Apr 17, 2023

Pentagon Holds News Briefing as U.S. Continues to Respond to Classified Documents Leak Transcript

Pentagon Holds News Briefing as U.S. Continues to Respond to Classified Documents Leak Transcript
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Pentagon Holds News Briefing as U.S. Continues to Respond to Classified Documents Leak. Read the transcript here.

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General Ryder (00:00):

In the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into unauthorized disclosures of documents appearing to emanate from throughout the intelligence community. Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, I will have to refer you to the DOJ for any questions. This is a law enforcement matter and it would be inappropriate for me or any other DOD official to comment at this time. And certainly when we have more to provide from the Department of Defense, we will. In the meantime, as Secretary Austin has stated, the department is taking the issue of this unauthorized disclosure very seriously. We continue to work around the clock, along with the inner agency and the intelligence community to better understand the scope, scale, and impact of these leaks. And just as we’re limited in what we can say about the DOJ’s ongoing investigation, we’ll be also very limited in what we can say about any of the documents themselves.

And while we certainly understand the media’s interest in asking questions about the contents of these documents, I will highlight that as a matter of long-standing policy, just because classified information may be posted online or elsewhere, does not mean it has been declassified by a classification authority. And those of you who have been covering the Pentagon for a long time know that we’re just not going to discuss or confirm classified information due to the potential impact on national security as well as the safety and security of our personnel and those of our allies and our partners. And for that reason, we will continue to encourage those of you who are reporting this story to take these latter factors into account and to consider the potential consequences of posting potentially sensitive documents or information online or elsewhere.

Separately, Secretary Austin hosted Latvia’s Minister of Defense [inaudible 00:01:50] today at the Pentagon. The leaders discussed the strength of the US Latvia defense relationship and ongoing efforts to support Ukraine. They also discussed shared security interests in Europe, including NATO’s deterrence and defense posture ahead of the July NATO summit in Vilnius. A readout will be available later today.

Staying on Europe for a moment, next week, Secretary Austin will travel to Sweden to meet with his counterpart to discuss security related topics shared by our two nations. From there, he’ll travel to Germany where he and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley will host an in-person meeting on April 21 of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base. This will be the 11th meeting of the UDCG since this vital forum was established by Secretary Austin one year ago. The Secretary and General Millie will join ministers of defense and senior military officials from nearly 50 nations around the world to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and to continue our close coordination in providing the Ukrainian people with the means necessary to protect themselves against Russia’s unprovoked and illegal aggression. And as we’ve highlighted before, the contact group has been instrumental in identifying, synchronizing, and ensuring delivery of the military capabilities the Ukrainians need to defend their homeland.

And on a semi-related note, at the end of this month, the Arkansas Army National Guards 39th Infantry Brigade combat team will replace the New York Army National Guards 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and assume command of the joint multinational training group Ukraine at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany. The 27th Infantry Brigade combat team took charge of the JMTGU during a transfer authority ceremony in August of 2022, becoming the first and only unit in the JMTGU’S 8 year history to assume the unit mission for a second time. We look forward to the arrival of the 39th and the continuation of the important work to provide Ukraine what it needs in terms of training to defend itself. And with that, I’ll be happy to go to your questions. We’ll go ahead and start with [inaudible 00:03:55].

Tara (03:56):

Thank you, General Ryder. So can you confirm that Airman First Class Jack Teixeira, member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard is a person of interest in this leaked documents case? And I have several other questions.

General Ryder (04:09):

Sure. So first of all, as I mentioned, there is an ongoing criminal investigation, and so anything related to that, I’m going to need to refer you to the DOJ or the FBI.

Tara (04:18):

Can you speak at all to if anyone in the Department of Defense has reached out to this airman? Do you know where he is? There are reports that law enforcement is closing in on this airman’s location. So has anyone been able to reach out to him?

General Ryder (04:33):

Again, Tara, appreciate the question, but again, given that this is an ongoing investigation, I’m not going to be able to talk about the investigation or any potential DOJ actions, so I’d refer you to them.

