USAF cracks down on ‘need to know’ violations in wake of Discord leaks (Defense One)


    USAF cracks down on ‘need to know’ violations in wake of Discord leaks – By Audrey Decker (Defense One) / Dec 11, 2023

    Wing commander fired, 14 more disciplined after hundreds of documents were posted to a chat platform.

    Just because you’re cleared for secrets doesn’t mean you have a “need to know” them. After hundreds of classified documents were leaked earlier this year, the U.S. Air Force is trying to ensure that airmen clear both bars before they access sensitive information.

    The service has “implemented several reforms to improve procedures related to need to know and classified access, in addition to improving accountability for protection of classified and sensitive information. Clearance approval levels and need-to-know are two fundamentally distinct concepts,” according to a statement released with an Air Force inspector general investigation into Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira’s leak of documents on Discord, a chat platform widely used by video gamers.

    The report, dated August 2023 and publicly released on Dec. 11, blamed Teixeira’s superiors for a “lack of supervision.” The service has disciplined 15 people, ranging in rank from staff sergeant to colonel, in connection with the leak, the statement said.

    The inspector general found that the leak was caused, in part, by personnel conflating having access to classified systems with the “need to know” principle. Many personnel “disregarded” the requirement to have a valid reason to access information, the report said.



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