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Isa Soares Tonight
French Protest Pension Reform for the Twelfth Day; President Biden to Attend Banquet at Dublin Castle; FBI Arrests Jack Teixeira, a National Guardsman Over Leaked Pentagon Documents; Suspect Behind Pentagon Leaks Arrested; Biden Addresses Irish Parliament. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired April 13, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, we are monitoring two live events and
then break the story. First, a big night of protests in France, it is the last time French people will have to really have their voices heard before
a decision comes down on whether the much-hated pension reform is even constitutional.
Then Joe Biden has just finished addressing Ireland's parliament any time now. He's on to a banquet at Dublin Castle. And a law enforcement official
tells CNN, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard is expected to be arrested soon in connection with the leaking of those classified
documents. We will monitor Pentagon press briefing schedule for this hour.
But first, we begin tonight in France, where hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for a 12th round of nationwide strikes and protests
against the pension -- government's, I should say, pension reforms. Many march peacefully on the eve of an important announcement. The French
Constitutional Council is set to rule on the legality of these reforms on Friday.
But at times the demonstrations turned violent. One crowd forced their way into LVMH Luxury headquarters, the owners, of course of Louis Vuitton. A
union leader at that protest, saying President Macron can find money to pay the pension there. We're also seeing some clashes break out with riot
police firing tear gas as protesters as well -- you can see the protesters hurling rocks.
Our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen, has been on the ground in Paris with the latest.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outbursts of anger ripped across France.
(on camera): I just got a full load of tear gas.
(voice-over): Police in Paris, charging a crowd of demonstrators. Flares and sirens taking over the headquarters of luxury giant LVMH, which owns
the likes of Louis Vuitton, Dior and Tiffany's. Chant from rail workers echo through the halls of the metro. Trash bins blocking off schools and
streets with garbage set ablaze.
These are the sights and sounds of rage by some protesters stirring tensions in what was largely a peaceful day of protests across the country.
French citizens, young and old, coming together for the 12th day of nationwide outrage against President Emmanuel Macron's controversial
pensions bill, which would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
FABIEN VILLEDIEU, SUD RAIL UNION REPRESENTATIVE (through translator): I would lie if I was telling you that there is no fatigue, we are tired by
the mobilization, it's like a marathon. It's the last kilometers at the end that are the hardest.
PLEITGEN: Well, protesters say they are here for the long run, the final hurdle for the bill comes Friday at the country's Constitutional Council.
The contested reform will either be green-lit, partly scrapped, or in a highly, unlikely situation entirely thrown out. The court's decision will
bring to an end a month of deliberations.
However, French unions and protesters say they are going to continue to fight the reform regardless of the ruling.
SOARES: Let's get more on all of this, go to our team in Paris, our senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen and a reporter Nada Bashir joins
us now. And to you both, we are expecting a press briefing from the Pentagon, sorry if I have to interrupt, apologies in advance. But what we
have been seeing from both of you, very different pictures, let's start with you, Fred. It got very heated at various points today, just set the
scene, what is happening right now?
PLEITGEN: So what could get very heated in a couple of seconds. Again, you can see here, the police are moving forward. I would say that right now,
we're in a situation where there aren't that many protesters left, but there certainly are some who are still here on the Place de la Bastille.
But as you can see, the cops are sort of trying to form a cable around them, a ring around the remaining protesters to then, probably try and
clear this place out at some point in time.
But it's certainly -- you know, as we saw in our report there, it was a day that had several such incidents that took place with a lot of tear gas
being dispersed, also, some folks throwing rocks in return. So it is really the end of a day of protests that did see some violence. We do have to say
that most of the protests went down without any sort of violence taking place.
But right now, there is still a lot of tension in the air here, and you can see that the police here trying to get this over with as fast as possible,
trying to move in here, but at the same time they're certainly not there yet. But there still is a very large police presence that is on the ground
here, as you can really see the police here forming that circle around the remaining folks who are here on the Place de la Bastille, Isa.
