A Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent said that some of the intelligence allegedly leaked by indicted Massachusetts Air Force National Guardsman Jack Teixeira was shared with foreign nationals, according to recent court filings.
Special Agent Luke Church said in a sworn statement that Teixeira, a junior enlisted airman with the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, allegedly leaked documents on the social media platform Discord. The three servers Teixeira allegedly leaked documents in contained more than 150 members, some of which represented themselves as foreign nationals or at least used a foreign IP address.
“You live near [foreign city] yeah?” Teixeira asked a member of the Discord server, according to Church’s declaration.
“[Y]eah,” the user said. “[V]illage next to it.”
After another brief exchange, which included a racial slur from Teixeira, the Guardsman then proceeded to share “presumptively classified” documents, according to court filings.
The court documents do not state whether the user who said they lived in a foreign country was in fact a foreign national. Michael Bachrach, Teixeira’s attorney, declined to comment for this story.
The accusations come as the defense and prosecution in Teixeira’s case argue over whether he should be released before his trial. Prosecutors urged to keep Teixeira in custody, saying he would be a flight risk and a prime recruit for U.S. adversaries. Teixeira’s attorneys on the other hand said that the fact Teixeira did not run or go into hiding from law enforcement shows that he is not a flight risk.
As a result of the leak, the Pentagon tightened controls and procedures on classified intelligence. The Pentagon said after an initial 45-day review that the “overwhelming majority” of those at the Pentagon with access to classified information are following the rules, but the department’s analysis still led to several recommendations.
Two commanders who worked at the same base as Teixeira were temporarily suspended and had their access to classified information cut. Civilian and uniformed leaders of the Air Force also conducted a force-wide stand down, so all units could review their own security protocols within 30 days, Air Force Times previously reported.
Teixeira, 21, was charged under the Espionage Act in April with unauthorized retention and transmission of classified national defense information. Teixeira is accused of sharing highly classified military documents about Russia’s war in Ukraine and other top national security issues.
Investigators believe he was the leader of an online private chat group on Discord called Thug Shaker Central, which drew roughly two dozen enthusiasts who talked about their favorite types of guns and shared memes and jokes. The group also held a running discussion on wars that included talk of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Zamone “Z” Perez is a rapid response reporter and podcast producer at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.