Tara (04:44):

Okay. In the days after the leaks came to light, what steps has DOD taken to reduce the number of people who have access to not only these classified briefings, but the classified material in general?

General Ryder (04:57):

Sure. So we continue to review a variety of factors as it relates to safeguarding classified materials. This includes examining and updating distribution lists, assessing how and where intelligence products are shared and a variety of other steps. I would say though that it is important to understand that we do have stringent guidelines in place for safeguarding classified and sensitive information. This was a deliberate criminal act, a violation of those guidelines. And so again, I think that’s important to understand. Now we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that people who have a need to know when it comes to this kind of information, have access to that. We’re always going to learn from every situation. But again, this is something that we’ll continue to look at.

Tara (05:49):

But you are taking steps to tighten that, I guess, population who might have access to this level of information?

General Ryder (05:56):

That that’s accurate. Again, we continue to review those distribution lists, update them, make sure there’s a need to know. But again, let me just emphasize my point that we have rules in place. Each of us signs a non-disclosure agreement, anybody that has a security clearance. And so all indications are, again, this is a criminal act, a willful violation of those. And again, another reason why we’re continuing to investigate and support DOJ’s investigation.

Tara (06:24):

And just last question, do you have a sense that this is just the act of one individual and even if so, wouldn’t members of his chain of command also be held accountable for this lost information?

General Ryder (06:37):

Again, I don’t want to speculate or get ahead of the DOJ’s investigation. We need to allow that to run its course. And so I’d refer you to them. Let me go ahead and go to Gordon and then I’ll come back to Jen.

Gordon (06:49):

Yeah, Pat, there’s two questions. One, just to clarify, in DOD’s efforts to change the way you do business in terms of protecting classified information, apart from the stuff that you do already, is that DOD led or is that joint staff led? Who’s kind of directing what on that? And the second question is just hypothetically, I know you like hypotheticals. If somebody was to be charged, what would determine whether the military would charge and indict and carry out the legal process against that person or people or DOJ?

General Ryder (07:26):

Yeah, so on your latter question, you’re right. I don’t want to get into hypotheticals. I will say that as always, every case is judged on its own merits and we need to allow this investigation to run its course. And then of course, there’ll be more to say on that.

On your first question, again, it’s important to understand that this is not just about DOD, this is about the US government, this is about how we protect and safeguard classified information. And as I highlighted, we do have strict protocols in place. So anytime there is an incident, anytime there’s an opportunity to review that and refine it, we’re of course, going to take advantage of that. Within the Department of Defense, as you’ve heard us say, Secretary Austin has been convening daily meetings with his senior leaders to include the chairman, to talk about reviewing the scope and the impact of this, and also to look at mitigation measures and what we need to do across the Department of Defense to ensure that we’re doing our utmost to reinforce existing policies, procedures, and rules. And if there are any areas where we need to tighten things up, we certainly will.

Speaker 1 (08:36):

But you’ve made some changes already?

General Ryder (08:38):

That’s correct. As I mentioned to Tara.

Speaker 1 (08:40):

Is that DOD, not joint staff?

General Ryder (08:43):

When I say DOD, I mean the Department of Defense across the entire enterprise. Okay. Jen?

Jen (08:50):

General Ryder, you say that there are strict protocols in place and yet a 21 year old airman was able to access some of the nation’s top secrets. How did this happen? And isn’t this a massive security breach?

General Ryder (09:02):

Again, we need to allow the investigation to run its course. We’ll, of course know more when that is completed, so I’d refer you to DOJ on that.

Jen (09:10):

What is your message to anyone who might be thinking of leaking these kind of documents in the future?

General Ryder (09:16):

Look, again, we have procedures, we have protocols in place. We receive regular training on the proper handling of classified information. As I mentioned, we sign non-disclosure agreements, so those rules are very clear, and anyone who has a security clearance knows that. Anyone who violates those rules is doing so willfully.

