for one such environment.
    The security cannot be absolute, but risks can be mitigated.

    US military has put a premium on free-flow of information.
    But it might stop for a moment and consider what sorts of information, and in what circumstances, is rapid distribution the critical factor.

  13. CSK says:

    @Tony W:

    She’s not too bright, is she?

  14. Mikey says:

    @Kevin McKenzie:

    It is absolutely possible to separate the contents of a live network and the network itself; that’s the whole point of public key encryption.

    You are correct.

    I was not (at least not as absolutely as I stated it) and I realized it just now when I was doing some work and was required to provide my personal PKI certs in a browser session to access a website. We use personal certs to restrict/allow access to specific internal sites and to track who access what and when.

    That being said, I was partially correct in that a network tech still needs clearance at the level of the network because it’s possible they could see something in the course of their work. But if they’re not specifically required to be able to print something, they should not be able to print it.

  15. Tony W says:

    @Mikey: And that network level clearance is important because social engineering could compromise a private certificate – which would be the only missing component for a network tech to have the keys to the compromised cert’s kingdom.

  16. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I dunno about the not too bright part. She seems to be playing to her audience’s biases well.

  17. john430 says:

    I think that the top commanding officers of the MANG need to be court-martialed for laziness. Being a Democrat partisan is no excuse for allowing espionage. Besides which, she (Brig. Gen. Virginia Gaglio) was commanding aircraft equipment repair depots before she was switched to Intelligence.

  18. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Interesting. I was just pondering that. Does she know her constituents want her to sound like a moron, and does she give them what they want, or is she naturally a moron?

    I wonder the same thing with Trump.

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh, good, the MAGAts have found a woman to blame. Pity there were no Black scapegoats available.

  20. Thomm says:

    @CSK: and right on cue john430 comes in to answer that.

    @john430: got a question for you? What top level was court martialed for Manning’s leaks to Assange and can you point me to your advocacy of said court martial? You would have taken time out of your busy day of chomping on Fritos just to be a partisan hack, would you?

  21. Jay L Gischer says:

    This is a bit OT, but this thread still seems the right place to post it. I read this morning that Teixiera showed video to other Discorders of him firing a rifle and shouting racial slurs while doing it. Meanwhile, the AF is led by Gen. CQ Brown who made this commercial recently:

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    The great intellectual breakthrough by the GOP was in realizing that their economic ideas were bullshit, their elitist pretenses were outdated, that aside from hating most of the American people they really had bupkis in terms of policy and they actually despised everything about the constitution except the second amendment. They finally accepted that they are not the party of fancy-pants smarties like George Will, but were now the party of the stupid and the credulous. They used to think they had to camouflage their nastiness and cruelty. Turns out, nope: you can just be an absolute piece of human garbage and 40% of Americans will think, yes, that ignorant bigoted POS is my kind of guy.

    Stupid is the GOP brand, and it’s working for them. Isn’t that right, @john430: ?

  23. Gustopher says:

    Andy wrote:

    Secondly, it’s interesting that Aric Toler and others in the open-source community (primarily Bellingcat) identified and traced these documents to this particular individual well before the feds did.

    We don’t know this. We know that the OS-INT community and news media made the identity of the leaker public before the Feds.

    If we are feeling optimistic(?), there is a possibility that the feds were searching for others passing him information, or guiding what he found, and the publicity forced them to arrest before completing that. Not sure disrupting an ongoing intelligence investigation is optimistic — optimistic about their competence.

  24. Gustopher says:

    I’m with Dave on this one: if any idiot private with a security clearance has access to SCI, then we might as well just post it on the open Internet.

    We clearly need to rethink how we are controlling access. From ex-Presidents with documents sitting in their garage (thanks, Biden!) to whatever the fuck Trump was doing (it doesn’t seem innocent, since he was refusing to return them), to this racist twit private, to Snowden… too many people have too much access, with too little tracking. It enables bad actors and makes it easy for good actors to make mistakes.

  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The great intellectual breakthrough by the GOP was in realizing that their economic ideas were bullshit

    David Koch ran for veep on the Libertarian ticket in 1980. Why? Because his family could then donate unlimited money to the Libertarian Party for the run. As Libertarians go, they did great, 1% of the popular vote and 0% of the EC. The Koch Bros and their buddies never realized that their glibertarian “ideas” were “bullshit” but they did realize they had no chance to win a majority of the electorate, so they began developing minoritarian means to exert control. They may not control the government, but they can keep the people who won elections from doing much. For which see, among others, Jane Mayer’s Dark Money. And your word “credulous” is exactly the tie that binds the GOP electorate.