SOARES: Yes, and what we have seen, Fred, in this hour on my show here for the last 12 weeks is that, as the sun begins to set, it does become much
PLEITGEN: Yes --
SOARES: Let me go to Nada Bashir, and Nada, you know, your -- what we have been seeing as you follow the protest is more like a -- almost like a
carnival atmosphere. Yes, people are angry, yes, people have been voicing their discontent. But what do they expect come tomorrow if it goes against
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, the message we've been hearing from many of the protesters that we've spoken to today is that, they will continue to
demonstrate. This will be the end for them if that legislation is green-lit by the Constitutional Council. And it is widely anticipated that
legislation will get the green light, although, some aspects may require another look by the constitutional accounts.
And of course, the message that we're hearing from the unions as well as -- this isn't the end if that legislation gets the green light, they will
continue to protest in some form or other. And of course, this has been to some extent the final opportunity for many of these unions and other
protesters to have their voices heard before the Constitutional Council comes to its decision tomorrow evening.
And we have seen a huge turnout, but it has to be said that over the last 12 rounds of protests, we have seen that figure, the number of protesters
taking to the streets, dwindling somewhat across France according to the Interior Ministry. At least, 380,000 protesters took to the streets in
Paris, 42,000, that's the estimate from the Interior Ministry.
And that is far less -- excuse me. That is far less than we have seen in the past, those record-breaking figures that we saw earlier in the year.
And as Fred mentioned, now, we are still seeing some people on the streets, but I am in the square just across the way from Fred, and while, the police
here, which are heavily-mobilized, have been trying to disperse the crowds.
They've used tear gas to disperse the crowds in earlier hours. We are seeing those figures really dropping now. And while there are still some
pockets as you can see behind me, the presence here is overwhelmed by that of the riot police here, according to the authorities --
SOARES: Nada, I'm going to interrupt, apologies, because the Pentagon has started speaking, let's listen in.
PAT RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Regarding a potential suspect in the Department of Justice's ongoing investigation into unauthorized disclosures
of documents appearing to emanate from throughout the Intelligence community. Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, I will have
to refer you to the DOJ for any questions. This is a law enforcement matter.
And it would be inappropriate for me or any other DOD official to comment at this time, and certainly, when we have more to provide from the
Department of Defense, we will. In the meantime, as Secretary Austin has stated, the department is taking the issue of this unauthorized disclosure
very seriously. We continue to work around the clock, along with the inter agency and the Intelligence community to better understand the scope, scale
and impact of these leaks.
And just as we're limited in what we can say about the DOJ's ongoing investigation will be also very limited, and what we can say about any of
the documents themselves. And while we certainly understand the media's interest in asking questions about the contents of these documents, I will
highlight that as a matter of longstanding policy, just because classified information may be posted online or elsewhere does not mean it has been
declassified by a classification authority.
And those of you who have been covering the Pentagon for a long time, know that we're just not going to discuss or confirm classified information due
to the potential impact on national security, as well as the safety and security of our personnel and those of our allies and our partners. And for
that reason, we will continue to encourage those of you who are reporting this story to take these latter factors into account, and to consider the
potential consequences of posting potentially sensitive documents or information online or elsewhere.
Separately, Secretary Austin hosted Latvia's Minister of Defense Inara Murniece today at the Pentagon. The leaders discussed the strength of the
U.S.-Latvia defense relationship and ongoing efforts to support Ukraine. They also discussed shared security interests in Europe, including NATO's
deterrence and defense posture ahead of the July NATO Summit in Vilnius, and Riyadh will be available later today.
Staying on Europe for a moment, next week, Secretary Austin will travel to Sweden to meet with his counterpart to discuss security-related topics
shared by our two nations. From there, he'll travel to Germany, where he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley will host an in-
person meeting on April 21 of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base.
This will be the 11th meeting of the UDCG since this vital forum was established by Secretary Austin one year ago. The secretary and General
Milley will join ministers of defense and senior military officials from nearly 50 nations around the world to discuss the ongoing crisis in
Ukraine, and to continue our close coordination of providing the Ukrainian people with the means necessary to protect themselves against Russia's
unprovoked and illegal aggression.
And as we've highlighted before, the contact group has been instrumental in identifying, synchronizing and ensuring delivery of the military
capabilities the Ukrainians need to defend their homeland. And on a semi- related note, at the end of this month, the Arkansas Army National Guard's 39th Infantry Brigade Combat team will replace the New York Army National
Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat team and assume command of the joint multi-national training group Ukraine at Grafenwohr training area in
The 27th Infantry Brigade Combat team took charge of the JMTGU during a transfer authority ceremony in August of 2022, becoming the first and only
unit in the JMTGU's eight-year history to assume the unit mission for a second time. We look forward to the arrival of the 39th and the
continuation of the important work to provide Ukraine what it needs in terms of training to defend itself.