Jen (09:37):

Can you put into context the damage that has been done by this leak?

General Ryder (09:41):

Again, right now we’re continuing to assess the scope and the impact, and so that’s work that will be ongoing. Tony?

Tony (09:51):

How large was the distribution network for these documents, say prior to last Thursday when the disclosures came out? Are we talking thousands of people had access

Tony (10:00):

Inside the Pentagon and outside the Pentagon, to include Europe in bases around the United States?

General Ryder (10:05):

Tony, I don’t have any numbers to provide you. As I’m sure you can appreciate, the Department of Defense and all of our components, it’s a global enterprise doing work in all areas of the world. Certainly, we have people who have access to information that they need to do their jobs, but I don’t have any numbers for you.

Tony (10:25):

Can you say it was widespread though, versus outside the Pentagon though, and to other military installations?

General Ryder (10:31):

Again, the Department of Defense, we conduct global operations. Intelligence products, operational information products are shared with DOD leaders and personnel globally, throughout the world, whether it’s at a component command, whether it’s in the services. Again, the important thing to understand about classified information, it’s not just, “I want to have access to it because I have a clearance.” It’s all based on need to know. Do you have a need to know that information? That typically will grant you access if you have the appropriate clearances.

Tony (11:02):


General Ryder (11:02):

Thank you. Travis?

Travis (11:05):

Thanks, Pat. I’m still confused on the access issue. You said that there were changes that were made, but you also said that you’re reviewing things. Can you tell us, are there less people who have access to this type of information today than there were a week ago?

General Ryder (11:24):

Travis, again, I’m not going to get down to numbers, again, reviewing distribution lists, looking at who has a need to know, making sure those things are updated, doing due diligence in the wake of these unauthorized disclosures. Again though, I want to emphasize that this was a deliberate criminal act to violate those guidelines and rules, in the same way that if you locked your front door, and somebody came into your house and took something, you followed your procedures and you locked your door, but somebody went into your house and took something and put it out on the street. That’s what we’re talking about here. Let me go to Carla.

Carla (12:05):

Just a couple questions on this, and then I have a follow on something separate. Why did it take so long to brief the secretary about the leaks? He said that he was briefed on April the sixth. Would you classify that delay as a failure of the open source intelligence teams?

General Ryder (12:21):

Absolutely not. We were notified. The department became aware on the fifth, the secretary was briefed hours later, in the morning of the sixth. I don’t consider that a delay. Thanks.

Carla (12:31):

To follow on that, these documents were available long before April 5th and sixth. What took so long for DOD and the intelligence communities to locate these documents?

General Ryder (12:43):

That’s really something that the investigation will tell us. That said, I think it’s important to remember that that DOD’s intelligence activities are primarily focused internationally. To the extent that the department collects any information related to U.S. persons, for example, or gaming chat rooms, it would have to be conducted in accordance with law and policy, and in a manner that protects privacy and civil liberty. Again, we’ll know more at the culmination of this investigation. Thank you.

Carla (13:13):

To follow up on-

General Ryder (13:14):

All right.

Carla (13:15):

Really quickly, on the Syria attacks from March, do we have a final conclusion on the TBI assessments, how many U.S. troops received TBIs as a result of these attacks? Do you believe that the U.S. strikes that happened on 3/23, the retaliatory strikes, do you believe that they’ve deterred Iranian-backed groups from targeting U.S. forces?

General Ryder (13:38):

On the TBI, my understanding is CENTCOM has collected some additional information, so we’ll get that to you and the press team here. In terms of deterrence, again, we’re going to continue to do everything that we need to do, at a time and place of our choosing, to ensure that we’re deterring and safeguarding our folks, and I’ll just leave it at that. Thank you. Let me go to Dave.

Dave (14:04):

Can you just tell us what the mission of the 102nd intelligence wing for the Massachusetts International Guard was? Are you going to release this airman’s service record in response to, I’m sure the thousands of requests you’ve already gotten?

