Military Arrests Airman for Leaking Classified Documents
The military has caught Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, who was arrested last month for allegedly leaking hundreds of classified documents. According to a court filing, Teixeira accessed and took notes on classified data multiple times before he was charged.
Repeated Disregard of Protocol
The Department of Justice filed a motion on Wednesday to deny Teixeira bail, arguing that the 21-year-old’s repeated disregard of protocol showed him to be a threat to national security who warranted strict detention. Military officials warned Teixeira multiple times about inappropriately sifting around the Pentagon’s classified intelligence database, the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System.
Multiple Warnings Ignored
According to a September 15, 2022, Air Force memo included in the DOJ’s filing, Teixeira “had been observed taking notes on classified intelligence information” inside a room for viewing classified material. The airman was warned “to no longer take notes in any form on classified intelligence information,” the memo said. Another Air Force memo written about a month later said that Teixeira “was potentially ignoring the cease-and-desist order” and noted that he was told again to avoid “any deep dives into classified intelligence information” and to “focus on his job.”
Security Clearance Maintained Despite Warnings
Throughout the time that Teixeira was repeatedly caught and warned against inappropriately accessing classified material, Teixeira kept his job with the Air National Guard as well as his security clearance, which allowed him to access some of the most sensitive information known to the U.S. government.
Charged with Espionage Act Violations
Teixeira has been charged with two Espionage Act violations that carry a penalty of 10 years in prison each. Prosecutors say that Teixeira shared hundreds of classified documents and intelligence online to a group of people located all over the world. The intelligence was first shared to a private Discord server before one of its members began posting classified intelligence more widely. Dozens of documents later circulated online, causing the most serious U.S. intelligence breach in at least a decade.
Superiors Placed on Leave
Two of Teixeira’s superiors have been placed on leave while an investigation into the leaks continues, an Air Force spokeswoman told the NYT.
Teixeira underwent training as recently as March to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information, according to the NYT. Prosecutors said that Teixeira repeatedly transgressed military officials and protocol despite being “well aware of his obligations.”
This case highlights the importance of following protocol and the severe consequences that can result from disregarding it.
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