And with that, I'll be happy to go to your questions. We'll go ahead and start with "AP" Taka(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you General Ryder. So, can you confirm that Airman first class Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air
National Guard is a person of interest in this leaked documents case? And I have several other questions.
RYDER: Sure, so first of all, as I mentioned, there is an ongoing criminal investigation, and so anything related to that, I'm going to need to refer
you to the DOJ or the FBI.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you speak at all to if anyone in the Department of Defense has reached out to this Airman? Do you know where he is? There
are reports that law enforcement is closing in on this airman's location. So has anyone been able to reach out to him.
RYDER: Again, Tara(ph), I appreciate the question, but again, given that this is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to be able to talk about
the investigation or any potential DOJ action, so I'd refer you to them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, in the days after the leaks came to light, what steps has DOD taken to reduce the number of people who have access to not
only these classified briefings, but the classified material in general?
RYDER: Sure, so we continue to review a variety of factors as it relates to safeguarding classified materials. This includes examining and updating
distribution lists, assessing how and where Intelligence products are shared, and a variety of other steps. I would say, though, that it is -- it
is important to understand that we do have stringent guidelines in place for safeguarding classified and sensitive information.
This was a deliberate criminal act of violation of those guidelines. And so again, I think that's important to understand. Now, we will continue to do
everything we can to ensure that people who have a need to know, when it comes to this kind of information and have access to that, we're always
going to learn from every situation. But again, this is something that we'll continue to look at.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you are taking steps to tighten that -- I guess population who might have access to this level of information.
RYDER: That's accurate. Again, we continue to review those distribution list, update them, make sure there is a need to know. But again, let me
just emphasize my point, that this was a -- we have rules in place. Each of us signs a nondisclosure agreement, anybody that has a -- has a security
clearance. And so, all indications are again, this is a criminal act, a willful violation of those, and again, another reason why we're continuing
to investigate and support DOJ's investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just last question. Do you have a sense that this is just the act of one individual? And even if so, wouldn't members of his
chain of command also be held accountable for this lost information?
RYDER: Again, I don't want to speculate or get ahead of the DOJ's investigation. We need to allow that to run its course. And so I'd refer
you to them. Let me go ahead and go to Board(ph) and then I'll come back to Jen(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but just two questions, one just to clarify in DOD's efforts to change the way you do business in terms of protecting
classified information. Apart from the stuff that you do already. Is that DOD-led or is that joint staff-led? Who's kind of directing what on that?
And the second question is, just hypothetically -- I know you like hypotheticals, if somebody was to be charged, what would determine whether
the military would charge and indict and, you know, carry out the legal process against that person or people or DOJ?
RYDER: Yes, so on your latter question, you're right, I don't want to get into hypotheticals. I will say that, you know, as always, every case is
judged on its own merit, and we need to allow this investigation to run its course. And then, of course, there'll be more to say on that. On your first
question, again, it's important to understand that this is not just about DOD.
This is about the U.S. government. This is about how we protect and safeguard classified information. And as I highlighted, we do have strict
protocols in place. So any time, there is an incident, any time there's an opportunity to review that and refine it, or of course, going to take
advantage of that.
Within the Department of Defense, as you've heard us say, Secretary Austin has been convening daily meetings with his senior leaders to include the
chairman, to talk about reviewing the scope and the impact of this, and also to look at mitigation measures and what we need to do across the
Department of Defense, to ensure that we're doing our utmost to reinforce existing policies, procedures and rules.
And if there are any areas where we need to tighten things, that we certainly will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or you've made something already?
RYDER: That's correct as I mentioned at her --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DOD not going to stop --
RYDER: When I say DOD, I mean the Department of Defense across the entire enterprise. OK, Jen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: General Ryder, you say that there are strict protocols in place. And yet, a 21-year-old airman was able to access some
of the nation's top secrets. How did this happen? And isn't this a massive security breach?