General Ryder (14:25):

David, on the service record, again, we’ll take that, and we’ll provide an update when we’re able to. In terms of the 102nd intelligence wing, I don’t have that in front of me. I’m positive they have a website, we can quickly find the fact sheet up there. In general, Intelligence wings throughout the Air Force support what you might imagine, Air Force intelligence requirements worldwide, to support a variety of types of intelligence missions and requirements, which include active guard and reserve components. Let me go to Brandi, then I’ll come to Oren.

Brandi (15:02):

Thank you so much General Ryder. What technologies is the Pentagon applying right now to both spot leaked documents online and track potential indicators of leaking-type practices? Do you plan to be investing in more?

General Ryder (15:16):

Again, Brandi, when it comes to this particular situation, we’ll know more when the investigation is concluded. As I highlighted, when it comes to intelligence collection within the Department of Defense that’s focused primarily internationally, I’m not going to get into the specifics of where, how and when we conduct our intelligence activities, but we’re always looking at potential gaps, potential vulnerabilities, and that’s something that will just be ongoing work.

Brandi (15:47):

You are using technologies right now to spot potential leakers of future documents?

General Ryder (15:54):

You’re asking me a hypothetical, basically. Again, we’re always going to be on the lookout for any potential insider threats. Again, we get training on how to spot insider threats. Again, as I mentioned to Travis, you’ve locked your door, you’ve lent some keys to your friends, if one of those friends decides to give the keys away, hopefully you’ve been able to clue in on those signals. We’ll continue to monitor.

Brandi (16:19):

I don’t think it’s lost on anyone in this room that this is all happening at the same time that Deputy Secretary Hicks is conducting a review of the Pentagon’s classification practices, and at times over classification. Can you talk about how this incident is informing that ongoing review?

General Ryder (16:36):

Again, I think that there’s the investigation that the DOJ is conducting, and then you’re talking about something separately, which is again, our review of classification requirements, acknowledging where we need to be better in terms of classification.

Brandi (16:52):

It’s having no impact on Hicks’ review?

General Ryder (16:53):

Thank you, I’m going to go on to Oren.

Oren (17:00):

I want to come back to the question of distribution, on two different questions. Given the gravity of the situation, are you actively paring down the distribution list now? Is this a process that’s moving quickly, or is it going to take time for there to be meaningful, substantive changes to the distribution? Has DOD taken additional measures to restrict the access to classified information of others in the Massachusetts International Guard?

General Ryder (17:23):

Oren, broadly speaking, I think I’ve already answered the question that yes, we are taking and have taken steps to review distribution lists, and to ensure that the folks receiving information have a need to know. Again, to belabor the point, we have safeguards in place, we have processes, we have procedures. We’ll continue to do due diligence as part of this review, to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent potential unauthorized disclosures in the future, recognizing that, again, this was a criminal, deliberate act. Thank you.

Oren (17:59):

And, of the Massachusetts Air National Guard?

General Ryder (18:00):

I don’t have anything on that. Ro?

Ro (18:09):

Thank you very much, General. Please let me ask you a question about China, two questions about China, briefly.

General Ryder (18:15):

What? Read the room, Ro. Come on.

Ro (18:21):

China conducted three-day exercises around Taiwan, and still continues the combat training around Taiwan. Do you assess China has overreacted to the meeting between President Tsai and Speaker McCarthy?

General Ryder (18:35):

Thanks, Ro. We obviously continue to monitor the situation in the Taiwan Strait very closely, as well as the PRC’s military exercise. You’ve heard others say that, from a U.S. government perspective, these military exercises undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan straight, which is critical to global prosperity. They estimate upwards of a few trillion dollars of global commerce going through that straight regularly. As we’ve said, there is no reason for Beijing to turn President Tsai’s transit, which was consistent with long-standing U.S. policy, into something that it’s not, or use it as a pretext to overreact. We’ll continue to do everything we can to maintain open channels of communication with the PRC, and the U.S. will not be deterred from operating safely and responsibly in the seas and the skies in the Western Pacific, consistent with international law.

