CNN anchor Jake Tapper pressed Democratic New York Sen. Kristin Gillibrand Sunday on whether the leak of classified material from the Pentagon is a “failure” of President Joe Biden’s administration.
The documents were allegedly leaked by Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira on a Discord chat with a group of males in their late teens, 20’s and 30’s. The FBI arrested him Thursday and the court charged him with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy accused the Biden administration of failing to secure classified material from being leaked by a 21-year-old.
“The Biden administration has failed to secure classified information. Through our committees, Congress will get answers as to why they were asleep at the switch,” McCarthy said in a Friday tweet.
The Biden administration has failed to secure classified information.
Through our committees, Congress will get answers as to why they were asleep at the switch.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) April 14, 2023
Tapper asked Gillibrand whether she agrees if the House Speaker in a Sunday interview on “State of the Union.”
“You’re on the Intelligence Committee, is he right? Is this a failure of the Biden administration?” Tapper asked.
“We’re gonna do a full investigation and the Intelligence Committee is also gonna have a thorough investigation,” Gillibrand said. “But we focused intensely on how we keep our secrets safe and I have a lot of questions about why were these documents lying around? Why did this particular person have access to them? Where was the custody of the documents and who were they for? These are important questions we can ask in the Intelligence Committee so we can have stronger oversight.”
Tapper added that the intelligence community believes that the Department of Defense (DOD) does not vet people with security clearances as intensely as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence agencies. Gillibrand said this point will be raised in a Senate hearing in the coming week about the protection of the classified material by the agencies. (RELATED: Reuters Falsely Suggests Russia Was Behind Pentagon Documents Leak)
“We need to know the facts,” the senator continued. “We need to know who this airman was, why he felt he had the authority or the ability to show off confidential documents, secret documents to his friends. It sounds like he was extremely immature and someone who did not understand the importance and the weight of these documents and so we need to figure it out and put proper protections in place.”
The documents detailed confidential information regarding the U.S.’ surveillance tactics relating to the war in Ukraine. It detailed the weaknesses in Ukraine air defense networks and NATO’s plans to rebuild Ukraine’s military and the position of its troops, CNN reported.