Katie Arrington placed on leave amid probe into suspected disclosure of classified information

Katie Arrington, with Kevin Fahey, speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Jan. 31, 2020. (DOD / Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class James K. Lee)

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Katie Arrington has been placed on leave in connection with a suspected unauthorized disclosure of classified information from a military intelligence agency.

According to a memo seen by Bloomberg News, she was informed on May 11 that her security clearance for access to classified information had been suspended. A legal representative for Arrington confirmed the contents of the memo in an email to FedScoop.

The document said that her clearance had been suspended as “a result of a reported Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information and subsequent removal of access by the National Security Agency.” The document did not provide details about the possible disclosure of information.

Arrington is CISO for Acquisition and Sustainment at the Department of Defense, a role in which she is responsible for the application of supply chain risk management principles within the DOD’s procurement strategy. She was brought to the Pentagon in 2019 under the category of “highly qualified expert,” a hiring classification that allows the Department of Defense to bring in civilian experts with state-of-the-art knowledge in fields of critical importance.

She is a former one-term Republican state representative from South Carolina who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2018. According to her Pentagon biography, she has more than 15 years of cyber experience “ through positions at Booz Allen Hamilton, Centuria Corporation, and Dispersive Networks.”

Late last week, this publication reported that former U.S. Air Force officer and long-time cybersecurity specialist John Garstka had taken up the role of acting CISO for acquisition and sustainment at the Department of Defense. Sources at the time told this publication that he had taken on the role from Arrington on an interim basis.

Mark Zaid, an attorney representing Arrington, said: “The suspension of Ms. Arrington is nothing more than a routine administrative action but she is now being victimized by delays that are unfairly causing harm to national security and her reputation.

“We are ready now to address any DoD concerns and she deserves timely due process which is being denied.”

A Department of Defense spokesperson said the department does not comment on personnel matters.

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CISO, Department of Defense (DOD), Katie Arrington
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