Senator Collins Questions National Guard Chief on Classified Information Leak by Massachusetts Airman


Washington, D.C. – At a hearing to review the fiscal year 2024 budget request for the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Senator Susan Collis, Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, questioned Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Daniel Hokanson on the recent accusation against a member of the Massachusetts’ Air National Guard for leaking classified documents in an online chat group.


Senator Collins said:


General Hokanson, I want to follow up on the Chairman's questions to you about the Massachusetts Air National Guard member who has been accused of leaking classified documents.  What was most disturbing to me was when I learned, through some of the court filings, that there was an Air Force memorandum that indicated that he had been repeatedly warned.  So, this was not a deviation that came out of the blue.  But in fact, he had been reprimanded, and he had been instructed to, quote, "stop any deep dives into classified intelligence information and focus on his job."  He, quote, "had been observed taking notes on classified intelligence materials."


These reports are very concerning because it appears that this serious breach might have been prevented or stopped much sooner if the Airman's Guard unit had taken greater action to restrict his access to classified information


My question is, what is the standard practice when someone has been reprimanded for misuse of classified information and then does it again?  That to me just shouldn't require an IG report.  That should be on the books now, I would think.


General Hokanson:


Yes, Senator, I found this extremely concerning as wellAnytime there's a disciplinary action, the chain of command should address it immediately.  I know it's not specifically the IG investigation that's looking at, but also the FBI investigation is looking at that to determine if there was negligence within the Airman's chain of command.  At the time he was mobilized under Title 10, working for a combatant commander, and we're looking at, very closely, the chain of command who was responsible for that.  And if there was negligence on their part, it will be addressed immediately.




As the Vice Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins is pressing forward with Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) to hold subcommittee hearings on the President’s budget request.  These hearings provide an important opportunity to assess our country’s needs for the coming year and will help guide Senators Collins and Murray’s efforts to write the annual government funding bills.