|Feds holding alleged Discord leaker Jack Teixeira until trial|
Defense News & Army Times14 day(s) ago
Jack Douglas Teixeira, the Air National Guard member accused of leaking classified military documents on a social media server, will remain in federal custody until his trial begins, according to a court ruling Friday. Teixeira, 21, is charged with violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking information he accessed with a top-secret security clearance and posting them to a Discord server, a social media platform popular in the gaming community. The decision came after federal prosecutors argued in a court document that Teixeira hid “unsavory aspects of his character” from public view, citing violent and racist views from Teixeira’s online social media accounts. Prosecutors said Teixeira revealed that he had hidden his extremist views from security clearance inspectors by scouring his online presence and downplaying a racist incident, which led to school detention as a “misunderstanding.” Prosecutors said Teixeira “certainly did not reveal—and potentially took action to actively conceal—the significant volume of racist, antisemitic, and violent rhetoric he posted online lest his true nature and character prevent him from achieving his objective.” Teixeira’s defense attorneys had argued that others accused of violating the Espionage Act had been allowed to stay out of jail ahead of their trial, and listed multiple examples, like former Department of Defense analyst Lawrence Franklin. The FBI charged Franklin in 2005 with three counts of espionage-related crimes. Franklin did not need to serve pre-trial confinement but did receive a 12-year sentence, such was the severity of his crimes. The prosecuting team presented comments from Teixeira’s social media accounts, obtained by the FBI, that showed Teixeira harbored extremist views. In one video described in the court document, Teixeira uses ethnic and racial slurs while holding a rifle at a weapons range. One Discord user suggested Teixeira create a blog account to share top secret documents Teixeira allegedly bragged he had access to. He replied: “shooting myself in the back of the head twice isnt something im fond of .... none of this is public information ... and making a blog would be the equivalent of what chelsea manning did.” Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, formerly known as Bradley, was convicted of espionage offenses in 2013 for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. At least two National Guard commanders have been suspended from their duties after findings that Teixeira had been warned on at least two occasions that he was handling sensitive information incorrectly, and the National Guard unit has been stripped of its intelligence mission while an internal investigation is ongoing. Federal agents arrested Teixeira on April 13, 2023 after he allegedly posted dozens of highly classified U.S. military documents that included assessments of real-time events in Ukraine, and evidence of spying on U.S. allies.