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The US Air National Guard airman who was detained on allegations of leaking top-secret material to his Discord chat group is now charged with breaking the Espionage Act.
On Friday, April 14th, 21-year-old airman Jack Teixeira was charged with unlawfully taking, holding, and transmitting national security information, as well as confidential materials, while stationed at the Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts. He had been working there as a journeyman in cyber defense operations.
Teixeira faces up to 10 years in jail if proven innocent of the two Espionage Act accusations.
Teixeira’s access to secret papers and the latest information on the war in Ukraine was typical of his job. The statement accompanying the criminal complaint noted this fact.
The criminal complaint contained new information about Teixeira’s investigation, including how the FBI located him. Before Teixeira’s arrest on Thursday, April 13th, The New York Times and The Washington Post conducted interviews with users of the Discord server where Teixeira shared classified documents. The Times later released his name.
Discord provided the FBI with invoice information for Teixeira’s server on April 12th. Teixeira used his real name and a Massachusetts location to pay for the server, which he used to disseminate classified documents. He was apprehended shortly thereafter.
Discord has since removed the restricted content, suspended the accounts responsible for sharing it, and issued warnings to other users who are still distributing the files on other sites.
According to reports, on April 6th, the same day the leaked documents were confirmed by the media, Teixeira also used his official equipment to scan sensitive intelligence data for the word “leak.”