Katie Arrington is on leave from her Department of Defense cybersecurity post, pending further action over a reported unauthorized disclosure of classified information, her attorney confirmed to the City Paper. Bloomberg News first reported the inquiry early Tuesday.
Since losing an underdog run for Congress to now-former U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham in 2018, the former state rep from Summerville has served as a liaison between cybersecurity contractors and the federal Department of Defense.
Bloomberg News reported Arrington was informed via a May 11 memo that “her security clearance for access to classified information is being suspended” as “a result of a reported Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information and subsequent removal of access by the National Security Agency.”
City Paper has not reviewed that memo firsthand, but Arrington’s D.C.-based attorney Mark Zaid confirmed the facts of Bloomberg News’ initial reporting.
“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,” Zaid told the City Paper in a statement. “We are ready now to address any DoD concerns and she deserves timely due process, which is being denied.”
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Arrington is on leave Tuesday afternoon, but did not answer questions about specifics, saying the department does not comment on personnel issues.
Arrington used a surprise Twitter endorsement from President Donald Trump in the 2018 GOP primary to knock off incumbent Congressman Mark Sanford, who had fallen out of favor among MAGA voters. But she fell short of defeating attorney Cunningham in the general election, passing the 1st District into Democratic control for the first time since the 1980s. Cunningham would go on to lose reelection to another Charleston-area House rep, Nancy Mace.
Soon after her run, Arrington was initially hired into the Trump administration Department of Defense as a “highly qualified expert,” eventually attaining nonpartisan Senior Executive Service status, Zaid told Bloomberg News.
An unnamed U.S. official familiar with the case told Bloomberg News that Arrington’s politics and ties to Trump are not a factor in the inquiry. The probe is also reportedly not connected to Arrington’s work on a Pentagon program started under the old administration that is undergoing some changes after being passed on to Biden-administration officials.