Biden Says Documents Leak Is ‘Not of Great Consequence’… But DoD Is Taking It ‘Very Seriously’

Share this:

Defense Department spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder on Thursday refused to answer any questions related to the “ongoing criminal investigation” involving 21-year-old Airman First Class Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, who was arrested in Massachusetts on Thursday in connection with the leak of classified documents on the Discord online gaming platform.

“So first of all, as I mentioned, there is an ongoing criminal investigation, and so anything related to that, I’m going to need to refer you to the — the DOJ or the FBI,” Ryder told reporters.

“In the meantime, as Secretary Austin has stated, the department is taking the issue of this unauthorized disclosure very seriously. We continue to work around the clock along with the interagency and the intelligence community to better understand the scope, scale and impact of these leaks.

“And just as we’re limited in what we can say about the DOJs ongoing investigation, we’ll be also very limited in what we can say about any of the documents themselves,” Ryder said.

On a sentimental trip to Ireland on Wednesday, President Joe Biden noted that a “full-blown investigation” was ongoing as he spoke, which was before Tiexeira’s arrest.

“Are you concerned about the leak?” a reporter asked Biden in one of the “shouted questions” that Biden has substituted for actual press conferences.

“Well, I — 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 right now,” the president said.

Back at the Pentagon, Ryder warned reporters that “just because classified information may be posted online or elsewhere does not mean it has been declassified.”

Ryder said although the Pentagon has “stringent guidelines in place for safeguarding classified and sensitive information,” it is now reviewing “a variety of factors,” including “examining and updating distribution lists.”

He said the leak, by a young tech employee with security clearance, “was a deliberate criminal act.”

A reporter asked Ryder, “how did this happen,” if there were “strict protocols in place.”

“Again, we need to allow the investigation to run its course,” Ryder said, adding that the Pentagon is still assessing “the scope and impact” of the leak that Biden seemed to downplay.

Ryder said the Defense Department became aware of the leak on April 5th, although the top secret material had been posted on the Discord platform months earlier. Defense Secretary Austin was notified the next day, on April 6.

“So, what took so long for DOD and the intelligence communities to locate these documents?” a reporter asked Ryder.

“Yes, so that’s really something that the investigation will tell us,” Ryder said.

“That said, I think it’s important to remember that DOD’s intelligence activities are primarily focused internationally. So, to the extent that the department collects any information related to US persons, for example, or gaming chatrooms, it would have to be conducted in accordance with the law and policy and in a manner that protects privacy and civil liberties.”

Ryder said later, “We’re always going to be on the lookout for any potential insider threats. Again, we get training on how to spot insider threats.

“But again, as I mentioned to Travis, you’ve locked your door, you’ve lent some keys to your friends. If one of those friends decides to give the keys away, you know, hopefully, you’ve been able to clue in on those signals.

“So, we’ll continue to monitor it.”

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Docs came FROM Joes corvette!!!????