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Air National Guardsman Teixeira to admit he was Pentagon files leaker

Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guardsman accused of leaking dozens of classified Pentagon documents, is expected to plead guilty in a US court on Monday.

Teixeira allegedly shared the top-secret files and photographs via his private Discord server in February 2022, and these classified documents later surfaced on social media. It’s believed the then-21-year-old, who reportedly liked gaming and guns, was obsessed with mass shootings and conspiracy theories, and leaked the classified military information in an attempt to impress his fellow gamers online.

A US Air Force report made public in December concluded Teixeira was the only airman behind the leak, though determined that his chain of command bears some responsibility for letting the classified data dump happen on its watch.

According to the report, Teixeira “was observed viewing intelligence content on TS-SCI websites” in August 2022, referring to Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, and that his supervisor did not officially document the incident. A month later Teixeira was caught viewing intelligence documents while scribbling on a Post-It note.

Teixeira, who was collared last April, previously pleaded not guilty to six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information.

According to a motion filed [PDF] on Thursday, Teixeira has requested a Rule 11 hearing — a court proceeding to discuss a change of plea — on March 4. The plea agreement remains sealed as of Friday, so it’s unclear to what charges Teixeira will plead guilty.

Teixeira has remained in custody since his arrest.

“As laid out in the indictment, Jack Teixeira was entrusted by the United States government with access to classified national defense information — including information that reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security if shared,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in June, following Teixeira’s indictment.

A month later, a judge denied Teixeira’s request to be released. Teixeira’s argument was that he had been charged with the same federal counts as former president Donald Trump, who remains out on bail. If a tycoon born into immense privilege and wealth can avoid a stretch behind bars awaiting a similar trial, so should I, Teixeira argued unsuccessfully.

The leaked documents included sensitive details about America’s involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war, South Korea’s concerns about selling ammunition to the US, and China developing a supersonic spy drone.

In addition to Teixeira, 15 Air National Guard leaders have been disciplined for their failure to act. The US Air Force has also taken steps to reform to its need-to-known and classified data access standards. ®