Leak suspect shared classified secrets with foreigners, prosecutors say

The Justice Department, in a court filing ahead of Jack Teixeira’s next detention hearing, also says it found red flags in his Air Force record

The Air National Guard member accused in a high-profile classified leaks case appears to have shared sensitive secrets with foreign nationals and had raised concernamong his co-workers in the months before he was charged with mishandling and disseminating national security information, prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday.

Jack Teixeira, 21, was arrested in April after FBI agents traced back to him a collection of classified material posted in an online chat group. Authorities say Teixeira, who worked as an IT professional at a military base in Massachusetts’s Cape Cod, misused his top secret clearance to share U.S. intelligence assessments and other sensitive information with others on Discord, a social media platform popular with video game players.

He is scheduled to appear in court Friday where U.S. magistrate judge David Hennessy plans to rule on whether Teixeira should remain behind bars while awaiting trial. In their Wednesday court filing, prosecutors offered new evidence, “which compounds the national security and public safety risks that the government previously noted to the Court,” and shows, they said, that he should not be released.

One of the groups where he shared information had upward of 150 users, officials said, and among the members “are a number of individuals who represented that they resided in other countries” and whose accounts trace back to foreign internet addresses.

Teixeira’s “willful transmission of classified information over an extended period to more than 150 users worldwide” undermines his lawyer’s claims that he never meant for the information to be shared widely, prosecutors wrote.

Teixeira’s lawyer filed court papers arguing that prosecutors have wrongly compared his conduct to high-profile leak cases from the past, when the case is more similar to lesser-known leak investigations in which defendants were released on bond.

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The new filing also recounts online chats in which Teixeira appears to both brag about how much classified information he knows and has shared, and understand the potential legal consequences of such actions.

“Knowing what happens more than pretty much anyone is cool,” the airman allegedly wrote in a chat dated mid-November. When another user suggested he write a blog about the information, Teixeira replied, “making a blog would be the equivalent of what chelsea manning did,” referring to a major classified leak case in 2010.

The filing also shows that Teixeira was written up by colleagues for apparently not following rules for the use of classified systems. A Sept. 15 Air Force memorandum included in the newly released court materialsnotes that Teixiera “had been observed taking notes on classified intelligence information” inside a room specifically designed to handle sensitive classified material.

Teixeira, the Air Force memo says, was instructed “to no longer take notes in any form on classified intelligence information.” About a month later, a memo noted that Teixeira “was potentially ignoring the cease-and-desist order” given to him in September. He was instructed to stop “any deep dives into classified intelligence information and focus on his job,” that memo said

Then in January, a member of his unit observed Teixeira “viewing content that was not related to his primary duty and was related to the intelligence field.” That memo also noted that Teixeira “had been previously notified to focus on his own career duties and to not seek out intelligence products.”

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