RYDER: Again, we need to allow the investigation to run its course. We'll of course, know more when that is completed, so I'd refer you to DOJ on
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your message to anyone who might be thinking of leaking these kind of documents in the future?
RYDER: Look again, we have procedures. We have protocols in place. We receive regular training on the proper handling of classified information.
As I mentioned, we signed nondisclosure agreements. So those rules are very clear, and anyone who has a security clearance knows that. Anyone who
violates those rules is doing so willfully.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you put into context the damage that has been done by this leak?
RYDER: Again, right now, we're continuing to assess the scope and the impact, and so that's work that will be ongoing. Tony(ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How large was the distribution network for these documents, say, prior to last Thursday, when the disclosures came out.
We're talking in thousands of people that had access inside the Pentagon and outside the Pentagon to include Europe and bases around the United
RYDER: Yes, Tony(ph), so, I don't -- I don't have any numbers to provide you as I'm sure you can appreciate the Department of Defense and all of our
components. It's a global enterprise. Doing work in all areas of the world. And so, certainly, we have people who have access to information that they
need to do their jobs. But I don't have any numbers for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And said was widespread, though, versus you know, outside the Pentagon, though, and to other military installations?
RYDER: Well, again, the Department of Defense, we conduct global operations. So Intelligence products, operational information products are
shared with DOD leaders and personnel globally throughout the world, whether it's in a component command, whether it's in the services. But
again, the important thing to understand about classified information, it's not just I want to have access to it because I have a clearance, it's all
based on need to know.
Do you have a need to know that information, and that typically will grant you access if you have the appropriate clearances.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks --
RYDER: Thank you. Travis(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks Pat. I'm still confused on the access issue. You said that there were changes that were made, but you also said that you're
reviewing things. Can you tell us where -- are there less people who have access to this type of information today than there were a week ago?
RYDER: So Travis(ph), again, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to get down to numbers. Again reviewing distribution lists, looking at who has a need
to know, making sure those things are updated, doing due diligence in the wake of these unauthorized disclosures. Again though, you don't want to
emphasize that this was a deliberate criminal act to violate those guidelines and rules.
And the same way that if you locked your front door and somebody came into your house and took something -- you followed your procedures and you
locked your door, but somebody went in your house and took something and put it out on the street. That's what we're talking about here. Let me go
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a couple of questions on this, and then I have a follow on something separate. Why did it take so long to brief the
secretary about the leaks? He said that he was briefed on April the 6th. And would you classify that delay as a failure of the open source
RYDER: Absolutely not. I mean, we were notified, you know, the department became aware on the 5th, the secretary was briefed hours later in the
morning of the 6th. I don't consider that a delay. Thanks, yes --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But to follow on that, these documents were available long before April 5th and 6th. So what took so long for DOD and the
Intelligence communities to locate these documents?
RYDER: Yes, so that's really something that the investigation will tell us. That said, I think it's important to remember that, that DOD's
Intelligence activities are primarily focused internationally. So, to the extent that the department collects any information related to U.S.
persons, for example, or gaming chat rooms, it would have to be conducted in accordance with law and policy, and in a manner that protects privacy
and civil liberties. So again, we'll know more at the culmination of this investigation. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And to follow up on --
RYDER: Naponi(ph) --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just the Syria --
RYDER: All right --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really quickly, on the Syria attacks from March. Do we have a final conclusion on the TBI assessments? How many U.S. troops
received TBIs as a result of these attacks? And do you believe that the U.S. strikes that happened on 3/23, the retaliatory strikes, do you believe
that they have deterred Iranian-backed groups from targeting U.S. forces?
RYDER: Yes, so on the -- on the TBI, my understanding is Centcom has collected some additional information, so we'll get that to you and the
press team here. In terms of deterrence, again, we're going to continue to do everything that we need to do at a time and place of our choosing to
ensure that we're deterring and safeguarding our folks.
And I'll just leave it at that. Thank you. We go to Dave(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you just tell us what the mission of the 101st -- 102nd Intelligence wing for the Massachusetts International Guard was, and
are you going to release this airman's service record, in response to -- I'm sure the thousands of requests you've already gotten?