    This has evolved into an oligarchic shadow party behind the Republican Party’s “populist” front. This is what I find maddening. People have legitimate populist bitches, but they’re backing exactly the wrong people to address them. Do they really believe a billionaire New York real estate hustler gives a damn about them except as marks? Credulous.

  26. CSK says:


    Yes, they do believe that Trump cares about them, and loves America. They call him “the blue collar billionaire.”

    In their minds, he’s just like them, only with more money.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    IIRC there was some discussion here of a recent poll that showed reduced claims of patriotism. This Airman First (PFC) and his family were apparently big on shows of patriotism. Perhaps patriotism has fallen off because so many RW clowns give it, or whatever it is they’re doing under that heading, a bad name

  28. JohnSF says:

    Also the problem of over-classification: when everything is labelled “secret”, it degrades the importance of what really, really needs to be categorised “secret” and who need access to what, and for which purposes.
    If everything down to the canteen ice-cream recipe is classified, everyone down to the cooks needs clearance.

  29. Michael Reynolds says:


    People have legitimate populist bitches, but they’re backing exactly the wrong people to address them. Do they really believe a billionaire New York real estate hustler gives a damn about them except as marks?

    There’s a long history of people on the right self-harming for the benefit of their amoral overlords. This goes back at least to the Civil War when dirt poor White farmers and artisans who were kept poor by being placed in competition with slave labor, went to war and died for the very system that reduced them to penury.

  30. HelloWorld! says:

    I am continually dumbfounded about how I have to secure all of my systems to a rediculous level that includes logging anytime anyone looks at the name of a patient due to HIPAA laws, and all the documentation, paperwork, and hoops I have to hop through…..but this guy, Snowden, Trump, Biden all seems to have information that isn;t controlled very well at all.

  31. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I don’t think they see it as “sounding like a moron.” I suspect they see it more as “taking courageous stands for TRUTH (!!!).”

    But I might be wrong.

  32. JohnSF says:

    The Conservative right has been trying the same sort of trick here, of course.
    Selling Brexit to the discontent working class on populist grounds as enabling protection, reducing “unfair” competition, curbing migration, “spend the EU contributions on the NHS”, etc.
    Then they turn round and the mask drops (see Liz Truss): cut taxes, cut back on public services, de-regulate, “freeports”, “Singapore on Thames”.

    And now the Brexit is done, for good or ill, Johnson tripped over his own self-indulgence, and Truss screwed the pooch and the “Torybertarian” agenda proved toxic, they are trying to pivot to “culture wars”,

    Good news: it ain’t flying. Neither most of the working class “Leave populist” voters nor the middle class “tend Lib/Con” swing voters, or even a fair chunk of “traditionalist” Cons, are buying it.
    Latest YouGov poll:
    Labour: 44%
    Con: 27%
    Others: 29% (albeit 6% slice of these is ReformUK who may end up voting Con)
    Govt approve/disapprove: 17% to 63%
    Toasted! It’s fork time. Pass the butter.

  33. Jay L Gischer says:

    Let’s talk about patriotism. I’m going to use an analogy though. I recently had a discussion with a dear old friend about the sorts of faith she experienced in relatives growing up. (She grew up Catholic, I did not.)

    She described one uncle as “he prayed a lot”. She also said, “He always had time for us kids, for whatever”. She described a different aunt as “always talking about faith and and about right and wrong and how badly certain people behaved and such. And with the next breath there was something else to talk about.”

    Talking patriotism is not at all the same as acting patriotism. I grew up in a family that did not talk love, it acted it. It did not talk patriotism, it acted it. It did not talk morality, it acted it.

    In consequence, I am typically a bit suspicious of egregious flag waving. I am really suspicious of people who talk about their patriotism in one breath and then cheat on their taxes.

    Like it is said, talk is cheap.

  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Exhibit 1–in why I say news media and pundits drive conversations in ways that are ultimately self-defeating.

    All you are sooooo sure that the Intel Community and its processs are soooo run amuck—why? Because you saw a few stories close together on TV–that’s why. No different than the Fox News “Crime Wave”. If we go back 25 years when IC and production analysts were all siloed and Balkanized—these same talking heads were yelling about why the dots couldn’t be connected.

    There is absolutely risk in oversharing–the reward–is worth it. If anything, there could be a review of how OPM is vetting new TS clearance requests. Are they asking the right questions and are they reviewing the applicant’s social media behavior and profile. Other than that–please, chill.

