WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) – The U.S. Air National Guard has been charged with leaking classified military intelligence records online, a federal grand jury said in a statement on Thursday.
Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, of North Titan, Massachusetts, was charged with six counts of knowingly possessing and disseminating classified information related to national security, according to the release.
The department added that each charge of unauthorized possession and transfer of national security information is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Teixeira has been accused of one of America’s most serious security breaches since 2010, when more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables appeared on the WikiLeaks website.
He was arrested in April after allegedly posting highly classified material on the messaging app Discord, sparking concerns about how a low-level airman could have access to military secrets. Two commanders in his division were later suspended.
Federal law requires the government to receive charges within 30 days of a person’s arrest, and Thursday marked the 30-day deadline.
The leaked documents contained highly classified information about allies and adversaries, with details ranging from Ukraine’s air defense during the Russian invasion to Israel’s Mossad spy agency. US President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation into why the alleged leaker had access to sensitive information.
Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Division, had previously waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
A criminal complaint charged him with violating the Espionage Act.
Kanishka Singh, Sarah N. Report by Lynch, Rami Ayyub and Susan Heavey; Editing by Paul Grant and Eric Beach
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Sarah N. Lynch is Reuters’ lead reporter covering the U.S. Justice Department outside Washington, D.C. During his time at the Beatle, the Mueller report and federal agents’ use of protesters after the George Floyd protests. The department’s cases follow the murder, the widespread spread of COVID-19 in prisons and the January 6 attack on the US capital.
Kanishka Singh is a Reuters correspondent based in Washington, DC, primarily covering US politics and national affairs in her current role. His past breaking news coverage spans topics as diverse as the Black Lives Matter movement; US elections; 2021 Capitol riots and their follow-up investigations; Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the covid-19 pandemic; And a 2019 Supreme Court ruling on a religious dispute site in his native India.