Jack Teixeira pleads guilty to Pentagon leak, faces over 16 years in prison | Courts News

The plea comes after Teixeira agreed to a deal with prosecutors over last year’s leak of classified US military documents.

A Massachusetts air national guard member has pleaded guilty to leaking highly classified military documents online, in one of the most serious national security breaches the United States has experienced in recent years.

Jack Teixeira, 22, entered his plea in federal court in Boston on Monday after striking a deal with prosecutors that would see him serve from 11 to nearly 17 years in prison.

According to the agreement, prosecutors plan to seek the high end of that range, which is capped at 16 years and eight months.

Teixeira pleaded guilty to six counts of willful retention and transmission of classified information relating to national defence. He withdrew the previous plea of not guilty he made in June.

The charges stem from last year’s leak of records about the war in Ukraine and other national security secrets. The classified records, which were shared on the messaging app Discord, drew global media attention in April.

The leak prompted US President Joe Biden’s administration to rush to assure allies that Washington is able to safeguard its national security secrets.

Before his arrest in mid-April, Teixeira had been an airman first class at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He served as a cyberdefence operations journeyman or information technology support specialist.

He held a top-secret security clearance and, starting in January 2022, began accessing hundreds of classified documents.

To share the contents of the records, authorities said Teixeira began by typing out copies that he then published online. Later, he photographed the files, some of which bore “SECRET” and “TOP SECRET” markings.

The leaked documents held highly classified information on allies and adversaries, with details ranging from troop movements in Ukraine to intelligence about Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

In exchange for Teixeira’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed not to charge him with further Espionage Act violations.

As part of the deal, Teixeira must participate in a debrief about the leaks with members of the intelligence community and the Departments of Defense and Justice.

US District Judge Indira Talwani scheduled his sentencing for September 27 and said she would decide then whether to formally accept the deal.

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