Sec. Blinken claims U.S. foreign relations 'not affected' by Pentagon leaks
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken claims that the recent leak of classified Pentagon documents has "not affected" cooperation between America and its allies.
According to the Washington Examiner, Blinken made the comment on Saturday during the question and answer portion of a press conference that he gave.
The press conference took place in Hanoi, Vietnam.
ABC News reports:
Fifty years after the last U.S. combat troops left South Vietnam, Secretary of State Antony Blinken looked Saturday to strengthen America’s ties with its old foes in Hanoi as it seeks to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.
During the press conference, Blinken sought to assure listeners that the United States' relationship with its allies has not been affected by the classified document leaks.
Blinken claimed that, since the leaks, the U.S. has spoken to its allies and "have made clear our commitment to safeguarding intelligence and our commitment to our security partnerships."
Blinken claims that these efforts have, at least partially, been successful.
"What I’ve heard so far at least is an appreciation for the steps that we’re taking, and it’s not affected our cooperation. I just haven’t seen that. I haven’t heard that," he said.
And, of course, the investigation is taking its course. There’s now, as you know, a suspect in custody but importantly as well, I know, measures being taken to further safeguard information. But to date, based on the conversations I’ve had, I have not – not heard anything that would affect our cooperation with allies and partners.
As Blinken mentions, the government now does have a suspect in custody in relation to the classified document leaks: 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixiera.
Teixeira was tracked down by the FBI, and he was arrested at his home in North Dighton, Massachusetts on Thursday. Fox reports that he is now facing charges of “unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material.”
Teixeira has already made his first court appearance, but, at that appearance, he did not enter a plea.
The classified Pentagon documents leaked by Teixeira include a wide range of information, including information about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and about the Chinese spy balloon situation, among other things.
President Joe Biden has, since the leaks, taken steps to protect classified information. Biden, on Friday, said:
I have directed the military and intelligence community to take steps to further secure and limit distribution of sensitive information, and our national security team is closely coordinating with our partners and allies.