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Alleged Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira indicted by federal grand jury

Washington — Alleged Pentagon leaker and former Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira was indicted by a federal grand jury in Massachusetts on Thursday, charged with six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information.

Investigators said in court documents that the 21-year-old Teixeira used his position as a systems administrator in the 102nd Intelligence Wing in the Massachusetts Air National Guard to obtain and then illegally disseminate classified military information to members of an online messaging platform. Since July 2021, Teixeira held a TOP SECRET/SCI security clearance, the indictment said, and received training on the proper handling of classified information. 

Teixeira was arrested in April and charged via criminal complaint after dozens of classified documents — including many reviewed by CBS News — were discovered in a Discord group, an invitation-only forum where members can post anonymously. Those records were later widely shared online. 

Teixeira pleaded not guilty to the charges on the criminal complaint earlier this year, but has yet to be arraigned on the newly unsealed indictment. 

The indictment revealed he allegedly retained and transmitted classified documents including information "regarding the compromise by a foreign adversary" that was marked top secret, material related to the provision of equipment to Ukraine, and "a government document discussing a plot by a foreign adversary to target United States forces abroad." That document allegedly included specific information about where and how the attack on U.S. forces would occur.

Prosecutors say in some instances, Teixeira transcribed the information he was leaking, and in other instances, posted photographs of the documents. 

An undated picture shows Jack Douglas Teixeira who was arrested by the FBI, over the leaks online of classified documents
An undated picture shows Jack Douglas Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the U.S. Air National Guard, who was arrested by the FBI, over his alleged involvement in leaks online of classified documents, posing for a selfie at an unidentified location. Social Media Website/via Reuters

In arguing for Teixeira's pretrial detention in April, prosecutors alleged in court documents that Teixeira sent more than 40,000 messages on Discord between Nov. 1, 2022, and April 7, 2023, some of which contained sensitive government records. He allegedly began accessing the classified information in February 2022 and later posted the information online. 

Investigators said Teixeira acknowledged on multiple occasions in Discord messages that he had posted classified material and had even asked other members to specify which countries or topic areas interested them most. 

In November, a member of the group asked him, "Isnt that s*** classified," referring to information Teixeira had posted on the forum. Teixeira allegedly replied, "Everything that ive been telling u guys up to this point has been…this isn't different," court documents revealed. The next month, investigators allege he wrote about the sensitive information he obtained from work: "I tailor it and take important parts and include as many details as possible." 

Investigators also captured conversations that showed Teixeira instructing others in the Discord group in April to "delete all messages," alleging he took a series of steps to obstruct the investigation into the leaked Pentagon records. 

"[i]f anyone comes looking, don't tell them sh**," he is accused of writing to one user.

Prosecutors revealed earlier this year Teixeira was suspended from high school in 2018 after a classmate heard him talking about weapons and Molotov cocktails. He entered the Air National Guard in September 2019 and worked as a "cyber transport systems journeyman," according to Pentagon records.

The violent rhetoric continued after Teixeira began his military service, prosecutors said, alleging that during this period, he posted that if he had his way, he would "kill a [expletive] ton of people" because it would be "culling the weak minded." 

Court documents said that in February, he told a Discord user that he was tempted to make a type of minivan into an "assassination van."

In previous court filings, Teixeira's legal team called the government's allegations "hyperbolic" and blamed other members of the Discord chat for the widespread dissemination of the documents.

"The government's allegations in its filings on the evening of April 26, 2023, offer no support that Mr. Teixeira currently, or ever, intended any information purportedly to the private social media server to be widely disseminated," his public defender wrote. 

Teixeira has since obtained another attorney, Michael Bachrach, who declined to comment.

A magistrate judge in Massachusetts ordered him detained last month. 

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