Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira agrees to serve 16 years in prison

Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira pleaded guilty Monday to one of the most unusual leaks of national security secrets and agreed to serve 16 years in prison — possibly the longest sentence in an illegal detention case.

Teixeira, 22, agreed to plead guilty to six counts of willful retention and dissemination of national security information, according to a signed plea agreement filed in court. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to press additional charges against him under the Espionage Act.

Teixeira “accessed and printed hundreds of classified documents” and posted images on Discord before his arrest last April, a prosecutor said Monday during a hearing in Boston federal court, where the Air National Guard pleaded guilty.

Teixeira entered the courtroom for the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit with the initials PCCF on the back, and smiled at his father, who sat in the second row.

He stood before Judge Indira Talwani with defense lawyer Michael Bachrach, identified himself and answered basic questions. His close-cropped dark hair was neatly combed on top and the lower half of his head was shaved.

Dalwani asked Teixeira if he would agree to serve up to 16 years in prison and not less than 11 years.

“Yes, your honor, I understand,” Teixeira said, leaning down and speaking into the microphone at the defense table.

“How do you plead now to count one, two, three, four, five and six? Guilty or not guilty?” asked the clerk. “Guilty,” Teixeira replied.

See also  Microsoft Cloud Outage Affects Users Worldwide

As part of his plea deal, Teixeira must sit down for a hearing with the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice and turn over any vital items in his possession.

Teixeira's sentencing is scheduled for September 27.

A defense official confirmed to ABC News that Teixeira remains active in the Air Force and could face U.S. military charges after the civilian criminal charges are settled. As a Massachusetts Air National guard, he was placed on Title 10 active duty status with the Air Force, which will determine whether Teixeira faces military criminal charges.

Federal prosecutors made it clear that Teixeira had no business dealing with classified information because his low-level job did not require it.

“The defendant's job was to fix computer workstations,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Casey.

However, Casey said, Teixeira accessed “hundreds” of classified documents inside the secure facility where he worked and “deliberately removed classified documents and information despite instructions from his superiors to refrain.”

Teixeira posted content on Discord using the moniker “theexcalibereffect” and “took steps to conceal his illegal activity,” Casey said.

Without giving specifics, federal prosecutors said Teixeira exposed a foreign adversary's compromise of certain accounts belonging to a U.S. company and information about equipment the U.S. was sending to Ukraine, how it would be transferred and used upon receipt. Prosecutors said he also posted about troop movements in Ukraine, a plot by a foreign adversary to attack U.S. forces abroad, and the delivery of Western goods to a Ukrainian battlefield.

“You know it's classified, right?” Talwani asked Teixeira. “Yes your honor,” Teixeira replied.

See also  S&P 500 flat as investors look ahead to next inflation report, earnings season

Casey quoted Teixeira as telling members of his Discord chat group that he was “breaking a UT rex,” a reference to unauthorized disclosure regulations, though he boasted, according to prosecutors, that “nobody knows anything about me being charged.”

Teixeira, who was 21 when arrested, pleaded not guilty in June 2023 to six counts of willful retention and dissemination of national security information.

Teixeira enlisted in the Air National Guard in 2019 and had a Secret Security clearance through 2021, according to his service record, according to the Justice Department.

According to the Justice Department, he began posting classified documents online in January 2022.

In December, 15 airmen were disciplined — including stripped of their command — for failing to take appropriate action when they learned of Teixeira's intelligence-seeking activities, according to a broader Air Force investigation.

An internal investigation accused Teixeira of unauthorized disclosure of classified information, but found that members of his unit failed to take necessary steps, such as inadequate inspections of areas under their command and inconsistent guidance on reporting security incidents.

ABC News' Alexander Malin and Luis Martinez contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *