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Air Force preparing new charges against airman who leaked classified info on Discord

By Natasha Bertrand, CNN

(CNN) — The US Air Force is preparing new charges within the military justice system against the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to posting a trove of highly classified intelligence reports and other documents on social media, according to an Air Force spokesperson.

Jack Teixeira, 22, was arrested in April 2023 and pleaded guilty in March to all six counts he faced under the Espionage Act. Prosecutors have said they will ask a judge to impose a prison sentence of over 16 years. The final sentence will ultimately be decided by a federal judge in September.

But after “close coordination” with the Justice Department, the Air Force has 
“determined that separate and distinct charges” should be referred against Teixeira “for alleged misconduct related to his military duties,” the spokesperson said.

Because Teixeira was on active duty orders at the time that he has admitted to leaking classified documents on the social media platform Discord, “he is subject to both criminal prosecution with the Department of Justice and the United States Air Force under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” the spokesperson added.

The Air Force will hold a first hearing to review evidence on May 14 at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts, the spokesperson said.

Prosecutors alleged that while working at a Cape Cod airbase, Teixeira posted messages that included classified information in a Discord chat room called “Thug Shaker Central” before eventually posting photos of documents marked as classified.

The documents, some of which were reviewed by CNN, included a wide range of highly classified information, such as blunt assessments on the state of the Russia-Ukraine war. Teixeira also allegedly posted information about an unnamed US company’s accounts that were compromised by a “foreign adversary,” as well as a document discussing a “plot by a foreign adversary to target United States forces abroad,” according to prosecutors.

Teixeira had been repeatedly warned to not conduct unauthorized searches of government databases, prosecutors said.

After Teixeira was federally charged, the Air Force punished 15 individuals who “intentionally failed” to report documented concerns about Teixeira’s behavior preceding the leaks, including the commander of Teixeira’s unit, who was relieved of his command.

CNN’s Hannah Rabinowitz contributed to this report.

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