On Thursday, leaders from across the U.S. intelligence community began arriving in Ohio for an unprecedented national security briefing at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
Among those in attendance at the Friday briefing are Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines, CIA director William Burns, and Gen. Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Security Service chief.
Several members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, many of whom are arriving today, are also scheduled to attend.
The Committee’s chair, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), and Ranking Member Jim Himes (D-CT) told reporters on Thursday that the event is “historic” and unlike previous briefings they had attended.
“I don’t recall the committee ever doing anything like this,” Himes told the Dayton Daily News.
Himes and Turner said the purpose of the retreat is to ensure that intelligence officials are knowledgeable of activities occurring at Wright Patterson, which houses both the National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC) and National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC), both of which will be among the items addressed during Friday’s briefing.
Other topics receiving attention at the briefing will be the Chinese spy balloon that passed over the U.S. in February, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, each of which had been among the national security matters discussed in classified documents that were recently leaked online by 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira, who was arrested on April 13.
“There is bipartisan outrage about the classified documents that were leaked online,” Rep. Turner recently said in a Tweet.
“What’s really important is for us to get the facts about this,” Turner also said in an appearance on Fox and Friends. “It’s very clear that the Department of Defense was not doing what it was supposed to do even in monitoring access to classified documents.”
“The criminal complaint itself indicates they knew they could track where this individual was going,” Turner said. “And even so, they failed to follow up on it.”
Even considering the recent classified document leaks, the presence of leadership from several of the nation’s top intelligence agencies—all of which are based in Washington—at an event at Wright Patterson is a unique development.
On Monday, the Pentagon said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has tasked Ronald Moultrie, undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, to lead a “comprehensive review of DOD security, programs, policies and procedures” in the aftermath of the recent document leak.
John Sherman, chief information officer, and Michael B. Donley, the director of administration and management, will also help lead the effort.
A report with the initial findings of this review is expected to be provided to Austin within 45 days, with additional recommendations on how the Department can ensure the protection of classified information.