Pentagon leak leads to limits on who gets access to military’s top secrets

The Pentagon has begun to limit who across the government receives its highly classified daily intelligence briefs following a major leak of classified information discovered last week.

Some US officials who used to receive the briefing materials daily have stopped receiving it in recent days, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, as the Pentagon’s Joint Staff continues to whittle down its distribution lists.

The Joint Staff, which comprises the Defense Department’s most senior uniformed leadership that advises the president, began examining its distribution lists immediately after learning of the trove of leaked classified documents – many of which had markings indicating that they had been produced by the Joint Staff’s intelligence arm, known as the J2.

All the email lists have been reviewed, a senior defense official said, and some restrictions may only be temporary. Everyone on the lists had proper clearance, but not everyone needs to receive that information daily, the official added.

Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder in a interview with News Nation on Wednesday said the Pentagon is looking at “mitigation measures in terms of what we can do to prevent potential additional unauthorized leaks.”

The leaked documents have exposed what officials say are lingering vulnerabilities in the management of government secrets, even after agencies overhauled their computer systems following the 2013 Edward Snowden leak, which exposed the scope of the National Security Agency’s intelligence gathering apparatus.

It is unlikely, however, that those safeguards would have prevented the most recent leak, sources said. The documents that circulated online appear to have been printed largely from briefing books that staffers spend hours putting together for senior officials on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.



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