Air Force Launches Investigation Into Leak of Classified Documents

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
April 19, 2023US News
Air Force Launches Investigation Into Leak of Classified Documents
Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, (R), appears in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass., on April 14, 2023. (Margaret Small via AP)

The Air Force has launched an investigation into the major leak of dozens of classified documents by a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guard member.

The investigation will focus on the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base, to which the alleged leaker, Jack Teixeira, was assigned, officials said.

“The Secretary of the Air Force directed the Department of the Air Force inspector general to investigate overall compliance with policy, procedures, and standards, including the unit environment and compliance at the 102nd Intelligence Wing related to the release of national security information,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told in an emailed statement.

In a separate statement to ABC News, Stefanek said that the 102nd Intelligence Wing has been removed from the Air Force’s intelligence mission and its work is currently being undertaken by other units.

“The 102nd Intelligence Wing is not currently performing its assigned intelligence mission,” said Stefanek. “The mission has been temporarily reassigned to other organizations within the Air Force.”

Teixeira Arrested, Charged

Teixeira was arrested on April 13 at a home in southern Massachusetts, about 18 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island, following a Department of Justice (DOJ) probe into the leak of documents launched in that same month, although he is believed to have started sharing the documents online as far back as January.

The highly sensitive documents—allegedly relating to the Russia–Ukraine war—were leaked earlier this year across platforms such as Discord, an instant messaging social platform popular with gamers, as well as on the Telegram app and 4chan.

Teixeira was charged on April 12 with violating 18 U.S.C. Section 793 and 18 U.S.C. Section 1924, which prohibits the unauthorized removal and retention of national defense information and classified documents or materials.

He is expected back in court for a hearing on April 19. If convicted, Teixeira could face up to 10 years in prison for each charge.

According to reports, Teixeira was a junior airman with the Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, and worked as a cyber transport systems journeyman, meaning he was an IT specialist responsible for military communications networks, including their cabling and hubs.

‘We Are All Disturbed’

Officials say his role granted him a higher level of security clearance and sensitive compartmented access to other highly classified programs since 2021.

The latest investigation by the Air Force is in addition to the probe announced by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week. Austin also vowed to take “any additional measures necessary” to safeguard against national security leaks.

Speaking before the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee on Tuesday, Secretary of the Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told lawmakers that his department is committed to completing a thorough review of its security practices but stressed that officials do not yet know “all the facts” regarding the ongoing case into the leak.

“I’ve tasked our inspector general to go look at the unit and anything associated with this leak that could have gone wrong from the point of view of implementing our policies, to see what things allowed this to happen,” Kendall said.

“We’re turning on a complete review of our policies themselves, within the staff to make sure our policies are adequate and that will be illuminated by what we learn about what happened in this incident. We are asking the entire force to do a stand-down to review their security practices, conduct training as necessary, and respond to the Secretary of Defense’s guidance.”

“There is a full-court press going on about this,” Kendall continued. “We are all disturbed about it and we are working very very hard to get to the bottom of it and take corrective actions.”

From The Epoch Times

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