Air National Guard Leaker Jack Teixeira Enters a Guilty Plea

( – An Air National Guard airman on trial for posting classified documents on social media has decided to change his plea. Airman First Class Jack Teixeira, who worked in an intelligence post with the Massachusetts ANG, allegedly shared secret briefings with an online gaming group. The leak damaged relations between the US and its closest allies. Up until now, Teixeira has been denying responsibility for the security breach, but it seems he’s changed his mind.

Last April, US military leaders were appalled when a cache of classified military documents, including Pentagon briefings about the Russia-Ukraine war, started to appear on social media. They were quickly traced back to two Discord groups popular with online gamers, and Teixeira, a member of both groups, was arrested at his home in Dighton, Massachusetts. The next day, he was charged with two offenses of violating the 1917 Espionage Act. He pleaded not guilty to both charges. At the time, he was just 21.

Teixeira had a troubling background, though. It later turned out he’d been denied a Massachusetts gun license after making violent threats while in high school, although he was later given one after he joined the National Guard. That should have prevented him from being given his top-secret security clearance. Then, between September 2022 and January 2023, his superiors in the ANG repeatedly caught him accessing and making notes on classified documents he didn’t need to do his job. He was apparently told to stop it, but his clearance wasn’t downgraded or revoked.

Now, it looks like Teixeira is ready to accept responsibility. On February 29, The New York Times reported that he was planning to plead guilty. He did just that on Monday, March 5. Now, he’ll face prison time—but not the 60 years he could have faced if he stuck to his not guilty plea and was convicted.

Teixeira apparently leaked the documents to impress his gamer friends, but the security breach infuriated the other members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence community, which consists of the US and its closest military allies: the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. There are serious questions about why he was ever given access to classified material, and then kept that access after making unauthorized searches.

Several Massachusetts ANG personnel in Teixeira’s chain of command were reassigned after his arrest; hopefully, security in the organization is now up to standard.

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