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International Business Times
International Business Times
Priya Walia

US Airman Pleads Guilty To Leaking Military Documents, Faces Lengthy Sentence

A mockup representation of classified US military documents (Credit: Reuters)

Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixeira, 22, pleaded guilty Monday to leaking highly classified military documents, including sensitive information about the war in Ukraine and national security secrets.

The guilty plea, part of a deal with prosecutors, entails a prison term between 11 and nearly 17 years.

Teixeira, from North Dighton, Massachusetts, admitted to six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information under the Espionage Act, AP News reported.

The plea comes almost a year after his arrest, marking one of the most consequential national security leaks in recent years.

Teixeira has confessed to unlawfully gathering some of the country's most sensitive secrets. These classified materials were then shared with fellow users on Discord, a widely used social media platform among individuals engaged in online gaming.

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani scheduled Teixeira's sentencing for September and will decide whether to formally accept the plea agreement, which outlines a prison sentence ranging from 11 to nearly 17 years. Prosecutors plan to seek the high end of the stipulated prison term.

Matt Olsen, assistant attorney general for national security, expressed concern over Teixeira's actions, stating he "callously disregarded the national security of the United States."

Teixeira, a cyber transport systems specialist in the Air National Guard, smiled at his father as he was led out of the courtroom in shackles, wearing orange jail garb and black rosary beads. Defense attorneys, emphasizing his remorse and youth, aim for an 11-year sentence.

Teixeira's family, in an emailed statement, expressed shock and stated, "It is unfathomable to think your child would ever be involved in something so serious, but he has taken responsibility for his part in this, and here we are."

Remaining in the Air National Guard in an unpaid status, Teixeira, based at Otis Air National Guard Base, accessed and shared classified documents. Prosecutors revealed attempts to cover his tracks, leading to the discovery of smashed electronic devices at his residence.

The leaks exposed secret assessments of Russia's war in Ukraine, divulging troop movements and supplies to Ukrainian forces. Teixeira also admitted to posting information about a U.S. adversary's plans to harm American forces abroad.

In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors won't pursue additional Espionage Act charges. Teixeira must participate in a debrief with intelligence, Defense Department, and Justice Department officials.

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