RYDER: Yes, so David(ph), on the service record, again, we'll take that and we'll provide an update when we're able to in terms of the 102nd
Intelligence wing. I don't have that in front of me, I am positive. They have a website, we can quickly find the fact sheet up there in general
intelligence wings throughout the Air Force.
Support is what you would imagine. Air Force Intelligence requirements worldwide to support a variety of types of intelligence missions and
requirements. So which include active guard and reserve components. So we go, Brandy(ph) and I'll come to Moore(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much General Ryder. What technologies is the Pentagon applying right now to both spot-leaked documents online and
track potential indicators of leaking-type practices? Do you plan to be investing in more?
RYDER: Again, Brandy(ph), so when it comes to this particular situation, we'll know more when the investigation is concluded. As I highlighted, when
it comes to intelligence collection within the Department of Defense, that's focused primarily internationally, I'm not going to get into the
specifics of where, how and when we conduct our intelligence activities.
But we're always looking at potential gaps, potential vulnerabilities, and that's something that will just be ongoing work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you are using technologies right now to spot potential leakers of future documents?
RYDER: It's -- you're asking me a hypothetical. Basically, again, we're always going to be on the lookout --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Technology --
RYDER: We're always going to be on the lookout for any potential insider threats. Again, we get training on how to spot insider threats. But again,
as I mentioned to Travis(ph), you've locked your door, you've lent some keys to your friends, if one of those friends decides to give the keys
away, you know, hopefully, you've been able to clue in on those signals. So, we'll continue to monitor -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I don't think it's lost on anyone in this room, that this is all happening at the same time that Deputy Secretary Hicks is
conducting a review of the Pentagon's classification practices, and at times over classification. So can you talk about how this incident is
informing that ongoing review?
RYDER: Again, I think that there's the investigation that the DOJ is conducting. And then you're talking about something separately, which is
again our review of classification requirements, acknowledging that where we need to be better in terms of classification --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is having no impact --
RYDER: Yes --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hicks as well?
RYDER: Thank you. I'm going to go on to Oren(ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
RYDER: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to come back to the question of distribution, on two different questions. Given the gravity of the situation, are you
actively paring down the distribution list now? Is this a process that's moving quickly? Or is it going to take time for there to be meaningful,
substantive changes to the distribution?
And then, is DOD or has DOD taken additional measures to restrict the access to classified information of others in the Massachusetts Air
RYDER: So Oren, broadly-speaking, I think I've already answered the question that yes, we are taking and have taken steps to review
distribution lists, and to ensure that the folks receiving information have a need to know. But again, to belabor the point, we have safeguards in
place. We have processes, we have procedures.
We'll continue to do due diligence as part of this review, to ensure that we're doing everything we can to prevent potential unauthorized disclosures
in the future. Recognizing that again, this was a criminal, deliberate act. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Massachusetts --
RYDER: OK, I don't have anything on that. Bro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much General. So privilege for me to ask you question about China. Two questions about --
RYDER: Wait, what?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Briefly.
RYDER: Leave the room --
SOARES: And I'm going halt the Pentagon spokesperson, Brigadier General Pat Ryder to bring you some breaking news there exactly on this, were
considered one of the worst U.S. Intelligence breaches in years. CNN now can confirm that an arrest has been made in connection to these
Intelligence leaks that you've been hearing there.
The Pentagon spokesperson not giving us much in terms of details, other than saying that this was a deliberate criminal act. But CNN can confess
right now that an arrest has been made in connection with the intelligence leaks. I want to be joined now by speaking out to CNN national security
reporter Zachary Cohen, who is live for us in Washington, and CNN's national security analyst Steve Hall also with us.
He is a former CIA chief of Russia Operations, a well known face here on the show. Zachary, to you, first, let's start this breaking news that an
arrest has been made. What else can you tell us?
ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Isa, an arrest has been made shortly after we reported just a -- you know, a few minutes ago
that this was imminent, and it looks like the arrest has taken place. Now the "New York Times" was reporting that the law enforcement was approaching
for the arrest of a Massachusetts National guardsman, a 21-year-old who they identified as Jack Teixeira.
Now, Jack Teixeira is a name and somebody who that you heard General Ryder was not willing to confirm the identity of Jack Teixeira as the leaker. But
our understanding is that this 21-year-old Massachusetts National Guardsman was who law enforcement were planning to arrest.