    BTW the profile for an Insider Threat is actually much older than a 21 year old–so axe the tired media drum beat of the kid’s age. We arm 21 year olds to shoot people–with other 21 year olds working the intel piece that helps get those people shot. Been doing it for years.

    There is little prevention for insider threat short of active surveilling of personnel. Tell me–how many of you want to be patted down and open your bags and pockets when you leave work every day? Think that’s a place you would want to be long-term employed or even apply to work at?

    The lionshare of the IC are civilians and contractors–the occasional leak is worth NOT losing the ability to attract talented people–which would absolutely happen if we defaulted to an insider threat workplace environment. NOT to mention the cost of implementing the systems and controls to create the environment.

    TLDR: Nothing burger–but great for clicks and media bloviation

  35. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Sadly, I think you’re quite right.

  36. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jay L Gischer: That’s a pretty dramatic shift in the electorate, which is a thing that mostly doesn’t happen, since voting is often aligned with identity, as Steven has described so well.

    So, now I’m curious. Is there something about a parliamentary system that makes this more likely, or is it another factor, or just an outlier that nobody has a good explanation for?

  37. JohnSF says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    How many times has this happened now?
    How many times has this happened to US allies?
    What is the probability that at least one unfriend can develop a source who does NOT splatter everything over the net or the media?
    A network tech does not need, and should not have, access to these documents, and that’s that.

    The Ukraine casualty figures are estimates.
    Care to guess why Ukraine won’t supply exact figures?

    Free flow of data and a friendly work environment are nice.
    Information security is also nice.
    If they can be balanced more appropriately at minimal cost, why not try doing so?

  38. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Well that was weird. I thought I was replying to @JohnSF’s remarks on the swing in British politics away from the Tories.

  39. JohnSF says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    It happens sometimes in Parliamentary systems, if you annoy of enough of the electorate, and they aren’t “silo’ed” enough to prevent collapse (which US Republican may be).
    See eg Canadian Progressive Conservative Party rout in 1993.
    UK Liberal Party collapse 1925/35.
    Christian Democrats eclipse in Italy.
    There are other cases.

    The US political system is odd, in a lot of ways, and probably these act to reinforce party continuity.

    Basic factor in the UK is that “culture wars” just don’t have the same traction here.
    Only “immigration and asylum” gets anywhere; and even that’s played out as a vote winner for a governing party after 13 years.
    “It’s the economy, stupid”
    Well, that and the National health Service.
    See YouGov issues tracker.

  40. JohnSF says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Oh, and one more thing.
    Sir Keir has assassinated Jeremy Corbyn, and is repeatably kicking the corpse.
    To the considerable pleasure of a large section of the public.

  41. dazedandconfused says:


    We don’t have the detailed information on his job or the system he was managing to assert with confidence what he needed to be able to access or not. That split admin systems exist is one thing…being sure they would be applicable to the system the were on and the job he was tasked to do is another.

    No doubt there will be deep thought on how to prevent this in the future. Can’t expect perfection with big changes, which is what happens with tech and events like 9/11.

    That the report seems to mainly guesstimate with open source info on the Ukes is a good indicator as to Ukraine op-sec, but perhaps a better tell we are not trying very hard at all to pierce it. Unless we have our own boots on the ground, unsurprising.

  42. john430 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You are nothing but a stupid racist and misogynist. Your caregivers should never let you out.

  43. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @JohnSF: Unless you’re suggesting changing the way Computer Networking and Administration works…sys admin will have access to files.
    On most networks, including JWICS data owners have the prerogative to restrict access to they’re files. The files this little shithead got, are available to anyone on JWICS they are, the IC version of cable news. It’s not uncommon to see some version of it in open source in 96 hours if it is about the national flavor of the week.

    There are thousands of Network techs maintaining classified networks…a handful are threats…2 handfuls of Intel specialists are also likely threats. The morals of the story? 1. There is no such thing as zero risk. 2. Network effects and sharing will trump stovepipes in speeding information to decision makers.

  44. Thomm says:

    @john430: Awww….is the hit dog hollering? Quick reminder: ya boy trump is being investigated for violating the espionage act.

  45. JohnSF says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    SysAdmins with full access have full access. However, some environments (not Windows, at least not easily, LOL) CAN restrict sub-admins from being able to access file content.
    How often does actual system issues require file-content access?
    When content access is required for a support task, that can be granted to a sub-admin on a basis of necessity.
    I grant, this makes for friction in the system.
    And the US military has valued minimising friction, and for good reasons.
    In a combat environment that could be crucial.
    In a non-combat environment, not so much.
    It’s a question of balance.
    The evidence indicates the US military may need to recalibrate the balance a bit.

