Reporters were warned by the White House not to discuss the apparent leak of sensitive Pentagon information.
Some call it the worst exposure of confidential information since the Edward Snowden affair. National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby presented his case during Monday’s White House press briefing.
After being questioned many times about the papers’ veracity, Kirby stated that the material inside them should not be made public. He claimed it has no place in the headlines of publications or on the evening news. This information is not meant for widespread distribution.
The Department of Defense (DoD) stated on Sunday that it is investigating the veracity and national security implications of images surfacing on social media. First seen on Discord, they appear to reveal classified information about China, Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as surveillance efforts.
The Pentagon also said that U.S. authorities had discussed the leak with Congress and allies.
According to a report, a U.S. defense source said that many of the papers seem to have been created for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and other top military leaders but emphasized that this information would be accessible widely to those with sufficient clearance.
Questions about how the U.S. government might have overlooked the trove of stolen Pentagon papers floating online for months have been raised.
Pictures of the secret papers that have been making the rounds online in recent days first appeared on a popular chat service in January. The administration noticed only after they were widely publicized at the beginning of April.
Jack Douglas Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was detained by FBI agents on Thursday at his house in Massachusetts in connection with the leak of sensitive government secrets.
Merrick Garland, the Attorney General, has initiated an investigation against 21-year-old Teixeira for the alleged unlawful distribution, retention, and removal of classified defense-related information.
According to a press release, Teixeira, who enlisted in the Air National Guard in 2019, has the highest security clearance the US government provides for top-secret intelligence.