And as you said, it's one of the biggest leaks of classified information, U.S. Intelligence information that we have seen in a long time. Now look, I
want to rewind because President Joe Biden suggested earlier today that, you know, the U.S. government was very close to identifying who leaked
these government secrets. And it's an investigation -- it's really picked up pace just in the last 24 hours as General Ryder has mentioned.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Defense have been investigating, trying to figure out the identity of the person who leaked
these classified documents onto an online chat that was really focused around a mutual interest in gaming, right? And then most of these people in
this group were teenagers, and most of them really discussed gaming and then also, all of a sudden these classified documents appeared on this
online group chat.
And you know, these documents included secrets like status updates about the war in Ukraine, U.S. Intelligence assessments about Russians' military
capabilities, so it's going to be interesting to see now that an arrest has been made in this case, what charges potentially are brought. You heard
General Ryder say unequivocally that, this was a deliberate criminal act.
We're going to have to wait and see what the Justice Department does now that an arrest is -- has been made.
SOARES: Stay with us, Zachary, let me go then to Steve Hall. And Steve, I've got so many questions, I suppose the most obvious one at this juncture
is how does this 21-year-old young man get his hands on this material? I mean, we're not. This is not -- we're not talking about mastermind
criminals, right? We're talking about gamers here. How does he get his hands on this?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think that's what you saw the journalists trying to ask the general about there in the press
briefing, because, of course, the real key to all of this, I think if you had to look for one overarching sort of theme, or some sort of rule that
you want to obey inside the Intelligence community, whether it's at CIA, whether it's at DOD, wherever it is, it's need to know.
So the real question is, does the 21-year-old airman, you know, from Massachusetts need to know this information? Now there's scenarios working
there, they all might have needed to have known, but you really have to scrub your books as an organization that consumes and collects Intelligence
to determine that because the more sensitive information that is released or that's leaked, the more of course, that damages sources and methods and
the ability to collect in the future.
In this case, that's critical. So you really have to be very hard on your organization when you scrub those lists of who really needs to know.
SOARES: And that's where we heard this Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Pat Ryder say that steps has been -- have been taken, he said, to
reduce access to classified material, either examining, he said distribution lists. But he said they have stringent client guidelines,
clearly, not stringent enough because this happened. Let me go back to you, Zachary, just for our viewers who may be just catching up on this
What do we know?
Be it from our own sources, from "The New York Times" or "The Washington Post," about this 22 -- 21, pardon, 21 year old?
ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that again, he's a 21 year old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman that "The
New York Times" has identified as Jack Teixeira.
Now "The Washington Post" did interview a friend and a member of this online chat group, where these documents were published --
SOARES: Zachary, apologies --
COHEN: -- the friend said that somebody by the moniker --
SOARES: Zachary, just hold that thought for a second, because what we're looking at right now on your screen is the arrest taking place right now,
just moments ago, in fact, in Massachusetts, as you can see there, that gentleman wearing red shorts with the white stripe, his hands over his
That's law enforcement officials arresting the suspect. As you said in the last few moments, Zachary, an arrest had been made in connection, of
course, with the intelligence leak, considered one of the worst intelligence breaches, in fact, in years and that what is what we are
seeing right now.
We heard from the press, Brigadier General Pat Ryder, the Pentagon spokesperson, talking about the fact that this was a deliberate and
criminal act. The leaks, of course, the impact the leaks are had around the world being truly huge from Ukraine to Korea, to Egypt, to Israel and
And now we are seeing officials, just moments ago in fact, arresting this 21 year old suspect that you were talking about.
Zachary, continue your thought, as we look at these images right now.
What -- continue your line of thought that you had just there.
COHEN: Absolutely and look this, what we're seeing take place now is the arrest of somebody who has been identified as the leader of this online
chat group, where the classified documents that we've seen emerge over the last several days, where those were posted.
You know, he's a 21 year old Air National Guardsman from Massachusetts, 21 years old, managed to get apparently access to some of the most highly
classified government secrets and post them on a group chat online, filled with gamers and mostly of teenage age.
And he wanted to show them and reinforce his skepticism and his cynicism about the U.S. government. We're seeing him right now, being taken into
custody. You know, it's really a remarkable moment in an investigation that, over the last 24 hours, we've seen really pick up pace.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Defense have both been investigating for days, trying to identify the identity of the leaker, the
person who posted these documents online.
