American soldier who leaked secret military documents on Russia-Ukraine war accepts 16-year prison sentence

Monday, March 04, 2024
 – The Massachusetts, US, Air National Guard member who leaked troves of classified military documents and posted them online in a case considered one of the most serious US national security breaches in recent years, has agreed to accept a 16-year sentence on Monday, March 4.

Jack Teixeira, who was 21 at the time of his arrest in April 2023, was accused of abusing his security clearance and leaking top-secret Pentagon documents and sharing them on the social media and gaming app Discord.

The documents were then widely shared and viewed by the public.

The highly classified documents he was accused of disclosing included detailed intelligence assessments of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including “how the equipment would be transferred, and how the equipment would be used upon receipt,” according to the indictment.

Teixeira "accessed and printed hundreds of classified documents" and posted images of them on Discord prior to his arrest last April, a prosecutor said Monday during a hearing in Boston federal court, where the Air National Guardsman pleaded guilty.

Teixeira entered court in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit with the initials PCCF on the back for Plymouth County Correctional Facility and appeared to smile at his father, who was seated in the second row.

Judge Indira Talwani asked Teixeira whether he understood he was agreeing to serve as much as 16 years in prison and no fewer than 11 years.

"Yes your honor, I understand," Teixeira said, leaning down to speak into a microphone at the defense table.

"How do you now plead to counts one, two, three, four, five and six? Guilty or not guilty?" the clerk asked. "Guilty," Teixeira responded.

As part of his plea agreement, Teixeira must sit for a debrief with the Defense Department and the Justice Department and give back any sensitive materials that might remain in his possession.

Teixeira remains on active duty in the Air Force and could face U.S. military charges after the civilian criminal charges have been adjudicated according to reports. As a Massachusetts Air National guardsman, he had been placed on Title 10 active duty status in the Air Force, which would determine if Teixeira should also face military criminal charges.

Teixeira's sentencing is set for Sept. 27.

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