Suspected US Military Leaker Charged, Appears in Court

The man arrested for allegedly leaking top secret U.S. military documents appeared in court for the first time on Friday after being charged with obtaining and leaking classified information.

Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s intelligence wing, is being accused of taking classified military documents and transmitting them online.

Evidence obtained in an investigation, including billing records, showed that Teixeira took at least one government document and posted it on an unidentified platform, according to charging documents. Discord, a messaging platform, has said it was cooperating with U.S. authorities after reports the documents were posted there.

Teixeira was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 793 and 18 U.S.C. § 1924, which prohibit the unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and classified materials.

Teixeira was arrested outside a home in North Dighton, Massachusetts, on Thursday. He listed the home as his residence in military employment papers, according to the charging documents.

Teixeira appeared in court Friday wearing a brown khaki jumpsuit. At the hearing, Boston federal national security prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini requested that Teixeira be detained pending trial, and a detention hearing was set for April 19.

Teixeira only spoke twice during the brief proceeding, answering “yes” when asked if he understood his right to remain silent. He also confirmed that he had filled out a financial affidavit, which the judge said shows he will qualify to be represented by a federal public defender.

A federal defender listed in court papers did not answer the phone or immediately return a voicemail.

Epoch Times Photo
FBI agents arrest Jack Teixeira outside a residence in this still image taken from video in North Dighton, Mass., on April 13, 2023. (WCVB-TV via ABC via Reuters)
Epoch Times Photo
The U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass., on April 14 ,2023. (Learner Liu/The Epoch Times)

Top Secret Access

An FBI agent, in a sworn affidavit filed with the court, said that Teixeira obtained top secret security clearance in 2021. That same year, Teixeira received sensitive compartmented access to other highly classified programs.

After the FBI started investigating the leak, agents interviewed a social media user who provided information on another person who started posting what appeared to be classified information on a platform in December 2022. The user said the person called himself Jack, appeared to live in Massachusetts, and claimed to be part of the U.S. Air National Guard.

Information provided by the platform showed the person was named Jack Teixeira and listed a billing address matching the address of the home Teixeira provided on National Guard employment papers, the FBI agent said.

One of the documents posted on the platform was able to be accessed by Teixeira as part of his job and government logs showed Teixeira did access the document in February 2023, just one day before the user posted information from the documents online. The user told the FBI that the information was originally posted by Teixeira.

A different U.S. government agency found that Teixeira searched on his government computer for information about a leak on April 6, the same day news articles about the leaked documents first appeared.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised the Department of Justice and the FBI for its “swift arrest” in connection with the investigation into the leaks and said the Pentagon is still reviewing the implications of the unauthorized disclosures.

Austin said he was directing officials to review access to intelligence “to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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