The feds warn that Jack Teixeira, accused of leaking classified documents on the war in Ukraine, could still expose more secrets if he’s released from prison with the potential for a “hostile nation” offering him sanctuary.
The explosive accusations are contained in a 50-page motion for pre-trail detention shared with the Herald Wednesday night.
Teixeira, 21, an E-3/Airman First Class stationed at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, was arrested at his family home in North Dighton earlier this month and has a detention hearing Thursday in federal court in Worcester.
Prosecutors say he should not get out because the risk is too great.
“In the first place, the Defendant poses a serious flight risk,” U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins said in the motion.
She added Teixeira “currently faces 25 years in prison—and potentially far more—and … he accessed and may still have access to a trove of classified information that would be of tremendous value to hostile nation states that could offer him safe harbor and attempt to facilitate his escape from the United States.”
The motion states the accused has committed “obstructive and deceptive acts” and is “a serious risk that such person will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice.”
The motion also states Teixeira reportedly told fellow gamers on the Discord chat platform to “delete all messages” and “(i)f anyone comes looking, don’t tell them shit.” He’s accused of using that gamer hangout to expose secrets he had access to as part of his IT duties.
The feds say following his arrest on April 13, authorities searched a dumpster at his residence and “found a tablet, a laptop, and an Xbox gaming console, all of which had been smashed.”
The feds, the motion states, do not hold back on the fear Teixeira could go on the run with more intel ready to share with rogue states.
“If the Defendant were released, it would be all too easy for him to further disseminate classified information and would create the unacceptable risk that he would flee the United States and take refuge with a foreign adversary to avoid the reach of U.S. law,” the motion reads.
The motion also states “not all” of what was allegedly dumped on the gamer site has been made public. If it was, Rollins and her team add, it would cause “grave damage to the U.S. national security if disclosed.”
Prosecutors add: “The case for the Defendant’s detention pending trial is overwhelming.”
He’s charged with unauthorized removal and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or materials.
Teixeira was the leader of a Discord server — which is what the gaming-dominated social media platform calls individual groups or forums — that the feds say illegally hosted more than 40 images “which contain various classification markings, including documents marked at the ‘TOP SECRET’ level, and which appear to depict U.S. Government classified national defense information.” The postings were allegedly made between December 2022 and last month.
He’s accused of having “regular discussions about violence and murder on the social media platform on which he disclosed the classified information.”
Prosectors add that while still in high school in March of 2018, Teixeira “was suspended when a classmate overheard him make remarks about weapons, including Molotov cocktails, guns at the school, and racial threats.” He was denied a gun license by local police because of that suspension, the motion states.
This is a developing story …
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