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HomeGeneralPentagon Leak Defendant Jack Teixeira Faces Years in Prison After Pleading Guilty

Pentagon Leak Defendant Jack Teixeira Faces Years in Prison After Pleading Guilty

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How cool is too cool? Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guard member, must have thought having access to classified information was cool until his arrest. 

Teixeira not only accessed the information. He went as far as leaking them with a group of gamers on a social media platform named Discord. He pleaded guilty on Monday to what many call one of the most serious U.S. national security breaches in years.

Teixeira has been in custody since his arrest last April. He admitted wrongdoing during a hearing in federal court in Boston. But this came after striking a plea deal with prosecutors who want him to spend over 16 years in prison.

The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to six counts of willful retention and transmission of classified information relating to national defense over the leak last year.

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Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen heads the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division. According to him, the plea “brings a measure of closure to a chapter that created profound harm for our nation’s security.”

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors will not charge Teixeira with further violations of the Espionage Act. The plea deal calls for a sentence of at least 11 years in prison. However, prosecutors plan to ask U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani to sentence Teixeira to 16 years and eight months in custody.

His sentencing will happen on September 27. Teixeira was arrested at his mother’s house in North Dighton, Massachusetts. Before his arrest, Teixeira was an airman 1st class at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. There, he worked as a cyber defense operations journeyman or information technology support specialist.

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He was a low-level airman, but Teixeira held a top-secret security clearance, and starting in January 2022, he began accessing hundreds of classified documents. These documents related to topics including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to prosecutors.

Teixeira did so despite his superiors admonishing him twice in 2022 about his handling of classified information. They warned him against conducting “deep dives” into intelligence information, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Casey said in court on Monday.

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Under the username “TheExcaliburEffect,” Teixeira shared classified information on Discord in private servers while bragging he had access to “stuff for Israel, Palestine, Syria, Iran and China.”

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The leaked documents contained highly classified information on allies and adversaries. There were even details ranging from troop movements in Ukraine to Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Michael Bachrach is the lawyer representing Teixeira. He told reporters that his client was “unfortunately very much a kid” whose youth played a significant role in his actions.

“He is significantly remorseful for his conduct,” Bachrach said. In December, the U.S. Air Force announced a plan to discipline 15 personnel over the leak and relieved Colonel Sean Riley of the command of the unit Teixeira was a part of.

This came after an Air Force inspector general report on the incident found that some members of Teixeria’s unit and leadership “had information about as many as four separate instances of his questionable activity.”

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According to the report, a smaller percentage of people had a more complete picture of his intelligence-seeking behavior and “intentionally failed to report the full details of these security concerns/incidents.” 

Olsen, the Justice Department official, says the Defense Department is now undertaking a “thorough review” of how it monitors access to classified information. 

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