Air Force investigating intelligence unit at National Guard base on Cape Cod
The Air Force has directed its inspector general to investigate the Air National Guard intelligence unit on Cape Cod where accused document leaker Jack Teixeira worked, and the unit's mission has been temporarily reassigned to other Air Force organizations.
The investigation will focus on "overall compliance with policy, procedures, and standards, including the unit environment and compliance" at the 102nd Intelligence Wing, according to Department of the Air Force spokeswoman Rose Riley.
In addition, senior leaders ordered a broad, security-focused "standdown" over the next 30 days at each unit across the Air Force. The plan is to "reassess our security posture and procedures, validate the need to know for each person's access," and emphasize to all personnel the responsibility to safeguard sensitive information.
The FBI arrested Teixeira, 21, last week on charges of sharing national defense information without authorization, and with removal and retention of classified documents without authorization. He is being held and is scheduled to appear in federal court in Boston Wednesday.
Teixeira's alleged leaking of intelligence on social media has drawn a firestorm of criticism from lawmakers and others, demanding to know how a junior guardsman got his hands on sensitive documents.
Now, his colleagues in the intelligence wing at the Otis Air National Guard Base are also paying a price for the alleged leak. The wing is "not currently performing its assigned intelligence mission," according to an Air Force statement.
The intelligence wing employs about 1,200 military personnel. Some portion of those do the actual intelligence work, while others do support work. According to the Air Force, members will be cooperating with the investigation and will continue to perform training and administrative duties.
"We welcome any review of our adherence to established Department of Defense regulations for the handling of classified information," Massachusetts National Guard spokesman Donald Veitch said in a statement. "We will not hesitate to take appropriate measures to address any issues identified during an investigation."
In a letter to service members Tuesday, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said, "Given the seriousness of this situation, the Department of the Air Force is closely examining all security measures and protocols to ensure we do all we can to protect sensitive information."
He also called out personnel at the highest levels, saying, "Safeguarding national security information is a commander's responsibility." He said all commanders would conduct an immediate review to ensure standards for security are being met.
This article was originally published on April 18, 2023.