The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. A potentially severe leak of American intelligence on foreign nations' military capability has occurred at the base. AP PHOTO/JOHN MINCHILLO
The FBI is investigating a leak of more than 1,000 pages of highly sensitive classified documents from a critical American air and space intelligence unit, Forbes has learned.
The files were taken home by a contractor at the U.S. Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) based out of Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to a search warrant filed June 21. NASIC is a Department of Defense intelligence unit that analyses intelligence on foreign air, cyber and space threats. That includes intelligence on military systems and equipment of other nation states.
“This case is particularly concerning given the intelligence mission, with implications across U.S. security apparatus not just housed at the base,” said Graham Brookie, a former U.S. government advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism.
The files, many of which were marked ‘TOP SECRET,’ were uncovered by the Fairborn City Police Department on May 25, the FBI wrote in its search warrant application. Officers came upon the files as they were investigating an alleged “marijuana growing facility” believed to have been located at the home of the suspect, Izaak Vincent Kemp, according to the warrant. The police did find marijuana, but the case was escalated to the FBI after the discovery of the classified papers, the warrant revealed.
The documents should have had especially strong safeguards from leaking as they were marked as being protected by “Special Access Programs.” Such files are deemed so sensitive they require additional security beyond what’s normally provided for classified files and should only be stored in segregated, highly protected environments.
The Air Force said the contractor was never authorized to remove the classified documents from the NASIC “and would have had to make a concerted effort to bypass security checkpoints” when taking them home, the search warrant read. The government did not reveal just what was contained in the files.
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