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Explainer: Pentagon Leaks

Jack Teixeira, suspect in Pentagon leaks, charged under Espionage Act

Jack Teixeira, the air national guardsman arrested on suspicion of leaking hundreds of secret defence documents, has been charged in a Boston court on two counts under the Espionage Act as Washington reeled from the fallout of the worst leaks of US intelligence in at least a decade.

After being charged with deliberate retention of classified papers and unlawful retention of national defense information, Jack Teixeira made his initial court appearance before a federal magistrate in Boston on Friday morning.

According to media accounts, the leaked U.S. intelligence documents were first only seen by a limited group of users on the messaging service Discord before they became public knowledge.

 

Teixeira attended and graduated from Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School in North Dighton, Massachusetts. His 2020 high school yearbook (which listed his name incorrectly) included a remark from him as a senior: "Actions speak louder than words."

 

His enlistment in the Massachusetts Air National Guard was also mentioned on the page.

 

According to the high school yearbooks, Teixeira did not participate in any extracurricular activities during his four years there.

Authorities think that a member of the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard, who was arrested on Thursday, leaked classified U.S. intelligence documents in a Discord channel. Another young Discord user may have then shared those documents with other people, according to the administrator of another channel.

The admin, who goes by the name Krralj, told ABC News that he and other admins on the "wow mao" Discord server where some of the documents were shared in March talked to a user named Lucca who had shared the documents there after seeing them on another server.

 

FBI agents arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the National Guard, on Thursday in connection with the first papers that were leaked. In a statement, the FBI said, "Today's arrest shows that we will continue to find, pursue, and hold accountable those who betray our country's trust and put our national security at risk."

A call to arms


According to his military file, Teixeira enlisted in the Air National Guard on September 26, 2019.

According to the National Guard Bureau, he served with a support squadron of the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base. According to his military file, he was presented with the Air Force Achievement Medal on September 30, 2022.

According to ABC News's verification with the Air Force, he is an Airman 1st Class (E-3), and his official job title is Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman.

To maintain the military's worldwide communications and cyber infrastructure operational, this position has been defined as "combat IT" by a U.S. official to ABC News. According to the official, the position does not require an intelligence specialist, but it does require security clearances in order to carry out specific activities.

According to the Air Force's website, Cyber Transport Systems professionals are responsible for maintaining the "vast, global communications network" that connects all of the service branch's bases and bases across the world.

 

The Air Force has noted that communications specialists "keep our communications systems up and running and play an integral role in our continuing success," whether they are fixing a network hub at a domestic post or laying fiber-optic cable at a forward installation overseas.

An officer from the National Guard Bureau confirmed that Teixeira and his unit would be deploying to active service under Title 10 beginning in October 2021.

A criminal complaint states that Teixeira has had "Top Secret security clearance" since 2021 and "would have signed a lifetime binding non-disclosure agreement in which he would have had to acknowledge that the unauthorized disclosure of protected information could result in criminal charges."Additionally, Teixeira "maintained sensitive compartmented access (SCI) to other highly classified programs," according to the complaint.

Charges and apprehension

FBI agents conducted a peaceful house raid in North Dighton on Thursday and arrested Teixeira "for his alleged involvement in leaking classified U.S. government and military documents," the agency said in a statement. Law enforcement officials say the arrest was made by the FBI's Boston tactical squad.

 

He faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted of charges including wilful retention of sensitive papers and improper retention and transmission of national security information. He has not yet made a plea.

The criminal complaint alleges that Teixeira "improperly and unlawfully retained and transmitted national defense information to people not authorized to receive it." According to the accusation, Teixeira downloaded a government document on February 23 and then published it online the next day. A single document's disclosure is the basis for the initial fees.

 

On April 10, the FBI spoke with an anonymous user on the social networking platform where Teixeira allegedly shared secret documents in a chat room. The member reportedly told the FBI that the poster began posting "what appeared to be classified information" around December and identified the poster as "someone named Jack" who "appeared to live in Massachusetts" and "claimed that he was in the United States Air National Guard," according to the complaint. Jack was characterized as "a white male who was clean cut in appearance and between the ages of 20 and 30" by the complaining member.

 

The complaint, which does not specifically name Discord, alleges that on April 12, the company provided the FBI with the login information for the account linked to the leak. According to the complaint, Jack Teixeira was the billing name and lived at an address in North Dighton.

Using a government computer on April 6, around the time the first public reports of the leak appeared, Teixeira allegedly searched for the word "leak" in secret intelligence information.

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