Ro (19:45):

Just one quick follow-up. The Chinese military exercises simulated the blockade of Taiwan. Are you confident that the U.S. military is capable of breaking a Chinese blockade around Taiwan?

General Ryder (19:58):

Again, I’m not going to get

General Ryder (20:00):

Get into hypotheticals and I’m not going to talk about or speculate on future scenarios. Again, we’re going to work closely with our allies and our partners in the region to focus on our primary goal, which is peace, stability, and security in the region. And so that will continue to be our primary focus.

Okay. Let me go back over here. Will and then Laura.

Will (20:25):

Thank you. What is the scope of the leak as identified by DoD so far? Are we talking tens, hundreds, thousands of documents? And then second, the US has been reviewing the authenticity of the documents for several days now, what has been found so far on that?

General Ryder (20:40):

Yeah, thanks. So that work is ongoing, Will, I’m not going to be able to provide you with a overall number of documents. We’re just going to continue to look at this as you highlight some of the initial indications were that some of those documents had been altered. Again, for obvious reasons. I’m not going to go into which ones were or weren’t, but that is work that we continue to do, take a look at.


Laura (21:08):

Thank you. Sort of as a follow on to Carla and Brandy’s questions, can you say whether DoD has anyone looking at chat rooms on Discord, for example, or other social media platforms right now for leaked information? And if not, should DoD have these people?

General Ryder (21:26):

So DOJ is, as I understand it, is working with Discord or Discord has come out publicly to say they’re cooperating with the DoJ. So that’s really a question for DOJ to talk about.

Laura (21:39):

So is that a no? That DoD has…

General Ryder (21:41):

I think I already answered the question in terms of what our focus is on, it’s primarily focused on international. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what intelligence activities we’re conducting or not other than to say when we do conduct those activities, they’re in compliance with the law and with policy. You go to Jim and I’ll come back over here.

Jim (22:05):

Thanks General. Every time something like this happens, there’s a huge tendency to clamp down on everything, but that ends up throwing the baby out with the bath water. Is there any sort of idea in the department that the intel does need to be shared, it just needs to go to the correct people? Is there a study going on with that?

General Ryder (22:29):

Yeah, thanks Jim. So as I mentioned, there have been daily meetings with the secretary and the senior DoD leadership team. We’re taking this very seriously to look again that the scope, the impact, and importantly the mitigation measures.

I will tell you that these discussions are very focused, very deliberate and very measured in terms of ensuring that we’re doing the right things while not impeding or impacting our ability to do our important missions worldwide.

And so just to put it, frankly, we’re continuing to conduct our operations and provide people with the information they need without missing a beat. Thanks.

All right. Let me come over here. I’ll go here and then here.

Speaker 2 (23:20):

Yeah. Thanks Pat. General, would a junior service member, like an airman in the Massachusetts Guard or any other junior service member, typically have the level of security clearances that would allow them access to such sensitive information like joint staff briefing documents?

General Ryder (23:38):

Yeah. So again, let me just preface what I’m about to tell you with, I’m not going to talk about a particular individual, I’m not going to talk about the investigation, I’m not going to again have to refer you to DOJ for that.

Let’s take a step back for a second. Let’s talk about security clearances. When you join the military, depending on your position, you may require a security clearance. And if you are working in the intelligence community and you require a security clearance, you’re going to go through the proper vetting.

We entrust our members with a lot of responsibility at a very early age. Think about a young combat platoon sergeant and the responsibility and trust that we put into those individuals to lead troops into combat, that’s just one example across the board.

So you receive training and you will receive an understanding of the rules and requirements that come along with those responsibilities. And you’re expected to abide by those rules, regulations, and responsibility. It’s called military discipline and in certain cases, especially when it comes to sensitive information, it also is about the law. So I’ll just leave it at that.

[inaudible 00:24:55].

