WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) – The U.S. Air National Guard has been charged with leaking classified military intelligence records online, a federal grand jury said in a statement on Thursday.
Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, of North Titan, Massachusetts, was charged with six counts of knowingly possessing and disseminating classified information related to national security, according to the release.
The department added that each charge of unauthorized possession and transfer of national security information is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Teixeira has been accused of one of America’s most serious security breaches since 2010, when more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables appeared on the WikiLeaks website.
He was arrested in April after allegedly posting highly classified material on the messaging app Discord, sparking concerns about how a low-level airman could have access to military secrets. Two commanders in his division were later suspended.
Federal law requires the government to receive charges within 30 days of a person’s arrest, and Thursday marked the 30-day deadline.
The leaked documents contained highly classified information about allies and adversaries, with details ranging from Ukraine’s air defense during the Russian invasion to Israel’s Mossad spy agency. US President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation into why the alleged leaker had access to sensitive information.
Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Division, had previously waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
A criminal complaint charged him with violating the Espionage Act.
Kanishka Singh, Sarah N. Report by Lynch, Rami Ayyub and Susan Heavey; Editing by Paul Grant and Eric Beach
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