U.S. National Guard Unit’s Intel Mission Is Scrapped Suddenly

The Air Force said on Tuesday that the Air Guardsman suspected of releasing sensitive materials online was assigned to an Air Force unit that is not currently performing its assigned intelligence mission. 

Air Force chiefs announced that the intelligence mission had been removed from the unit where the breaches occurred while investigating how a single airman gained access to and distributed potentially hundreds of highly classified information continues.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told Congress he had ordered an investigation into anything associated with this leak that could have gone wrong. Jack Teixeira stole secrets in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as part of the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Air National Guard. 

There is a pause in the 102nd Intelligence Wing’s intelligence operations while the matter is reviewed. Its mission has been temporarily transferred to other units within the service.

A defense official described the 102nd Intelligence Wing as a “24/7 operational mission” responsible for collecting intelligence from various sources and producing a product for combatant commanders.

On Friday, the U.S. District Court in Boston charged Teixeira, 21, with unlawfully removing and concealing national defense information.

The Air Force has similar concerns. Accountable control officers are meant to exist for all classified material in the military. These officers are responsible for keeping track of organized paperwork and ensuring it is safely stored or destroyed (through methods like shredding or burning).

Concerns have been expressed about the lack of security measures in place and the length of time the leaked information remained online without being discovered, as well as the possibility that a single employee was responsible for the theft.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a review of the whole military on Monday, and the Air Force is adding its evaluation. After the disclosures, Austin instructed all military sites to report to him within 45 days on their procedures for accessing, sharing, storing, and destroying sensitive information.

The released documents provided an unfiltered look at national security concerns, like the war in Ukraine, foreign powers’ capabilities, and geopolitical agendas.

Teixeira shared the top-secret information in a geopolitical discussion group on Discord, a social network originally designed for gamers.