And now we're seeing the person that they believe was responsible.
SOARES: Yes, the investigation has picked up pace and we're seeing now 21- year old Jack Teixeira there being arrested, a member, of course, in the Massachusetts Air National Guard entering that vehicle and being taken
This happening just moments ago in Massachusetts, of course, arrest coming following what as you were saying there, Zachary, a fast moving search by
the U.S. government, the car moving -- leaving right now.
But you know, you said that the investigation moved rather quickly.
But Steve, I mean the documents, you heard some of the questioning there from some of the reporters, were available for many months. So the many
questions remain as to why it took so long.
But let me ask you first, Steve, about this individual. We heard from what "The Washington Post" said, that this is a man who was a lonely man, a gun
enthusiast, worked in the military.
How -- what would be the motivation then for this leak?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, that's absolutely the right question to be asking. And just let me tell you, after having been
involved with human spy operations for the entirety of my 30 year career at CIA, the number of motivations that motivate people to do things like this
are as many as the people that do it.
You never know whether it's politics, whether it's, you know, their societal views on things, their upbringing, financial motivations and
vulnerabilities. It could be anything.
From what we've seen in the reporting so far, the public reporting on this, is that this individual did apparently have some sort of concerns about,
you know -- we hear about government overreach. It's a little difficult for me to put together in my mind how that ties into the type of information
that he decided to take out of the Pentagon.
But what it really does point to very, very strongly is the need for the Pentagon and indeed all agencies in the U.S. intelligence community to
double down and focus on who is -- the screening process, the vetting process for individuals who have access to this information.
Because you really need to take into account a whole bunch of different counterintelligence issues before you make the determination that somebody
like this 21 year old individual --
HALL: -- indeed has the need to know and is not going to be motivated to leak this information. You know or share with adversaries, which is even
At this juncture, Zachary, I suppose we don't know, did he act alone?
Was anyone else working with him on this?
These are questions I'm guessing that we still don't know is -- what is your understanding?
COHEN: Yes, exactly right. These are things that investigators are going to absolutely be trying to figure out the answers to in the coming hours
and coming days. You know, obviously the fact that these documents were posted onto an online group chat has raised the question about who the
other members of that group were.
What -- ultimately, what we're seeing play out now is sort of the first step in coming to an answer about why these documents may have been posted
online, why the suspect that is in custody allegedly took that step.
And also, as Steve said, an opportunity for the Department of Justice -- Department of Defense to look back at its procedures for handling
classified documents and for who can access those materials and hope to mitigate the risk of this happening again in the future.
SOARES: Yes, many questions still left unanswered. Appreciate it, Zachary Cohen. And of course, Steve Hall, appreciate it, gentlemen. Thank you.
We'll stay on top of this story of course for you, as it develops we will bring you the very latest.
This hour, though we are waiting for U.S. President Joe Biden, who should be arriving shortly for a banquet in Dublin Castle. And just minutes ago,
Mr. Biden finished an impassioned speech to Ireland's parliament.
He highlighted the close political and personal ties between Ireland and the United States during that address. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of the story of my family's journey and those who left and those who stayed is emblematic of
the stories of so many Irish and American families, not just Irish American families.
And these stories are at the very heart of what binds Ireland and America together. They speak to a history defined by our dreams. They speak to a
present written by our shared responsibility. And they speak to a future poised for unlimited shared possibilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And this trip does have deep personal roots for the Irish U.S. president. Of course, Mr. Biden has been telling reporters, maybe you heard
it, it feels like coming home. I want to bring in our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, who joins us now from Dublin.
And Nic, it was a personal speech. But it was also a speech full of policy. As we heard there, with a bit of Irish thrown in.
What stood out to you?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The Irish, yes. The president began by saying I'm home. And that was really that was his
message. This was a speech where the president really rose in cadence, you know, talking about the future possibilities and the Irish and Americans
All of that. But it rose in cadence at other moments, where he tried to land messages. It was full of fun. There was applause. There were shoutouts
for various members in the audience.
