US Pentagon document leaker Teixeira to stay in jail: Alleged


Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old US airman, has made his second court appearance after being accused of leaking highly classified Pentagon documents. Teixeira’s lawyers have requested more time to prepare for his detention hearing, resulting in him remaining in jail for at least another two weeks. Teixeira has been charged under the Espionage Act with the unauthorised removal, retention and transmission of classified national defence information. The files that he allegedly leaked have been described as a threat to national security and included details of Western military support to Ukraine, information about Russia’s war effort and intelligence collected from allied states.

Teixeira shared the information with members of a Discord server to “discuss geopolitical affairs and current and historical wars”. An FBI court document revealed that the social media user was posting paragraphs of text that showed what “appeared to be classified information” around December 2022. The user then started publishing photos of the purported documents around January. The poster, believed to be Teixeira, told a witness that he “had become concerned that he may be discovered making the transcriptions of text in the workplace, so he began taking the documents to his residence and photographing them”.

Teixeira’s age and junior rank have raised questions about why he had access to top-secret information and how he was able to leak the documents over several weeks without being detected. The US Air Force announced on Tuesday that it was halting the intelligence mission of Teixeira’s unit, the 102nd Intelligence Wing, as an inspector general carries out an investigation into the leaks.

As Teixeira’s legal case proceeds, details from the leaked document have continued to trickle down through US media outlets. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported – based on the leaked documents – that China was working on a high-altitude spy drone that could travel “at least three times the speed of sound”, which would boost Beijing’s surveillance capabilities in the Indo-Pacific. US officials have not denied the validity of the documents, acknowledging that they “present a very serious risk to national security” and appear to be real, though in some cases altered.

Teixeira made a brief appearance in federal court in Boston on Wednesday and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. His defence had said it “requires more time to address the issues presented by the government’s request for detention”. A judge had ordered Teixeira last week to remain in custody until a detention hearing is held. Teixeira has not entered a plea of guilty or not guilty. Suspects are usually allowed to remain free on bail until trial, unless prosecutors convince the judge that a defendant may flee or poses a risk to the community.

Teixeira was brought to the courtroom in handcuffs and orange jail garb. He only responded with “yes” and “no” to questions about whether he understood his rights and the proceeding.