    …available to anyone on JWICS they are, the IC version of cable news…

    Maybe they shouldn’t be?
    How often has information like this been blasted across the media by US allies?
    Compare: Snowden, Winner, Manning.
    And the nasty possibility that the US has been compromised by less publicity seeking persons.

    It’s not uncommon to see some version of it in open source in 96 hours if it is about the national flavor of the week.

    Indeed. Washington, District of Colander. A long standing British joke that’s losing its chuckle factor.

    There’s no such thing as zero risk.
    There’s also such a thing as reducing risk.

    OK, these files aren’t a holy grail of actionable intelligence.
    They are also not trivial, even if I’ll say they are all day long on Twitter.

  46. Kurtz says:


    You are nothing but a stupid racist and misogynist. Your caregivers should never let you out.

    I can usually follow how another person got to a conclusion.

    But not on this one.

  47. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @JohnSF: All fair points, I believe there are balanced controls in place. And that knee jerk reactions to build system-wide controls based on edge cases is counter-productive. We could also reduce risk by going back to file cabinets vice computers.

    JWICS is a network of networks, it is a misrepresentation that everyone can get everywhere on it. High level reporting prepared for Senior Leadership is available to TS Gen Pop. But, The IC professionals that have access to the juicy stuff…stuff that gets people killed if not peotected..are already subject to enhanced counterintelligence and network controls.

    As I said before, the best place to start would be review how OPM vets for TS Clearance. It’s entirely possible their profile for rejecting people with a propensity to talk is outdated…especially with a new generation of kids entering the business.

  48. Chip Daniels says:

    What’s interesting to me, is when I reflect on that Wired article way back in 2010 that talked about the NSA server complex in Utah I think, that had a software which could scan literally every single email or text sent across the internet scanning for keywords related to terrorism.
    The underlying point was that the feds have literally the ability to scan every single keystroke made including the ones I am typing right now.

    Which was scary, right? But…if this is strue, how could they have missed a bunch of knuckleheads on the internet trading top secret documents and talking about them like they were the day’s football scores?

    But then I reflect on the revelation that the East German Stasi had the analog equivalent, a paper file on literally every East German documenting every aspect of their lives- where they attended school, what football club they followed what books they read or who they associated with.

    And yet, when the Wall fell, no one was more taken by surprise than the Stasi because although they had massive troves of data they lacked the ability to analyze or make sense of it all.

    I don’t know. It seems hard to square the image of the national security apparatus as being like they show it on tv shows where they can just clikety clack and pull up any information they want, down to who you took to prom, with the real world facts we have in front of us, where if the one knucklehead had kept his mouth shut these top secret documents would still be floating around with no one the wiser.

  49. dazedandconfused says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Most of the vetting targets being compromisable. They need to vet for stupid to stop guys like this one though.

    Downloading TS stuff to impress your friends on a gaming site?? “C’mon maaaan!”

  50. JohnSF says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    …professionals that have access to the juicy stuff…stuff that gets people killed if not protected…

    Agreed. This stuff is annoying, but none of it appears to have been actionable data.
    It’s not like it’s the SSBN patrol coordinates, or details of Ukrainian munition usage/stocks/locations, or etc.
    That’s why in the other comment area I was agreeing with President Biden’s minimization of the damage.
    It’s infuriating that stuff like UK SF deployed in Ukraine get released. But not a killer, operationally.
    But we’re in a conflict were the oppo regards information/disinformation nearly as valuable as reality.
    In part, that’s actually the Russian weakness, mistaking info-war for the real thing; but if we’re trying to condition their response, this is still a slip.

  51. Michael Reynolds says:

    I love that you people are so unoriginal all you can manage is ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue.’ So intellectually limited you can’t even think up your own insults. You’re not helping yourself.

  52. James Joyner says:

    @Jim Brown 32: To me, the only way this is a “nothing burger” is if the material should never have been TS/SCI to begin with.

    Among the many things that made me cringe in the original Top Gun was the whole bit about “But I’ve got a Top Secret clearance!” as though it were a goddamned library card. TS/SCI material isn’t supposed to be the equivalent of Stars and Stripes, accessible by everyone with a clearance. It’s supposed to be Need to Know.

  53. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @James Joyner: It could have easily classified ‘Secret’ in my opinion. However, if information is collected through TS means…even it it could be classified lower ..generally stays TS because it’s extremely hard to lower classifications of material.