BOSTON — Federal authorities searched for Jack Teixeira, the 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman arrested in connection with the leak of classified documents, days before he went missing, court documents showed Friday.
Judge David Hennessey said Teixeira made his first court appearance here on Friday, charged with possession of classified documents related to national security and possession of national security material.
The charges carry a maximum of 10 years behind bars.
On April 6, Teixeira used his government computer to search a classified intelligence report for the word “leak,” according to an FBI affidavit supporting his arrest.
The first media reports of the leak were released the same day, the FBI said, saying Teixeria was “seeking a classified report about the identity of the person who, in the estimation of the US intelligence community, leaked national security information,” the affidavit said.
As Teixeira Appeared in courtAt least three family members in attendance hugged and consoled each other after Teixeira, dressed in a brown jail jumpsuit, was escorted to the security desk by U.S. Marshals.
A family member appeared to say, “I love you,” and the defendant replied, “I love you, too.” NBC Boston reported.
Teixeira is not required to enter a plea during this initial court appearance on Friday. His next court appearance has been postponed to Wednesday.
Following the brief hearing, Teixeira’s supporters linked arms and left the courthouse, but did not answer questions from reporters outside. A federal public defender listed as Teixeira’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Texeira He was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home in North Titan, Massachusetts. Central officials said.
Teixeira, an Airman first class, has a classified security clearance through 2021, the FBI said.
An agent contacted the unnamed administrator of the social media site, Dozens of documents related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began to emerge last December.
The witness told investigators he had online video conversations with the poster, who “called himself ‘Jack'” and “appeared to live in Massachusetts and said he was on a United States Air National card,” the FBI agent said.
The final investigative moves toward Teixeira’s arrest appeared to be unfolding quickly.
On Wednesday the social media site “provided FBI records pursuant to legal process,” which led the agent to Teixeira, the affidavit said. The witness identified the suspect from Teixeira’s DMV photo on Thursday.
Teixeira joined the Air National Guard in September 2019 and was assigned as a Cyber Transport Systems passenger at the Otis Air National Guard base on Cape Cod.
His arrest follows weeks of intense manhunt by federal officials searching for evidence of leaks that exposed hundreds of pages of intelligence about Russian efforts in Ukraine and spying on US allies.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said Friday that the Defense Department is reviewing critical issues such as “access systems, accountability and control procedures.”
“So something like this doesn’t happen again,” Garland told reporters as the Justice Department announced the indictment of 28 members of Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel.
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamurthy, D-Illinois, said he plans to hold a meeting with Pentagon officials next week when he asks “how could this have happened?”
“You know we spend billions of dollars collecting these secrets and protecting these secrets, and a 21-year-old can access them, print them, and then share them with his teenage friends.” Krishnamurthy, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said on MSNBC’s “Jose Diaz-Ballard Reports.”
“It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Brian Michael is from Boston and David K. Li also reported from New York City.