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US: Charges filed against intel-leaking soldier

Friday, June 16th 2023 - 09:59 UTC
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Teixeira remains in federal custody as he awaits his court proceedings Teixeira remains in federal custody as he awaits his court proceedings

US Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira has been charged Thursday on six federal counts on six counts of willful retention and transmission on social media sites of classified information relating to national defense to which he had access thanks to his security clearance as a cyber defense operations journeyman.

“As laid out in the indictment, Jack Teixeira was entrusted by the United States government with access to classified national defense information -- including information that reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security if shared,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement. “Teixeira is charged with sharing information with users on a social media platform he knew were not entitled to receive it. In doing so, he is alleged to have violated US law and endangered our national security.”

A member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Teixeira was granted a top-secret security clearance in 2021 and is alleged to have illicitly accessed a wide range of sensitive files, among them dozens of pages

related to US military assistance to Ukraine.

Following Teixeira’s arrest by the FBI in April, the Pentagon scrambled to determine the full scope of the leak, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noting that senior officials did not become aware of the breach until weeks after the fact. He said he was only briefed on the issue on April 6, after media outlets began reporting on the contents of the documents.

Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh later said the military did not know the total number of documents shared online, and even months later news agencies have continued to report on new files.

Teixeira was taken into custody a week later by the FBI outside his mother's home in Dighton, Mass., where he lived. He has been in custody since his arrest, with Judge David Hennessy saying Teixeira had committed a “profound breach” and endangered “a list as long as a phone book.”

“The unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified information jeopardizes our nation's security. Individuals granted access to classified materials have a fundamental duty to safeguard the information for the safety of the United States, our active service members, its citizens, and its allies,” Acting US Attorney Joshua S. Levy said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring that those entrusted with sensitive national security information adhere to the law.”

Teixeira remains in federal custody as he awaits his court proceedings, having been denied a request for release after prosecutors deemed him a flight risk. Each of his six charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to US$ 250,000, according to the DOJ.

Categories: Politics, United States.

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