Jack Teixeira: US guardsman pleads guilty to leaking military secrets | US News

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A 22-year-old guardsman has pleaded guilty to leaking military secrets – including relating to Russia’s war in Ukraine – in one of the most serious US national security breaches in years.

Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, signed a plea agreement on Monday that calls for prosecutors to recommend a prison sentence between 11 and 16 years and eight months.

He was charged with six counts of wilful retention and transmission of national defence information under the Espionage Act. The agreement spares Teixeira a sentence of up to 60 years in prison.

He smiled at his father before being led out of the courtroom with his hands and legs shackled.

Teixeira, of North Dighton, Massachusetts, was arrested last April and charged with leaking a trove of classified military documents to a group of gamers on the messaging app Discord.

The breach raised alarm over the US’s ability to protect its most closely guarded secrets and forced the Biden administration to scramble to try to contain the diplomatic and military fallout.

The leaked documents held highly classified information on allies and adversaries, with details ranging from troop movements in Ukraine to Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Before his arrest, Teixeira had been an airman 1st class at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, where he worked as a cyber transport systems specialist – essentially an information technology specialist responsible for military communications networks.

Despite being a low-level airman, Teixeira held a top-secret security clearance, and starting in January 2022 began accessing hundreds of classified documents related to topics including Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, according to prosecutors.

FILE PHOTO: An undated picture shows Jack Douglas Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the U.S. Air National Guard, who was arrested by the FBI, over his alleged involvement in leaks online of classified documents, posing for a selfie at an unidentified location. Social Media Website/via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS- THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION OF THE PHOTO HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEP
Image:
Jack Teixeira. Pic: Reuters

He first typed out classified documents he accessed and then began sharing photographs of files that bore Secret and Top Secret markings.

He did so even though his superiors admonished him twice in September and October 2022 about his handling of classified information, according to internal Air National Guard records filed in court.

Teixeira at the time led a private server – a kind of chat room – on Discord called Thug Shaker Central, and prosecutors said he began sharing classified information on three servers while bragging he had access to “stuff for Israel, Palestine, Syria, Iran and China“.

He has been behind bars since his arrest in April. A judge denied his request for release from jail last year after prosecutors revealed he had a history of violent rhetoric and warned that US adversaries who might be interested in mining Teixeira for information could help his escape.

Read more:
Teixeira’s neighbours recall a recluse who was under the radar
Behind the veil of Discord where US secrets were exposed
A who’s who of US intelligence leakers

Prosecutors have said little about a motive but members of the Discord group described Teixeira as someone looking to show off, rather than being motivated by a desire to inform the public about US military operations or to influence American policy.

The Air Force disciplined 15 personnel as its inspector general found last year that multiple officials intentionally failed to take required action about Teixeira’s suspicious behaviour.

Read original article here.

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