The Pentagon’s police force has increased security measures to ensure classified information is not being taken out, including random screenings as personnel and guests leave.
The screenings include uniformed officers checking bags.
The new measures come after Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira was arrested, accused of leaking a trove of classified military documents in an online forum.
A Pentagon spokesperson said screening as people come and go is not new, but confirmed enhanced screenings in light of a memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about protecting classified information.
“The Pentagon Force Protection Agency routinely screens employees entering and exiting the Pentagon for prohibited items and to ensure classified information is protected and handled in accordance with current security requirements. PFPA has increased these security screenings and measures in response to the immediate review of information security procedures directed by Secretary of Defense Austin on April 17, 2023,” Defense Department spokesperson Sue Gough said in a statement.
Individual U.S. military bases have also stepped up security and searches for classified material since Teixeira’s arrest, officials said, though such measures are up to the discretion of base commanders.
Teixeira, who had a top-secret security clearance, was part of the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and was stationed at Otis Air National Guard Base. He was arrested by the FBI at his home in April. He was charged under the Espionage Act and is being held without bail.