[image: First Thing: the US morning briefing]
First Thing: Pentagon leaks linked to young gun enthusiast employee – report

Man known online as ‘OG’ said to have access to classified material and to
regard intelligence services as repressive. Plus, why America’s most
popular flower ‘never goes out of style’
[image: Aerial view of the Pentagon building]

 There are now reportedly photos of 300 classified documents linked to the
Pentagon leaks, three times the original number. Photograph: Bill
Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images
Nicola Slawson

Good morning.

The man responsible for the leak of hundreds of classified Pentagon
documents is reported to be a young, racist gun enthusiast who worked on a
military base
and who was seeking to impress two dozen fellow members of an internet chat

The Washington Post interviewed a teenage member of the group, who
described the man, referred to by the initials “OG”, from their online
correspondence, and shared photographs and videos. The Post also viewed a
video of a man identified as OG at a shooting range with a large rifle.

“He yells a series of racial and antisemitic slurs into the camera, then
fires several rounds at a target,” the report said. OG told fellow members
of the internet group that he worked on a military base, which was not
named in the report, where his job involved viewing large amounts of
classified information.

The leaked documents have laid bare secrets about Ukraine’s preparations
for a spring counter-offensive, US spying on allies such as Ukraine, South
Korea and Israel, and the tensions between Washington and allied capitals
over arming Kyiv.


   *Why did he have security clearance?* There is increasing evidence that
   the leak was not an intelligence operation by a state actor aiming to
   discredit the US, but more likely the consequence of a Pentagon policy of
   granting top secret security clearances to huge numbers of service members,
   civilians and contractors. The number of employees and contractors in the
   entire US government with top secret clearance is about 1.25 million

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