Speaker 3 (24:57):

Thank you very much. So separate topic. Last week, Centcom confirmed that three US service members were with YPG/SDF, ringleader, [foreign language 00:25:08] when he was apparently targeted in an airstrike in Northern Iraq [foreign language 00:25:12].

My question is, what was the mission or engagements that US service members involved alongside [foreign language 00:25:22] and also were this engagements authorized or permitted by the Iraqi central government or not?

General Ryder (25:29):

Yeah, so let me tell you what I’ve got on this. So on April seven, convoy, including US personnel was fired upon while in transit within the Iraqi Kurdistan region in the area near [foreign language 00:25:45]. US forces are in Iraq and Syria, as you know, in support of local partner forces, in support of the defeat ISIS mission, the enduring defeat of ISIS.

And so in this particular incident, we can confirm that there were no casualties that the strike was not a near miss. It struck more than a hundred meters from the convoy. And Centcom is currently investigating the incident. So I’d refer you to Centcom.

Speaker 3 (26:12):

What was the mission of the US service members? And was it somehow allowed?

General Ryder (26:17):

They’re conducting in support of the defeat ISIS mission.

Speaker 3 (26:21):

By Iraqi government? Was it authorized by Iraqi government because…

General Ryder (26:24):

Well, we’re supporting the Iraqi security forces as part of the defeat ISIS mission. As you know, we have forces in Iraq, they’re not conducting combat operations. They’re there advising and assisting the Iraqis. And then we have forces in Syria that are supporting the SDF. So again, there’s an intra theater mission in terms of the defeat ISIS mission.

Speaker 3 (26:48):

Border like [foreign language 00:26:50] is in Syria. You are coopering with him?

General Ryder (26:53):

The OI… And I need to move on, but the OI our headquarters is in Iraq. Right. But they conduct operations in support of defeat ISIS mission in Syria and Iraq.

So let me go ahead. Yes sir.

Speaker 5 (27:07):

If I may, I’d like to remain on the same subject actually, I got one question about this. I posed the same question to the State Department on Monday and I was referred to the Department of Defense. So that’s why.

The question is when the US servicemen, US military members are riding with the head of the SDF, isn’t there a concern within the Department of the Defense that hose US servicemen are also made a legitimate target? Not least one of your greatest NATO allies because of his decades long relationship with the PKK that I think I’m sure is very much known to the US intelligence community.

General Ryder (27:39):

So no. We’ve partnered with the SDF since 2015, 2014 as part of the defeat ISIS mission. We have a long standing relationship with them. They’re not the PKK. We are partnered with SDF to defeat ISIS. So no, we’ve been conducting partnered operations for a very long time.

So let me go ahead and move on. Yep, sir.

Yeah, we’ll go to you and then to Megan.

Speaker 4 (28:10):

Thanks Pat. Just two quick follow ups to questions one was from Roe. In regards to the Chinese activities around Taiwan. Before they did the military exercises, they were conducting an exercise to which Pentagon described as whether they’re in international waters it’s simply what we do, in international waters. At what point does it move from being international waters to an overreaction? That’s my first question, please.

And my second one is regards to what you said earlier in this briefing, even though the investigation’s going on and such. But you’re confident that, you said several times that this is a violation of law and as we all sign non-disclosure agreements, not me, but we at the Pentagon. So you’re confident that those two factors will remain when the investigation concludes? Thanks.

General Ryder (28:57):

Yeah. So on your latter questions, again, I’m not going to discuss the ongoing investigation. By virtue of the fact that photographed documents of sensitive information are posted by default, is a violation of how to properly handle and safeguard sensitive information, so it is a criminal act.

And then in terms of your first question, I would just have to take a little bit of an exception of conducting simulated strikes against Taiwan, that’s not just operating peacefully in international waters. And so again, yes, we would call that an overreaction.

Okay. Let me get a few more here. Let me go back to Kelly and then over here to Joe.

