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Airman arrested for Pentagon leaks ‘wore an AR-15 shirt’ to school day after Las Vegas mass shooting

Jack Teixiera faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, a judge told him

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Friday 14 April 2023 19:19 BST
Guardsman accused of US intelligence leak to remain jailed

The Air Force National Guardsman charged with allegedly leaking classified Pentagon documents wore an “AR-15” t-shirt to school the day after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting.

Former classmates of 21-year-old Jack Teixeira have described him as having an obsession with guns and the military and said he made some “nervous.”

Mr Teixeira would sometimes wear camouflage to school and carried a “dictionary-sized book on guns” former students who went to school with him told CNN.

(Social media/WCVB-TV via ABC/Reuters)

Public records state that he grew up in suburban Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated from Dighton-Rehoboth High School.

“A lot of people were wary of him,” said Brooke Cleathero. “He was more of a loner, and having a fascination with war and guns made him off-putting to a lot of people.”

John Powell, who attended middle school and high school with Mr Teixeira, told the network that the suspect “didn’t have many friends” and was fascinated by anything “military related.”

“He was dead set on joining some branch of the military, even as a kid,” he told the network.

One student told CNN that the suspect wore the “AR-15” t-shirt the day after 58 people were murdered at a Las Vegas music concert by a gunman who used the exact same weapon.

Another former student said that while his behaviour did not reach the level that made people feel “the need to report him” he “made me nervous.”

The suspect was detained at his mother’s home in Dighton, Massachusetts by armed FBI officers on Thursday.

On Friday, he was charged with unauthorized detention and transmission of national defence information and unauthorized removal of classified information and defence materials. The airman didn’t enter a formal plea.

Jack Teixeira, in t-shirt and shorts, being taken into custody by armed tactical agents on Thursday, in Dighton, Massachusetts (AP)

The judge said that he could face as much as 15 years in prison, 10 years for the first charge, and five for the second, if convicted.

He had trained as a cyber transport systems specialist, with part of his job being the running of his unit’s communication networks, according to The New York Times.

The arrest affidavit unsealed on Friday revealed that Mr Teixeira had a top-secret clearance and that he had had access to sensitive compartmentalized information since 2021, which was needed for him to do his job as a cyber defence operations journeyman.

Teixeira’s family members leave the Moakley Federal Courthouse after his court appearance in Boston. (AP)

The filing stated that some of the images shared online “appear to depict Government Information that was used to inform senior military and civilian government officials during briefings at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia”.

The FBI interviewed a user of a social media platform where the classified files were shared who said another user “began posting what appeared to be classified information on Social Media Platform 1 in or about December 2022 on a specific server” within the platform.

Mr Teixeira is reported to have been the administrator of the Discord server where the documents were initially shared.

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