A high-ranking official in the US Department of Defense who has been overseeing the agency’s new cybersecurity efforts was recently placed on leave over allegations that the individual was involved in the disclosure of classified information, reports detailed on Tuesday.
Citing an obtained memorandum, Bloomberg News identified the official at the center of the suspected information leak as Katie Arrington, who served as the chief information security officer for the Pentagon’s acquisition and sustainment office.
The Bloomberg report details that Arrington was placed on administrative leave on May 11 after being informed of the security breach.
A memo from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment that was “made available” to the publication states that Arrington’s security clearance was being suspended as “a result of a reported Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information and subsequent removal of access by the National Security Agency.”
“If this preliminary decision becomes final, you will not be eligible for access to classified information … [or] … assignments to duties that have been designated national security sensitive,” the memo, which provides no details on the alleged information leak, reads.
Mark Zaid, Arrington’s legal representative, relayed to the outlet that his client will remain on leave for the duration of the department’s routine preliminary investigation into such claims. “She has neither been fired nor had her security clearance revoked,” he underscored.
However, in comments to The Hill, Zaid explained that the investigation “has been dragging on for weeks with little movement,” as the US intelligence agency has delayed providing Arrington with an explanation for “no reason”.
Zaid further acknowledged that the current circumstance is “causing harm” to his client, and is “denying her due process.” The lawyer described the agency’s behavior as “inexcusable.”
The biography listed by the Defense Department states that Arrington has over 15 years of cyber experience, and that her time at companies Booz Allen Hamilton, Centuria Corporation and Dispersive Networks granted her a “unique experience” in working alongside the US government at varying scales.
Prior to joining the Pentagon workforce in early 2019, Arrington took to the political field by serving in the South Carolina Legislature as a two-term Republican state representative. Arrington later lost her 2018 congressional seat when placed against former state Rep. Joe Cunningham.