Kelly (29:50):

Thank you. You mentioned taking steps to review the distribution list and ensure that folks receiving information have a need to know. But this isn’t the first time you’ve

Speaker 6 (30:00):

… had that kind of crackdown on this to limit who’s on these distribution lists. So my question is, how did this happen? How wasn’t this solved before? And how did, potentially, a 21-year-old have a need-to-know?

General Ryder (30:13):

Again, we need to allow the investigation time to run its course. And so, again, I defer you to the Department of Justice when it comes to suspects on that. And again, look, this is something that will continue to be important work to ensure that there’s an understanding of the rules and regulations. Again, we have strict safeguards in place and people are expected to abide by those. I’ll just leave it at that and go over here.

Speaker 7 (30:57):

Thanks, General. Quick one on the Syria strike. So just to clarify, there has been no attribution to who was behind that attack with the three units?

General Ryder (31:06):

Again, my understanding is it’s continued. CENTCOM is investigating, so I’d refer you to them.

Speaker 7 (31:12):

And the second. Yesterday, Reuters cited several sources including intel officials as saying that they’ve seen Iranian weapons being moved into Syria following certain sanctions waivers following the earthquake. Has DOD seen any increase or uptick in Iranian weapons heading for Syria?

General Ryder (31:34):

Yeah, thanks. I don’t have anything to provide from here other than, again, as evidenced by the IRGC-aligned groups in Syria, we know that Iran conducts malign activities within Syria. So I got time for two more, Megan, and then go to the back there, and then we’ll end on Ta.

Megan (31:59):

Thank you. Several media reports have said that the airmen in question was working at Fort Bragg at the time that the documents were put online. Was he on Title 10 orders at the time or has he been on Title 10 orders since?

General Ryder (32:10):

Yeah, thanks, Megan. Again, I don’t have anything to provide on that front. I have to refer you to DOJ. And when we have more to provide, we certainly will.

Megan (32:18):

All right. Followup, has the leak prompted any discussion at OSD about either tightening policies or bulking up training for OPSEC or social media?

General Ryder (32:28):

Again, our review is ongoing. I’ve mentioned some of the steps that we’ve taken and we’re going to do everything that we need to do to do due diligence to ensure that we are properly safeguarding classified information. Again, I can’t emphasize enough that this is something that Secretary Austin and the entire department are taking very, very seriously. We understand the impact that an unauthorized disclosure like this can have on national security, and so again, it’s something that we’ll continue to work very hard on. Thank you. We’ll go here and then over to Ta.

Speaker 8 (33:00):

Thank you, General. This morning, the Prime Minister of Poland gave remarks that were very supportive of Ukraine’s stated ambition to join both the EU and NATO alliance. From a strictly military perspective, would you see any benefit to Ukraine joining these two organizations and especially for the wider defensive posture there in the area, in the Baltic States?

General Ryder (33:42):

So that’s not really something for me to comment on. Obviously, I’d refer you to Ukraine to talk about its perspectives on joining NATO and the EU. I’ll just leave it at that. Ta?

Tara (33:58):

The Associated Press has confirmed that federal agents have taken a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman into custody. At this point, could you speak a little bit more about this case?

General Ryder (34:09):

I cannot. I, again, refer you to DOJ. It’s an ongoing DOJ investigation and activity, so I’d refer you to them. And again, I will say, when we do have more to provide, we certainly will. Okay. Thank you very much everybody. Appreciate it.

Audience (34:24):

[inaudible 00:34:26].

General Ryder (35:05):

So off record [inaudible 00:35:06] will verify the service [inaudible 00:35:08]. We’re off record. [inaudible 00:35:10] accuses DOJ assets [inaudible 00:35:13]. This is an ongoing-

Speaker 9 (35:15):

Just checking everybody’s off.

General Ryder (35:16):

… you want to get ahead of that.

Speaker 9 (35:16):


Speaker 10 (35:16):


Speaker 9 (35:16):

Off. Yeah, it’s off the record.

Speaker 10 (35:16):

Yep. Very good.

Speaker 9 (35:16):

Turn it off.


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