Suspected Pentagon Leaker May Still Hold Classified Docs

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has raised concerns that Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guardsman accused of leaking sensitive Pentagon documents, might still have access to classified information. Prosecutors argue that releasing Teixeira while he awaits trial poses a grave threat to U.S. national security, as investigators are still determining whether he has retained any copies of classified files that have not been made public.

Teixeira, a 21-year-old cyber transport systems specialist with the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested earlier this month. The DOJ charged him under the Espionage Act over allegations of unauthorized retention and transmission of classified national defense information. The suspect has been in custody since April 13th and has not yet entered a plea.

Prosecutors believe Teixeira “accessed and may still have access to a trove of classified information that would be of tremendous value to hostile nation states that could offer him safe harbor and attempt to facilitate his escape from the United States.” They have requested a judge to keep Teixeira in detention, claiming that “there simply is no condition or combination of conditions that can ensure the Defendant will not further disclose additional information still in his knowledge or possession.”

Teixeira allegedly shared hundreds of Pentagon documents bearing classification markings. They allegedly concern national security and the war in Ukraine. The defendant distributed the material on the gaming platform Discord over several months or even longer.

The leak shocked the military community and sparked an international uproar, raising questions about the U.S.’s ability to protect its classified information. The Pentagon has since announced it will conduct an internal investigation into how it manages sensitive intelligence to prevent similar breaches in the future.

Prosecutors argue that Teixeira is a danger to the public due to his ownership of multiple guns and his history of engaging in “detailed and troubling discussions about violence and murder” on Discord. They also disclosed that Teixeira was suspended from his high school when as a student he was overheard by a classmate talking about Molotov cocktails and other weapons.
Authorities have not yet disclosed a possible motive behind the leaks. However, members of the Discord group describe Teixeira as someone looking to impress his online friends and a whistleblower with a political agenda.

As news outlets began reporting on the Pentagon leaks earlier this month, Teixeira allegedly attempted to destroy evidence. Investigators searching a dumpster at his residence found a smashed laptop, tablet, and Xbox gaming console.

Prosecutors have emphasized that the information Teixeira accessed “far exceeds what has been publicly disclosed,” stating that “the nature of the materials that the Defendant accessed — not all of which have publicly surfaced — have the capacity to cause additional exceptionally grave damage to the U.S. national security if disclosed.”

Teixeira’s defense team has not yet filed a motion seeking his release pending trial. The suspect is due back in federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, for a detention hearing, where his lawyers are expected to request his release to his father’s home.