I know I think one of the biggest rounds of applause, where the president was essentially admitting a gaffe that had made the day before -- he has
been quoted widely as saying that his cousin had won a rugby match against Black and Tans -- the Black -- Black and Tans. And he read -- he really --
he resaid that by saying, no, he won it against All Blacks. And everyone knew what the president was referring to, to that gaffe.
And there was that huge round of applause. But also we heard from the president there very strong language, I think, in diplomatic terms,
considering how careful and balanced he was talking about the Good Friday agreement in Northern Ireland, he said, and I quote here.
"I think that the United Kingdom should be working more closely with the government of Ireland over the Good Friday agreement."
And that's very strong language for the president to be saying the U.K. should be doing that. He spoke about the importance of the Good Friday
agreement. He spoke about the importance of the shared institutions, the power sharing government that has been out of -- essentially not been
working properly for the last half a dozen or years or so.
He didn't specifically mentioned that the Unionist party should be back in, working there. But he implied it. But again, he spoke as well about the
shared values of democracy, the struggle between democracies and autocracies, about how Ireland is really supporting Ukrainians, taken in
80,000 Ukrainian refugees into Ireland.
And as well the business ties between the United States; I think if you want to compare and contrast with John Kennedy, when John Kennedy gave a
speech here to the joint parliament back in 1963, this was so different. That was a time when generations of Irish were leaving the country, many
going to America.
ROBERTSON: And now the president was talking about 900 different American international corporations have their headquarters in Ireland; 700 Irish
companies have offices and businesses established in the United States.
Ireland, the ninth largest outward investor or inward investor, rather, into the United States as a nation, these things are huge differences
compared to when president John Kennedy was here all those years ago.
But for me, definitely, the takeaway, that most striking comment, essentially criticizing the U.K. for not doing enough toward the Good
SOARES: Under which he got applause. I saw the applause after he said that, a clearly impassioned speech, very personal speech. Nic Robertson for
us in Dublin, Ireland, thanks very much, Nic.
I want to return to what's our top story, of course. You've seen the protests throughout the day in the streets of Paris over pension reforms.
Well, just moments ago, our Richard Quest spoke with the French finance minister about the protests against pension reforms. The finance minister
is attending the IMF meeting in Washington, D.C., joins -- Richard joins me now with more on that.
So, Richard, what did the minister say?
It must be somewhat embarrassing.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: It is and it's not because you have to remember, the reforms that they are putting in place to the pension scheme are
exactly the sort of things that many countries here are also having to do and that the IMF itself would probably say is necessary if you're going to
ensure the longterm survival of the state pension system.
So he can, to some extent he comes here and says, look what I'm facing. But the reality and the politics, never mind the economics, means that Bruno Le
Maire has to defend the fact that the protests on the street, the violence in some cases, a constitutional court that is going to rule tomorrow and an
uncertainty of the way future, I put all that to the minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH MINISTER FOR THE ECONOMY AND FINANCE: I would not say that the leverage of an ease is growing. We have violence in the
street. I strongly condemn all violence.
But nevertheless, the process is going on. And we are waiting for the very last decision of the friendship in court tomorrow. I just want to emphasize
how vital this reform is for our pension system.
We have a very efficient, very generous pension system. But we need to ensure to the French citizen that there is a financial balance by 2030.
This is the purpose of the reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: When you put it to him that actually it's all about a way of life, he agrees. But he says it is a way of life that needs to change and reflect
the economic realities.
SOARES: Clearly those on the ground, as we have seen now for 12 weeks, disagree wholeheartedly and very passionate -- passionately with him. We
shall see what happens tomorrow. Richard Quest will have more from the French finance minister, as well as all the other interviews he's compiled,
hard at work there in Washington.
Thanks very much. You'll have much more in 50 minutes. Appreciate it, Richard. Thank you.
And on this story, I have spoken to a member of an influential French labor union about the emotion we are seeing on the streets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are angry and also worried about the situation.
SOARES (voice-over): He also condemns the violence but accuses the government of fueling the anger. That full interview next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. I want to join our sister network, CNN USA. We are expecting to hear from Merrick Garland in the very soon -- in
fact, regarding this arrest has been made, as you can see there in the last, what, 20 minutes or so, one of the worst U.S. intelligence breaches
in U.S. history.
Let's join CNN USA.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is an employee of the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. We will slip in a quick break and
come right back.