FBI: Discord Leaker Still Poses National Security Threat
Prosecutors told a federal judge that the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified documents through a Discord server attempted to destroy evidence of his crimes, according to Voice of America. The Justice Department wants the accused, Jack Teixeira, 21, to be detained as a national security risk prior to his trial due to the risk that he might flee or destroy more evidence.
According to the government, when the FBI raided his North Dighton, Mass home they found a smashed tablet, laptop and gaming console. He also allegedly instructed Discord users to delete all messages. Prosecutors also presented evidence that he used his government computer to research mass shootings and presented a history of apparent interest in committing violence, making comments on social media that he wanted to “kill a ton of people” and “cull the weak-minded.”
The Justice Department also argued that Teixeira should be detained because he may still possess or have access to unaccounted-for classified documents, according to Forbes, which could lead to a “hostile foreign nation” offering him asylum. In addition, prosecutors said his promises should be treated as worthless, writing in the filing “Any promise made by the defendant to stay home or refrain from compounding the harm that he has caused is worth no more than his broken promises to protect classified national defense information.”
Teixeira’s motives in leaking the documents remain unclear, according to Stars and Stripes. Members of his Discord server said he seemed like he was trying to show off instead of informing people or affecting policy. Prosecutors believe he began accessing classified documents unrelated to his position in February 2022 and began posting it online in December. At first he merely wrote up summaries of the classified material, according to the BBC, but soon began posting photos.
The leaked material included information about the dispositions of Ukrainian and Russian forces and assessments of their relative strengths. It also included briefings on Canada, China, Israel and South Korea.
Searching for mass shootings on his government computer should have triggered a referral to security and a review of his file, but it’s unknown if one was or any action was taken.
Teixeira’s defense attorneys rejected the government’s claims that he was either a flight risk or still had access to classified information. They also said the prosecutors’ contention that he would continue trying to destroy evidence “rings hollow”. He has been charged with violating the Espionage Act and faces up to 25 years in prison.
The Air Force announced it had suspended the commander and another officer of Teixeira’s unit, the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron.