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‘Thank You, Captain Obvious’: Pentagon Tells Defense Officials Not to Leak Classified Material

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by Susan Katz Keating

In the wake of the “Digileaks” documents case, the Pentagon told top defense officials this week to refrain from leaking classified material – and brought smirking commentary from those who shared copies of the lengthy memo.

“Don’t turn me in for sending you this,” one contact told Soldier of Fortune. “I’m pretty sure I’m clear, though, since the memo isn’t classified.”

In the April 12 missive, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks warned senior commanders not to leak classified information or download classified documents from unclassified sources. 

“Do not access or download documents with classified markings from unclassified websites — either from home or work — as the data may be classified, it may be associated with hostile foreign elements, or it may contain malicious code or embedded capability that could introduce cyber threats into our information system,” Hicks wrote in the memo.

“Failure to appropriately safeguard classified information is a reportable security incident,” Hicks wrote.

Hicks reminded defense officials that if they are contacted by Congress or the media, they should refer the questioners to offices that handle such requests.

READ MORE about the FBI’s investigation into the documents leak

The memo brought eye-rolls and snickering from personnel who obtained copies, two defense contacts said.

“We shouldn’t leak classified information? Thank you, Captain Obvious,” one contact said. “Glad you cleared that up for us.”

The memo was sent amid ongoing revelations that highly sensitive security information was leaked on a gaming platform this year.

Jack Teixeira, a 21 year old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested by the FBI at his home in North Dighton on Thursday. Teixeira appeared Friday morning in a Boston courtroom, where he was charged with unauthorized detention and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal of classified information and defense materials.

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Three people who work for a U.S. government agency were given polygraph exams in connection with classified defense documents leaked last week, sources told Soldier of Fortune. The people were given the exams at an FBI facility located within the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia, the sources said.

The three people are civilians who do not work for the Department of Defense, the sources said. The alleged polygraph subjects are believed to work in an office that is based in Northern Virginia.

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